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Thread: pre-Gardnerian traditions?

  1. #1
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    pre-Gardnerian traditions?

    In all my reading about Wicca and witchcraft I've seen plenty of assumptions that there are pre-Gardnerian traditions. However, Gardnerian Wicca seems to be the oldest tradition that has any verified existence.

    I'd love to learn more about pre-Gardnerian witchcraft. Does anyone have some sources they can point me to (web links, books, people to email)?

    Just for the record, I'm a solitary eclectic Wiccan, with two decades of practice under my belt. I've worked in groups as well.

    I've already read Ronald Hutton's "The Triumph of the Moon," and was hoping for other suggested books.

    Thanks!

    Ben Gruagach
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    Well...I don't know if you mean "Wicca" as in the established path Wicca with all our concepts of it. However, since Gardner supposely based part of "Wicca" on Strega...that might be a good place to start. As far as I know...the actual religion of Wicca is a conglomerate of pre-existing forms of magick, and philosophy, from various folk traditions, magickal orders, and philosophical systems. To my knowledge, the term Wicca was just another word for "Wise" or "Witch" (have heard differen't theories on that, too), but that Wicca in the "current" terms is something begun by Gardner and Valiente.
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    A really good Book that helps put Wicca in a good perspective and will really go along with what Danus had mentioned is
    a book by Raven Grimasse called "The wiccan Mysteries"

    I highly reccomend it ! it is a great book
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    Read "Triumph of the Moon" by Ronald Hutton ASAP.

    It also has a pretty darned good bibliography.

    Oh, wait, you already have! Silly me for missing your last line.

    Okay, I would take a look at some of his early source material - he discusses quite a bit in the first few chapters.

    I also recommend his other book "Stations of the Sun" which deals with the hisotry of ritual practice in Britain. If you've ever wondered where lots of ritual and folk custom we have adopted in modern Pagan practice come from, this is the book for you.
    Last edited by Azure; July 1st, 2002 at 08:32 PM.
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    I've honestly never seen any proof for pre-Gardenarian traditions. Folk magic and charming is very different from an organised religon....
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    Post

    Originally posted by Earthcup
    I've honestly never seen any proof for pre-Gardenarian traditions. Folk magic and charming is very different from an organised religon....
    This has been my nagging conclusion from what I've seen in my years of research. Lots of people (Gardnerians, Alexandrians, etc.) have claimed to be based on established traditions that predate Gardner, but when the research is done the trail appears to stop at Uncle Gerald.

    Strega (Leland's "Aradia" material) seems to be the closest thing to anything more than just smatters of folk magick, and does predate Gardner. Not speaking Italian makes that sort of research a bit difficult for me, though.

    I'll keep searching regardless!

    ; )

    Ben

    Ben Gruagach
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Gruagach View Post
    This has been my nagging conclusion from what I've seen in my years of research. Lots of people (Gardnerians, Alexandrians, etc.) have claimed to be based on established traditions that predate Gardner, but when the research is done the trail appears to stop at Uncle Gerald.

    Strega (Leland's "Aradia" material) seems to be the closest thing to anything more than just smatters of folk magick, and does predate Gardner. Not speaking Italian makes that sort of research a bit difficult for me, though.

    I'll keep searching regardless!

    ; )

    Ben
    I've been on this same search, Ben, for several years, and keep coming back to Gardner as well. I have found a few pre-Gardnerian Witchcraft traditions (and verified them), but nothing resembling an organized cult or older than the '40s. The closest is Aradia, but I've lately begun to question whether Leland didn't, in fact, fabricate the whole thing.

    I would settle for a pre-Gardnerian Witchcraft tradition if it was original, cohesive, and comprehensive, and didn't have any Wicca influence. Unfortunately, even the handful of pre-Gardnerian Witchcraft trads I've found have adopted some BTW praxis and belief.

    Not counting the various medieval grimoires, the two best examples of pre-Gardnerian magical traditions IMO are Pow-Wow and hoodoo. See the books Long Lost Friend (circa 1820), and The Master Book of Candle Burning by Henri Gamache (circa 1942). But those systems, as you know, rely on Christian low magic or, in the case of the grimoires, Xtian high magic. I haven't found much else worth noting.
    Last edited by SoulFire; November 27th, 2010 at 06:07 PM.

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    As I understand it, Gardner borrowed a lot from ceremonial magic, particularly Crowley's stuff. The closest I think you'll probably find to a pre-Gardnerian Wicca-esque religion would be Thelema.

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    Eight years later and I still say, Read Raven's book, it has a lot of history in it.

    Holy crap, this thread is eight and a half years old..

    lol

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaganSpirit View Post
    As I understand it, Gardner borrowed a lot from ceremonial magic, particularly Crowley's stuff. The closest I think you'll probably find to a pre-Gardnerian Wicca-esque religion would be Thelema.
    Yes,

    Gardner took what he was taught by the New Forest coven and went from there. What he is credited with is a beautiful religion that was later discovered to have been a joining of Rosicrucian, Masonic, and NeoPagan/ Christian beliefs and rituals that was Appologetic to the Vatican even tho they claimed it wasn't.

    There was a pre gardenian sect of witches, but they did not consider themselves to be Wiccan at all. Wicca as a term did not come about untill the early 20th century as a result of Gardner's teachings. (From what I have found, if someone here knows different I would be much in their debt if they can help me in my research)

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