LET’S TALK WITCH – IS IT REALLY WICCAN ETHICS?
Ask any Witch from any tradition of Witchcraft, why they don’t cast evil spells,
do baneful magic or use their powers to manipulate or harm others, and most of
them will quickly respond: “Because Witches believe in the Threefold Law: What
you send out will return to you three times over.”
Well, that’s a concept that will certainly keep you in line!
But is it really Wiccan ethics?
Not even remotely. Why? Because the Threefold Law is actually a rule of conduct
based on punishment, and therefore fear, and because it’s leftover from biblical
morality and because it does not reflect Wiccan values.
Let’s start with the first problem with Threefold Law: punishment and fear. Stop
and think about it for a minute. The Threefold Law is actually saying that you
better behave yourself, because if you don’t something worse will happen to you.
In other words, misbehave and you’ll be punished. So it’s just your fear of
punishment – of something worse happening to you — that keeps you from abusing the powers of Witchcraft. That’s not ethics — it’s expediency and self-
interest, based on fear of reprisal and nothing more.
Here’s the second problem: Where does this idea of fear of punishment as a
motivator for morality come from? It is a remnant of biblical thinking, dragged
from the past and misdirecting our future. In the biblical religious view, God
is not present in the world, He’s transcendent, dwelling “above” in heaven.
Where does that leave us? Living in the Lord of the Flies. When God is not
present in the world, you need a set of rules to live by. Hence the Ten
Commandments, Papal edicts, Talmudic interpretations, and Mullahs dictating the meaning of the Koran. The threat of damnation, sin, hell fire, and fatwahs for
your disobedience certainly motivate compliance with the rules of morality. Just
like the Threefold Law — behave or you’ll be punished. But just turn on the
television set and you’ll see how well that system of rules and punishment is
Now the third problem: Wicca doesn’t believe in a transcendent, exclusively
male, and punishing God. Instead, Wicca is a spirituality with accessible
practices that enables you to experience the Divine dwelling within you and all
around you in the natural world. For a Witch, the world is not fallen from grace
— it’s paradise, it’s the body of the Divine. And when you are able to
experience the presence of the Sacred in the world, in yourself and others, you
don’t require a rule based upon punishment, fear and self-interest to motivate
you to behave in an ethical manner.
The real Wiccan ethic is simple: Witches live in a sacred manner, treating all
of life and the world itself with reverence and respect, because they live in a
This is an ethical approach to Witchcraft, to magic, spellcasting and daily life
that is truly a reflection of our deepest spiritual principles, and our
practices. And it is an understanding that can remedy the wrongs threatening the
survival of the Earth. So the next time someone asks you why Witches don’t cast
evil spells, or what the basis for your ethics are, you can reply: I live in a
sacred manner because I live in a sacred world. I treat that world, and all the
creatures in it, with reverence and respect because everything is an embodiment
of the Divine.
—- Author Uninown