Recently a reader asked me: What does the Wiccan Rede “An ye harm none, do what ye will” mean to you? Is it a law, or is it advice?
If you look at the word “rede” it means to give advice to; counsel.
When I look at the Wiccan Rede, An ye harm none, do what ye will, I view it as sage counsel that is given to us.
Advice fits certain situations. Still, other situations call for using a different approach.
How about self-defense? If you do no harm, like block the attack and cause the opponent’s arm to sting, you would be allowing more harm to come upon you.
So, I don’t view the Wiccan Rede as a law, in part because one cannot live up to it. It is impossible to harm none. We eat, we use chemicals to kill germs as we clean our homes, and we brush our teeth. In all of those activities, something’s going to die.
The Wiccan Rede can serve as advice to live a good life, to be kind and loving whenever we can. I have found that the universe will return the same positive energy—perhaps, in another form.
I had another thought. A number of Wiccans suggest that a principle of the universe is grow or die. If we live by the Wiccan Rede as advice, we have the appropriate freedom to grow. As I view material about the #metoo movement, I notice a number of things. It’s reported that the #metoo movement began and continues (as their website states): “The me too. movement has built a community of survivors from all walks of life. By bringing vital conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream, we’re helping to de-stigmatize survivors by highlighting the breadth and impact sexual violence has on thousands of women, and we’re helping those who need it to find entry points to healing.”
The #metoo website continues: “Our goal is also to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors. Young people, queer, trans, and disabled folks, Black women and girls, and all communities of color. We want perpetrators to be held accountable and we want strategies implemented to sustain long term, systemic change.”
In a conversation with a number of learned friends, we talked about how any social change has associated pain. Social change does not land in “an it harm none.” People who speak out may lose jobs or worse. One of my friends said, “People, that is, individuals make a decision that the social change is worth the adjustment period.”
As I thought more about this, I found this to be valuable: Strive to do as little harm as you can. Be helpful and be kind when possible to all humans, plants, or entities alike.
This is a positive and enjoyable path in life.
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