The Gardenian Book of Shadows 34 The Old Laws (1961)

[A] The Law was made and Aredan 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 Aredan, 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 toughed 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 that 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 Alther Greatest Temples, but in
these unhappy times [35] we must hold our sacred mysteries in secret. So it be Aredan, that none but the Wicca
may see our mysteries, for our enemies are many, And torture looseth the tongues of many. It be aredan 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 Aredan 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 meetings 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 aredan.
[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 Engined. 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 engined. 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 Death and what lies beyond, the ecstasy of the Goddess.
[F] ‘Tis probable that before you are engined, 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.”* 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 Aredan.
[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 brothers work willingly for the good of the craft
without pay, ’tis but to their greater honour. So it be Aredan.
[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 another, 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 Aredan.
[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 in 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 Aredan 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 Aredan 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, or 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 aredan.
[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 Aredan.
[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 Aredan.
[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 Aredan.
[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 Aredan.

[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 Aredan.
[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 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.