When discussing the “3-fold Law” with someone, I gave it some serious consideration. The person I was talking to firmly believed that this ‘law’ was totally false because, they insisted, there is nothing that manifests itself in nature in threes. That is a different and totally involved argument right there, but since we were discussing philosophy, I kept it in that realm. I responded that I think that the concept of 3-fold Law is not necessarily based in natural (i.e. visible/physical experience) and is better understood to be rooted in concepts of philosophy, thought, and behavioral patterns and things which are non-physical. These are very often grouped in triads. It also makes sense to me that the action does return 3-fold because what you do will return to you, but it returns on three levels – you are affected physically, mentally, and spiritually by most actions and that could very well be the root and manifestation of 3-fold return.
Our behavior is an action, our thoughts (at least until the point when they finally manifest in the physical) aren’t tangible things. They’re ethereal and therefore, a ‘law’ that operates on the ethereal or philosophical level shouldn’t need proof given on the physical level to determine its validity.
However, in philosophy, belief, thought, and understandings of these fields, we have instances of Threes popping up all over the place. For instance:
The ancient Celts perceived things as being in sacred triads – down to the root of Land, Sea, and Sky.
We perceive time as: past, present, future.
Distance is determined by: here, there, in between
We operate in triads of mind, body, spirit
We think or act in terms of thought, word, and deed.
Spiritual realms are frequently visualized and understood to be an Upperworld, Middle World, and Lower or Under World.
While Two is the number of balance and duality; Three is the number where we have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Many of us conceive our deity in triads of Maiden, Mother, Crone and Son, Hunter/Consort, Sage.
Ancient spirals and triskeles are threes. The Triquetra is a triform symbol. So it is an acceptable belief, in my mind, to conceive of energy moving in Threes or waves of three. Whether or not this has physical proof isn’t really the point to my mind or understanding because we are talking about spiritual principles, beliefs, philosophy, and such.
The point behind the Law of Threefold is that you become aware of and take responsibility for your actions, not because there is some omnipotent force out there that will weigh justice on you for every little thing you do, but because as responsible and mature individuals, we need to be the ones to step up and say that we accept the consequences of our actions, for good or ill, because if you are mindful of everything you do and aware of how those actions will impact others or even yourself, then you will grow and move with wisdom.
Karma isn’t concerned with meting out justice, only balance. Karma is the result of an action — any action. It is as simple as if you throw something in the air, it will fall back down. If you throw a rubber ball very hard against a wall, it will rebound back with equal measure. Reaction follows action, effect follows cause, energy is constantly sent and moves and whatever you send out will affect others and because we are all connected, you are not immune to the effects of what you put forth.
Whether you see this as coming back three times more powerfully, or just that what is sent will return, it will happen whether you acknowledge or believe in it or not.
If you are a Witch, you should accept this, not because it was written by so-and-so and not because it’s a common belief touted about all over the place, but because you understand that is how energy works. If you acknowledge connection to the Earth, moon, stars, sky, sun, plants, other people, animals, etc. then you HAVE to accept that what you do will come back to you.
Basically, you don’t get to pick and choose what parts of this knowledge or understanding you will embrace. If you’re going to claim that there is a connection existent between everything, and claim to feel that connection in the air you breathe, the energy you move during ritual, and the divinity you feel during spiritual experience, (all of which are the biggest things experienced by walking the Witch’s Path) you had better be prepared to accept that you’re a part of that connection — even when you don’t want to be.