What is your view on the Three-Fold Law?

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  1. profile image0
    ChleotheWitchposted 8 years ago

    Many Wiccans follow this as a basis of their religion. Which would explain why most spells end in "With harm to none, including me". There is mostly viewed as karma, what you do will come back to you with 3 times the strength.
    What is your view on this? Do you follow it or merely just push the thought aside?

    1. psycheskinner profile image83
      psycheskinnerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      It is a principle, not a law.  It says you are free to do things that do no harm.  It is silent on things you may do that cause some harm for the greater good. 

      IMHO making the Rede a law is entirely missing the point of Wicca.  IMHO ending a spell with a phrase about no harm to one's self is a bit juvenile.

      1. Greekgeek profile image94
        Greekgeekposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I have to admit, this was my first reaction, but I would've put it more tactfully. wink

        Except that I learned the Threefold Law as a separate thing from the Wiccan Rede, back in the 80s when Starhawk was still fairly new. (Do people still look to her for good ideas and guidance, or has the younger generation moved on?)

        Back then, the Threefold Law was a principle, akin to a scientific principle except that of course it wasn't proven: "What you do returns to you three times over." It was simply an observation, like Murphy's Law or the Christian "you reap what you sow,"  which we tended to assume (or hope) was true. It was Wicca's attempt to grapple with the question of Theodicy, a problem that every religion is a philosophical attempt to solve.

        The Wiccan Rede, when I learned it, was separate from the so-called Threefold Law. Rede is an old word meaning "counsel, advice." It's a guideline: "An you harm none, do as you will." An is an old-fashioned word meaning "provided that." The Wiccan Rede is like Christianity's Golden Rule, except that it says nothing about the expectation of other people being nice to you (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you). Rather, the Wiccan Rede expects us to use our own judgment and try to figure out what "do no harm" means for individuals, since what may be harmful to someone else may not bother you, and vice versa. Like a lot of paganism, it rejects dogma and demands critical thinking.

        I find it fascinating that the Wiccan Rede as stated is impossible to follow: we CANNOT live without eating, and there are many times when it's impossible to take an action which harms no one (including yourself), so then you must again use judgment and try your best to do the least harm possible. If the Wiccan Rede were a strict law, it wouldn't work. But as a guideline, something to strive for, like a parabola reaching for but never quite reaching a limit, it works rather well. (To quote a representative of a different religion, "a creature's reach must exceed its grasp, else what's a Heaven for?")

        The other part of the Wiccan Rede which most people forget is "Do What You Will." Anyone who's read the Neverending Story realizes that this half is just as difficult to accomplish as the first. We tend to forget to figure out what we truly WILL, what we want to accomplish or what we want most, deep within, and we seldom plan, take steps, and strive towards those things -- instead day to day living and busy work distract us.

        I don't think about the Wiccan Rede in my daily life as often as I should, although it fits well with my personal ethics. It's too easy to get distracted. Thanks for reminding me. All the stuff I've said above, I've said before, but it's so easy NOT to think about all that day to day. wink

        1. profile image0
          ChleotheWitchposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Interesting GreekGeek! I agree, It's not something that I try to think about at every minute either.

    2. Eric Prado profile image71
      Eric Pradoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Personally, I try to utilize it as a sort of guideline. When I consider the "harm none" and the 3 fold concepts, I make sure to identify the consequences which will inevitability return to me in time. If I send negativity out into the universe, do I want that to come back to me? Same as with positive energy. If I want to do something good and positive for somebody else, I will do it but not for the sake of getting something in return, and I choose not to release negative energy or negative forces outward upon anybody else anyway. I make sure to make a conscious effort to do acts of kindness and positive healing for others, and when it comes to love, I dare not tinker with fate in the love department. That should run it's course and/or happen on its own and never should be forced in any way. In any event, I strongly believe in the 3 fold concept and abide by it as well as harming none. That is very important to remember.

  2. paradigmsearch profile image60
    paradigmsearchposted 8 years ago

    Don't know about 3-fold, but things do seem to come back with interest. smile

  3. wilderness profile image97
    wildernessposted 8 years ago

    Like all other religious or quasi-religious concepts and philosophies it is a rule and not a law at all.  It has to connection to reality outside of personal perception and invoking it or following it will change nothing.

  4. Radical Rog profile image80
    Radical Rogposted 8 years ago

    Sorry Wilderness, but it is not a rule, nor a law, nor any other form of enforceable regulation. It is a principle, you could say, based on practical experience. Ignore this principle and there is no official retribution or punishment, though pay-back does seem to come in one form or another.

    1. wilderness profile image97
      wildernessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, a principle, concept or philosophy.  Call it what you will, but it is not based on actual experience.

      It only works if the "results" are carefully chosen and hand picked.  Pay back will always happen, given enough time and "counting" only those results that result in the pay back expected.  If, instead of looking at only the expected results one looks at all activity after the action that payback is both positive and negative from the world in general.

      This is very similar to the rule that God answers prayer - if you only count what you want to as an answer then it is obvious that He does - if you count all experiences after praying it becomes obvious that He does not answer anything - your prayer has no effect on subsequent actions from the world.

  5. 4elements profile image78
    4elementsposted 8 years ago

    Me personally believe in it 100%. My view is that regardless of what you do or send out there will come back to you 3 times. Be it 3 times good or 3 times bad.

  6. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 8 years ago

    Indeed.  I find the Rede useful taken as written.  But it does not not say 'never do any harm'. 

    The threefold thing strikes me as pure fancy.  We might be nicer people if we acted like it was true, but it clearly isn't.


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