The wiccan laws are various rules (they are not actual laws, as they are not enforced by a government) that were created by Gerald Gardner,
and are written in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian books of shadows, and in Ye Bok of ye Art Magical which preceded them.
Wiccans are expected to follow these rules to some extent, but some of the rules are anachronistic, applying to the time when
witches were hunted, interrogated, tortured, and killed, or at least considered criminal, so some of such rules are disregarded by most wiccans.

The wiccan laws were not all created at the same time.
Gerald Gardner created different wiccan laws over a span of about 16 years, from about 1945 to about 1961,
though they were not called laws until 1957.

The wiccan laws are also called 'the old laws', 'the craft laws', or 'the ardanes'.
Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders called them 'the old laws', which is a double misnomer because they are neither old nor laws.
Gerald Gardner crafted the wiccan laws in an anachronistic way, to fraudulently make them appear to be far older than they actually are.
The rules are sometimes called 'the ardanes' because they repeatedly include the word 'ardane',
which is an archaic word that means 'ordained'.

The predecessor of the wiccan laws was five small paragraphs of rules that were written on the first page of Gerald Gardner's manuscript
Ye Bok of ye Art Magical, and another two small paragraphs of rules that were written later in that document, in a page titled 'invocation'.
The five paragraphs on the first page deal with maintaining secrecy, whereas the paragraphs on the invocation page deal with punishment.

Those seven paragraphs were later written into Gerald Gardner's book of shadows in the early 1950s.
The five paragraphs from the first page were combined into one large paragraph, and titled 'the warning'.
The two paragraphs from the invocation page were combined into one paragraph, and entered into the book of shadows
along with the rest of the text from the invocation page, which all went under the title 'the scourge and the kiss'.
Also in the early 1950s, there was a paragraph of rules that was written in the section in the book of shadows titled 'to gain the sight'.
All of those rules were later added to the wiccan laws, and together they constitute about 1/5th of the text of the wiccan laws.
All of the other wiccan laws were written later, from 1957 to 1961.

The wiccan laws, in their final form in Gardner's book of shadows, consist of 23 unnumbered paragraphs.
Each paragraph is assumed to be a single law, such that there are 23 long complex Gardnerian wiccan laws.
The original official wiccan laws, which were written and sent to Doreen Valiente in 1957, probably consisted of only the first 3 of those laws.
It was the second law that pissed off Doreen Valiente and motivated her to leave Gardner's Bricket Wood Coven in 1957 and create her own coven.
The fourth Gardnerian wiccan law was written in response to Doreen's departure, probably later in 1957.
Most of the subsequent laws were probably written into Gardner's book of shadows around 1960,
and then the final two official laws, which were taken from the aforementioned pre-1957 rules, were added still later.

Later, while altering Gardnerian Wicca to create Alexandrian Wicca,
Alex Sanders broke the 23 large Gardnerian wiccan laws into 161 smaller, numbered, Alexandrian wiccan laws.

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