I am finally beyond my wits end, seeing some three fold believer or another through out the years, during a discussion with a non adherent of it, bring this up as if it validates their claim and invalidates the non adherent. In most of these cases that I have seen it, it clearly shows me that the three folder is ignorant of of what the non adherent of it actually believes. To be clear, I have never met a non adherent that DID NOT believe in cause and effect, so I never understood why a believer of it thinks this is going to prove them wrong. But even worse, many of those that use this and call this three fold, did not apply enough critical thinking to see how Cause and Effect, albeit important in three fold, is far from a friend. Very recently I had a run in with a high priestess of a non Gardenerian Wiccan coven who actually thinks that Three fold = results from magic work, AND cause and effect. “Yea, this non belief in a 3 fold is silly. If you do magic, there’s going to be results – that’s the 3 fold in action.” then in an area where she was more frustrated with my not believing in three fold, she said this while attempting (but failing to bait me into a three fold debate) “Most people who do magic – EXPECT RESULTS. If one knows how ENERGY works – one also knows there is CAUSE AND EFFECT ” Yes, you read that right and that second sentence was in context of her telling me that this is what three fold is. (I’m always perplexed as to why it bothers any of them that I don’t believe in this. I promise it won’t hurt them that I don’t.) I expect something like this from a newer witch still developing and learning, but I never expect this from anyone that’s been initiated to a high priestess in some kind of wiccan coven, who also boasts 25 years of experience in witchcraft under her belt. In fact, in fairness to the many high priests and priestesses that I have met and befriended in various covens, I can say this is NOT the norm for them, and I have never ever seen one make a claim that magical results themselves are three fold in action, until now. Most times, I see things like this from newer people, as well as book learned ones who got some bad info. But lately, I am seeing more and more of this whole “Cause and Effect = three fold” movement coming surprisingly, from those of experience too. Hence, being fed up with having to say the same thing over and over again, and my concern for newer witches who might get this kind of poor teaching quality from a more experienced witch, I am putting this out there. Those of you (I know I am not the only one) who are also sick of this card coming up in those discussions are more than welcome to share this as well.
DEFINITIONS DO HAVE AN IMPORTANT PURPOSE
Definitions ARE relevant and vital. Without them, we can just take ANY term we want and twist it into something so foreign to it’s meaning, we then we turn the English language into gibberish, to suit our own agenda rather than let the language stand. Sometimes words vary or have updated meanings that are widely accepted. For instance, the word witch use to only mean those mythical like monsters in folklore (back in those days the actual witches called themselves cunning-folk and kin people and were also worried about those creatures) but has now updated to include the people of today that define themselves as a witch. However, 3 means three. It does not mean 1, 2, 6, 10 nor an infinite number. Three is an absolute number with an unwavering definition. IF we start changing what three means,we are really going to screw up some math. AND three fold has its definition too, which is ALSO consistent with Gardnerian version as well as many others that believe in it, have explained which I will touch on later. Three fold by definition, lest we want to go screwing with math again, means three times the amount, or three times greater, no more or less. This is very important for a lot of formulas that have nothing to do with witchcraft as well. It is when people start taking away from the meaning of three and three fold and calling all these things that do not demand three times or even three for a number that the problem arises and people thinking it’s okay to call “Cause and Effect” three fold. By now I am sure some of you are seeing a problem here already.
So what IS the definition of Cause and Effect? Cause and Effect is the relationship between things or events where the first part is partly or wholly responsible for the second, and the second thing or event is dependent on the first, either partially or wholly. That is it! There is nothing more or less about it. It is vague and encompasses a very vast scope of possibilities. It doesn’t even require an equal action. It certainly does not demand, is related to, or even dependent on the number three, or three times. You will NEVER find “three fold” as its definition, no matter where you look it up. So no, cause and effect does NOT equal, and is NOT defined as three fold; regardless of how much some people want it to. It also does not equal or mean “karma” either, which is another thing some people think is its definition or vice versa. One thing you should be noticing at this point, is that Cause and Effect does not care, it does not keep score, AND it also does not demand that everything winds up fair, good, or just. In other words, we as witches SHOULD be wise to this fact, and realize that cause and effect even can work in ways that might even anger us, and happen in very unexpected ways. Being aware of this is what, for a lot of us, helps us make decisions to act in our craft to redirect an event where we felt that the effect resulting from the cause was not fair, right, or just. I don’t even think I’ve met a witch yet that did not ever use their craft to try to right a wrong or unjust effect that resulted from some sort of cause. So people can stop kidding themselves and gloating and thinking that every time they hear of some one doing the wrong thing (cause) they are going to get theirs, and the (effect) for them is going to be bad. That’s, in my opinion, lazy armchair thinking that invites a witch not to be watchful and instead to be very complacent, when they should be looking for what the effect might be, and able and ready to take action if it’s not a fair or just one.
THE MANY WAYS OF CAUSE AND EFFECT
Sometimes the effect is greater or lesser, maybe one little thing happens, maybe a whole bunch of awfulness. It fully depends on what the cause is. Here are some examples of different causes and effects,and not all of them are nice, just, or even what good people would like them to be. But they DO exist regardless of what we like, or wish.
Lets say I am a complete jerk to one of my best friends one day. The cause of that might result in her feeling sad. That’s the effect, and it’s one negative effect, not three. However, it might also cause her to not want to be my friend anymore, never speak to me again, as well as many other things, Could be three things, could be 1, or 20 things. Or perhaps the effect could be she simply thinks I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, nothing at all results, she doesn’t ever mention it to me, and I might not have even been aware that I was such a jerk to even feel any remorse from it. So sometimes, there really isn’t even an effect all. While cause and effect occurs in most cases about most things, there are, in fact, times that a cause does not produce an effect. This happens too in some experiments that scientists do, which disappoints them when they are hoping for some kind of effect.
A thief robs a store, gets caught and is facing a possible conviction and sentence to some time in jail. The effect of his robbery is being caught. But what happens to him, depends on numerous factors. Again, could be 1 thing, could be 100. But for sure, unless the legal system has three other robberies to pin on him, they won’t give him three times more than what the law says. But if that same Robber has a stellar attorney, maybe he will win and be acquitted even if guilty. The cause of having a stellar attorney, effected how the end result would be, and if he was guilty, then justice was not served by it. This is an example of a cause causing a certain effect, but the person took some action to then create another cause to bring about a whole different effect then what initially could have been an effect. This is also an example of some one who should have rightfully paid for his wrong doing, but was able to cause a more unjust effect to happen.
A prosecutor is very corrupt, and has a stellar record of convictions, including many innocent people that she got away with tampering evidence with. Due to their stellar record, they get a huge promotion and become a judge. They live happily ever after. This is a prime example of things that do happen, that might anger us and is unfair, BUT it is STILL an example of cause and effect, But for her bad conduct and screwing people over in order to get where she got, she wouldn’t have gotten that promotion. (this is an actual thing that did happen in my state btw.)
Now for a more traditional example that fits the ideology of a three fold believer. A male witch, in a fit of insanity and anger about his own life, decides he’s going to hex children. He unwittingly has hexed a child of a witch who has no qualms about hexing and cursing. In fact, she’s already got wards set up protecting her and her family, which results in any magical attacks towards them will return back on the male witch. He winds up getting nailed with his own hex. Now maybe some believers of three fold are now thinking “AHA, exactly! That’s the three fold”. But wait…no….actually, it isn’t. Remember that annoying fact about three fold AND the number three having certain definitions? If not, remember it now and think about this for a minute. UNLESS the witch herself, deliberately set up the booby trap in the ward to come at some one three times worse, and had the experience to make sure it kept to the number three, then really what’s happening is equal times, NOT three times. All this witch did was set whatever he was doing to come back at him, just the same, no more or less. But some how I have seen people showing that they think equal amount = three fold as well. In fact, I have seen numerous debates where the three fold believer shares a story or something similar to the above that they think is proof of three fold; only to have many of us who don’t believe, raising our eyebrows wondering when it was, that an equal action got turned into, twisted up and redefined as three times more? Just like you will never see “three fold” under the definition of cause and effect, you will never find three fold for the definition of equal either. I saved this example for last because this sort of thing I see constantly.
HOW A TYPICAL NON THREE FOLD ADHERENT VIEWS CAUSE AND EFFECT
Basically, we believe that most causes have an effect What we don’t do is pretend to KNOW what that effect might be, or even assign a number to it, or anything that designates a definite amount of times greater or lesser the effect might be. We also don’t think that curses or hexes automatically cause bad things to happen to the spell caster either. In my opinion, again, that’s lazy thinking that simplifies things and refuses the brain and leg work to look at all the factors that might be involved. Perhaps some one was cursed, and the effect of the curse was that a life was saved. Perhaps as an effect of a hex, some one learned a lesson and corrected some bad behavior that was effecting others. There are many examples of curses and hexes not being an auto punishment towards the caster and even IF something DID go wrong, it may not be three times, maybe it’s minor, maybe greater. Either way its not three fold.
But what baffles many of us, is that many three folders seem to designate or thump three fold ONLY WHEN they see some one discussing wanting to curse or hex. Do they not realize that ALL magic, when used wrong, recklessly, or by some one very in experienced, has a high risk of going wrong? In fact, MOST of the time I’ve seen something go wrong in all my years it was NOT because some one was attempting to do a curse or hex, in fact, maybe only 1% of the time one of these kinds of spells were involved. For the 99% in my experience, most cases were spells that the most strict three folder wouldn’t have seen a problem with, including some healing spells where the sick person permitted or asked for it. In this 99% category I saw that the reason something went so south was a result of one of the following reasons: A.) A very inexperienced novice witch, or dabbler (non witch playing with witchcraft) was working something beyond their skills, B.) a witch was not treating their craft responsibility and not going about what they were doing mindfully, C.) an experienced witch accidentally screwed up something in the execution of the spell. (if only humans were all perfect, this could never happened, but alas, it can even for most experience ones out there.) So the reasons these causes resulted in bad effects were very pragmatic, and NOT because of some mystical three fold out there trying to cause these practitioners some grief.. And funnily enough, I haven’t seen, in the ANY cases I’ve observed, things going on with the number three, or three times greater. IN all of these cases, what happened varied, some times a huge mess that if you wanted to apply a number, you’d be far beyond three fold all the way to as minor as a little oops that quickly was able to be fixed with nothing terrible.
But we DO have some common ground with the three fold adherents, which are just like YOU, most of us believe:
1.) In cause and Effect. 2.) That magic should be treated respectfully and responsibility. 3.) That nasty things can and does happen at times with use of magic. 4.) In doing what is right and just. 5.) In our own morals and ethics that similar to yours maybe even identical.
The ONLY real differences I see is a different way of looking at it, and we don’t put it all in a narrow little box of three. Nor do we demand that the definitions of words be changed, or get so….whatever it is you get, I don’t even know why… that some how words like equal, or situations where even though the effect was obviously equal, you insist on calling it three or saying three fold.
THE THREE FOLD BELIEFS THAT ACTUALLY ARE CONSISTENT
Figured I’d touch on this at some point, because I am sure some of the readers fall into this category.
So far, one of the most practical and consistent three fold beliefs I have found, which I really have no reason to object to, are the ones held by the Traditional Gardnerian Wiccans. These are the folks that coined and originally defined Three fold. They have kept to their original definition too. Having befriended many priests and priestess, as well as initiates of this tradition, many have taught me a lot of stuff that did not break their oaths. One of which, is their version of three fold. Their three fold is NOT universal, is not RUN or controlled by the Universe and NOT for everyone under the sun. It is also NOT for every single action done by everyone, or even every single action a witch does. Their three fold pertains to a witch to another witch. I had shared a blog by a Gardnerian that explained it best. If you do good by a witch, then by the Gardnerian three fold, they are obligated to repay you three times better. But if you do good by a Christian neighbor they are not under this, they are not a witch. Also, three fold plays a part in second degree initiation of a Gardnerian witch. http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/gbos/gbos34.htm
Another consistent version started in the 1970s. This version, which I have sourced to originate with Raymond Buckland, alters the original Gardnerian version and now changes it to be a universal thing. This is the most commonly held version by many eclectic wiccans, non Gardnerian wiccans and even many non wiccan witches out there have adopted it. It’s the most poplar for sure. This version teaches that every action has three times an action be it good or bad. Many stick to this, and sincerely believe it, and wouldn’t call an equal action or even cause and effect three fold UNLESS they saw something happen in that way, like something happen in threes or three times greater. This does not tamper with any definitions. Now I can find many practical flaws in this belief, and have many times in the past. Never the less, I at least respect them, and their sincerity, as well as their remaining consistent.
One last one, is I have met some that believe in three fold but they believe that it manifests in certain conditions and NOT all the time. So they too don’t think every cause and effect or action is three fold. They also don’t think every time a curse or hex is done, that three fold automatically rears a head or grinds an ax. They think that if some one is recklessly using magic, or out of malice, spite, hatefulness, then the magic worker is risking some kind of three fold to take place. In this case, still, they will only call those results or effects that can actually be measured in three or that there was clearly a three fold effect. For anything else, like equal effect, if it’s a negative one, you might simply see them refer to this as karma instead of three fold. This is also a view that does not screw up definitions, and it has less flaws than the version above because they don’t claim it’s always and a constant thing for everything.
THE ROLE CAUSE AND EFFECT PLAYS IN THREE FOLD
With all the above said this does NOT mean that cause and effect is irrelevant in threefold, it is obviously VERY relevant, and plays a huge part in three fold; such a huge part that it has become clear to me that too many have blended the line so much that they actually think cause and effect IS the three fold. I would say that Three fold even is dependent on cause and effect and would not stand alone without it. Even with many types of wiccan beliefs where they might feel the universe plays a part, Deities, spirits, energy currents or a little of all of the above, still, an initial cause would be necessary for even any of these factors to react, whether making decisions or what have you, in order to produce a three fold effect to that cause. So the next time some one wants to tell you cause and effect is three fold, kindly tell them, no, cause and effect is larger than that, and stands alone without it. In fact your three fold NEEDS it, in order to have a prayer of chance to exist in the first place. Then by all means share this blog with them and be done.