Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Threefold Bitchslap

Blessings  Darlings!

Some neopagans say that they live according to the Rede-as-harm-none (which I covered earlier here) and the Threefold Law Of Returns.  And that the three-fold law, they will tell you when asked, is "Whatever you send out you get back three times over".

Well, no, that's not what the Threefold Law is.

The root of the Threefold Law seems to be in the "long version" of the Rede, as written by Lady Gwen Thompson .... who was not Wiccan but but BTW .... and BTW at the time was NOT "British Traditional Wicca" but "British Traditional WITCHCRAFT".  It was published in Green Egg in 1974, don't recall which issue.

The line in question reads "Mind the Three-fold Laws ye should three times bad and three times good." I copied that from 
That's not about you getting back three times over what you send out. That's "Whatever someone does to you, good or bad, do back to them three times over."  Yes, I checked this with a Gardnerian, in case anyone was asking.  It's supposed to be YOU being the manifestation of the hands of the God/dess/es handing people karma logical response to their actions. No room for passive-aggressive behavior here. 

It's not you sitting in front of a picture of the dude that dropped you and repeating "The three fold law will get you" and expecting some bean counter in the sky doing it for you. 

It means that you are expected to take an active, involved role in creating Justice right here on Earth. 

It's easy being nice to someone who's been nice to you.  Co-worker jumped your car and you bring them cookies or whatever.  Easy peasy, no risk.

It's harder, especially for women, to take an active role in bitchslapping someone who has worked to do you harm.  We've been rather socialized to just walk away, to be non-confrontational.  It's DANGEROUS, we've been told, to say "No, that is not allowed, stop that". Bullies are supposed to be out for attention and we've been told that to ignore them makes them go away.

But that's not the case.  Bullies get worse without confrontation.  Silence ENABLES abuse -ALL types of ause - rather than stops it.  I can't find the scholarly article right now, but last year I read one that pretty definitively showed that social confrontation did not CAUSE conflict - it ENDED conflict.

Yeah, it might take doing it more than once.  Like, maybe three times.... or more. 

But when pushed - push back ... or make dang sure that the push-ers momentum is used by you to make sure that they fall. Hard. And in public.

Administer the Three-Fold Bitchslap.

Frondly, Fern


  1. Maybe they watched the craft one too many times.

  2. Heather, I'm such a Bad Pagan that I've not even seen The Craft once. Nor Practical Magic.

  3. Very interesting. I thought it was like karma and came back at at the person 3x worse. Yet, I don't follow this. I do joke about it with the hubs though. Guess need to stop more. ;)

  4. Dea: Nice work Fern. Witchcraft IS active, not passive

  5. I was once told that the threefold law meant whatever you do comes back to you three ways: spiritually, materially and mentally. That made enough sense for my passing interest but your explanation is even more interesting. I confess I have never read the long rede (since my path is Hellenic-based I felt it was irrelevant) but I will do it now for science.
    I have always held that if someone does you wrong and you do not retaliate and stop them or bring them to justice then you share their guilt when they do the same to someone else. Your post makes me feel just a bit validated and I always love when that happens. So thanks!

  6. This has given me something to think about. I am really not a vindictive person, so giving back threefold for something done to me if bad is contrary to my nature.

  7. Wow this is a really interesting perspective! I don't think I have heard a witch take this approach before, but it makes complete sense. My mentor always tells me to send the bad ones on with love and light, and I don't think thats a bad idea. I'm going to have to reflect some more about the idea of a bitch slap full of love and light... But so far, I'm kind of liking the idea. Thanks for posting!