What is the Threefold Law?

Mary McMahon

The Threefold Law is a belief held by some practitioners of Wicca. According to the Threefold Law, any energy which is put out into the world will be returned at three times its strength, whether this energy is positive or negative. Essentially, the law of threes is about reciprocity, and a reminder to people that they should be mindful about their actions, considering things before engaging in them to think about their impact on the world.

The Threefold Law is a belief held by some practitioners of Wicca.
The Threefold Law is a belief held by some practitioners of Wicca.

For Wiccans who believe in the Threefold Law, this concept is included in the Wiccan Rede, which is a code of ethical content for Wiccans. The content of the Wiccan Rede varies, depending on one's personal interpretation of Wicca and Neopagan morality. Some Wiccans reject the Threefold Law, arguing that it is too closely associated with Judeo-Christian influences, while others accept it, likening it to concepts of karma and laws of return in other religious traditions.

The return of energy involved in the law of threes is not necessarily straightforward. If someone gives another person an orange, for example, three oranges will not magically appear the next day, but that good deed may be returned in some other way, potentially far into the future. The return is not supposed to be immediate or directly reciprocal, making the Law very similar to concepts like karma, with all of someone's actions being considered, not just a single deed.

According to the Law, a Wiccan who behaves rightly and thinks of others will benefit from this by receiving positive energy and deeds later in life. Likewise, someone who chooses to do wrong will find this wrong returned at some point in life. Some Wiccans express the Threefold Law in the phrase “as we reap, so shall we sow,” or some variant thereof, stressing the idea that life is full of cyclical events and that every action has potential consequences.

Belief in this Law does not preclude attempts to atone for acts of wrongdoing. If someone recognizes that he or she has done something harmful and wants to apologize or attempt to atone for it, he or she is encouraged to do so, and this act may also be returned in some way in the future. There is a heavy emphasis on personal responsibility in the Threefold Law, with Wiccans who believe in it focusing on the fact that their actions, no matter how small, have consequences.

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Discussion Comments


@matthewc23 - I have always been under the impression that Threefold Law was an integral part of the Wiccan culture and they believe that whatever action someone does, whether good or bad, it will be returned to them three times during the course of their lifetime.

This is very similar to karma but just another take on it and the way they view it. Considering that most of the Wiccan culture revolves around how people act and how their existence and actions will determine the future I would think that Threefold law is practiced by many Wiccans, except maybe with some variations.


I know very little about Wiccans but it sounds like they have very similar beliefs to people that believe heavily in some form of karma.

What I have to wonder about though, mostly because I know very little about practitioners of Wicca, is do they all follow the same basic beliefs or are there different ways of following Wicca.

I am only wondering because since some, but not all, believe in Threefold law, I am wondering if there are Wiccans out there that do not hold the belief and that every good and bad act must even out in the end. Again I know very little about this and am just wondering if this certain aspect is an integral part for Wiccans.

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