What goes around, comes around...

...But for the Witch, it's Threefold.

Rule of Three

Ever mind the Rule of Three.
Three times what thou givest returns to thee.
This lesson well, thou must learn.
Thee only gets what thou dost earn!

Nothing in life is free. Everything has a price. From walking down the street to that brand-new Corvette. For those in the Craft, the price is a little different than for most. Because of what we do, and the awareness required to do it, we tend to fall under what is often called the "Three-Fold Rule." Simply put, what we do, we get back- times three. And it goes for both good and bad. It's just one of those wonderful ways Fate has of balancing the scales. This is not to say that just because something bad happens that you screwed up somewhere along the line, just that you need to stop and think about what you are doing, because "I didn't know" or "I didn't think it would..." is not an excuse. What we do is real. A well aimed spell can kill just as assuredly as a bullet- and just like a bullet, it can kill even if it misses who it was aimed at.

As far as bad, or good for that matter, things happening for "no reason," I say this: We are put here to learn. How can you learn unless you are challenged? We learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. It holds true for everything, life just throws us more curves than your algebra teacher did.

The Craft is not a religion; it's a way of life, a way of thinking. The reason that I make this distinction is because no one I've ever met ever "practiced" life, but most "practice" their religion. We live the Craft, everyday, every moment. We gather to enjoy each others' company and to learn from each other. It's a celebration of Life, not a requiem for the past. We might show up in robes, T-shirts and jeans, or nothing at all. This is how we do things. And it is personal to each of us, just like life. There may be those that want things to be the same for us all, and it might be the same for a few, but each of us is an individual, and we each see things from a slightly different facet. Just remember that the next time you hear yourself or someone else say "it has to be this way, or you're wrong....."

We live in harmony with Nature, we don't bent it to your will. We flow with it. We are accused of killing animals- and we do... for food. Everything around us has life, and a witch is in tune with that life. It is not unusual to see a witch suddenly hug a tree, or to take off her/his shoes and walk barefoot through a recently plowed field, or to be found singing or talking to the wind. We live with all of life, even each other. To help your neighbor is to help yourself, because you never know when you'll need the help. I'm not saying that you should quit working on your own needs and wants, but be sure to give consideration to others.

Every way of life has it's rules and regulations. Judeo-Christianity has the Bible, the Muslims have the Koran, etc. A witch's is a real easy one-liner:

"An' it harm none, do what thou wilt."

In other words, do what you want as long as you don't hurt anyone- yourself included. Now, don't be stupid about it. Don't go walking down the street wearing nothing but flip-flops and a smile and expect "it's part of my religion" to fly with the local law. But it does allow us a little more freedom than most.

Another good set of guidelines to help you (and others) to understand what we believe was put to paper in 1974. A group, assembled from most of the prominent wicce organizations, got together and hammered out the Principles of the Wiccan Belief. Like anything else that is agreed upon, not everyone agrees with what they put forth, but it does sum things up pretty well.

  1. We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the moon and by the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.
  2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
  3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called "supernatural," but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
  4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting itself through polarity- as masculine and feminine- and this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as on of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.
  5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spirit World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc.- and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
  6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share thier greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.
  7. We see religion, magick, and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it - a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft- the Wiccan Way.
  8. Calling oneself "witch" does not make a witch- but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of title, degree and initiations. A witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that makes life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with nature.
  9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning the universe we know and our personal role within it.
  10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be the "only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.
  11. As American witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.
  12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil" as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.
  13. We believe that we should seek within nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

"That's all fine and dandy, but how do you know when you're doing the right thing?" Bob asks. For the rest of us, this question would seem to be elementary... until you try to explain it. Ed Fitch gave us a starting point in his book Magical Rites from the Crystal Well:

Insofar as the Craft of the Wise is the most ancient and most honorable creed of humankind, it behooves all who are Witches to act in ways that give respect to the Old Gods, to their sisters and brothers of the Craft, and to themselves. Therefore, be it noted that:

As you can see, much of it is common sense. Some is not so common, though. And without practice, none of it is easy. There is a condensed version of it, for those who, like me, have trouble remembering what happened ten minutes ago, let alone what they read a day or more ago. It's called the Three Pillars.

      Wisdom- the ability to know right from wrong. It transcends what we can gain strictly from experience. There comes a point where the wisdom we attain is given from the Divine.
      Generosity- the ability to give of oneself, and to care for the outcome of any given situation.
     Honor- the ability to act, to stand in the face of opposition, to make a decision and take responsibility for the choice.

   The Rede of Chivalry and the Pillars help to define to be broad limits of right and wrong action, but there is still a lot of open ground that they don't address directly. The Law and the Law of Power help to focus on some of the more specific issues that may crop up from time to time.

The Law

The Law of Power

Obviously, we are not powerless to prevent bad things from happening to us. Nor is it really wrong to work for our own benefit- as long as we don't harm anyone else in the process. For example, you want more money so you can try to get out of debt (or just pay the rent, for that matter). Use of the Power is not out of the question, just be sure that you don't cause your rich uncle's death in order to get the money.

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On to Section 3
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