Commentary by J. Random Folksinger

         I have to  preface this by stating that I  was first drawn to this
    work by Leigh Ann Hussey, and  reacted very negatively to it. This will
    be my second time through these  Laws, with comments that are SOLELY MY
    OWN OPINION. I  know that Lady Galadriel put a  lot of work (translate:
    sweat blood) into  these Laws, and I am not  attacking her or her work.
    Making my points without sounding negative  would have been nice, but I
    have not been  very successful at this; since  several people have been
    asking me to put down *WHY* I didn't like them, I felt that getting the
    project over with  would be better than struggling  with a novel-length
    exercise in not offending anyone. To Lady Galadriel: I, too, have sweat
    blood over a reconstruction project similar  to this (and I got lots of
    negative  feedback,  too).  My  finished  copy,  which includes the old
    "Burning Times" laws  as a historical source or what  to do when things
    *really* get bad, can be had from Leigh Ann, Judy Harrow, or downloaded
    from WeirdBase in St. Louis as "JRFLAWS.TXT". My heart goes out to you,
    but I am commenting on your Laws from my head only.


    On the Preface: The Book of the  Law, or Liber Al, which Lady G. refers
    to as a primary source, is not the same as Craft law in most traditions
    as  it was  written by  Aleister Crowley;  it is,  therefore, hardly  a
    wonder why it was not found to be very pertinent by Lady G. If, indeed,
    Lady G.'s Book of the Law was  *not* Liber Al, it is hard to understand
    where many of these Laws originated.

    The Laws:

    1. Form  and Order?  Ask a Discordian or Shamanic Craft type.  The Laws
    were created for guidance, as the latter part of this Law attests.

    2. Channels, and manifestation of the Source? This sounds more like New
    Age Xtianity than Wicca. I should stop talking about the flowers in the
    language, although they are disconcerting and very distracting from the
    original goal of  "readable, usable, and pertinent to  the needs ..." I
    suppose I can just use the term  "flowers" as my way of saying that the
    language is unnecessarily complicated when  it really bothers me -- and
    most of these laws do fall in this category.

    3. Oh, no. Not the Xtian "Ye  are as children" routine again. The Gods,
    in my  training, wish us to  grow, not perpetually remain  children. To
    not test what  they say is the same as  channelling some unknown spirit
    and believing everything  he/she says. We are growing,  making the Gods
    proud, not belittling or mocking them.

    4. This  law is over-judgemental  (something I am  accused of being  at
    times),  and  ignores  the  need  for  working  with our shadow-side; I
    suppose naivete  is the worst  I can say  about this Law.  I can easily
    find better in Marion Weinstein's POSITIVE MAGIC...

    5. The "Mothership" routine smacks  of Close Encounters, but other than
    the children routine and some language problems, this one isn't too bad
    -- but isn't  there something in an initiation ritual  about us and the
    Gods  being the  same "but  for a  difference of  power"? I would think
    Brothers  and  Sisters  of  the  Gods  would  be  better terminology --
    feminists are welcome to reverse the wording.

    6. Hmmm. Sounds like tithing to me.  While it is certainly a good idea,
    we  give back  to the  Gods all  the time  -- this  would be making the
    meaningful   ritual  a   mechanical  one.   Sustain  its   Priests  and
    Priestesses?  Paid (or  fed) clergy?  Shades of  Paul! This  part would
    still work in  my tradition, since we are  all priests and priestesses,
    but I know some that are different...

    7. I  can't see the purpose  of this Law, and  know of no corresponding
    Law  in the  Laws I  have come  across. It  sounds like  the God of the
    Xtians again, making people the way  they are and then judging them for
    being that way.

    8. A direct  statement would be better. Who do  you know in these times
    that goes  around weighing silver? Is  this a modern metaphor?  I don't
    think so.

    9. Does not parse. Sounds good, though...

    10. This sounds like it's setting  up the teacher as infallible -- shut
    up  and listen.  Also, while  I  hear  Karma used  frequently in  Craft
    discussions, it is because it is a useful concept for us; however, this
    is the  first time I  have seen the  Lords of Karma  enthroned in Craft

    11. I could have taken the Golden  Rule in one of its permutations, but
    this is much more akin to the concept of "Sin" than that of Karma.

    12. "You  must not be  a teller of  tales..."? What, we  are to have no
    Bards in  the Craft? If  this law means  that gossipping is  not a good
    thing, why doesn't it say so?  And "must hold no malice" indicates that
    we are  not allowed to  be human again  -- true, it  is better for  the
    Craft that we  all be as a loving  family, but there are other  ways to
    deal with the  problems caused by personality conflicts  than to outlaw
    legitimate feelings.

    13. Flowers. Old Law. (Meaning  that, other than difference in wording,
    this is the same as the "Old Laws", i.e., Lady Sheba and others.)

    14. Oh, boy! Priestess Knows Best  (and will be happy to be responsible
    for *you*).  If someone asks me  a question, give them  the straightest
    answer I can, and without phoning  up my Priestess for permission to do
    so. I am a  trained, adult Witch, and am capable both  of making my own
    decisions *and*  taking the consequences  for making a  wrong decision.
    The "You must not put stumbling blocks..." sounds like the old parental
    admonishment, "Don't  put beans in  your ears." The  Xtians have enough
    stumbling  blocks  of  their  own;  I  don't  think  ours would even be
    noticed, and so are unnecessary.

    15. The key words are in  the Preface: readable, usable, and pertinent.
    "Fetters" and  "woe" are not very  meaninful words in this  half of the
    20th century.  Not sure about  the use of  "souls", either, since  that
    seems to  be mostly a  Xtian concern. Remember,  Lady G. said  that she
    reworded  some   of  these  laws   "to  make  them   clearer  and  more
    understandable". I think she missed here.

    16. Sounds  like "Trust in  God; He will  provide." Where is  the Craft
    basis for this Law?

    17.  If you  kill someone  magickally, accidentally  or otherwise,  you
    should be  sacrificed to atone  for it? My  Goddess demands nothing  in
    sacrifice. It would  be far better to get into  therapy and see how you
    could  forgive  yourself  and  help  others  to  forgive you (I'm using
    "forgive" as a psychological, not religious, term). No problem with the
    first sentence.

    18. Could be said more clearly.

    19. The  source for this,  especially the final  sentence, seems to  be
    Jesus in  Revelation. "Many say,  Lord, Lord, but  I know them  not..."

    20. Sounds like, "Thou shalt not take  the name of the Lord, thy God in
    vain".  Either that  is what  this law  is saying,  or it  needs to  be

    21.  Old  Law.  I  would  have  worded  it,  "In any disputes among the

    22. Old Law.

    23. To me, my magickal tools are channels between what is within me and
    what  is  outside  of  me  (on  the  magickal  planes, which frequently
    intersect with the planes of reality). Still, Do Not Haggle is Old Law.

    24.  Old Law,  except for  the semantical  substitution of  "Power" for
    "Art" and the use of the judgmental terms "evil" and "unworthy".

    25. "Thou shalt not steal"? Hinted-at consequences are unnecessary.

    26. I don't understand "Show honor" as a phrase, and the last phrase is
    not comprehensible to me.

    27. "Those  who are of the  Wicca shall not own  slaves," -- good idea,
    although I have  never seen it included in Craft  Law. The rest of this
    sentence is again unclear  and/or unnecessary justification. "Nor shall
    you take as  a pledge any person's life,"; well,  the Laws of Karma (if
    you  accept them,  which these  Laws purport  to) demand otherwise from
    time to time, and again, this has not been found necessary in any other
    set of Craft Laws I have seen.

    28. This is the second time the Golden Rule has been quoted in a faulty
    permutation. "If a stranger sojourns with you...they shall be as one of
    the  Circle..." What,  we're going  to invite  total strangers into our
    rites  just  because  this  Law  says  so?  There  are enough Laws that
    contradict this already. This doesn't sound right.

    29. This came straight out of  Leviticus, and also exists in Baha'i law
    in a  slightly clearer form.  It's nice that  we're getting ecumenical,
    but what is the need for this  in Craft Law? The Threefold Law applies,
    and is easier to understand.

    30. The Good Wiccan Houskeeping Seal is required for Circle?

    31. Not a Wiccan Law. "Cleanliness  is next to god/dessliness" would be
    a shorter  way of  phrasing this.  Although the  old customs (NOT laws)
    require bathing  prior to a ritual,  even that has been  used to "find"
    Witches with in  some areas (they're clean and smell  nice -- they must
    be seducing our men for Satan!).

    32. Not  Law, but a  start; I believe  none should die  without someone
    having cared  for them; and  that death with  dignity is the  hoped-for
    ideal. Many of you already know that I'm initiating action toward Pagan
    hospice,  funeral,  and  cemetery  care.  The  judgement  about  "their
    actions" is for the Dark Lord to make.

    33.  Threefold  Law  is  all  you  need  here.  Anything  else is moral

    34. Amended version: "Let those who  desire union as a couple (or other
    forms as might  be desirable, such as a triad  or a group relationship)
    be handfasted,  sharing their love in  a manner they and  the Gods find
    pleasing."  Children  are  not  necessary  for  shared  love (and often
    separate the parents  from their mutual desires), and  there is no need
    to  deny handfasting  to couples  not wanting  children. I  also am not
    certain that this needs to be a Law.

    35. "The Law  of the Goddess is that  none of the Wicca shall  take and
    wed someone who they do not love." Period.

    36. Not Law.  Also uses "brethren", another male  term. (Anyone who has
    read  my  revision  of  Gardnerian  Craft  Law  should have noticed the
    near-total lack of gender terminology.)

                              END OF PART ONE

                                 PART TWO

    37. The  first sentence is incomprehensible,  immaterial, or both. This
    law is very flowery, and I would love to know what Lady G. extracted it

    38. Old Law: "Never boast, never threaten..." seems to be the root here
    - and is much clearer in that form.

    39. The  concept of magickal  purity is one  of ritual magick,  not the
    Craft. This Law  is, in letter and spirit, one  of ritual magick. While
    some traditions of the Craft do get into ritual magick, that still does
    not make this "proper" as Craft Law.

    40. Old Law was both clearer and less "new-agey".

    41. WHERE hath the Goddess said  these things? Nowhere in my tradition,
    and  they  sound  more  like  things  She  may  have  said in circle --
    certainly no need to canonize them.

    42. Back to Leviticus. This is  far too judgemental for any tradition I
    am familiar with. There also seems to be confusion between "work" as in
    make money  and "work" as  in learning and  teaching the things  of the

    43.  A sacred  trust? This  explains why  Grove of  the Unicorn built a
    sanctuary  in  Georgia,  but  I  have  never  seen  this expressed as a
    requirement. Most  traditions are not  getting over being  hidden; this
    Law requires total openness. I think  it's dangerous to do this in most
    areas, and having the Goddess decree (here) that we should do something
    that could harm  Her Witches (something She expressly  forbids us to do
    in the Old Laws) doesn't feel right. What is the source of this one? It
    appears to be the inner feelings of some Witch or Witches, which is not
    good enough to pass off as Craft Law.

    44. While  I have been  taught this, it  was under "What  We Do" rather
    than "The  Law". The style  of presentation sounds  too much like  what
    YHWH would have written as a law rather than the Goddess I know...

    45. Am I  reading this wrong, or is this  saying "Honor the Sabbath and
    keep  it holy"?  We need  to set  aside a  whole day(s)?  I don't think
    that's  realistic  in  these  times,  although  it  might  have been in
    paleolithic times.

    46. Not necessary. Any teacher will give you this information.

    47. Definitely  flowers. Let each Witch  keep a book (she  even dropped
    the "in their own hand" part). What else is necessary?

    48. Clumsy, with too many "they"s in spots; How about, "Study the signs
    of the Gods in all their forms;  these shall guide your thoughts to the
    Gods  and the  Gods will  take notice  of you.  Turn your  thoughts and
    worship to the Gods, not the signs and statues of them."

    49. The original here says "If *any* in the Craft owns any land...guard
    all monies  of the Craft..."  thus widening the  circle of love  beyond
    just the Circle you are a part of.

    50. Old Law.  I feel this could be done a bit more clearly.

    51.  Extremely  Crowleyian  in  content,   where  the  content  can  be
    determined. It sounds  like it is favoring asceticism  "for the good of
    the Craft...".  Unclear rules like this  have led to excesses  in other
    religions they have appeared in.

    52. NOT CRAFT  LAW. Paul would have loved  to have this kind of  law as
    stated by  Christ, but it  wasn't true then  and it isn't  true now. IF

    53. Taken as an extension of #52, this law repulses me; however, having
    deleted #52, and deleting "offerings of ... money", it could be OK. But
    it is  totally unnecessary unless you're  trying to set yourself  up as
    the First Church  of Wicca, N.A., complete with  Xtian abuses of power.
    In  any loving  circle, poeple  will bring  the incense,  or the  cakes
    and/or wine, or work together on  building a new altar. This is already
    covered in the laws above, though.

    54. Harmony will be restored by working toward harmony, not by donating
    to your favorite non-profit Temple. Again, the emphasis on giving makes
    me  think  of  televangelists  ("I  need  to  make  the  payment  on my
    Inspirational  Cadillac").  I  don't  know  what  problems Grove of the
    Unicorn has  been having in  keeping up their  payments on the  land or
    whatever, but  their problems should not  be used as a  lever to change
    Craft Law (if indeed this is the object of these laws).

    55.  Once  more,  this  law  either   comes  out  of  ritual  magic  or
    televangelism (or both).  Every Witch should know (or  know how to look
    up) the proper  times for a ritual, and  should be able to offer  it up
    themselves  ("thru  the  most  proper   medium"  could  mean  "Pay  the
    Priestess" or  it could mean  "use the right  tools" -- if  it is *not*
    intended to mean the latter, then this law has no basis in the Craft).

    56. Old Law, and one of the most important Craft  Laws.

    57. Separating this Law from the previous one causes a minor problem --
    it now  becomes "Never break the  Laws" (and there are  some dillies in
    this set)  instead of "Never break  *this* Law".

    58. The  "Mighty Ones" decided for  us "in days of  old" that we cannot
    use  the Art  against anyone?   A shirking  of responsibility  is again
    evident. While  the same precept  occurs in my  set of the  Laws, it is
    obviously a decision  made in the light of  persecutions, not something
    decreed from on high.

    59. Sentence fragments. (sic) This is a subject that is not in the Laws
    (but  is  in  the  Charge  of  the  Goddess,  without the God's side of

                                 END OF PART TWO

                                   PART THREE

    60.  Why  do  we  need  "the  dimly  remembered  dawn of ages past" and
    Atlantis to  make this point? This  is the only version  I've seen that
    goes beyond remembered history.

    61.  Should  be  combined  with  #60,  and  have  more of the excessive
    verbiage dropped. Oh, no! Not another cry of "the evil of chaos" again!
    How can these people even *talk* to Discordians??? Any set of Laws that
    is intended  to be Craft-inclusive  must not include  value judgements,
    especially using the words "good",  "evil", and "chaos". This law seems
    to be  wishing for the  time when we  were in power;  every set of Laws
    I've seen  prior to this  one would settle  for a time  in which we are
    tolerated or accepted.

    62.  I don't  understand what  this is  trying to  say --  it seems  to
    fluctuate between "No  more secrets", "Only a few  secrets", and "Don't
    tell anybody  anything". Since all  three of these  have been expressed
    above, I'm  not sure this  law is  needed;  it hardly even  adds to the

    63. The change  from "always heeding the Messenger"  to "always heeding
    the messages" is a little dangerous, but otherwise, this is Old Law.

    64. This  law sounds pretty Gardnerian  in tone, but it  does not agree
    with Gardnerian  myths -- i.e.,  while Goddess created  everything, she
    did not create Death itself. Life without Death offers no regeneration,
    as  Life could  not continue  on its  own; the  God was  outside of Her
    creation, and so He had things to  teach Her about Death. (Those of you
    who prefer Starhawk's version of this  myth are TOTALLY ignored in this

    65. I thought an HPs was only concerned mainly with what happens in Her
    Circle  --  this  Law  seems  to  state  that  She is concerned with an
    unstated, but  large-sounding, community. Other than  that, this is Old

    66. I don't  think this needs to be  in the Laws, but it's  a good idea
    for each Circle to consider.

    67. This seems to be based upon the  Old Laws' "If any in the Craft has
    any land...", but  it does take that additional  step into demi-deified
    clergy. I wish I knew whether Grove of the Unicorn was an authoritarian
    structure or not, but these Laws go  a long way toward making its sound
    like one.  (I'm not sure this  group could "pass" Isaac  Bonewits' Cult
    Danger Evaluation Frame after having read this many of their Laws.)

    68. Aha!  Almost Old Law,  and a "Burning  Times" law! This  is still a
    good Law , but it was formulated  to keep anyone from knowing more than
    one group to "give away" if they cracked under pressure of Inquisition.

    69. Old Law; probably should be included in #68.

    70. Are we talking about pneumonia, herpes,  or a cold here? You can do
    a lot better healing  work *in* Circle (in my  experience) than outside
    of it in  many cases, and any Witch can  decide for her/himself whether
    they are too sick  to be in Circle and ask (or  not ask) for healing. I
    suppose I find this law too judgemental, or too general.

    71. Old Law.

    72. There  is no definition of  Council given (the "Old  Law" says "the
    Elders"), and the  "Old Law" states that either the  High Priest or the
    High  Priestess can  convene the  Elders (useful  if the  HPs is out of
    town...)  Otherwise, Old Law.

    73.  Generally, Old  Law. Some   of the  restatements are  difficult or
    unwieldy, but no real problems.

    74. Old  Law. (Actually, a  bit of  another  Old Law is  grafter in for
    clarification, but it doesn't hurt anything.)

    75. In conflict with English(/American)  Law, "Ignorance is no excuse,"
    includes threefold  law (which is  NOT included in  the Old Laws),  and
    throws  in  the  Lords  of  Karma  again;  rephrased,  this could be an
    excellent law or rule, but I do  not recognize a single source for this
    one.  Some ritual magic, a little Hinduism, no Craft per se.

    76. Nice thought; sounds like a personal addition.

    77. As above, the "want of an offering" is not an issue in Old Law; the
    "lack  of a  robe" has  never been  discussed, since  most groups  I am
    familiar with  generally work skyclad or  negotiate the issue. Personal

    78. Nice thought; sounds like a personal addition.

    79. So many flowers that (I feel) most would miss the point. I'm afraid
    I did, and I'm a musician.

    80. Sounds  like the Apostle Paul.  The qualities I was  taught to look
    for in a High Priestess were caring, leadership, patience, ability, and
    knowing when to ask for help. This cuts out faith (something Goddess
    says in Her Charge is not asked for) and belief (something she wouldn't
    be in Circle without).  More flames on the topic of children.

    81. Source?  Sounds clergy-like to me...

    82. Old Law states that a requirement of being High Priestess is youth;
    while this is not easily practiced in all covens, going to the opposite
    extreme is probably not much  better. My personal experiences have been
    in covens  where everyone takes  their hand at  practicing HP and  HPs,
    with the HPs acting more like organizer and running coven meetings.

    83. Ouch. Based upon Old Law, this Law removes the aspect of Love as an
    excuse (or Glands, if you like the Wombat Wicca version) -- and demands
    both judgement *and* atonement for a HPs  who has left and come back --
    even uses the  judgemental term, "deserts", in dealing  with the issue.
    The Old Law may have its drawbacks, but is a much better guide (I feel)
    than getting nasty  about it. Oooh, they don't even  get to hold office
    again! Many  things are sacred,  and certainly being  High Priestess is
    one of them, but in my teaching,  Love is a higher ideal, and the Craft
    has always allowed for it.

    84. Old Law, with flames as above. "It is the lives of all of the Craft
    they endanger."  Honor is still undefined in this context.

    85. The use of the word, "Sabbatical" is cute in this context, but this
    should  be a  part of  #83 rather  than separating  them out. Also, the
    phrase, "the Maiden should continue in that office" confuses the reader
    as to which  office -- the law has already  stated that she should reap
    the reward; does election of another person invalidate the election? It
    should read, "...the Maiden shall be the Maiden for the new HPs."

    86. This is a new idea, and  probably a good one: the Priestess and the
    Priest need not  be the consort of the other,  but are selected each by
    the coven or circle and are free  to choose their own consorts. The one
    possible negative I can think of concerns the few times when Great Rite
    is held, and the feelings of their consorts on this matter. But then it
    lets the  coven decide whether the  choice was right nor  not! If we're
    dealing with private lives, let them  remain private. Based on Old Law,
    except  that in  Old Law  the Priestess  is chosen  and She selects the
    Priest. This  law again contains  too many value  judgements -- if  you
    need a perfect person to run your circle, you will never meet.

    87. Adapted from the Letters of Paul  the Apostle, not the Old Laws. It
    is nice to state that we  should be responsible for ourselves, but that
    is  a part  of being  a Witch  (oops, by  these Laws,  Witches are only
    children, so I suppose making "those  of the Priesthood" adults is what
    this law is about). This also  seems to state (per Xtianity) that their
    mates, children,  and house are  all possessions; hardly  a feminist or
    Craft perspective.

    88.  Reverse Xtian.  Extremely sexist,  and no  more or  less bad  than
    making the Man ruler of the world.