Rule of 3 and Harm None are Impossible

Gerald Gardener is the father of Wicca

The “Rule of 3” and “Harm None” are often tooted whenever anyone dares brings up “dark magik” (spelled as such because ‘magic’ is often used to refer to the fictional idea of ‘magic’ often seen in movies and TV shows like Charmed and Harry Potter) at a gathering of Pagans and/or Wiccans. The two are famous “laws” that are used by many Wiccans to justify not harming anyone or anything. However, if someone is bold enough to mention “curses”, “hexes”, or “jinxes” (or anything similar), people lose their minds. Here is why “Rule of 3” and “Harm None” are impossible to live by.

For starters, not everyone is Wiccan. All Wiccans are Pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan. Many Pagans do not feel comfortable with Wicca ideology for one reason or another and such, does not live by the Rede of “harm none”. This would be equivalent to a Christain yelling “YOU ARE GOING TO HELL” at a Buddhist because said Buddhists don’t follow Christain ideology.

Some bloggers believe that Gerald was influenced by “Christian guilt” (it is impossible to escape Christianity influence in numerous “1st world countries”. Others believe he was influenced by concepts within Hinduism and Buddhism realms.

Another article states that the rede is meant solely to be used as “advice” NOT some kind of “law” like many Wicca treat it. The article uses the argument that “rede” translates to “advice” and not “law”. A quote from said article about the Rule of 3 “It’s said that this idea was popularized by Monique Wilson and Raymond Buckland but that it was based on a misinterpreted passage from Gardner’s fictional novel High Magic’s Aid. In the novel, the main character is told that “Thou hast obeyed the Law. But mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.” What this meant is that whatever one does for the Witch, the Witch must return that threefold. If someone does a favor for the Witch, that individual will be returned a favor threefold. The book only mentions positive acts, but I imagine that the reverse could be true as well. This doesn’t exactly translate to what we know today as the Threefold Law.

Another article that is specific to “Harm None” essentially states:

  1. Harm can still happen regardless of what we do in the world
  2. Every still action we do has a consequence (likely positive AND negative, regardless of what we do), whether it’s predicted or not
  3. Morally grey areas (such as killing a person who is threatening you or your family with a loaded gun) can’t be simplified to such statements

The point is, many Pagans dread bringing up any kind of “dark magik”, regardless if they feel justified or not (such as cursing an abuser for traumatizing them) because they don’t want to be yelled at by people in the Wiccan communities.

If you want to hold yourself to “Rule of 3” or “Harm None”, that is fine, for you. Do not push it on other people. Again, not all Pagans follow the Wiccan ideology, and that is fine. If you don’t feel comfortable with curses, hexes, jinxes, or anything similar, that is fine, for you. Do not push your anxieties, insecurities, and being uncomfortable on others because you aren’t comfortable with dark magik.



I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.