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The Rede-Poem In Context
As researched by Shea Thomas
Reprinted here is the full and original text of the Gwen Thompson article, and the Porter poem, as it first appeared in the Green Egg Magazine Vol. III. No. 69 (Ostara 1975).Footnote 1
by Lady Gwen, "Welsh Tradition Wicca"Footnote 2 Footnote 3
A Fundamentalist Christian recently said to me: "Satan rules this planet!" I replied: "I know it." My answer was unnerving to the person making the statement due to the fact that Fundamentalists, along with numerous other Christian demon-inations, firmly believe that Witches and Pagans are "devil-worshippers." I did not elaborate upon the fact that we do not believe in a "devil" as such, but we do believe in a CONTROLLING FORCE that is anathema to our way of life as we would like to live it, and should be able to live it, upon this planet. Our ancient lore tells us that thousands of years ago there were two forces seeking control of the mode of life upon this planet; one group wishing to teach mankind the "facts of life" and the other to exploit mankind. There were many names applied to these beings: Gods, angels, Watchers, sons of God, etc. The leaders of these two opposing forces, for want of a better term or name, were referred to as The Lord of Light and The Lord of Darkness. There is no need to be specific about which of them wanted what. Oh yes, and lest we forget... their "hosts" (in modern terminology... armies).
The Christian Bible, garbled as it currently is, speaks of a battle in the "heavens". Well, we know there was one, although the Christians have their time-space continuum a bit mixed up... to the point where it is all done and over with, according to them. But, we know that as it was in the beginning so it will be in the end... giving us the Alpha and Omega of history. When Christians speak of "fallen angels" and "salvation," I merely reply: "Ummm... of course." Then they are gently felled with the statement, "If the Lord of Light lost the battle for control of Earth...who won?" They were taught that the Lord of Light was Lucifer, a very naughty angel who went against God and got his. Along with his followers, naturally It is clear that a large number of the followers of the Lord of Light were confined to Earth, bred with Earth people and produced what we now have as a breed of "different" beings, classified as people who "have the POWER" or "KNOWING ONES." Thus, we have an admixture upon this planet of Light and Darkness. The demarcation line becomes more obvious daily. Shall we call it "The Omega Caper?"
When it comes down to the nitty gritty of hassles and bickering and the rest of the fertilizer... consider the fact that antagonistic elements of Darkness infiltrate for the express purpose of dimming the LIGHT. The sad tales of recorded history are replete with data on thousands of enlightened ones who brought forth progress upon the Earth as new inventions and new ways of Thought in order to ADVANCE mankind. Were they not all ridiculed at one time or another? Was there not an element among mankind that continually sought to prevent progress? We have had our "Mighty Ones" who overcame the opposing and controlling forces to progress our people in spite of any obstacle, often at great personal sacrifice.
We are all well aware of the people who have been continua1y opposed to our space program... they give various and sundry reasons: "expensive" (so what?); "we need the money for the poor and needy;" or "we should not mess around with God's Universe," etc. etc., blah, blah, blah. The numerous wars, inspired by Darkness, were also "expensive", very expensive. The "poor and needy" wouldn't be about to get any of the lucre, and as for "God's universe"... it belongs to everyone to share equally. There is no need to be imprisoned upon the giant spaceship Earth if one wishes to go elsewhere. For those who are not already well aware of it... its battle is once more raging. This time, however, the thumb-screws are on the other pinkies.
Old Religionists who allow themselves to be photographed by the news media in the "altogether" (sky-clad), and often in positions that suggest obscene practices, aren't doing the Old Religion any service whatsoever, but rather giving it a very black eye. Worship in such a case, if it is worship, should be sacred to the Goddess and God alone and not for the eyes of cowans to see and misinterpret. We live in a clothed society which is not all that ready to accept what some Witches or Pagans do. If we wish to get across the message that we are intelligent, dignified and worthy of respect just as much as the controlling religions of Earth... then we should not use back-door tactics, but utilize some of the Wisdom our forebears bestowed upon us to give the proper impression of what and who we really are. Many Witches ignore the age-old counsel of the Wise Ones as given in the Rede.
Many different traditions have different redes. That is understandable, considering the time involved from Alpha to Omega. Our own particular Rede, however, has appeared within the past year in a perverted form. That is to say, the wording has been changed. This is sad for those who are seeking the Light of the Old Religion because it confuses them. The same thing was done to the ancient seals of Solomon, and thus we do not have his great wisdom as it was meant to be in the original form. Some would-be artists thought to "improve" upon the drawings of the seals, not realizing it was not artwork, but sacred symbolism... not to be tampered with. Thus, many wonder why the current seals so often bring them undesired results or no results at all.
We are not "into" Cabalistic magic, as such, but do not deny its relationship to our way of life. We have all received our lore from the same root source. As a Traditionalist, versed in lore taken from certain Witches of the British Isles, I can say that our own particular tradition consisted of the practices and beliefs of folk Witches and not those people who were generally wealthy enough to be formally educated. Country people were simple people and had simple rituals in practice and wording. Many never knew how to read or write, but they were not without their share of "nobles" who did know how. Many Old Religion dances and songs became the nursery rhymes and dances of children, following the centuries-old "witch" trials. Thus, many legends and songs are almost childlike in their context because this was the level of basic understanding of folk Witches at that tine. Unable to openly express what they knew to be truth in actual "university" terms... they resorted to simple symbolism in ritual, legend, and drawings, and preserved their sacred heritage in the most comprehensive manner, and in a manner that would be ignored by their adversaries, for the most part. Our own particular form of the Wiccan Rede is that which was passed on to her heirs by Adriana Porter, who was well into her nineties when she crossed over into the Summerland in the year 1946. This Rede in its original form is as follows:
Rede of the Wiccae
(Being knowne as the counsel of the Wise Ones)
The foregoing is explained fully to the initiated Witch. The contents of the Book of Shadows (our public name for it) must be orally taught as well as copied. All wording has its special meaning which the Wise can often quickly discern. Meditation is a most important adjunct to the learning of the Mysteries of the Old Religion. The number of Old Religionists currently abiding by counsel of the Wise can be counted on fingers of one hand and the thumb would left over.
There is only one form of wisdom that time alone can bestow, and that is lessons learned from experience. Our children were taught to respect the old ones, even though they were often people of little formal education or very simple in their ways. They had lived long and had, therefore, experienced much of life and its ways. Their advice through their own lessons learned was considered invaluable, and thus they were held in deep respect for those things in which they had learned Wisdom, Children were not taught to strive for perfection, but for Wisdom. Perfection is a broad concept with different meanings for different people. It actually does not exist. The caution was: "Do not seek perfection in others unless you yourself can give it." Therefore... we have the counsel to "live an let live...".
When anyone refers to a particular Old Religion tradition as a "sect" it brings to mind bug spray. It is a poor term to apply to a sacred way of life, and the word "cult" is enough to set one's teeth on edge. Although Webster's now gives it a more dignified connotation, the general public and Webster do not necessarily agree on all points of definition. There was originally just a Single tradition of Witchcraft and many traditions within Paganism due to country, customs, etc. When certain priests of the early Christian church became bored with their celibate life they perverted their own religion by reversing their rituals and brought forth Satanism. Why they insisted upon calling themselves Witches is anyone's guess, for the majority of them still do it. Unless, perhaps, they are so guilt-ridden about their practices and beliefs that they wish to place the blame elsewhere. Genuine Witches and Pagans are not running around cutting off the heads of black chickens, nor are they offering up babies and virgins to some obscure demon. We have too much respect for life. It is almost useless to try getting the truth across to those who do not and will not understand our ways due to a messed-up news media and the general Christian-Judeo clamor for titillating reading... such as evidenced in the book, The Devil on Lammas Night by Susan Howatch, whoever that is. It is a cross-continent version of what the adversary imagines Witchcraft to be or would like the reading public to think it is. A quite exciting and well-written book, to be sure. An accursed lie, however. How unlike the beautiful writing of Mary Stewart, author of the much read and beloved book, The Crystal Cave, and its sequel, The Hollow Hills. Mary Stewart is to Susan Howatch what diamonds are to coal.
At this point I should like to quote from a very learned patriarch of the Old Religion... one whom we would refer to as a "Wizen Elder" in our tradition. (Wizen being pronounced as "whizzen." It is derived from the title Wizard... one highly skilled in the arts of the Craft.) I feel he would not mind my including his comments on book authors at this point. They are simply stated: "The Craft view is that a book is only a man talking on paper and is no more accurate that the spoken word by the same man. Any man who talks for an extended length of time must make a few mistakes. No book, therefore, not even a college text, is 100% accurate. Also, no man has all the facts about any particular subject. There is always something more to be told... something the author did not know." I might only add that this applies to female authors as well. "...speak little, listen much."
Many in the Old Religion are now finding it Wise to shun the limelight and keep their activities secret from the public on all levels. One might even say they are going "underground." This includes many High Priestesses and high Priests who are either choosing to take their entire Covens "underground" or to practice their religion quietly by themselves. This is logical and sane at this time in history. It does not mean a creeping away into some hidden corner for fear of the foe, but a carefully calculated plan to keep the foe guessing. Considering the apparent IQ level of many of our critics the cerebral exercise will do them good. Our forebears did not go about thumping their chests and proclaiming to the world at large "I am a Witch!" simply because it was the "in" thing or the current social "fad." They did not wish to raise eyebrows or attract the adversary or the ever-increasing horde of misfits. In discretion and Wisdom they preserved the old truths... else we would not have them today.
Food for thought: I don't care what anyone does just so long as they do not interfere with Life, this planet, or me. Surprising how limiting that can be. "As you sow so shall you reap" is not a Christian original... it is the Threefold Law simply expressed in farm language. Disharmony begets disharmony and time travels in a CIRCLE, not a straight line. The Serpent eating his own tail. Perversions of ancient Traditions often bring ancient curses as well. The invisible becomes manifest. Twin Earths exchanging bric-a-brac. The insatiable guru-chasers; Book collectors; Coven hoppers; name-droppers; and ego-trippers. We've all had our share of them. Monsters roam the planet in various guises. People who seldom make anyone happy... feigning Wisdom. Nobody can hear a whisper while they're talking. Wiccan-Pagan teachings are not for everyone.
Footnotes (some old links have disappeared):