+ Reply to Article
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    9,151

    Jump to Comments

    Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    7 Comments by RandallS Published on 6 Jul 2011 02:02 PM
    Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches
    Author: Charles Leland
    Published 2010 by The Witches Almanac, Ltd.
    ISBN-10: 0982432356
    ISBN-13: 978-0982432358
    Paperback, 178 Pages
    List: $16.95 (U.S.)
    View this Book on Amazon

    Reviewer: Mike Gleason

    The back cover of this book pretty much says it all: "If Gerald Brosseau Gardner is the father of the religion that calls itself Wicca, then Charles Godfrey Leland is the grandfather of Witchcraft as a religion in the English-speaking world, and his small book Aradia, is that religion's birth announcement. This 1899 classic has become a foundational document of modern Wicca and is the first work in English in which Witchcraft is portrayed as an underground old religion, surviving in secret from ancient Pagan times." That statement sums up the importance of Aradia, and that importance has not diminished during the past 112 years.

    That importance has, unfortunately (in my opinion), become more theoretical since there are large numbers of modern practitioners who know OF this book, but who have never bothered to actually read it. This, in spite of the fact that have been several reprints of it throughout the past 50 years or so. Part of the problem may be that, to the modern reader, it is a somewhat difficult book. It was, after all, written in a time and a culture with a very different emphasis and perception of how things should be presented. That is compounded by the fact that most reprints were rendered from an incomplete copy of the original work (it was missing the final page).

    This edition contains all of the original work which includes material not included by the original informant, as well as being followed by commentaries by some highly-respected members of the Witchcraft community. It is these modern, original, commentaries which add so much to the value of this edition.

    It is important to realize several important facts about the author and the work itself. Most importantly, Leland was an American folklorist. His interest in Witchcraft was minimal, while his interest in collecting and recording folk-tales was primary. Secondly, there were questions raised about the authenticity of his informant (which have been somewhat settled over the intervening years), and her sources of information. Finally, this work was intended for a somewhat scholarly audience who had NO interest in Witchcraft, since there was no (known) Witch community in the United States, and thus was unlikely to stir up too much controversy.

    I cannot speak to the accuracy of Leland's translations from the original Italian, but since Italian is not a dead (or unknown) language, I will assume that any inaccuracies would have been caught and commented upon, if not corrected, before this edition went to press.

    Some of the instructions contained within this book have caused a certain amount of consternation among modern practitioners of the Old Religion, since they advocate behavior which is deemed unacceptable under the precept of "An it harm none..." Because of that, there are those individuals who feel that this seminal work should be disavowed by every "real" Wiccan. Such a decision must be reached by each person for themselves. Considering that this book was published half a century before Gardner's contributions to the Craft it is not unusual that there are disagreements with more modern thinking.

    Because of the fact that this book was written well before the modern Craft revival, it should be viewed as a snapshot of the thinking prevalent at the time, not as a reflection of modern sensibilities. Much like the use of the "N" word in Mark Twain's works, it reflects how things were perceived and presented at the time of writing. It falls to the commentaries to reflect the changes which have become obvious between then and now.

    Even if you have read Aradia before, take the time to re-read it, so that the commentaries which comprise the final 30 pages of this book will be more easily understood.

  2. Total Comments 7

    Comments

  3. #2
    Senior Staff Achievements:
    Three Friends1000 Experience Points1 year registered
    Marilyn/Absentminded will become famous soon enough Marilyn/Absentminded's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Last Online
    17 Feb 2013 @ 09:27 AM
    Country
    Canada
    Location
    The corner of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River
    Religion
    Animist
    Posts
    975

    Re: Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    Quote Originally Posted by RandallS View Post
    .
    Is this the same guy who writes reviews for the newsletter? I've always found him very helpful.

    I was wondering - we used to have a deal where if you ordered something from Amazon through The Cauldron, TC got a few cents from the order. Is this still in effect and, if so, will the link in the blurb go to the right place? I've always liked Aradia and am considering ordering a new copy (especially because of the commentaries) and would feel extra special virtuous if I used the TC link.

    Absent

  4. #3
    Administrator Achievements:
    OverdriveRecommendation Second ClassTagger First ClassVeteranThree Friends
    RandallS has disabled reputation RandallS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Last Online
    Today @ 12:50 PM
    Country
    USA
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Religion
    Hellenic Pagan
    Pronouns
    he/him/his
    Posts
    9,151

    Re: Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    Quote Originally Posted by Marilyn/Absentminded View Post
    Is this the same guy who writes reviews for the newsletter? I've always found him very helpful.
    Yes, it's the same person.

    I was wondering - we used to have a deal where if you ordered something from Amazon through The Cauldron, TC got a few cents from the order. Is this still in effect and, if so, will the link in the blurb go to the right place?
    Yes to both!
    Randall
    RetroRoleplaying [Blog] -- Out Of Print & Out Of Style Tabletop Roleplaying Games
    Software Gadgets Blog -- Interesting Software, Mostly Free
    Cheap Web Hosting -- Find an Affordable Web Host

  5. #4
    Senior Master Member Achievements:
    Created Album picturesThree FriendsVeteran5000 Experience Points
    Micheál will become famous soon enough Micheál's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:57 PM
    Country
    Ireland
    Location
    Béal Feirste, N.Ireland
    Religion
    Alexandrian Wicca, Gaelic Polytheism
    Posts
    549

    Re: Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    Quote Originally Posted by RandallS View Post
    Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches
    Author: Charles Leland
    Published 2010 by The Witches Almanac, Ltd.
    ISBN-10: 0982432356
    ISBN-13: 978-0982432358
    Paperback, 178 Pages
    List: $16.95 (U.S.)
    View this Book on Amazon

    Reviewer: Mike Gleason

    That importance has, unfortunately (in my opinion), become more theoretical since there are large numbers of modern practitioners who know OF this book, but who have never bothered to actually read it.
    Well said. This should be a must read to every Wiccan, as it is essential in understanding some of its influences.

  6. #5
    Apprentice Achievements:
    100 Experience Points
    Wrynn is on a distinguished road Wrynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Last Online
    16 Jul 2011 @ 02:47 AM
    Country
    USA
    Location
    North Texas
    Religion
    Spiritual / eclectic wicca celtic tradition / Green craft
    Posts
    22

    Re: Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    Quote Originally Posted by RandallS View Post
    Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches
    Author: Charles Leland
    RandallS, do you consider this book to be demonstrative of how much wicca/witchcraft has evolved to present day in the mindset of those who practice?
    )o( Blessed be,
    Wrynn Aethelraed

  7. #6
    Administrator Achievements:
    OverdriveRecommendation Second ClassTagger First ClassVeteranThree Friends
    RandallS has disabled reputation RandallS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Last Online
    Today @ 12:50 PM
    Country
    USA
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Religion
    Hellenic Pagan
    Pronouns
    he/him/his
    Posts
    9,151

    Re: Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    Quote Originally Posted by Wrynn View Post
    RandallS, do you consider this book to be demonstrative of how much wicca/witchcraft has evolved to present day in the mindset of those who practice?
    Note that I did not write this review. I only posted it. I have Mike's permission to use his reviews (which he posts on USENET when many people never see them) in our newsletters and web site

    That said, I think it is pretty obvious that Leland's Aradia was one of books that had a major influence on Gardner and others involved in the early days of Wicca. I can't say much beyond that. Personally I have a lot of problems with Aradia just as I do with many other such books from that time period.
    Randall
    RetroRoleplaying [Blog] -- Out Of Print & Out Of Style Tabletop Roleplaying Games
    Software Gadgets Blog -- Interesting Software, Mostly Free
    Cheap Web Hosting -- Find an Affordable Web Host

  8. #7
    Journeyman Achievements:
    Overdrive500 Experience Points31 days registered
    SassyWitchin is an unknown quantity at this point SassyWitchin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Last Online
    5 Apr 2013 @ 03:21 PM
    Country
    UK
    Religion
    Pagan Witch
    Posts
    154

    Re: Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    Quote Originally Posted by RandallS View Post
    Note that I did not write this review. I only posted it. I have Mike's permission to use his reviews (which he posts on USENET when many people never see them) in our newsletters and web site

    That said, I think it is pretty obvious that Leland's Aradia was one of books that had a major influence on Gardner and others involved in the early days of Wicca. I can't say much beyond that. Personally I have a lot of problems with Aradia just as I do with many other such books from that time period.
    It seems more relevant to strega than any other religion. doesn't it?

  9. #8
    Senior Master Member Achievements:
    Created Album picturesThree FriendsVeteran5000 Experience Points
    Micheál will become famous soon enough Micheál's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Last Online
    Yesterday @ 05:57 PM
    Country
    Ireland
    Location
    Béal Feirste, N.Ireland
    Religion
    Alexandrian Wicca, Gaelic Polytheism
    Posts
    549

    Re: Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches

    Quote Originally Posted by SassyWitchin View Post
    It seems more relevant to strega than any other religion. doesn't it?
    It definitely is to people like Grimassi&the like, but in Wicca as we know its' early days as well since many lines from the text were borrowed and inspired some other important Charges used in Wiccan rituals.
    Semper Fidelis

+ Reply to Article

Similar Articles

  1. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 16 Jul 2011, 08:11 AM
  2. Murphy's Law for Witches
    By Ladywhitewolf in forum Humor and Quizzes
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 5 Jul 2011, 10:10 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts