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Author Topic: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)  (Read 1499 times)

Violet Skies

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History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« on: January 30, 2013, 08:30:15 pm »
Hi everyone, I`m just wondering if you guys know of a good book on the history of wicca/witchcraft and basically how it all came together to form the present day pagan movement (I know Gardner and what not, but I`m also curious about Wiccan holidays and such ... how they match up to older forms of the same thing).  I realize that there is plenty of controversy over where a lot of it came from, but there`s got to be some factual stuff, too, or at least stuff with pretty strong evidence.  So, is there anything like that that is rather reputable in the academic community (i.e. anthropological or archeological based)?  And preferrably available in e-book. :o

Thank you so much!

MarieBay

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Re: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 10:17:17 pm »
Quote from: Violet Skies;94334
Hi everyone, I`m just wondering if you guys know of a good book on the history of wicca/witchcraft and basically how it all came together to form the present day pagan movement (I know Gardner and what not, but I`m also curious about Wiccan holidays and such ... how they match up to older forms of the same thing).  I realize that there is plenty of controversy over where a lot of it came from, but there`s got to be some factual stuff, too, or at least stuff with pretty strong evidence.  So, is there anything like that that is rather reputable in the academic community (i.e. anthropological or archeological based)?  And preferrably available in e-book. :o

Thank you so much!

 
If you're looking for a history of modern witchcraft, Drawing Down the Moon by Margaret Adler and Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton are two of my favourites.

SunflowerP

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Re: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 11:30:49 pm »
Quote from: Violet Skies;94334
Hi everyone, I`m just wondering if you guys know of a good book on the history of wicca/witchcraft and basically how it all came together to form the present day pagan movement (I know Gardner and what not, but I`m also curious about Wiccan holidays and such ... how they match up to older forms of the same thing).  I realize that there is plenty of controversy over where a lot of it came from, but there`s got to be some factual stuff, too, or at least stuff with pretty strong evidence.  So, is there anything like that that is rather reputable in the academic community (i.e. anthropological or archeological based)?  And preferrably available in e-book. :o

Thank you so much!

 
As MarieBay mentioned, Ronald Hutton is your guy.  Triumph of the Moon covers the various cultural components that Gardner was drawing on; Stations of the Sun focuses on the ritual year and will have more on the holidays, and several of his other books cover pertinent material.

Because Hutton's focus is UK-centred, you'll want to turn to other sources for the develoment of the movement as we know it today, since quite a lot of that development took place in North America.  For actual "how did this develop?" history, Chas Clifton's [I]Her Hidden Children[/I] is a better choice than Adler's Drawing Down the Moon (which is more concerned with describing the pagan landscape current at the time of each edition than with examining the history of that landscape - though naturally this means that each edition is something of a snapshot of that point in time).

One thing to keep in mind is that neoPaganism as a movement did not develop solely from Wiccan/witchcraft roots; revivalism of cultural polytheisms and of Druidry, various types of ceremonial magic, and modern constructs such as Feraferia, the Church of All Worlds, and Discordianism (just to name a few) also played roles.

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Violet Skies

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Re: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 08:08:53 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;94344
As MarieBay mentioned, Ronald Hutton is your guy.  Triumph of the Moon covers the various cultural components that Gardner was drawing on; Stations of the Sun focuses on the ritual year and will have more on the holidays, and several of his other books cover pertinent material.

Because Hutton's focus is UK-centred, you'll want to turn to other sources for the develoment of the movement as we know it today, since quite a lot of that development took place in North America.  For actual "how did this develop?" history, Chas Clifton's [I]Her Hidden Children[/I] is a better choice than Adler's Drawing Down the Moon (which is more concerned with describing the pagan landscape current at the time of each edition than with examining the history of that landscape - though naturally this means that each edition is something of a snapshot of that point in time).

One thing to keep in mind is that neoPaganism as a movement did not develop solely from Wiccan/witchcraft roots; revivalism of cultural polytheisms and of Druidry, various types of ceremonial magic, and modern constructs such as Feraferia, the Church of All Worlds, and Discordianism (just to name a few) also played roles.

Sunflower

 
This is wonderful information, thank you so much!!  I bought The Triumph of the Moon for my Kindle and will probably be starting it tonight. :)

Micheál

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Re: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 11:02:43 am »
Quote from: Violet Skies;94366
I bought The Triumph of the Moon for my Kindle and will probably be starting it tonight. :)

Nice choice ;)

MarieBay

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Re: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 09:24:25 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;94344
For actual "how did this develop?" history, Chas Clifton's [I]Her Hidden Children[/I] is a better choice than Adler's Drawing Down the Moon (which is more concerned with describing the pagan landscape current at the time of each edition than with examining the history of that landscape - though naturally this means that each edition is something of a snapshot of that point in time.

 
Ooooh! I'll definitely check out Clifton's work! Thanks Sunflower!

Nyktelios

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Re: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 11:17:12 pm »
Quote from: Violet Skies;94366
This is wonderful information, thank you so much!!  I bought The Triumph of the Moon for my Kindle and will probably be starting it tonight. :)

 
It's a well-respected book in the pagan community, but I found it painfully dry and tedious to read, personally. A more concise and interesting book is A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, & Pagans by Jeffrey B. Russell and Brooks Alexander. It's not specifically about pagan witchcraft, as the first part of the book looks at the various ways cultures have interpreted witchcraft from a historical and anthropological perspective. The second part of the book focuses more on the pagan movement and its origins with Murray and Gardner, and how it has evolved since then.

yewberry

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Re: History of Wicca/Witchcraft (academic)
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2013, 02:58:45 am »
Quote from: Carnelian;94488
It's a well-respected book in the pagan community, but I found it painfully dry and tedious to read, personally.


I found it lengthy, but often amusing.  Hutton has a way of turning a phrase that I find endearing and amusing.  But more importantly, there's no more scholarly treatise on the subject of Wicca than Hutton's.

Brina

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