Ruth's Reviews > The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft

The Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton
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Aug 01, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: religion, witchmagichistory, 19thcentury, 18thcentury, britain, history

The true history of modern Wicca. Deeply academic yet totally fascinating, Ronald Hutton here turns his considerable historical expertise to unraveling the roots of Britain's only home-grown religion. No, it's not 30,000 years old, and yes, Gerald Gardener did fudge a lot of things. But Hutton argues persuasively that Wicca's origins do go beyond Gardener, for he was influenced not only by Hinduism (he'd been a civil servant in India) but by a diverse collection of sources: Romantic literature, 17th and 18th century fraternal organizations, 19th century esoteric societies, the back-to-nature movement, and more. This is a fat, thick, book, full of intriguing people and places. I think Hutton really provides a great model for doing religious history dispassionately; he retains a historian's skepticism and empiricism relating to issues of dates, times, places and the like. Yet he is never condescending when discussing his subjects' religious experiences. Nicely done.
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