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The Meaning of Witchcraft

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  276 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Thought to be the father of modern witchcraft, Gerald Gardner published The Meaning of Witchcraft in 1959, not long after laws punishing witches were repealed. It was the first sympathetic book written from the point of view of a practicing witch.

"The meaning of witchcraft is to be found, not in strange religious theories about God and Satan, but in the deepest levels of t
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Weiser (first published 1959)
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Apr 20, 2012 Katie added it
Shelves: textbook, paganism
Didn't make it through all of it, but it did help me write my final paper for school!
Tasha Raymond
Jul 02, 2012 Tasha Raymond rated it it was amazing
I'm very glad that I finally had the chance to read through this book in its entirety. While I had heard a lot about Gerald Gardner from other witches, I had avoided his works as I hate to be a "band wagon" person. Needless t say, not having a coven to call my own, I've finally gone without hearing "Gardner this" or "Gardner that" long enough to feel like I'm not following the crowd reading it. He makes some very solid arguments against the false ideas of what witchcraft is and is not. He's also ...more
Scott Smith
Apparently a groundbreaking work, published in the 1950's and pioneering a pro-Wicca agenda, this book does a lot to advance knowledge of the history of witchcraft, based on the evidence available. The author is a member of a British coven that is said to have ties to generations of practitioners, but linking modern witchcraft to the traditions of the ancients is a more complicated story. The author does a good job, in a wide ranging style, and even though it seemed like he wandered a lot, I did ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Lady rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every witch should read this to understand the roots of modern witchcraft and Wicca, but it's not a well-written book. I first groaned at the whole "Black Mass" material in it, but I did learn a few things as a result of that which I didn't know. Goes to show you the discrediting has been going on forever, too. Add it to your list as a bathroom or doctor's office reader because you really should read it, but it's probably not going to be quick.
Mar 21, 2016 Celeste rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gardner wasn't called the "Grand Old Man of Witchcraft" for nothing. I was long overdue for reading any of his work. His writing style is very readable. Tons of history - he DID do his research. Skimmed over the chapters on "Some Allegations Examined". Gardner looks at some sensationalist newspaper stories and tears them apart. I've read too much of the similar (and some of the same stories) in other early witchcraft books.
Rosa Ramôa
Feb 21, 2015 Rosa Ramôa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Faça o que desejar, sem a ninguém prejudicar"
(Gerald Gardner)
Didn't finish. This is a great reference book.
St. Bartholomew Noir II
The Inquisition is not over.
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Gerald Brousseau Gardner was an influential English Wiccan, as well as an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist, writer, weaponry expert and occultist. He was instrumental in bringing the Neopagan religion of Wicca to public attention in Britain and wrote some of its definitive religious texts. He himself typically referred to the faith as "witchcraft" or "the witch-cult", its adherents "the Wi ...more
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“O Moon that rid'st the night to wake
Before the dawn is pale,
The hamadryad in the brake,
The Satyr in the vale,
Caught in thy net of shadows
What dreams hast thou to show?
Who treads the silent meadows
To worship thee below?
The patter of the rain is hushed,
The wind's wild dance is done,
Cloud-mountains ruby-red were flushed
About the setting sun:
And now beneath thy argent beam
The wildwood standeth still,
Some spirit of an ancient dream
Breathes from the silent hill.

Witch-Goddess Moon, thy spell invokes
The Ancient Ones of night,
Once more the old stone altar smokes,
The fire is glimmering bright.
Scattered and few thy children be,
Yet gather we unknown
To dance the old round merrily
About the time-worn stone.
We ask no Heaven, we fear no Hell,
Nor mourn our outcast lot,
Treading the mazes of a spell
By priests and men forgot.”
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