The essence of a very much 20th century argument seems to be that Wicca was only a 19th or 20th century invention by Gerald Gardnier with oblique references to Margaret Murray thrown in. These arguments invariably came from people not involved in Wicca and who just copied what each or everyone of them was saying.
It's also founded on fact, you see. Even Gareth, your mate, acknowledges Wicca's recent origins. TCP, another Wiccan, acknowledges the same. The references aren't "oblique". Gardner is widely acknowledged as the spearhead of modern Wicca. Obviously, your historical knowledge on the subject ain't all that great.
I am afraid this is often the case with very human arguments; there is a tendency to take an academic approach, whereby total reliance is placed on comparatively modern books, many of which have been compiled by authors basing their ‘evidence’ on supposition and hearsay.
That is not what I was saying, far less relying upon.
Yeah, except these same books actually examine its lineage, the writings on Wicca, etc. As I said, even many Wiccans are coming 'round to the recentness of Wicca as a religion. I guess you also think Gareth and TCP are wrong.
I am talking about an Ancient Knowledge System that pre- dated early Christianity by many centuries. Its adherents were persecuted by the early Church; so much so that its essential rites and ceremonies were driven underground and it eventually became ‘outlawed’. Gardnier tried to resurrect some of its ancient rites and practices in the comparatively ‘civilised’ 20th century - though how or where he obtained the vestments of the Cult he put together is still debatable. But that is not really the case in point; the fact is that he did (try) and his ‘modern’ Cult was based on Knowledge from a much earlier system.
And your source of this so-called "Ancient Knowledge System" is...?
How do I know this? Because I took 3 Initiations in Wicca in the early to mid 1960’s and I can assure you that many of the manuscripts and other authentic documentation went back centuries upon centuries before Gerald Gardnier. Wicca may well have been driven underground but its rites and ceremonies have always basically remained the same; that is, in their original form.
Can we have a look at those manuscripts then? Can you tell us something more about them? What language they were written in, etc.? Oh, and his name was Gardner
, by the way.
Speaking of which, here's a little more
about the bloke:
Prior to his encounter with Wicca, Gardner was already an accomplished writer on the topic of magic and witchcraft. For instance, he had become a member of the Folklore Society in 1939. His first contribution to its journal Folklore, appeared in the June 1939 issue and described a box of witchcraft relics that he believed had belonged to the 17th century 'Witch-Finder General', Matthew Hopkins. In 1946 he became a member of the society's council, and anxious to achieve academic acceptance, claimed to have doctoral degrees from the Universities of Singapore and Toulouse. Doreen Valiente has shown these claims were untrue.
One night in September 1939 they took him to a large house owned by "Old Dorothy" Clutterbuck, a wealthy local woman, where he was made to strip naked and taken through an initiation ceremony. Halfway through the ceremony, he heard the word "Wica", and he recognised it as an Old English word for witchcraft. He was already acquainted with Margaret Murray's theory of the Witch-cult, and "I then knew that that which I had thought burnt out hundreds of years ago still survived. How wonderful; to think that these things still survive."
As has been pointed out already, Murray's claims have received heavy criticism in their own right. Including distorting evidence.
The same article points out Gardner's links to the Rosicrucians. Noticing a pattern here?
Oh, and there's more:
This group, he claimed, were the New Forest coven, and he believed them to be one of the few surviving covens of the ancient, pre-Christian Witch-Cult religion. Subsequent research by the likes of Hutton and Heselton has shown that in fact the New Forest coven was probably only formed in the early 20th century, based upon such sources as folk magic and the theories of Margaret Murray.
As I said before, Wicca is a modern religion. More on the New Forest coven here
It perhaps follows that I have met and worked with many Wiccans even though I left active participation in 1982. But I still know and meet many of its Initiates. And I can assure you these exist today just as they did all though centuries ago.
And your proof for their centuries-long existence is...some manuscripts...that you've yet to reproduce or cite. They'd be especially valuable to historians and help prove that Wicca actually is
an old religion, so I'm sure you'd have no trouble having these manuscripts examined, surely.
That is why when I hear vague references to the bigoted (and often misguided) Margaret Murray, I can only silently smile! Again, here we have the writings of a woman who was writing about her own conceptions of Wicca and never having been actively involved in it. As a point of interest, genuine witches do not even believe in a cloven-footed devil. That is just more of the misguided hype!
When Murray wrote her book, you weren't born. When Gerry Gardner first heard of Wicca (or "Wica"), you weren't even born, either.
These two are also the primary reasons why Wicca even exists at all. Your proof that it existed sometime in the distant past, however, is some manuscripts you were shown
, but obviously never examined (not that you're qualified to, anyway). How do you know they weren't forgeries, for example.
So, to settle this matter once and for all why don't you provide some proof - at the very least, cite some reliable sources - for your Wicca/Ancient Knowledge System concepts that other people can read themselves.
Also, who exactly is raising the devil, here?
No one, but yourself.
And perhaps you can also explain why you stopped "active participation" (in 1982) in a religion you find yourself defending against others who are merely dealing with historical fact.