While many of the Laws pertaining to persecution
are a bit...outdated, there is still MUCH wisdom contained in The Laws. View them as a piece of history and try to find
a way to fit them into the modern world. Understand that some of the wording...and meanings are quite possibly imbedded
in the culture and mores of years ago, and do not easily "translate" to modern times. I have seen numerous copies of
The Laws, and each seems ever so slightly different from the next one. I have copied here, the words exactly as they
we given to me...typos, mispellings, and all, because a small change of punctuation or replacing a word with another similar
one can change the meaning in a large way. We can see this in the many different translations of the Bible.
Regardless of its age, origin, or applicability
in the modern world, it is a piece of our heritage...one of the precious few we have. -Lady Ariell
1. The Law was made and ardane of old by those
whom art called, The Old Ones.
2. The Law was made for the Wicce, to advise and
help comfort in their troubles.
3. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods
and obey Their will, which they ardane, for it was made for the good of Wicce, as the worship of the Wicce is good for the
gods. For the Gods love the brethren of the Wicce, and it is from this love that cometh the Power.
4. As a man loveth a woman by mastering her,
5. So should the Wicce love the Gods by
6. And it is necessary that the Magick Circle,
which is the temple of the Gods, should be duly cast and purified that it may be a fit place for the Gods to enter and dwell.
7. And the Wicce should be properly purified and
prepared in heart to enter into the presence of the Gods.
8. With love and worship in their hearts,
they shall raise power from their bodies to give power to the Gods. And in so doing the complete Circle is formed.
9. As has been taught of old.
10. For in this way only may man have communication
with the Gods, for the gods cannot help men without the help of man.
11. And the High Priestess shall rule Her
Coven as the representative of the Goddess.
12. And the High Priest shall support and protect
Her as the representative of the God.
13. And the High Priestess shall choose whom She
will, if he have sufficient rank, to be Her High Priest.
14. For, as the God Himself kissed Her feet in
the Five-fold salute, laying His power at the feet of the Goddess, because of Her youth and beauty, Her sweetness and kindness,
Her wisdom and Her justice, Her humility and gentleness and generosity,
15. So He resigned all His power to Her.
16. But the High Priestess should ever mind that
the power comes from Him.
17. It is only lent, to be used wisely and justly.
18. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess
be that She recognizes that youth is necessary to the representative of the eternal Goddess.
19. So she will gracefully retire in favour of
a younger woman should the Coven so decide in council.
20. For the true High Priestess realizes that
gracefully and humbly surrendering pride of place is one of the greatest virtues.
21. And it shal be that She thereby return to
that pride of place in another life, with greater power and beauty.
22. In the old days, when Witches extended
far, we were truly free and joyfully worshipped in all the greatest temples.
23. But, in these unhappy times of woe, we must
celebrate our Sacred Mysteries in secret.
24. So be it ardane, that none but the Wicce may
see our Mysteries, for our enemies are many and torture loosens the tongue of men.
25. So be it ardane, that no Coven may know where
the next Coven bide.
26. Or who its members be, save only the Priest
and Priestess and Messenger.
27. And there shall be no communication between
them, save only by the Messenger of the Gods, or the Summoner.
28. And only if it be safe may the Covens meet
in some safe and secret place for the Great Festivals.
29. And while there, none shall say whence they
came, nor give their true names.
30. To this end, that if any be tortured, in their
agony, they may not tell if they do not know.
31. So be it ardane, that no one shall tell anyone,
not of the Craft, who be of the Wicce, nor give any names, or where any abide, or in any way tell anything which can betray
any of us to our foes.
32. Nor may he tell where the Covendom be.
33. Nor the Covenstead.
34. Nor where the meetings be.
35. And if any break these Laws, without express
permission, even under torture, the curse of the Goddess shall be upon them, so they may never be reborn on earth, and may
remain where they belong, in the hell of the christians.
36. Let each High Priestess govern Her Coven
with justice and love, and with the help and advice of the High Priest and the Elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger
of the Gods, if he cometh.
37. She will heed all complaints of all
Brothers and strive to settle all differences among them in reason and justice.
38. But it must be recognized that there will
always be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they will.
39. These are not necessarily evil.
40. And they oft have good ideas, and such ideas
should be talked over and decided in council.
41. But, if they will not agree with their
Brothers, or if they say,
42. "I will not work under this High Priestess,"
43. It hath ever been the Old Law, to be
convenient to the Brethren, and to avoid disputes.
44. Any of the third may claim to found a new
Coven, because they live over a league away from the Covenstead or are about to do so.
45. Anyone living within the Covendom and wishing
to form a new Coven shall tell the Elders of their intentions and on the instant avoid their dwelling and remove to the new
46. Members of the old Coven may join the
new one when it is formed, but if they do so, they must utterly, unless otherwise so bidden, avoid the old Coven.
47. The Elders of the new and old Covens shall
meet in peace and brotherly love to decide the new boundaries.
48. Those of the craft who live outside both Covens
may join either indifferently, but certainly not both.
49. Though all may, if the Elders be in agreement,
meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and brotherly love,
50. But it is known that the splitting the Coven
often means strife, so for this reason these Laws were made of old, and may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard
or take these Laws lightly!!
SO BE IT ARDANE
51. If ye would keep a Black Book, let it be in
your own hand of write, let all Brothers and Sisters copy what they will, but never shall ye let the book out of your hands,
and ys shall never keep the writings of another.
52. For if it be found in their hand of write,
they may be taken and engained.
53. And let each guard his own writings, and destroy
them whenever danger threatens.
54. Learn as much as you may by heart, and when
danger is past, rewrite your book an it be safe.
55. For this reason, if any die, destroy their
book, an they have not been able to.
56. For an it be found, 'tis clear proof against
57. And our oppressors know well "Ye may not be
a Witch alone".
58. So all their kin and friends be in danger
59. So destroy everything not necessary.
60. If your book be found on you, 'tis clear proof
against you alone. You may be engained.
61. Under torture keep all thoughts of the
Craft from your mind.
62. If the torture be too great to bear, say "I
will confess. I cannot bear this torture. What would you have me to say?"
63. If they try to make you talk of the Brotherhood,
64. But if they try to make you speak of impossibilities
such as flying through the air, consorting with the christian devil, or sacrificing children or eating men's flesh,
65. To obtain relief from the torture, say, "I
hold an evil dream, I was beside myself, I was crazed."
66. Not all the magistrates are cruel; if
there be any excuse, they may show mercy.
67. If you have confessed ought, deny it afterwards.
Say you babbled under the torture, say you know not what you said.
68. If you are condemned, fear not.
69. Fear not, the Brotherhood is powerful, they
will help you to escape if you, but stand steadfast in trust.
70. But if you betray any Secrets, and Bretheren,
there is no hope for you in this life or any that is to come.
71. Be sure, if steadfast you go to the pyre,
drugs will reach you, you will feel naught. You go but to death and that peace which lies beyond.
72. To avoid discovery, let the working tools
be as ordinary things that any may have in their houses.
73. Let the Pentacles be of wax so that they may
be broken at once or melted should danger threaten.
74. Have no sword, unless your rank allows you
75. Have no names or signs on anything.
76. Write the names or signs on them in ink immediately
before consecrating them and wash it off immediately after all rites have ended.
77. Do not engrave them lest they cause discovery.
78. Let the color of the hilts tell which is which.
79. Ever remember, ye are the "Hidden Children
of the Goddess", so never do anything to disgrace them or Her.
80. Never threaten, never boast, never say you
would wish ill of anyone.
81. If any person, not in the Magick
Circle, speak of the Craft, say, "Speak not to me of such, it frightens me. 'Tis evil luck
speak of it."
82. For this reason: the christians
have their spies everywhere. These speak as if they were well affected to us, as if they would come to our meetings saying,
"My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones. I would I could go myself."
83. To such as these, ever deny all knowledge.
84. But to any others, ever say, "'Tis foolish
talk of Witches flying through the air. To do so they must be light as thistle-down. And men say that Witches all be
so blear-eyed, old crones, so what pleasure can there be at a Witch meeting such as folks talk on ?"
85. And say, "Many wise men now say there be no
86. Ever make it a jest and in some future time,
perhaps the persecution may die and we may worship our Gods in peace and safety again.
87. Let us all pray for that happy day.
88. May the blessings of the Goddess and God be
on all those who keep these Laws which are ardane.
89. If the craft have any Appenage, let all guard
it, and help to keep it clear and good for the Craft.
90. And let all justly guard all monies of the
91. But if any Brother truly wrought it, 'tis
right they have their pay, and it be just. And this be not taking of monies for the Art, but for good and honest work.
For money cheapens the Arts.
92. And even the christians say, "The laborer
is worthy of his hire," but if any Brother work willingly for the good of the Craft without pay, 'tis to their greatest honor.
SO BE IT ARDANE
93. If there be any dispute or quarrel
among the Brethren, the High Priestess shall straightly convene the Elders and inquire into the matter and they shall hear
both sides, first alone, then together.
94. And they shall decide justly,
not favouring the one side or the other.
95. Ever recognizing there be always
people who can never agree to work under any others.
96. But at the same time, there be
some people who cannot rule justly.
97. To those who ever must be chief,
there is but one answer.
98. "'Void the Coven, or seek another
one, or make a Coven of your own, if ye be of the third, taking with you those who will go."
99. To those who cannot rule justly,
the answer shall be, "Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you."
100. For none may come to meetings
with those with whom they are at variance. For to so so angers the Gods and hinders the Brotherhood.
101. So, an either cannot agree, "Both get
hence, for the Craft must ever survive."
SO BE IT ARDANE
102. In the olden days, when the Old Ones
walked amoungst us and we were blessed with full powers, we could use the art against wind and fire and any of those who ill-treated
the Brotherhood. But in these evil days, we must not do so! For our enemies have devised a burning pit of everlasting
fire, into which they say their God casteth all the people who worship Him, except it be the very few who are released by
their priest's spells and masses. And this be chiefly by giving monies and rich gifts to receive his favor, for their
God is ever in need of money.
103. But as our Gods need our aid to make
fertility for man and crops, so it is the God of the christians that is ever in need of man's help to search out and destroy
us. Their priests ever tell them that any who get our help are damned to this hell forever, so men be mad with the terror
104. But they make men believe that they
may escape this hell if they give up Witches to the tormentors. So for this reason, all be forever spying, thinking,
"An I catch but one of the Wicce, I will escape this fiery pit."
105. So for this reason, we have our hidels,
and men searching long and not finding us say: "There be none, or if there be, they be in a far country."
106. But when one of our oppressors dies,
or even be sick, ever is the cry, "This be Witches' malice", and the hunt is up again and though they slay ten of their own
to one of ours, still they care not. They have countless thousands.
107. While we are few indeed.
SO BE IT ARDANE
108. That none shall use the art in
any way to do ill to any.
109. However much they may injure us, HARM
NONE and now times there are many that believe we exist not.
SO BE IT ARDANE
110. That this Law shall ever continue to
help us in our plight, no one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the art in any way to do ill or
harm any. But they may, after great consultations with all, use the art to restrain christians from harming us or tax
others, but only to dismiss or to constrain them and never to punish.
111. To this end, men will say: "Such an
one is a mighty searcher out and a persecutor of old women whom they deemeth to be Witches, and none hath done him skith,
so they be proof that they cannot, or more truly where be none."
112. For all know full well that so many
folk have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because they had money or goods to sieze or because
they had none to bribe the searchers. And many have died because they were scolding old women. So much that men
say "only old women are Witches."
113. And this be to our advantage, and turns
suspicions away from us.
114. In England
and Scotland, 'tis now many a year since a Witch hath died
the death. But misuse of the power might raise the persecution again.
115. So never break this Law, however much
you are tempted, and never consent to it being broken in the least.
116. If you know it is being broken, you
must work strongly against it.
117. And any High Priestess who consents
to its breach must immediately be deposed. "For 'tis the blood of the Brethren they endanger."
118. Do good, an it be safe, and only if
it be safe.
119. And strictly keep to the Old Law.
120. Never accept money for the use
of the Art. For money ever smeareth the taker. " 'Tis sorcerors and conjurers and the priests of the christians
who ever accept money for the use of their Arts. And they sell dwale, and evil love spells and pardons, so letting men
escape from their sins.
121. Be not as these. If you
accept no money, you will be free from temptation to use the Art for evil causes.
122. All may use the art for their own advantage,
or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you are sure you harm none.
123. But ever let the Coven debate this
at length. Only if all be satisfied and none be harmed in any way, may the Art be used.
124. If it is not possible to achieve your
ends one way, perchance the aim may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none. May the Curse of the
Goddess be on any who breaketh this law.
SO BE IT ARDANE
125. 'Tis judged lawful an any of the Craft
need a house or land and none will sell, to incline the owners mind so as to be willing to sell, provided it harmeth
it not in any way and the full price is paid, without haggling.
126. Never bargain or cheapen anything whilst
you live by the Art.
SO BE IT ARDANE
127. "Tis the Old Law and the most important of
all Laws that no one may do anything which will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them into contact with the law of the
land, or any of our persecutors.
128. In any disputes between Brethren, no one
may invoke any Laws but those of the Craft.
129. Or any tribunal but that of the Priestess,
Priest and Elders. And may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who do so.
SO BE IT ARDANE
130. It is not forbidden to say as christians
do: "There be Witchcraft in the land," because our oppressors of old make it heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and
so a crime to deny it, which thereby puts you under suspicion.
131. But ever say, "I know not of it here, perchance
there may be, but afar off-- I know not where."
132. But ever speak of them as old crones, consorting
with the devil and riding through the air.
133. And ever say: "But how may men may ride through
the air an they be not as light as thistledown?"
134. But the Curse of the Goddess be on any who
cast suspicion on any of the Brotherhood.
135. Or speaks of any real meeting place where
SO BE IT ARDANE
136. Let the Craft keep books with the names of
all herbs which are good for men, and all cures, so all may learn.
137. But keep another book with all the Bales
and Apies and let only the Elders and other trustworthy people have this knowledge.
SO BE IT ARDANE
138. Remember the Art is the secret of the Gods
and may only be used in earnest and never for show or pride, or vainglory.
139. Magicians and christians may taunt us saying,
"You have no power. Do magick before our eyes. Then only will we believe." seeking to cause us to betray our Art
140. Heed them not. For the Art is a Holy
Gift, and may only be used in need. And the Curse of the Gods be on any who break this Law.
SO BE IT ARDANE
141. It ever be the way with women, and with men
also that they ever seek new love.
142. Nor should we reprove them for this.
143. But it may be found to the disadvantage of
144. And so many a time it has happened that a
High Priest or a High Priestess impelled by love, hath departed with their love, that is they have left the Coven.
145. Now if a High Priestess wishes to resign,
they may do so in full Coven.
146. And this resignation is valid.
147. But if they should run off without resigning,
who may know if they may not return within a few months time?
148. So the Law is: If a High Priestess
leaves her Coven, but returns within the space of a year and a day, then she shall be taken back and all shall be as before.
149. Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy
shall act as High Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away.
150. If she returns not at the end of a year and
a day, then shall the Coven elect a new High Priestess,
151. Unless there is a good reason to the contrary,
the person who has done the work of the High Priestess should reap the benefit of the reward.
152. If somebody else is elected, the deputy is
made maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.
SO BE IT ARDANE
153. It hath been found that practicing the Art
doth cause a fondness between aspirant and tutor, and it is the cause of better results if this be so.
154. But if for any reason this be undesireable,
it can easily be avoided by both persons from the outset firmly resolving in their minds that if any such ensure, it shall
be that of brother and sister, or parent and child.
155. And it is for this reason that a man may
be taught by a woman and a woman by a man and that woman and woman and man and man should never attempt these practices together.
156. And may the Curses of the Mighty Ones
be on any who make such an attempt.
SO BE IT ARDANE
157. Order and discipline must be kept.
158. A High Priestess or a High Priest may and
should punish all faults.
159. To this end: all the Craft must receive
their correction willingly. If not from the hands of the Representative of the God and Goddess, how then from
the Gods Themselves if you are so blessed with Their presence?
160. All properly prepared, the culprit kneeling,
should be told his fault, and his sentence pronounced.
161. Punishment should be the $ followed
by something amusing such as several SSSS, or something of this nature.
162. The culprit must acknowledge the justice
of the punishment by kissing the hand of the Priestess and by kissing the $ on receiving sentence; and again thanking for
SO BE IT ARDANE