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.

    THE NEW BOOK OF THE LAW is published by:
    The Grove of the Unicorn PO Box 13384 Atlanta, GA 30324
    To order, send a legal size SASE. A small contribution towards
    printing/handling costs will be appreciated.

    These comments have been made by Gerald L. Bliss, who is also known as
    J. Random Folksinger. Address further comments to Lady Galadriel at the
    above address and/or myself. My address is P.O. Box 1842, Colorado
    Springs, CO 80903. Also, please feel free to give pointers on how to
    make some of these comments in a less-judgemental manner (especially
    since my major complaint on these Laws was their own jundgemental
    style). I need all the help I can get...