Analysing  The Wiccan Rede

There seems always to be some discussion going on in a forum or on a message board somewhere on the net, as to the meaning of Do What Thou Wilt

In researching the origins of the Wiccan Rede I have stumbled upon the name of François Rabelais.
François Rabelais was an interesting character indeed. His exact birth date is unknown but is believed to be sometime in the year 1494. He passed from this world on April 9th 1553.

His father was a lawyer, his mother a homemaker. François himself was a doctor, French Renaissance writer and humanist. He is considered an avant-garde writer of fantasy, satire and the grotesque.

In his spare time Rabelais published humorous pamphlets pointedly critical of established authority, expressing his own views and perception on individual liberty.

His most famous works, frowned upon by Roman Catholic Church and the academic elite at the time, were as follows.

* Gargantua and Pantagruel, a series of four or five books including:

o Pantagruel (1532)
o La vie très horrifique du grand Gargantua, usually called Gargantua (1534)
o Le tiers livre ("The third book", 1546)
o Le quart livre ("The fourth book", 1552)
o Le quint livre (A fifth book, whose attribution to Rabelais is debated)

Within the pages of satirical humour lay a vision, for the author was a visionary, relating to many controversies being discussed within academic circles such as language, education, authority and Law.

Rabelais also hinted at a Utopia, a way men could live in harmony within a society free from the bondage of laws which, in the authors opinion encourages behaviour that is not virtuous.
"For a society of free men is an ideal utopia."

An example from the first book is as follows.

One of the verses of the inscription on the gate to the Abbey of Theleme says:

Grace, honour, praise, delight,

Here sojourn day and night.

Sound bodies lined
With a good mind,

Do here pursue with might
Grace, honour, praise, delight.

'All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they thought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to it and were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to constrain them to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had Gargantua established it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed,

Do What Thou Wilt;

because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of servitude wherein they are so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable with the nature of man to long after things forbidden and to desire what is denied us.' Francois Rabelais on the monks of the Abbey of Theleme.

In Layman's terms Francois is telling us,

"DO AS THOU WILT because men that are free, of gentle birth, well bred and at home in civilised company possess a natural instinct that inclines them to virtue and saves them from vice. This instinct they name their honour."

A leister Crowley (1875-1947) appears to have adopted much of the concepts in his 'Law of Thelema' despite claims Crowley received the text 'Liber Al vel Legis (The Book of the Law)' A leister Crowley 1904, from Aiwass an angelic entity.

"Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of the Earth. Do what thy wilt shall be the whole of the Law."

From this perspective a very important part of the Wiccan Rede firmly has its roots set in Liberal thought. This brings to light an entirely new meaning, for if it did not it would be in conflict with what is arguably considered the most important line of the Rede itself.

Have we now found the author of the Rede in borrowing from the works of Rabelais, did not fully understand the concept that free self governing men will choose honour and valour and in so doing would not need a Rede, or perhaps the Wiccan Rede itself is simply a statement and we are reminded of the characteristics (rare in these times) of monks of the Abbey in those four very potent words 'Do as Thou Wilt'

Blessed Be