The Wiccan Rede
The Wiccan Rede states, “An it harm none, do what ye will.”
This is one of the only tenets common to all versions and traditions of Wicca.
The Rede can be seen as encouraging a Wiccan to take personal responsibility for his or her actions. The word, "none" should include yourself!
It's like the Wiccan version of the 'Golden Rule’. Pretty simple, right? It requires that you put thought into your actions to ensure no harm is done.
Many religion have a love for archaic language and Wicca is no different.
"Rede" comes from Middle English, a word for "advice" or "counsel".
"An", also from Middle English, simply means "if."
As most people know, "Ye" is an old term for "you", even in Modern English.
A side note: many people are confused about the difference between ‘Old’, ‘Middle’ and ‘Modern’ English. Old English starts - approx 450 C.E. Beowulf was originally in Old English.
Middle English period, approx. 1100 to 1500 C.E.
Modern English begins. Shakespeare is often mistaken as old or middle English, but it is actually ‘Early Modern English”.
Basically, unless you have studied Old and Middle English, most words would be unrecognizable.
Other variants of the Rede include:
“Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will.”
Doreen Valiente in 1964.
An it harm none, do what thou wilt.
An it harm none, do as thou wilt.
That it harm none, do as thou wilt.
Do what you will, so long as it harms none.