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PATHEOS LIBRARY OF

World Faiths & Religions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pagans follow any kind of code of ethics?

Many Pagans (and most Wiccans) follow two main guidelines that can be seen as the core of Pagan ethics: the Law of Return (or Threefold Law) and the Wiccan Rede. The Threefold Law suggests that every action--whether beneficial or harmful--returns to the actor three times over. This is usually understood metaphorically. Few Pagans literally believe that donating a dollar to charity, for instance, will garner three in return, but it may be that a small act of charity returns a larger good in one's life. The Wiccan Rede (in its most familiar form) states, "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An it harm none, do what ye will." ("An" is an archaic English term meaning "if," not "and.") This is not generally understood as a license for indiscrimate hedonism; rather, the Rede instructs Wiccans to consider the impact of their actions on others, and to refrain from using their actions to manipulate or harm others.