Where the Wild Things Are: Shades of Grey in the Wiccan Rede?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, March, 16, 2003.

I’ve strongly felt that the Wiccan Rede defines the rules. With a few simple words, everything important is said. I’ve never thought it was open to many shades of grey, but people tend to find what they look for when they want to bend the rules. Sometimes the rules have been bent like cooked spaghetti. As soon as you have to ask “what does harm mean” you’re drifting into grey. Harm is harm.

Of course, I have encountered my own shade of grey when it comes to killing bugs. Not that I use magick to kill bugs, but if you are a true Witch you shouldn’t be causing harm, right? Bug killing is pretty harmful to the bugs. But, I finally decided if the bugs invade my space they must die for it. However, I will not kill them outside, that’s their space. Grey, but it works. Not quite what the black and white Rede would agree with but I can live with that bit of grey.

Anyway, this week this quote in a quiz was interesting and has given me something to think about.

“Nature is neither black nor white. Nature is. As am I.” From the Paradox Discovered website.

It makes sense and yet… The philosophy of the Rede also makes sense, a lot of sense. The idea of karma (and reincarnation in a sense) has always seemed based on the Rede. If you bring harm to others you will see it come back to you, eventually. I don’t see the Rede as a threat though. It wasn’t created to be the Pagan version of hell. Still, it’s very black and white.

Nature is made of colours, more than just grey for sure. Nature is also hard and based on survival as much as it is on life and nurturing. Should the Rede be more flexible? Can it afford to be flexible? How far can it bend before it becomes irrelevant? Or has it always been irrelevant? After all, being Pagan is about nature, not human history. The Rede however, is man made, not something taken from nature.

Very interesting, something you could debate and philosophize about for a very long time.