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Modern Witchcraft: Tradition Re-invented and Renewed

Oct 16, 2007
Modern Witchcraft is both the product of evolution and invention. For a thousand years, traditional witches had to remain underground for fear of persecution, torture and death. Whilst many books were published on the topic of Witchcraft during the Middle Ages, the content was without exception, aimed at sketching the Craft as an evil, maleficent practice. The grotesque image of the Craft was fed by unadulterated lies and fabrications by those who claimed to be experts. These self-proclaimed experts also happened to be lackeys of Rome and supporters of that genocidal period labeled the "Burning Times" today.

The first well researched and impartial study of Witchcraft was undertaken by Egyptologist, folklorist and anthropologist, Margaret Murray, who published "The Witch-Cult in Western Europe" in 1921. She was also a close friend of Gerald Gardner, who is seen to be the founder of Modern Witchcraft together with Doreen Valiente. Whilst Witchcraft started re-emerging from the proverbial broom closet in the 1930s, it was only after the repeal of anti-Witchcraft Acts in the 1950s that a notable resurgence started taking place.

Sadly, Traditional Witchcraft was all but completely lost. Hence, only some of the original practices survived. Where practices lacked, these had to be reinvented or borrowed and amended. The subsequent additions and changes saw the birth of a new pagan movement: Wicca - a modern form of Witchcraft. Perhaps an overview of the differences will show that there is not that great a difference between the Old Ways and the New Ways after all.

Learning the Craft

Traditional Witchcraft is an oral tradition. Knowledge and practices were transmitted in person from one generation of witches to the next. Nothing was ever documented: perhaps out of fear, perhaps because of illiteracy or perhaps a little of both. Modern Witches can study the craft in a coven setup or on their own as solitaries. The book stores and the internet offer a large variety of high quality information to those wanting to learn the Craft.

Gardner developed the Book of Shadows concept. The Book of Shadows will typically contain the Creation Myth, the Rede, the Coven's Laws, a herbal grimoire, correspondences, recipes for potions, oils, brews and incense, correspondences, a list of tools, ritual descriptions and Spells, amongst others. Considering the vast amount of wisdom and knowledge lost during the Burning Times, this is most appropriate practice - one that the vast majority of Wiccans diligently adhere to.
About the Author
Rose Ariadne has been practicing ancient forms of Witchcraft for over 25 years. Get more info about modern witchcraft traditions here:
http://www.askroseariadne.com/editorials/modern-witchcraft-tradition-reinvented.html
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