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The Wiccan Rede Revisited

The Wiccan Rede is:   "An it harm none, do as thou wilt."   The word "an" is an Elizabethan English word meaning "if."   Sometimes you'll see the Wiccan Rede expressed as, "An' [as if it's a contraction of the word "and"] it harm none ..."   This is incorrect.   "AND it harm none" doesn't make any sense.

Which points up the problem involved in bringing 16th-Century English into the 21st Century.   The average high school graduate today has the equivalent of a fifth-grade education (some children should be left behind); he can't handle modern English, let alone old-timey English.   We'd all be better off if we expressed the Wiccan Rede as "If it harm none ..."   But things sound more sacred if they're expressed with "thee's" and "thou's" (a trend begun in Wicca by Gerald Gardner).   This may be an offshoot of our Christian upbringing, when we went to church and God spoke in King James English (that's why a church hymn written in 1957 has lyrics that include "wouldst" and "didst").

But I digress.

I don't believe that it's possible to live a life that absolutely doesn't ever harm anything or anybody.   If I eat meat, it means that a chicken was harmed.   If I eat a carrot, it's harmful to the carrot (mashing it to a pulp with my molars, and then sending it down to be mixed with my stomach acids).   If I get hired for a job, it's harmful to the other applicants who weren't hired; they have to keep right on looking.

Colt .45 1911A1 And if some criminal kicks down my door at 3:00 am brandishing a knife, I'll deliver a full clip of .45 bullets (230-grain jacketed hollowpoints) directly into his chest, at a speed of about 925 feet per second, in a nice tight group.   No "Halt!" no "Freeze!" no "What do you want?"   I'll drop him like a bad habit.   He'll be dead before he hits the floor.   I won't take chances where the safety of my family is involved.   I'm not a cop; I'm not going to read him his rights (although after I've perforated him, I'll grant him the right to remain silent).

Yes, one can get in trouble with the law for shooting a burglar, but as a wise man once said, "I'd rather be judged by twelve than carried by six."

An expanded version of the Rede, attributable to the Lycian Tradition, is as follows:

"An it harm none, do as thou wilt.
"An it cause harm, do only as thou must."

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