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History Part 2
MODERN DAY WITCHCRAFT:
We are now it the 1950’s. The last of the Witchcraft laws are repealed in England and Witchcraft speaks out. Dr. Gerald Gardner publicly states he is a Witch! During this period of time there are a lot of unknowns. There are people who say Gardner created Wicca, others say he just opened up the craft to the general public. Does it really matter? We know today many of the rituals we do have basis with earlier pagan religions, and others would be more at home with the Masons or Golden Dawn. But the things we do work.
If not for Gardner there would be a lot less people knowing they were Witches. I know many of you have had the delight of finding out about Wicca and the fact that it’s beliefs mirrored your won. Think what it would have been like if you never found Wicca! …Always searching for something you couldn’t find.
Gardner, although he opened Witchcraft knowledge to the general public, not anyone could join his Covens. Other who did join, felt that certain things were being done wrong. Because of this other Trads were formed and to this day are still being formed.
Gardner also though the Coven he was in was one of the last in Europe and stated so. He was surprised when other Covens started growing out of the woodwork. Some like the Strega predates Gardner by hundreds of years. Leland wrote about them in the late 1800’s and his writing stated they had been around for hundreds of years.
Raymond Buckland when he brought Wicca to the USA claimed to bring Witchcraft to America, a lot of US Witches disagreed.
So yes people like Gardner and Buckland have popularized Witchcraft, but they were not the first modern Witches, they were just the first out of the broom closet.
In Europe the Trads control Witchcraft, while in the USA eclectic Witchcraft seems to be more popular. (This doesn’t mean all Covens in Europe are part of Trads, nor that all US Covens are eclectic -
In the US the Feminist movement in Witchcraft started. Z. Budepest formed the Diantic Trad of Witchcraft in which the Goddess is the major deity and the God is only her consort. Most of their Covens are all female. They believe in doing HEXES. (They also believe in the Rede, so they are not easy spells to do.)
Another Feminist is Starhawk. Her form of Wicca is not the same as Z. Budepest, but it is one in which you MUST DO… If something is wrong you must do something to right it. She also feels it is alright to be in more than one Coven as long as they do not conflict with one another, so she is in both an all female Coven and a mixed Coven. (This information may not be up to date, as it has come from reading some of her books).
The use of the name Wicca and Wiccan came into use in the early 60’s when Witches wanted a name to use that didn’t shout out “I AM A WITCH” Today there are groups that claim that they are not the same. Some have made interesting claims showing the difference between them. I think a lot of this came around by not being taught by Elders (or the Elders not being taught by Elders). Also some of it comes from a misunderstanding what Witchcraft is, thanks a lot to modern media. The press has grouped together any Magick religions as Witchcraft. The African “Witches” which were called Witch Doctors when I was a kid, do not follow the religion of Witchcraft, they have their own religion. The same for the so called Witches in the middle east. They are not followers of Witchcraft, but this is how the press translates it from their languages
Always remember that the Internet is both a wondrous tool and a grand source of misinformation.
There are many Modern Witches who are writers. Some are very good, others not so good, and a few really bad ones. When you pick up a book, try to find something out about the author. And find out when the book was first printed. All this will reflect upon the book. If the writer is a Solitary that has never been part of a Coven -
It seems that since the start of the new century we are getting more and more Witches coming out of the broom closet. This is a good sign. Witchcraft is a recognized religion and has been for a while now. And it needs it members to be recognized and counted. As more and more people see us for what we really are, the sooner we will be accepted by the general population. (Their will always be some that will never accept us).
Here are a few things I would like some feedback on:
1. Is your local paper pro or anti Witchcraft?
2. Is it safe to say you are a Witch were you live?
3. Does your public library carry books on Witchcraft as a religion? (Examples would be the books we use in Wicca 101)
4. Does it bother you when someone says they are a Witch and then they start talking about Witchcraft its something completely different form what Witchcraft is?
That’s about all this week. Again I would like to here feedback. Remember this part of the course needs to be balanced with the reading since this contains my views. And bring in other books.
Remember when reading books of History -
Discussion: Modern people in Witchcraft.
1. Who is Magot Adler?
2. Who is Raymond Buckland?
3. Who is Z. Budapest?
4. Who is Laurie Cabot?
5. Who was Scott Cunningham?
6. Who was Stewart and is Janet Farrar?
7. Who is Starhawk?
8. Who is Doreen Valiente?
9. Who are Oberon and Morning Glory Zell?
10. What is the Church of All Worlds?
Answering any of the above with just Author is wrong… Find out who they are.
Make sure to check your class outline for next week assignments.