A Breakdown of the Wiccan Rede

If I haven’t stated so before, let me do so now for clarity: I am not Wiccan. Wicca is a fine religion, I just don’t count myself among them. I’m a little more hippie than traditional, when it comes to my beliefs, lol. However, I wanted to post this breakdown of the Wiccan Rede anyway, but whether you’re Wiccan or not, I think most of us will agree that this is beautifully written.

Bide the Wiccan Law ye must,

This line is telling us to follow the wisdom and guidance offered in the Rede.


In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

This refers to how you must live your life with the Gods and Goddesses. When performing magick or rituals it is essential that you enter into it with full love and you have complete trust for the Gods and Goddesses.


Live and let live – fairly take and fairly give.

Respect people and nature. Treat them both as you want to be treated, with tolerance and acceptance.


Cast the Circle thrice about to keep all evil spirits out.

A Circle is cast when preparing to do magick. The Circle is cast 3 times because 3 is a very powerful number. It stands for the three phases of the Goddess and God, and is the number of creativity, among other things, and its strength is compounded 3-fold when you walk the circle 3 times when casting, allowing it to protect you from negative spirits or energy.


To bind the spell every time, let the spell be spake in rhyme.

Speak your spells in rhymes to please the ears of the Gods/Goddesses and to give your mind something to do. While the conscious is busy listening to the words, your unconscious can tap into your energy and the energy of the God and Goddess – and magick is done.


Soft of eye and light of touch – speak little and listen much.

Be gentle. Sit back and listen. Don’t impose yourself too much on the world. Wisdom is gained through silent thought and by listening to the Universe speak to you.


Deosil go by the Waxing Moon, sing and dance the Witch’s Rune.

When the Moon is waxing, or getting bigger, move around the ritual Circle clockwise to bring good things toward you.


Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane, and werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

When the Moon is waning, getting smaller, move around the Circle counter-clockwise to take away negativity. Wolfsbane is dreaded because of its poisonous nature. It was once used to poison wolves.


When the Lady’s Moon is new, kiss thy hand to Her times two.

When the New moon comes around, salute the Lady and welcome Her by kissing your two fingers.


When the Moon rides at Her peak then your heart’s desire speak.

The Full Moon the most powerful phase of the moon, making it the best time to make requests of that which you want the most.  


Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, lock the doors and drop the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the West wind blows o’er thee, departed spirits restless be.

These couplets describe the various elements associated with the four directions.  Earth in the North, Air in the East, Fire in the South and Water in the West.


Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows. 
Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God’s
insight.   Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower. 
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye. 
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility. 
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen. 
Elder is the Lady’s tree burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark. 

There are nine different kinds of magickal woods that are often burned in the cauldron during rituals and in the Beltane fires, but never burn the elder tree, they are the Lady’s trees and in honor of Her they are always spared.

 Apple – represents love and fertility.
Birch – represents the Goddess.
Fir – represents immortality and well suited to Beltane
Hawthorn – represents the Fairy folk and purity
Hazel – represents wisdom and learning.
Oak – represents the God.
Rowan – represents the Tree of Life
Vine – represents joy and its juice is said to cause heightened awareness.
Willow – known as Hecate’s tree, represents our journey to the Summerland


As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it’s now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.
When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lammas night power is brought to magick rite. 
Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.
In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached its height time for Oak and Holly to fight.
Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you’ll be.

The previous couplets are speaking of the Eight Sabbat Festivals: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas (Lughnassadh), Yule (Winter Solstice), Spring, Summer, Autumnal Equinox. These are each turning points in the cycle of the Wheel.


Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you’ll know.

This line can refer to water divination, or all divination for that matter, but it also speaks to how the ripples of our actions spread out in the world around us,  affecting everyone and everything they touch.


When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.

“Don’t allow the idea of profit to sway you. Don’t take money for your magickal work.” This is actually an outdated way of thinking, as far as I’m concerned. For me, it doesn’t matter if you’re trading goods for other goods or if you’re trading services for money. It’s the equal exchange of energy that’s important, whether that energy is physical (as in goods or cash) or spiritual (as in trading spiritual services- divination, healings, cleansings, etc.).


With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.

People will associate you with the company you keep. If you spend time with fools, you may also be seen as one.


Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Basically, this means it’s good to be with friends. “Merry Meet and Merry Part” is often used as a greeting and as a way to say- See you next time!


Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.

Pay attention to the Threefold Law. Whatever you do, good or bad, comes back to you three times over. Sometimes this return is immediate and sometimes not.


When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.

The star is the pentacle. This tells us that when we are experiencing trouble we should open our third eye and listen to the Goddess and spirit guides for guidance, resolution and protection.


Be true in love, this you must do, unless your love is false to you.

Be loyal in love, but if the person isn’t loyal to you, then leave them. Vows should  never be taken lightly. If you make a vow to your love, be true to that vow. If they have been untrue to you this annuls the vow that you took.


These Eight words the Rede fulfill: An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.

This is a long debated statement. I have known many that believe this means that you may not harm anyone or anything—whether animal (or human), vegetable or mineral. This is obviously an impossible task. You’d never be able to move for fear of stepping on a bug. How long would we live if we decided to take this “rule” all the way, and never try to “kill” the living bacteria or virus within us when we’re ill. Instead, I believe this is meant to make us think about our actions. I believe it’s meant to be a guide that tells us to way all of our actions and decide of what we’re putting out into the world is for our highest good and for the highest good of others as well. You must make sure you think out each spell and action taken to know the possible consequences of those actions.


That’s how I see the Rede. I’d love to hear from you about this. 

Blessings to all!




2 thoughts on “A Breakdown of the Wiccan Rede

  1. This is a wonderful breakdown of a modified version of a beautiful bit of poetry called “The Rede of the Wiccae,” which was written by Lady Gwen Thompson in 1975. While the poem does contain the words of the Rede within, the Rede is literally only eight words: “An it harm none, do what ye will.” I really liked your thoughts on those eight words though and think you have that part pretty straight. It’s advice really, a reminder to be a decent human being.


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