The Rule of Thrice Returned
I am about to start skating on somewhat thin ice in some quarters with this blog, but simply cannot restrain myself any longer ! I frequent a couple of pagan and witchcraft groups, and time and time again someone throws into the conversation a warning about the "rule of three" or "thrice returned" as dire warning against any activity that may affect others that you would normally leave to Karma to sort out. The ensuing debate gets very heated, with participants on both sides passionately defending their stance, and often the original issue is buried in the fracas.
I am also often asked about Karma and thrice returned, and thought my blog was a good space to lay down my opinion clearly on this one. I must point out that it is only my opinion - other opinions are available - but hopefully it may resonate with you .....
Firstly, lets kill a few myths with the origins of the "rule". Founder of Wicca, Gerald Gardner, wrote a novel called "High Magics Aid" an adventure story in a Tolkeinesque style, which is where he founded the phrase with this sentence :
""Thou hast obeyed the Law. But mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold." (For this is the joke in witchcraft, the witch knows, though the initiate does not, that she will get three times what she gave, so she does not strike hard.)"
A couple of writers - notably Ray Buckland - picked this up and ran with it, and it was gradually morphed into the Wiccan faith as being a tenet rather than the original fictional writing that it truly was.
"Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Three times bad and three times good."
Those of you who do your homework will recognise the above as being taken from the Wiccan Rede - a set of guidelines for Wiccans, the origins of which are debatable. They also draw on the "three times law", and are cited as proof positive, were one needed, that the "law" is set in stone.
But how can this be if they are simply taken from a work of fiction ? Written by the founder of Wicca, admittedly, but fiction nonetheless ?
Also if it were that simple, we would all be donating to charity and helping old ladies cross the road like crazy, and would, as a result, be absolutely stinking rich ?!
And as for Karma ? Genuine Karma is NOT set along the lines of the three time law. Karma is a cornerstone of many Eastern faiths, and is your fate in your next life, as based on your actions in this one. Karma doesnt come along and sort out the man in the local shop for shortchanging you, but if he does it often enough in this life, he will certainly pay the price (no pun intended) in the next one. So certainly it should help you focus on generally behaving yourself in your day to day activities.
However if you wish to compare Karma to your situation - consider this.....
You are walking down the road and a total stranger comes up and punches you in the face for no reason.
Do you :
A) Punch them back - hard !
B) Go home and nurse your nose whilst waiting for Karma to catch up with him.
I dont know many people who would chose option B if they were honest. So, given that we would choose option A, does this not, in fact, make us Karma ?
And as for the law of thrice returned - I believe personally that this is now bandied about as a way of stopping new witches or members of the Craft from throwing around curses and hexes left right and centre, as they celebrate their newly found ability. As you find your footing, you will become more relaxed with it, and the need to worry about some kind of unversal punishment becomes less encompassing.
You will also start to cross-examine yourself as to your motives and find ways to establish whether your have been "naughty or nice" with your workings, and whether you are prepared to risk any potential fall out around your actions - not caused by any fictitious "law" but by natural cause and effect.
An example of a working I did some time ago is when a client came to me and told me that she was being sexually and physically abused by her ex-partner. I set a spell to make him impotent and lose his desire and aggression, which worked. Now, some could say that I deserved to get the threefold law back at me for interfering with his free will - but I say I did a good thing, by stopping his behaviour toward my client without physically harming him.
So you see how the threefold law couldve been applied, but in fact did not as I acted for the common good by getting a sexual predator out of the picture ?
Hopefully this blog will have given you some idea of how the "threefold law" does not genuinely carry the clout some Wiccans would have you believe, if in fact it carries any. It is my belief that those walking the path of the Craft should do so in joy, with happiness and love in their heart, not fear. I hope this overview has given you the next step to be able to do so.
Blessed Be xxx