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Aradia: Gospel of the Witches

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  974 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Its accuracy is disputed by some, while others consider it a vital resource for studying and understanding Italian witch folklore of the 19th century. What is certain is that this 1899 classic has become a foundational document of modern Wicca and neopaganism. Leland claimed his "witch informant," a fortune-teller named Maddalena, supplied him with the secret writings that ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Cosimo Classics (first published 1899)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,027)
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Oct 12, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
This is a book I had been meaning to read for some time. Thankfully, it's very short and I managed to read it in entirety yesterday. This book is considered important to modern Witchcraft from a historical standpoint. I, however, did not like it and consider it to be a fine example of primitive and unsubstantial folklore you could find. The book has very little to do with Aradia, female savior of the Italian Witches, and seems to be a Christianized version of the history of the Streghe. While I ...more
Steve Cran

In Northern Italy there are vestiges of an ancient faith that maybe still practiced by the common people. It is a vestige left over from the ancient Etruscan religion. The Etruscans lived in Tuscany, Italy. The main Goddess for the practitioners of this faith is the Goddess Diana. She is the Goddess of the moon, queen of the fairies and protector of the down trodden. She is also the goddess of witchcraft.

Charles Godfrey Leland traveled to Italy in the Mid to late 1800's and gather all this mater
Zaubin Z
Aug 30, 2007 Zaubin Z rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was OK. Too disjointed for my tastes. I get that they are stories passed down from generation to generation, but that doesn't make them good. Some are difficult to find a point to. Of course, it is a must read if you are into Stregarian Witchcraft. But only because the characters in the stories are important in the tradition. I just have a problem with the complete lack of continuity, or even correspondence between even the same god or goddess. It's like, here's a story, here's some more rand ...more
Apr 28, 2014 Silas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is clearly important to the history of modern paganism. The cadence and phrasing of the poetry presented here is replicated in many places that I have encountered. The story focuses on the "witch cult" idea that was popular in the early to mid 1900s (and apparently the late 1800s, as well), which tied ideas about witches sabbats common from folklore with the idea of witchcraft being a survival of pre-Christian religion, in this case, the worship of Diana. As folk stories and mythology, ...more
Patick Kyteler
Aradia is considered the foundation text for modern witchcraft, especially British Traditional Wicca. It was from this book that Aleister Crowley “borrowed” the invocation of Diana and Aradia for his Thelemic text The Book of the Law, which Gerald Gardner paraphrased for his own original BOS that Doreen Valiente later rewrote into her liturgical masterpiece The Charge of The Goddess (versions 1 & 2).

It amazes me the importance of this book given its size. In many ways it reads like a childr
Perhaps my taste for mythology has dried up over the years or I'm too focused on the practical to enjoy it.

Regardless, Aradia is a good collection of mythology and poetry. In my younger years, I would have loved it. I'd say it's more appropriate to witches without a trad/denomination, practitioners of Stregheria, or Dianic Wiccans than it is to me.

Still, I suppose one of the tests is being able to tackle it and know that at the end.
Jul 06, 2009 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There's a problem with 19th century religious studies texts is the blatant "my research is better, and oh by the way, read this other work I've written." Not only that, he admits that he's rewritten a lot of the translated texts, to keep with his "feeling" of what the "intent" of the Italian was. His bias is basically shoveled into the work.

I have to admit that there's some useful stuff in there, but I can't really recommend it.
Davin Raincloud
Aug 17, 2014 Davin Raincloud rated it liked it
I don't see this book being very popular with many pagans. It's revered by 'some' witches, who find inspiration in it's poetic tale. Too many pagans these days are too literal to enjoy what I consider a piece of art.

In Australian slang, it's a bit of creative bullshit. You get out of it what you like.

The trouble with the text is it's not that long, and the author is not that good of a writer.

But people enjoy it as a bit of a heretical indulgence. It's interesting that some of the problems with
Nov 09, 2012 Tepintzin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pagan, esoteric
Kind of hard to have a real "opinion" of one of the classics. Provided source material for many of Gardner's rituals.
Oct 17, 2011 Chrissy rated it it was amazing
I loved the book, Really connected with it.. But then again I love most of Leland's books..
Sep 23, 2013 Leisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for the sometimes overwhelmingly exquisite poetry throughout.
Dec 26, 2014 Jediraven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting. I liked the prose and prayers that it contained. I think that it confused me more than helped me about the lore and which gods and goddesses are which, though. That was the first I read about her brother being named "Lucifer" instead of "Apollo". And from all I had learned, I thought Diana/Artemis was a chaste goddess and didn't have children, but that could just be my ignorance. Also, the rituals seem much simpler than casting circles and using altars like in other Pagan rituals.
Aaron Meyer
I've read alot of folks reviews before reading the book and after reading the work myself it just comes to me that alot of people don't really "read" it with a view to understand it. I have alot of areas to cover so I guess I will just jump into the first thing that comes to mind.
There are alot of people who claim that the witchcraft in Aradia is to mean and evil. They need to remember that this is not modern wicca, this is real witchcraft. The type that has been used throughout history and thro
Oya Çetin Kuzum
Apr 06, 2013 Oya Çetin Kuzum rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Aradia Gospel of the Witches 1899 yılında basılmış. Yazar Charles G. Leland çalışmalarını sürdürürken "Maddalena" isimli bir falcı ile tanışmış ve böylelikle İtalyan büyücülüğünü, eski dini ve Tanrıça Diana kültürünü keşfetmiş. Yazara göre anlatılanlar tamamen gerçek. 1886 yılında cadı sanatına dair gizli belgeler içeren bir el yazması olduğunu öğreniyor ve 1897 yılında Maddalena tarafından kendisine bu el yazması ulaştırılıyor. Herodias (Aradia) Cadılar İncili adı altında.
İnanışa göre Aradia İ
May 27, 2012 Molly rated it really liked it
I've read this several times and never seem to read every word. It's one of those strange books that you can pick up repeatedly and always see something new. For that, I think I will continue to re-read "Aradia" again and again.

It's a very small book, but dense in language. The stories are interesting and quite different from what we see in other mythology concerning witchcraft. For clarity (and the option to use invocations in their original language) I very much appreciate Leland giving them i
Anthony  Miller
Dec 26, 2015 Anthony Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful read

Through history and folklore, it is quite compelling what has become of Aradia, Diana, and Lucifer. The parallels of scripture, hymns,and incantations, if one has knowledge, is quite interesting. I must add that this book was brought to light by Martin Rombergs music album entitled Witch Mass. Which this text was the primary influence for the beautifully composed choral music.
Aug 19, 2015 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: pagan
A classic for the Witch's bookshelf. While it's authenticity is under debate, Aradia is an essential neopagan text, and a fascinating read. What I found most interesting about this text is the repeated theme of threatening the god or spirit one is petitioning if they don't grant one's request. Recommended reading for anyone interested in traditional witchcraft or the history of the neopagan movement.
Jenee Edwards
May 18, 2015 Jenee Edwards rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very disappointing. Seems like it was written by a very vindictive person, full of self loathing and hate. If this is what the Cristian church saw as the Wiccans full belief then I can fully understand why the went crazy and became murderous villains.
Jan 01, 2015 Bladestryke rated it it was ok
a hard read but the parts I could glean were interesting. he does seem to take the subject matter seriously and tries to take a scholarly look at things.
Jan Argasiński
Nov 17, 2015 Jan Argasiński rated it liked it
Interesujące. Aczkolwiek od samej treści "Ewangelii" DUŻO ciekawsze są jej źródła i cały kontekst historyczno-kulturowy.
Oct 30, 2011 Andrew rated it it was ok
An OK book that I found online as a public domain read..the book is a collection of pagan rites etc connected to the Goddess Diana and its of some interest but ultimately didn't thrill...some of the grammar and spelling etc is terrible but it is readable..i'm not sure if this was in transcribing or whether the piece was initially poor in this respect as there is a part of the book whereby the author bemoans corrections to previous works of his passing on error to the original source material.
Joan DeArtemis
I read this a long time ago, and, I have to admit, I did not understand it. Since then, I have heard some people discount Leland's story... that he got this from an Italian Strega. However, I was doing to some research just recently, and I learned that "Aradia" may be a misspelling of "Herodia", who was the mother of Salome in the New Testament, and who demanded the head of John the Baptist. So, now, my curiosity is peaked, and I want to further research into this.
I'm not the biggest fan of Stregheria but, to be honest, I really enjoyed reading this book.

It gave me more awareness to the other paths out there and it made me understand a bit more about Aradia and Diana as deities and how they are worshipped and such.

I liked this book.
Apr 06, 2012 Cinnimini rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wiccan
I know lots of people rave about this book... but my 2nd time through I still think, "Its ok". Sure the spells and charms are cool, but I feel like it needs more.. Like there should have been more stories and lore. But its still interesting
Dec 23, 2008 Barry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book....I feel that much of the so called "history" given is at some times suspect, and even hypocritical to modern "witch" groups that acknowledge this work. I did enjoy it, however
Angela Pippinger
Mar 30, 2011 Angela Pippinger rated it it was ok
Not a fan of this one. Pretty poetry and what not but hardly factual. My personal opinion is that Charles Leland was "told" these things because that is what he wanted to believe was true.
Sep 09, 2013 Katy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Can be read on-line at this link. A classic for witches and those interested in witchcraft.
Jennifer Damaskos
Apr 16, 2013 Jennifer Damaskos rated it really liked it
it's interesting history of witchcraft I think it staggers a bit too much for me it didn't flow overall think its great background information
Charlie Hyde
Feb 02, 2011 Charlie Hyde rated it liked it
The claims aren't exactly what you'd call believable, and the message is sort of lacking, but it's kind of interesting. 3 stars.
Jun 30, 2009 Carol rated it it was ok
Seems scattered. My favorite quote from the book "As appetite comes by eating and craving
Profit results from labour and saving"
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Charles Godfrey Leland (August 15, 1824 – March 20, 1903) was an American humorist and folklorist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Princeton University and in Europe.
Leland worked in journalism, travelled extensively, and became interested in folklore and folk linguistics, publishing books and articles on American and European languages and folk traditions. Leland worked in
More about Charles Godfrey Leland...

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