Laws of the Craft
The Laws (also called the Virtues, The Ordains or The Ardaynes) are important to many neo-pagans and eclectic Wiccans. While each Wiccan group and individual are autonomous, they have the interlinking respect and function of the Laws to bring the tradition together as a whole. Security is given in adherence to the Laws, and the belief that if one obeys the Laws and is sworn to the Laws, that they can be trusted with “Perfect Trust”. The laws guide our actions, and give us guidence on behaviour, both as an individual, a group, a Coven and as a Tradition.
The New Book of the Law is a published by Lady Galadriel. It is an excellant “rule book” for those looking for a tested ethical and group working system when they form a group or Coven. These obviously won’t have much application to those of us who are Solitaries. I’ve also included two other Ardayne-like writings from Scott Cunningham called The Nature of Our Way and The Law of Power which are oriented more towards the Solitary Practitioner.
1. The Laws were created to give our lives form and order, that all might be balanced throughout all of the planes. In truth there are two sets of laws which govern us — one sets forth the ways of the Wiccan, and the other the ways of the Universe. Both are important, both should be observed with respect and treated with honor. The Laws were shaped and molded to teach us, to advise us, and to counsel us in our time of mortal life on earth.
2. Honor the Gods, for They are the channels and the manifestation of the Source. Honor yourself, for this force also lies within you. Love the Gods as They love you, and by loving yourself and your brothers and sisters, so the Gods shall honor you. As the love and joy of a man and a woman [or “lover and beloved” — LAH] flowers and grows when nurtured with respect, and cultivated with understanding and honor, so should you love the Gods.
3. The Goddess is the Great Mother, and the God is the Great Father, and we are Their children; and we shall worship Them, for They are the rulers of the Universe, and all that is therein. Therefore, O Children of the Gods, try Them not, nor attempt to test Them, for They shall show you that he Ways of the Craft are not to be belittled or mocked.
4. Let the Power of the Craft flow from you only in love — or not at all. For it has always been known that the energy webs which we weave and maintain shall eventually return to encircle their creator. Thus our works become either the net which entagles and binds us, or the web of light by which we find the Gods.
5. Let the Rites of the Wicca be a way for the children of the Gods to be as One — for Power only flows when unified. Always should you revere the Earth, and heal and tend Her, for She is our life, our Mothership, on which we navigate the dark currents of space.
6. When you reap the harvests of your lands, then you shall not reap one corner of the field, nor glean the herb gardens, or the fallen fruits of the orchards. These you shall offer to the Earth Mother, in direct return, or through offerings made to your Circle, or to sustain its Priests and Priestesses.
7. Always be proud to be of the Wicca, but do not allow your pride to become vanity — for those who are conceited are a stubling block at the door of the Temple, and they shall be cast adrift, to swim within their own vanity.
8. Observe and listen, reserving your judgement, for until all the silver is weighed, who can know the worth thereof?
9. As like breeds like, even more so does good beget love and joy. Your life will be full of love and joy if you are joyful and happy.
10. Your teachers are the servants of the Gods, and they shall plant the seeds of knowledge within the minds of their students, and they shall use their power for the good of the Wicca. Yet it is each individual’s duty to tend the seeds which are planted, and to make the final harvest. Those who misuse the power and the trust of the teacher’s position shall have to answer to the Lords of Karma, and adjust the balance accordingly.
11. The Temples of the Gods, which are Their abode on Earth, shall belong to all Their children, and each Circle shall be as a special family. Do naught against any Temple or any family of the Wicca, lest you do that thing unto the Gods, and against yourself.
12. You must not be a teller of tales amongst the children of the Goddess, and you must hold no malice or evil thoughts towards others of the Wicca.
13. You should not lie, nor give false testimony before your Elders, or those who are of the Wicca — for liars are fools, and a menace unto themselves, and to the Wicca. Be truthful in all your works and deeds, especially within the Circle, for what you say within the presence of the Gods becomes manifest.
14. You must not put stumbling blocks in the way of those who do not follow the Path of the Wicca. You must make no unrighteous judgements of their ways, and you should aid them with an attitude of love when it is asked for. Yet ever should you keep the Counsel of the Elders, and reveal naught to others of where our Circles may be, nor may you reveal our ways without the consent of the Priestess.
15. When you make a vow to the Lord or the Lady, or you swear an oath to another of the Wicca, then you must do all that has come forth from your mouth, for a covenant with the Gods, or with the Wicca, is your Honor, and woe to those who care not for the fetters they attach to their souls by not keeping their word.
16. The Great Mother and Father would not have their children suffer the indignities of oppressors for their sake, for what is within the hearts of Their children is dear and true to Them. The Ancient and Mighty Ones shall cause the balance to be made for those who desecrate the Lord and Lady, Their temples, or Their creations.
17. Never shall you use Magick, nor the Craft, to cause harm, for this is misuse of the Power, and it is not to be condoned. To cause the death of another through the Craft is to require the death of the Self in sacrifice.
18. Never betray any of the brethren, nor the lore of our people, for you are all servants of the Gods, and must live by the virtues of love, honor and wisdom. Let truth, loyalty and honor be your creed. Let them be your guides, tempered by love and wisdom.
19. The Order of the Gods shall you keep, and within Their Circles shall you walk. You should not say “I believe” when you doubt, nor claim to obey the Lord and Lady’s word when you never enter into the Temple. You must not profess with your lips that which is not in your heart.
20. Do not use the names of the Gods in negative or evil ways, for They love and cherish Their children above all others. All others They love, even those who know them not. Yet those who hate and curse in Their name shall have the Mighty Ones take the measure of their worth.
21. In any disputes between the children of the Goddess, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft, or any tribunal but that of Priestess, Priest, and Elders.
22. No one of the Wicca may do anything which will endagner the Craft, nor bring any of the Wicca into conflict with the Law of the Land, or with any of our persecutors.
23. Your magickal tools are channels to that which is most precious and pure within you. Do not cheapen them by haggling their price when you acquire them.
24. Never accept money for the use of the Power. It is sorcerors and charlatans who accept money for their spells and prayers. If you accept no money, you will be free from the temptation to use the Craft for evil or unworthy causes.
25. You shall never take unduly from any human, animal or elemental that which is not yours to take — for if you steal from another, in the end you will have to sacrifice something dearer to you in order to attain the balance.
26. Show honor to all people, that they may look up to you, and respect you, and their eyes shall become a mirror for your soul.
27. Those who are of the Wicca shall not own slaves, for one person may not own the spirit of another, for only the Great Mother and Father own our souls. Nor shall you take as a pledge any person’s life, for to do so is to take upon yourself both a mill and a millstone.
28. If a stranger sojourns with you, you shall do them no wrong; they shall be as one of the Circle, born amongst ye, and you shall deal with them as you would yourself.
29. Just weights and just balances shall be given by you, and just value shall you give, and thereby receive threefold.
30. Your altars shall be kept clean, pure and holy, and all that is brought into the Temple or the Circle shall be cleansed and blessed, for the joy of the Gods, and of the Wicca.
31. A clean mind should have a clean body. You should keep your body, your clothes, and your house clean, in honor of the Mother, who gives these things to you.
32. Let none die without honor, without love, without respect, unless their actions have decreed otherwise.
33. You should not couple together if it shall cause pain, jealousy or deprivation to another by doing so. Union for malice or evil reasons such as these upsets the balance, and the Lords of the Universe shall make adjustments accordingly.
34. Let those who would love, and would be as one, and bear child, be handfasted. For the sharing of love in this manner is beauteous, and love’s union in the energy of the Gods, and the heritage of the child. It is important for children to know and to identify with those who brought them here.
35. The Law of the Goddess is that none of the Wicca shall take and wed someone who they do not love, whether it is to harm another, or for some form of material gain.
36. Remember that your children are Goddess-spawned, and are free spirits. You do not own nor control them. They are your brethren, come to visit for a while, that they may share in the vision of your love and wisdom. Let each parent realize that although they may teach and guide with love, the child shall also teach the parent, and aid them in their growth and lesson
37. The etheric web and energy vortexes of the earth are in constant flux and motion to adjust to the needs of the planet. The sacred trust of the Wicca is to create and to maintain centers of light and knowledge, using the magick of the divine spark within us to focus and channel the forces of the Universal fire. And these are the channels established between the worlds of the stars and the realms of the earth, bringing in and regulating the spirit flames which energize and activate all life forms. Thus we tend and guard the threads of creation, and we weave the patterns of life and manifestation in an ever-evolving tapestry.
38. Never use your heritage or position for self-glorification or gain. Respect your magick and our ways. We must always recognize that while others may look to us to lead them, they too are our guides.
39. Keep yor body strong, your mind keen, and your purpose pure, for within your being you shall channel the Power, and it needs to be strong and pure. And these are the keys to the path of Oneness, and to communication with the Gods. Yet first you must learn to speak to Them in such a manner as They can comprehend you. For the children of the Wicca must aid the Gods, and work with Them, otherwise the Gods cannot aid and work with you. Ever remember that the Priest and Priestess are the living representatives of the God and Goddess Forces, and likewise that all humans carry these forces within them, though they may lie dormant and unawakened.
40. As the Great Mother and Father come unto one another and create with the pure vibration of Love-Wisdom, so should you strive to make your Temple pure in vibration, and thus a fitting place wherein you may invite the Gods. Thus, your Circle should always be duly purified and cast, and likewise, those who would use the gateways and travel the Circle between the earth and other realms should also be duly prepared and purified.
41. The Goddess hath said, “I shall not carry thee, yet neither shall I hinder thee, nor keep thee from having the same opportunities as all of my children. Thou art free, yet thou shalt not be coddled like babes in the storm. If thou hast true devotion within thee, then all obstacles may be overcome.”
42. The laggard is but half a person — and though half is better than none, the whole is twice as good as the half. Those who do not work, or who lack the will and desire to learn the ways of the Gods, unto them is said, “The Ancient and Mighty Ones shall not keep thee within their house, if ye learneth not.”
43. A sanctuary you shall make unto the Gods, that They may dwell amongst you. And you shall fashion it to the best of your ability, according to all tha your Elders shall show you, and pure energy shall you place therein.
44. An altar shall you make to unto the Lady, and you shall make due reverence unto Her, for every place where She is exalted, She will come to you and bless you. And you shall fashion your altar out of wood or stone, and burn incense and candles thereon, at the proper times, in observance of her ways.
45. You should set aside at least one day during each moon unto the Goddess, and on these days you shall do Her work; and on those days She shall renew Her children and bless them.
46. Learn to build your own Temple, and to craft your own sacred Circle, and all the tools that are used therein — for to be a person of the Craft is to be a person of consequence.
47. Let each of you inscribe your own record of our ways and teachings. For the course of each Wiccan should be charted, that the patterns of their life-web may be made known and utilized. Let each Wiccan start their Book of Light with the teachings and lore of their tradition, yet let it also contain the rites and ways of each individual, which are the harvest of each child of the Wicca, to use the wisdom of their heritage as the seeds of their own wisdom. Thus shall our lore and knowledge continue to grow and unfold, like a beautiful flower.
48. It is right to study and to understand the sigils, statues and stories of the Gods, for they shall guide your thoughts to Them, and They shall hear them. Yet you must ever remember that you worship not the sign nor the statue, but the Gods which inspired them.
49. If your Circle owns any land, let all guard it, and help to keep it clean. Let all justly guard all monies of the Circle, as well as the rights and property of all members of the Circle.
50. If any Wiccan truly labors, then it is right that they should have their just pay. This is not considered the taking of money for the Art, but good and honest work. Yet if any Wiccan works willingly for the good of the Craft, or for their brothers and sisters without pay, then it is to their greatest honor.
51. If any Wiccan should deny themselves some pleasure or material indulgence in order to do service in the Circle, this person shall be blessed and remembered. For those who give for the greater good of all shall have their spirit uplifted.
52. Know also that if you gift the Lady’s Priests and Priestesses, or Her Circles, this is an offering made unto the Mother Herself, for a true Priest or Priestess strives always to do Her work, and to be of service to Her children, so to honor and respect them is to honor and respect the Queen of All.
53. And the offerings which are considered the most pleasing to the Gods are these: the fruits of the orchards the scents of the trees and herbs the metals of the earth the waters of the earth the flowers of the meadows and the milk of all mothers. Yet offerings of labor or money are honest too, and these will also be accepted — moreso if you work with love in your heart, for always there is work to be done for the Gods, and service to be given to the children of the Wicca.
54. If your offerings are made to restore the balance, it must by of a nature that it not offensive to the Gods. It must be of value, yet given with a free heart. Thus shall the harmony be restored. If your offerings are given with a heart filled with love and devotion, or are of service to the Gods, or to the Craft, then shall you receive blessings manifold.
55. And when you make an offering unto the Gods, you should offer it thru the most proper medium, at the proper times, and in such a manner as to make it acceptable. Any and all remains of the rituals shall be consumed in the fire, or buried within the Earth, as a way of returning to the Source all that we use in the observance of our ways, thus ensuring the continuity of the cycle.
56. All may use the Craft to help and aid them, or for the advantage of their Circle, or the Craft — yet only if you are sure that you harm none. Let each Wiccan and Circle always debate these matters at length. Only if all be satisfied that none be harmed in any way, may the Art then be used. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way, then perhaps the goal may be achieved by actng in a different way, so as to harm none.
57. Throughout the world it has been many a year since Wiccans have been burned. Yet misuse of the Power might raise the persecutions once again. So never break the Laws, however much you might be tempted, and never consent to their being broken. And if you know they are being broken, then you must work strongly against it.
58. In days of old it was decided by the Mighty Ones who came before us that the Art might be used to restrain others from harming the Craft or its children, yet only after great consultation with all members of the Circle, and only then to deflect or to constrain them.
59. And such were the ways of the Lady that She brought us forth in joy, and such were the Ways of the Lord that His reign gave all life pleasure. Offer love in your worship and all shall be joyous in beauty.
60. In the dimly remembered dawn of ages past, the Wicca were truly free. Then, in Atlantis came the Age of the Misuse of Power, followed by the Ages of Persecution and Suffering. Thus the people of the Wicca hid themselves and cloaked their knowlege, and wove veils of secrecy and silence. And this is how the Ways of the Wicca have been preserved through the time of darkness. Yet much of the ways of our people were lost to the ignorance of others.
61. Yet the cycle spirals ever on — and the Age of the Earth Mother once again draws nigh. We must be strong — one with our birthright, and one with our Gods, if we are to bring forth the balance. Those who would harm us, or attempt to enslave us, we must overcome — yet only through light and love, and never through violence or the evil of chaos. And through our efforts the time of our people will come into being once more. In the times which lie ahead, there lies much work to be done, so that once more the cycles of life are drawn to the path of light, and the balance acheived through the power of love.
62. In order to bring the ways of Light and Love and Life to the peoples of the Earth, our secrets are slowly becoming secrets no more, and it is good that this is so — for the age of shadow and secrecy is passing. Yet the sharing of our ways needs always to be guided by wisdom and by love. Let our rites and our mysteries be kept sacred. Let no one defile our worship or our heritage. For the defilement of our ways is an honor loss to self, and for the Craft.
63. Let each High Priestess govern her Circle with justice and Love, and with the help and advice of the Elders and the High Priest, always heeding the messages of the Gods when they come.
64. Ever remember that although the Priest is the force with which the Circle is built, the Priestess is the ruler therein — for it is through her that the Goddess created the world, and all things therein.
65. The High Priestess will heed all complaints of all Pagans and Wiccans, and strive to settle any differences between them with reason and with justice.
66. Let each Circle of Light decide how it shall be known — whether by earthly name or magickal one. For each child of the Wicca knows best the safety or dangers of their homeland.
67. Let each Circle or Temple maintain and dedicate unto the Goddess and the God all the things that are required for Their rituals, for what is blessed in the name of the Gods rightly belongs to Them, and the Priest and Priestess shall be the caretakers thereof.
68. Anyone of the circle who is of sufficient rank, and wishes to form a new Circle, shall tell the High Priestess and the Elders of their intentions. Members of the old Circle may join the new Circle when it is formed, but if they do so they must leave the other Circle, unless otherwise instructed. For it is the Old Law that each Wiccan may join the Circle of their choice, yet their energy should not be divided between two or more Temples.
69. The Elders of the old and new Circles shall meet in peace and with respect, to decide the level of interaction and connection between the Circles. Yet it is known that the splitting of a Circle often means strife. So only if it is truly in a spirit of peace and harmony should the Circles meet for the celebration of the Great Festivals.
70. None shall enter the Circle that have a sickness or an ailment which may be passed on to the Lady’s other children — for to do so causes harm to yourself, as well as to the others of the Circle. Rather should the Healers go unto the sick one, that through the love of the Gods they shall be made well and whole once more.
71. It has been judged lawful that if any of the Craft need a house, or land, and none will sell, to incline someone’s mind so as to be willing to sell, providing it harms none and the full price is paid without haggling.
72. In the matter of quarrels or disputes between the members of the Circle, the High Priestess shall convene the Council, and inquire into the matter. The Council shall hear each person privately, and then both together. And they shall decide justly, not favoring one side nor the other.
73. If an agreeable resolution cannot be reached, then that Wiccan must leave the Circle, for a Circle of Light cannot be properly formed where there is disagreement and discord. And when a Circle is not properly formed, the energy within is either dissipated, or turns ugly, festering like a hidden sore. So let them leave, but only with love in their hearts and yours, for even though your paths may diverge, you are still all children of the Wicca, and there must be no violence between us. Bear no grudges, hold no thoughts of vengeance, for this will rot away the foundation of your power.
74. It has ever been recognized that there are some people who can never agree to work under any others. At the same time there are also people who cannot rule justly. To those who must ever be chief there is but one answer: “Void this Circle, and seek another one, or if ye be of sufficient rank, then form a Circle of your own.” To those who cannot rule justly, the answer shall be “Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you.” For none may come to Circle with those with whom they are at variance, for to do so angers the Gods, and hinders the Craft.
75. Those that do wrong without knowlege shall be held innocent; those that do wrong through carelessness shall be judged lacking in wisdom, and dealt with according to the nature of the transgression. Those who do wrong with deliberation and forethought shall be thrice punished, and the Lords of Karma shall lay low their pride.
76. Each person must make a balance for their words and actions, and the judgements of the Elders should incline to try to make good come from the injustice or wrong-doing. Many are the ways to restore the balance, so let the judgements of the Elders and the Priestess be in keeping with this.
77. Do not turn aside those who seek the ways of the Wicca for the want of an offering or the lack of a robe. You are the servants of the Gods, and the servants of Their people, and those that seek for the Gods you must aid in their quest.
78. Of those who would inquire as to the ways of the Goddess, or who wish to become of the Wicca, ye shall search their hearts, and even into their spirits you shall look, as you are able. For the Wicca do not look to acquire mere numbers. Let none be turned away if their hearts are true, and their desire earnest.
79. The hidden children are like the strings of a harp: each one may give a clear note, and when gathered together in sympathy and accord, they shall give rise to a beautiful symphony. Yet when struck without reason or thought, these notes may cause discord or disharmony. Therefore the Gods decree to Their Teachers and Priests that all must be taught to master their harp, and to pluck their strings with care, that they cause no discord or imbalance.
80. Choose the Priests and Teachers of the Wicca with diligence and with care. The qualities that you should search for within them are Faith, Belief, Knowledge, Ability, Patience, Leadership, Humility, and a loving nature — for they must lead and teach the children of the Goddess, and will thereby have the power to do great good, or to cause great imbalance.
81. In practice it should be that the greatest of the Priests and Priestesses should guide the rituals within each of the Temples of the Old Gods, and truly you should be content with the advice and guidance given by them. Yet ever it should be given so that it is clear and understandable, for within the Temple each of the Wicca is free, and thus they should be able to recognize and to understand our ways and their implications. And those who cannot explain the inner workings, or give just cause and reason for their decisions, may be questioned, or the wisdom of the advice weighed.
82. Let the Priestess and Priest lead as long as they are able, and their leadership be wise and strong, and to the benefit of the Wicca. Yet if their health is ill-favored, or if the next generation needs to try their hand, then let them have the vision and the wisdom to step away from their position, and pass the duties of the Circle t o another. Let them not become overly attached to the office, nor too fond of the power.
83. If a Priestess or a Priest should tire of their duties and charges, then they may step down, but only after having trained and acknowledged a successor. If a Priest or Priestess deserts their Circle, then they have lost the right to ever lead again within this life, so great a trust they have broken. If they should return to the Circle within one turn of the Wheel, and are judged to have true atonement in their hearts, new insight and growth, then they may be forgiven, and allowed to return to the Circle, yet they shall worship only, and hold no office or title. Leadership is a sacred commitment and an honor, and they have shown that they cannot be trusted with such responsibility.
84. Any Priestess, Priest, or Elder who consents to a breach of the Laws regarding the use of the Craft to cause harm to others must immediately be relieved of their office, for it is the lives of the children of the Goddess which they endanger, as well as the honor of the Craft.
85. The High Priestess may take a Sabbatical from her Circle, if her personal life and duties require it, for up to a year and a day. During that time, the Maiden shall act as High Priestess. If the High Priestess does not return at the end of a year and a day, then the Initiates of the Circle shall name a new Priestess. Unless there is good reason to the contrary, the person who has done the work of the Priestess should reap the reward. If someone else is named, then the Maiden should continue in that office.
86. Each Priestess and Priest shall choose their own consorts, yet let them be wise in the learning of our people, and thus others shall abide by the wisdom of their choice. Yet if the Circle feels the decision is ill-advised, or that they cannot abide and work in honor and trust with that consort, then they may request a gathering of all concernted to meet and to talk, and to resolve the balance with love and honor. For only those who are pure and strong, keen and wise, patient and loving, can effectively and properly carry out the duties of a Keeper of the Circle.
87. Those of the Priesthood shall not neglect their mates, or their children, or their house, nor anything which is in their possession; nor shall the sick and the needy be neglected for the sake of the Circle. Therefore let them adjust the one thing against the other, that neither should suffer, and that which is given by the Gods is treated with love and respect.
88. Long ago, at the time of Creation, it was deemed that the female should hold the power of life-giving. And such was the male force drawn to the love and beauty of the Creation of life, that he surrenders unto her keeping the force of his powers in the furtherance of life. Yet the Priestess must always remember that the fuel of the flames which light the fires within her Temple comes from the Priest. Thus she must use the force wisely, and only with love, and she must honor and respect he who is the activator of the Life Force.