Πέμπτη, 17 Ιανουαρίου 2013

The Old Laws





[A] The Law was made and Ardane of old. The law was made for the Wicca, to advise and help in their
troubles. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods and obey their will, which they Ardane, for it
was made for the good of the Wicca, As the [5] Wicca's worship is good for the Gods, For the Gods love
the Wicca. As a man loveth a woman, by mastering her, so the Wicca should love the Gods, by being
mastered by them. And it is necessary that the Circle, which is the Temple of the Gods, should be truly
cast and purified, that it [10] may be a fit place for the Gods to enter. And the Wicca should be properly
prepared and purified, to enter into the presence of the Gods. With love and worship in their hearts they
shall raise power from their bodies to give power to the Gods, as has been taught us of old, [15] For in
this way only may man have communion with the Gods, for the Gods cannot help man without the help
of men.
[B] And the High Priestess shall rule her Coven as representative of the Goddess, and the High Priest
shall support her as the representative of the God, And the High Priestess shall choose whom she [20]
will, if he have sufficient rank, to be her High Priest), For the God himself, kissed her feet in the fivefold
salute, laying his power at the feet of the Goddess, because of her youth and beauty, her sweetness and
kindness, her wisdom and Justice, her humility and generosity. So he resigned his lordship to her. But the
Priestess should [25] ever mind that all power comes from him. It is only lent when it is used wisely and
justly. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess is that she recognizes that youth is necessary to the
representative of the Goddess, so that she will retire gracefully in favour of a younger woman, Should the
Coven so decide in Council, For the true [30] High Priestess realizes that gracefully surrendering pride of
place is one of the greatest of virtues, and t hat thereby she will return to that pride of place in another
life, with greater power and beauty.
[C] In the days when Witchdom extended far, we were free and worshipped in All their Greatest
Temples, but in these unhappy times [35] we must hold our sacred mysteries in secret. So it be Ardane,
that none but the Wicca may see our mysteries, for our enemies are many, And torture looseth the
tongues of many. It be Ardane that each Coven shall not know where the next Coven bide, or who its
members are, save the Priest and Priestess, [40] That there shall be no communication between them,
save by the Messenger of the Gods, or the Summoner. Only if it be safe, may the Covens meet, in some
safe place, for the great festivals. And while there, none shall say whence they come, or give their true
names, to the end that, if any are tortured, in their agony, they can [45] not tell if they know not. So it be
Ardane that no one may tell any not of the Craft who be of the Wicca, nor give any names, or where they
bide, or in any way tell anything which can betray any to our foes, nor may they tell where the
Covenstead be, or where is the Covendom, [50] or where be the meeting s or that there have been
meetings. And if any break these laws, even under torture, The Curse of the Goddess shall be upon them,
so they never reborn on earth, And may they remain where they belong, in the Hell of the Christians.
[D] Let each High Priestess govern her Coven with Justice and [55] love, with the help of the advice of
the elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods, if he cometh. She will heed all
complaints of brothers, and strive to settle all differences among them, but it must be recognized that
there be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they will. [60] They are not necessarily evil,
and they often do have good ideas, and such ideas should be talked over in council. And if they will not
agree with their brothers, or if they say, "I will not work under this High Priestess," it hath always been
the old law to be convenient for the brethren, and to void disputes, any of the Third [65] may claim to
found a new Coven because they live over a league from the Covenstead, or are about to do so. Anyone
living within the Covendom wishing to form a new Coven, to avoid strife, shall tell the Elders of his
intention and on the instant void his dwelling and remove to the new Covendom. Members of the old
Coven may join the New one when it be formed, but if they do, must utterly void the old Coven. The
Elders of the New and the Old Covens should meet in peace and brotherly love, to decide the new
boundaries. Those of the Craft who dwell outside both Covendoms may join either indifferent, but not
both, though all may, if the Elders [75] agree, meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and
brotherly love. But splitting the coven oft means strife, so for this reason these laws were made of old,
And may the curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard them. So be it ardane.
[E] If you would Keep a book let it be in your own hand of write. [80] Let brothers and sisters copy what
they will, but never let the book out of your hands, and never keep the writings of another, for if it be
found in their hand of write, they well may be taken and enjoined. Each should guard his own writings
and destroy it whenever danger threatens. Learn as much as you may by heart, and when danger is [85]
past, rewrite your book an it be safe. For this reason, if any die, destroy their book if they have not been
able to, for an it be found, 'tis clear proof against them, And our oppressors well know, "Ye may not be a
witch alone" So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture. So ever destroy anything not necessary.
[90] If your book be found on you. 'tis clear proof against you alone. You may be enjoined. Keep all
thoughts of the Craft from your mind. Say you had bad dreams; a devil caused you to write it without
your knowledge. Think to yourself, "I know nothing. I remember nothing. I have forgotten everything."
Drive this [95] into your mind. If the torture be too great to bear, say, "I will confess. I cannot bear this
torture. What do you want me to say? Tell me and I will say it." If they try to make you speak of the
brotherhood, Do NOT, but if they try to make you speak of [100] impossibilities, such as flying through
the air, consorting with the Christian Devil, or sacrificing children, or eating men's flesh, to obtain relief
from torture, say, "I had an evil dream. I was not myself. I was crazed." Not all Magistrates are bad. If
there [105] be an excuse they may show mercy. If you have confessed aught, deny it afterwards; say you
babbled under torture, you knew not what you did or said. If you are condemned, fear not. The
Brotherhood is powerful. They may help you to escape, if you stand steadfast, but if you betray aught,
there is no hope for you, in this [110] life, or in that which is to come. Be sure, if steadfast you go to the
pyre, Dwale will reach you. You will feel naught. You go but to o Death and what lies beyond, the
ecstasy of the Goddess.
[F] 'Tis probable that before you are enjoined, Dwale will reach you. [115] Always remember that
Christians fear much that any die under torture. At the first sign of swoon, they cause it to be stopped,
and blame the tormenters. For that reason, the tormenters themselves are apt to feign to torment, but do
not, so it is best not to die at first. If Dwale reaches you, 'tis a sign that you have a friend somewhere.
[120] You may be helped to escape, so despair not. If the worst comes, and you go to the pyre, wait till
the flames and smoke spring up, bend your head over, and breath in with long breaths. You choke and
die swiftly, and wake in the arms of the Goddess.
[G] To void discovery, let the working tools [125] be as ordinary things that any may have in their
houses. Let the Pentacles be of wax, so they may be broken at once. Have no sword unless your rank
allows you one. Have no names or signs on anything. Write the names and signs on them in ink before
consecrating them and wash it off immediately after. Do not Bigrave them, [130] lest they cause
discovery. Let the colour of the hilts tell which is which.
[H] Ever remember, ye are the Hidden Children of the Gods. So never do anything to disgrace them.
Never boast, Never threaten, Never say you would wish ill to anyone. If you or any not in the Circle
speak of the Craft, [135] say, "Speak not to me of such. It frightens me. 'Tis evil luck to speak of it." For
this reason: the Christians have spies everywhere. These speak as if they were well affected, as if they
would come to Meetings, saying, "My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones. I would that I could
go myself." 4 To these ever deny all knowledge. [140] But to others ever say, "'Tis foolish men talk of
witches flying through the air; to do so they must be light as thistledown," and "Men say that witches all
be bleared-eyed old crones, so what pleasure can there be in witch meetings such as folk talk on?" Say,
"Many wise men now say there be no such creatures." Ever [145] make it a jest, and in some future time,
perhaps the persecution will die, and we may worship safely again. Let us all pray for that happy day.
[I] May the blessings of the Goddess and the God be on all who keep these laws which are Ardane.
[J] If the Craft hath any Appanage, let all brothers guard it, and help to keep it clear and good for the
Craft, and let all justly guard all monies of the Craft. But if some brothers truly wrought it, 'tis right that
they have their pay, an it be just, an this be not taking [5] money for the use of the Art, but for good and
honest work. And even the Christians say, "A labourer is worthy of his hire." But if any brotherswillingly
for the good of the craft without pay, 'tis but to their greater honour. So it be Ardane.
[K] If there be any disputes or quarrels among the brethren, the [10] High Priestess shall straight convene
the Elders and enquire into the matter, and they shall hear both sides, first alone, then together, and they
shall decide justly, not favouring the one side or the other, ever recognizing that there be people who can
never agree to work under others, but at the same time there be some people who [15] cannot rule justly.
To those who ever must be chief, there is one answer, "Void the Coven and seek an other, or make a
Coven of your own, taking with you those who will to go." To those who cannot rule justly, the answer
be, "Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you," for none may come to meetings with those with
whom they are at [20] variance; so, an either cannot agree, get hence, for the Craft must ever survive. So
it be Ardane.
[L] In the olden days when we had power, we could use our Arts against any who ill-treated any of the
Brotherhood, but in these evil times, we may not do so, for our enemies have devised a burning [25] 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 priests' spells and Masses, and this be chiefly by giving money and
rich gifts to receive his favour, for their Alther Greatest God [Greatest God of all] is ever i n need of
Money. [30] But as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for men and crops, So the God of the
Christians is ever in need of man's help to search out and destroy us. Their priests tell them that any who
get our help or our cures are damned to the Hell forever, so men be mad for the terror of it. But they
make men [35] believe that they may scape this hell if they give victims to the tormenters. So for this
reason all be forever spying, thinking, "An I can but catch one of the Wicca I will scape this fiery pit."
But we have our hidels, and men searching long and not finding say, "there be none, or if they be, they be
in a far country." [40] But when one of our oppressors die, 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 people to one of ours, still
they care not; they have many thousands, while we are few indeed. So it is Ardane that none shall use the
Art in any way to do ill [45] to any, howevermuch they have injured us. And for long we have obeyed
this law, "Harm none" and nowtimes many believe we exist not. So it be Ardane that this law shall still
continue to help us in our plight. No one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the
Art in any to do ill or harm any. [50] But they may, after great consultations with all, use the Art to
prevent or restrain Christians from harming us and others, but only to let or constrain them and never to
punish, to this end. Men say, "Such an one is a mighty searcher out and persecutor of Old Women whom
he deemeth to be Witches, [55] and none hath done him Skith [harm], so this be proof they cannot, o r
more truly, that there be none," 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 seize, or because they
had none to bribe the searchers. And many have died [60] because they were scolding old women, so
much so that men now say that only old women are witches, and this be to our advantage, and turns
suspicion away from us. In England 'tis now many a year since a witch hath died the death, but any
misuse of the power might raise the Persecution again; so never break this law, [65] however much you
are tempted, and never consent to its being broken. If you know it is being broken in the least, you must
work strongly against it, and any High Priestess or High Priest who consents to it must be immediately
deposed, for 'tis the blood of the Brethren they endanger. Do good, an it be safe, and only if [70] it be
safe, for any talk may endanger us.
[M] And strictly keep to the Old Law, never accept money for the use of the art. It is Christian priests
and sorcerers who accept money for the use of their Arts, and they sell Dwale and evil love spells and
pardons to let men scape from their sins. [75] Be not as these. Be not as these. If you accept not money,
you will be free of temptation to use the Art for evil causes.
[N] You may use the Art for your own advantage, or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you be sure
you harm none. But ever let the Coven debate the matter at length. Only if all are satisfied that none may
be harmed [80] may the Art be used. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way without harming
any, 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 breach this law. So it be Aredane.
[O] 'Tis adjudged lawful an anyone need a house or land, an none will [85] sell, to incline the owner's
mind to be willing to sell, provided it harmeth him not in any way, and that the full worth is paid, without
haggling. Never bargain or cheapen anything which you buy by the Art. So it be Ardane.
[P] It is the Old Law and the most important of all Laws [90] that no one may do or say anything which
will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them in contact with the law of the land, or the Law of the
Church or any of our persecutors. In any disputes between the brethren, no one may invoke any laws but
those of the Craft, or any Tribunal but that of the Priestess and the Priest and the [95] Elders. And may
the Curse of the Goddess be on any who so do. So it be Ardane.
[Q] It is not forbidden to say as Christians do, "There be Witchcraft in the Land," because our oppressors
of old made it Heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and so a crime to deny it, which thereby put [100] you
under suspicion. But ever say "I know not of it here, perchance they may be, but afar off. I know not
where." But ever speak so you cause others to doubt they be as they are. Always speak of them as old
crones, consorting with the Devil and riding through the air. But ever say, "But how may men ride
through the air an they be not [105] as light as thistledown?" But the curse of the Goddess be on any who
cast any suspicion on any of the Brotherhood, or speaks of any real meeting place, or where any bide. So
it be Ardane. [R] Let the Craft keep books with the names of all Herbs which are good for man, and all
cures, that all may learn. But keep [110] another book with all the Banes [poisons] and Apies. and let
only the elders and trustworthy people have this knowledge. So it be Ardane. [S] And may the Blessings
of the Gods be on all who keep these Laws and the Curses of both God and Goddess be on all who break
them So it be Ardane. [The following two sections were added after 1960.] [T] Remember the Art is the
secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest and never for show or vainglory. Magicians and
Christians may taunt us, saying, "You have no power. Do magic before our eyes. Then only will we
believe," seeking to cause us to betray our Art before them. Heed them not, for the Art is holy, and may
only be used in need. And the curse of the Gods be on any who break this law. [U] It ever be the way
with women, and with men also, that they ever seek new love, nor should we reprove them for this, but it
may be found to disadvantage the Craft, as so many a time it has happened that a High Priest or High
Priestess, impelled by love, hath departed with their love; that is, they have left the coven. Now, if a High
Priestess wishes to resign, she may do so in full Coven, and this resignation is valid. But if they should
run off without resigning, who may know if they may not return w within a few months? 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. Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy shall act as High
Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away. If she returns not at the end of a year and a day, then
shall the coven elect a new High Priestess. Unless there be a good reason to the contrary. The person who
has done the work should reap the benefit of the reward, Maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.