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Paganism, Heathenism, & European Folk Practices

This page under construction - some links not yet functional, but all titles available from Amazon.

 

History

 

  coverThe Triumph of the Moon : A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft - Ronald Hutton. "Here is a book that brings witchcraft out of the shadows. The Triumph of the Moon is the first full-scale study of the only religion England has ever given the world--modern pagan witchcraft, otherwise known as wicca. Meticulously researched, it provides a thorough account of an ancient religion that has spread from English shores across four continents."

"For centuries, pagan witchcraft has been linked with chilling images of blood rituals, ghostlike druids, and even human sacrifices. But while Robert Hutton explores this dark side of witchery, he stresses the positive, reminding us that devotion to art, the natural world, femininity, and the classical deities are also central to the practice of wicca. Indeed, the author shows how leading figures in English literature--W.B. Yeats, D.H. Lawrence, and Robert Graves, just to name a few--celebrated these positive aspects of the religion in their work, thereby softening the public perception of witchcraft in Victorian England. From cunning village folk to freemasons and from high magic to the black arts, Hutton chronicles the fascinating process by which actual wiccan practices evolved into what is now a viable modern religion. He also presents compelling biographies of wicca's principle figures, such as Gerald Gardner, who was inducted into a witch coven at the age of 53, and recorded many clandestine rituals and beliefs."

"Ronald Hutton is known for his colorful, provocative, and always thoroughly researched studies on original subjects. This work is no exception. It will appeal to anyone interested in witchcraft, paganism and alternative religions."

cover The Stations of the Sun : A History of the Ritual Year in Britain - Ronald Hutton. "In a complete history of British rituals, British historian Ronald Hutton takes us on a fascinating journey through the ritual year. Encompassing the whole sweep of history in all the British Isles, from the earliest written records to the present day, Hutton's colorful history debunks common assumptions about the customs of the past and the festivals of the present."

  cover Drawing Down the Moon : Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today - "For nearly two decades, Drawing Down the Moon, the only detailed history of a little-known and widely misunderstood movement, has provided the most authoritative look at the religious beliefs, experiences, and lifestyles of the neopagan culture."

Fascinating reading for anyone interested in Neo-pagan culture and trends of the 70's and 80's. Quite a bit of it is still current even today!

 

Non-Wiccan Witchcraft

More coming soon i.e. Raven Grimnassi ... misc. folk stuff ...

Bathhouse at Midnight (Russian Paganism) ...

 

 

Asatru / Runes

 

More coming soon ...

 

 

Wicca

The real thing only (no fluffy bunny writers here)

  cover A Witches' Bible - by Janet Farrar and Stewart Farrar. Editorial review: "Everything you need to know is here! The Sabbats; Casting & Banishing the Magic Circle; The Complete Book of Shadows; The Great Rite; Initiation Rites; Consecration Rites; Spells; Witches' Tools; Witchcraft & Sex; Running a Coven; Clairvoyance; Astral Projection. This collection includes two books in one volume, Eight Sabbats for Witches and The Witches' Way and is the most comprehensive and revealing work on the principles, rituals and beliefs of modern witchcraft."

Personally, I found it quite insightful, even though I was coming from a ceremonial magick background. There are a lot of borrowings from the western Hermetic/Magick traditions still left in the Farrar's interpretation of Wicca, but I was impressed by their attempt to synthesize the original Pagan practices from around the world into a comprehensive whole through their own personal research into comparative (pagan) religion. I've heard there was some debate over the historical accuracy of some of the information presented, but for the beginner looking to stay within the easily accessible realm of Wicca, it's a good start.


Doreen Valiente was one of the co-creators of Wicca as it is known today. (She admitted to writing and re-wording many of Gardner's rituals. Gardner himself appears to have borrowed heavily from the Solomonic grimoires and Thelemic writings.) Regardless of what anyone thinks of the origins of Wicca, this lady had a cool attitude. I wish I could find the interview I used to have of her before she died. Her insight into Gerald Gardner would have been fascinating.

  coverNatural Magic by Doreen Valiente. According to one reviewer, this book is "essentially a practical treatise revealing the magic inherent in human life and nature, shows that magic can be for everyone."

  cover Witchcraft for Tomorrow by Doreen Valiente. Discusses the essentials of Wiccan practice. The only problem I had with this book was the (now considered) inaccurate info regarding the historical origins of modern Witches and practices. For accurate historical info, I'd recommend Ronald Hutton's "Triumph of the Moon" instead (see above).


Gerald Gardner was the founder of modern Wicca. While most scholars agree that Wicca isn't a continuation of any one 'Old Religion', his work (and subsequent new religion) certainly filled a need in society that wasn't being addressed by the long established patriarchal religions - Goddess Worship. His books (if you can find them in print) are useful from an historical perspective.

  High Magic's Aid - Written before the repeal of the Witchcraft laws in England.

  Witchcraft today - Written after the Witchcraft laws were removed.