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The Law Of Accountability
The 3, 9 and 10 Fold Law

For a better understanding of The Laws of Creation, I suggest you start with the parent article discussing Universal Law & Chaos, before reading about this specific law. It will help to put this law into it's proper context.

 The Basics Of Karma
Simply put, karma is the result of an act or deed, either in the present, recent past or in past lives. Many people for some reason, think there is only 'bad' karma. But think about it, if you owe karma to someone, then someone is in a position to receive a karmic repayment. So there is both positive and negative aspects of karma.
Karma however is not the same thing as what has become known as the law of return, or the 3fold law. In actuality, these are not laws of "return", but rather accountability. To further confuse the issue, not all traditions of Witchcraft follow the 3fold law, or a law of return. Some adhere to a 9fold or even a 10fold law.
The best way to think of this is:
Karma is the result of an action. 3fold, 9fold, 10fold is the action and your accountability to it.
If you still need more information, you might want to review or Metaphysical posting on Karma.
 What Is The Law Of Accountability?
The Law of Accountability is also known as the Law of Attraction (what we put out we get back, what we express we receive). How we think each morning starts the process of creation. Thought is energy that we put into motion on the ethereal plane. It moves around us, through us and walks the path we walk until it manifests in physical form. Once in physical form, the event created by our thought will generate a reaction from us. Again, creating a thought that creates a pattern of energy that we put into motion. It's a cycle of energy that we establish around ourselves each moment of our lives. In other words, this is the Law of Accountability in action. What you put out, you get back. That law is not just for spells or rituals. It's for how you live your life and conduct yourself through out your life.
A belief that any energy put out into the divine universe will return to the sender three times. Ancient beliefs state the senders mind, body and spirit, (thus the threefold concept) is accountable for all actions. In actuality, this isn't really a law of return as much as it is a law of accountability. You are responsible for all your actions not just the results of those actions. So theoretically you are accountable at the time the action is created.
The 9-Fold law (also called the 3x3x3 law | where x=by) concept is the same, however, the return is a little different. In these traditions, the essence of the mind holds within itself the energy of mind, body and spirit. The essence of the body holds within itself the energy of it's own mind body and spirit. And so for the essence of the spirit.
To better understand this, equating the essences with your "parts" might help. When an action occurs, the accountability resides in the:
  • Mind's
    • Mind - the emotions
    • Body - the physical brains
    • Spirit - the subconscious or higher consciousness
  • Body's
    • Mind - the life lines, your nervous system/blood system
    • Body - the physical body
    • Spirit - the chakra centers
  • Spirit's
    • Mind - the seat of spiritual consciousness/memories
    • Body - the physical energy body
    • Spirit - the soul
The 10fold law is exactly the same as 9fold; you just add one for the Divine. The 10fold theory suggests not only are you responsible based within your own mind, body and spirit, but also to the Divine, or your place within it.
 The Laws of Magikal Rites
It's important to note once again that not all traditions of Witchcraft believe in the Law of Accountability. Neither do all practioners of Magik. For those that do, when performing a ritual, rite or spell, many believe that karma is always in affect. So to are the laws of accountability. As a Shaman, or witch you should always think of the spiritual implication of your intent. Here are some basic do's and don'ts for the religious magikal practioner to adhere to.
The Do's:
  1. All actions should be of positive intent.
  2. Conduct a spell or rite with happiness, love and kindness.
  3. Hold respect for all living things.
  4. Accept the responsibility for your actions.
The Don'ts
  1. Never cast a spell or rite out of anger, jealousy or greed.
  2. Never cast a spell for harm or to endanger another living being.
  3. Never conduct a spell or rite that requires harm to another living being.
  4. Never cast a spell or rite to force someone into following your will and desire. This includes any spell of manipulation such as a love spell. Even a healing spell is manipulation of another. It's best to get permission first. If that's not possible, there are ways to gain what my tradition calls Soul Permission.
 The Reasoning Of The Laws
Now that you know the basics, think about why they're in place to begin with.
The most important lesson you can learn is how to live in respect and balance with yourself, nature, those around you and the divine universe in general. I used to think that meant learning and living with unconditional love. But too often, we think unconditional love means being a door stop for someone to step on. That isn't exactly living in balance. You're part human, with human emotions. To deny the physical side of yourself and concentrating solely on the spiritual; isn't living in balance either.
So why is 'respect' and 'balance' so important. Simple, these are the two components that allow you to experience the lessons you came to this incarnation to learn. Without learning spiritual lessons, redeeming or collecting karma, working on your own enlightenment, how can you, or anyone advance their soul and accomplish your mission here?
Now if you have a right to experience the lessons you chose to learn, then so does everyone else. And you do not have the right to interfere with their lessons or choices that might (or even might not) advance their souls potential.
Let's take a couple of examples to better clarify the reasoning.
  • Positive Intent.
    Let's say for a moment a close friend or relative was the victim of a crime. As a magikal practioner you want to gain justice or satisfaction for your loved one. The last thing you should do, is sit down and cast a spell against the criminal. So what do you do?

    Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. A simple spell to enlighten the police so that they can see all the necessary clues to find the criminal is a perfect example. The positive intent would be to help the police do their job. Ask the God/Goddess of Justice to help bring insight and vision to the detectives, the lawyers and the judges so that they might see the path justice and come to the virtuous decisions that will bring a satisfactory resolution to the event.

  • Happiness and Love
    The worst time to conduct a ritual or rite is when you're angry. These are strong emotions, but they are also earth-bound heavy energies to carry around. A spell or rite should be conducted from a place of light, sight and height. In other words, raising your awareness to the higher divine planes of existence. Even controlled anger is better than raw anger. I personally don't see anything wrong with setting up a shield of protection round yourself, home or family while in a state of controlled anger. It's the uncontrolled anger that might cause you to lash out at someone that isn't a good thing.

  • Hold respect and never do harm.
    Many magikal belief systems or religions define their spirituality as earth-based nature religions. This is a long winded way of saying respect for all things. From the lowly spider nesting in your garage to the frightening predator of man. All life is significant, important and respected. Those who practice any act of sacrifice or harm during a spiritual ritual are NOT holding to the laws of karma, and respect within their practice. Therefore, these acts are not spiritual in nature and should not be condoned.

  • Accept responsibility for your actions.
    Simply put, if you do it; admit it and deal with the consequences. If you don't want to 'get in trouble', then you're probably doing something against one of the laws set forth here and you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. But if you did it, deal with actions you created for yourself.
That's the Do's list. The Don'ts list can be seen in these previous explanations, but I'd like to touch on and expand on 2 of the don'ts anyway.
  • Never harm or endanger another living being.
    Young or inexperienced witches often have a desire to cast a spell against a teacher who gave them a bad grade, a person who hurt them in a relationship, or against someone who they just don't like. It is important to remember that these people have been put upon your path because you asked them to be. You asked your higher divine guidance to set certain situations upon your path so that you would have an opportunity to learn, grow, and enlighten your spiritual knowledge. A test if you will, to determine for yourself if you are learning the lessons you came to this incarnation to experience.

    Casting a spell or rite against someone else in order to make your life a little easier will back-fire in your face big time! For when that energy does manifest, you will be held accountable for sending it out and it will indeed knock you off your feet!

  • Never force some into following your desires.
    We are all here learning lessons and following the paths we have designed for ourselves to learn and grow. We are placed here with free will and choice, as a means to test ourselves as we go through those lessons of life. Interfering with another's free will and choice can cause that person to miss a major lesson or change for enlightenment. Eventually your desire and spell will wear off, and that person will grow despondent and perhaps even angry at you for the manner in which you were able to manipulate their lives.

    This type of interference is most commonly abused in love spells. A practioner mistakenly sees their desire for loving someone and having that person love them, as a positive intent. When in fact it is manipulation and can generate negative karma. If you want love in your life, try loving yourself. Be your best friend. After all if you can't keep yourself interested in something, how is someone else going to find you interesting?

    A love spell should be an ritual that pulls love from within yourself for yourself and your situation. Not to manipulate or control another being.

Source: 1, b8, b9, b15, b18, o14
Created: 09.29.2003         Updated: 08.04.2005