I'd be posting some of my past meditations and musings upon the Rede but I wanted to first say something about my present thoughts on it.
The Wiccan Rede states:
Do as thou wilt an' it harm none.
It's a fairly simple statement that doesn't get much consideration by most of the Wiccans and Witches I encounter. Many of them view it as a replacement or a parallel to the 'Golden Rule' that they grew up with in their mainstream background. Many of these same Wiccans and Witches view my stance upon the Rede as inappropriate. It's as though they feel that the same rule set from Christianity that they were raised with should be applied outside of that belief system.
I was raised in an agnostic/atheistic household. My mother was a 'closeted' Witch for many years, choosing to inform me of her beliefs when I began to seriously study Wicca. My father's spiritual beliefs are generally agnostic, taking a very humanist and Stoic approach to life. The extent of my interaction and induction into the Christian worldview that seems to dominate the cultural and spiritual landscape of the USA was via a few trips to a Presbyterian Church with my grandparents, the book of bible stories read to me as a small child, and the different elements that are visible in the mainstream public.
Let me tell you, the version of Christianity that I learned through the mainstream public was rather horrifying and I can comprehend why some people view Christians as terrible people. That, however, is a different topic.
The Wiccan Rede is a nice phrase but it doesn't really serve well as an actual guide for action. It took me many years to modify it until the Rede fit the way I was raised. My view point is somewhat alien to the Witches and Wiccans who came to the Craft from a Christian background and I think it frightens them. The things that are known as "black magic" are not viewed as taboo by myself because "black magic" doesn't exist. The practices that are shunned as inhumane by many, such as blood magic and ritual sacrifice, are not taboo either. It's taken me many years of study and many years of thought to really reach this point.
The modified version of the Rede that I'm sure you have seen posted by me somewhere in this blog is the fruit of this effort. You are free to act in any way you choose. Your freedom to act in any capacity is limited by responsiblity. If your action limits the freedoms of another or otherwise cause them harm or damage, will result in a chain of effects that will eventually come back to you. If your action was taken with the correct motivations and intentions, you may beable to come away from the action with out too much damage or harm to yourself.
All of humanity exists for the same reason as any other species exists upon this planet. It is for the continuation of the genetic line and the species. Unlike many other species, we happen to be self-aware and capeable of abstract thought. As we have these interesting abilities, we can observe the effects of our actions and the actions of others, analyze them, and determine if they are beneficial to our ultimate goal. This may sound an emotionless and unspiritual stance for a woman who is a priestess of her faith to take, but it is a fact that can not be argued.
As (potentially) the most advanced species on this planet, we can understand that our destroying one portion of the food chain will eventually kill us off. We can understand that poisioning the water supply or the air will kill us off. We recognize that playing tag with multi-ton death machines (like semi-trucks or locomotives) is not a good idea.
The goal of religion is to foster the recognition of these kinds of things. The goal of religion is to encourage people to grow and develop mentally (and perhaps spiritually) so that they can take full responsiblity for their actions. It is only by accepting responsiblity that we can truly appreciate the benefits that our freedoms have.
This, accompanied by the stubborn insistance upon truth and honesty that I have, is quickly marking me as a heritic in the rising tide of mainstream Witchcraft. Many people ask me why I no longer identify myself as Wiccan. The reason why I no longer identify myself as Wiccan is because the mainstream Wiccan movement is no longer focused on what the goals of religion are. I name myself as a Witch because I am a heritic, a practitioner of the 'dark arts', a wise-woman, and an individual that operates at the fringes of society.
The Wiccan Rede and so many other elements of Wicca have been distorted from the orginal teachings. It doesn't help that many of the teachings themselves are distortions of other teachings and fabrication by the early occultists of the last century. I have been finding myself encountering vast degrees of rejection for my demand that this fact, the true history of this faith, be recognized by the leadership of the community.
So, the next time you look at the Wiccan Rede when it is bandied about by some neophyte Witch, don't assume that all Witches believe it. Some of us actually have a deeper theology then the Momma Goddess and the Daddy God want us to all play nice.