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Wicca Magical Beginnings: A study of the historical origins of the magical rituals, practices and beliefs of modern Initiatory and Pagan Witchcraft (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Sorita d'Este , David Rankine

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  • Longueur : 284 pages
  • Langue : Anglais
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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

The origins of the Wiccan Tradition have long been a subject of debate amongst practitioners and scholars alike. Did Gerald Gardner invent the tradition? Is Wicca a survival of a British folk magick system? Could it be a continuation of a European tradition of Pagan Witchcraft? Might it be that it evolved from Victorian ceremonial magick, or perhaps it is the modern manifestation of the medieval Grimoire Tradition?

In this book the authors explore the possible beginnings of the tradition by examining the practices in the context of magickal and spiritual thought spanning thousands of years.Through setting aside the endless debates about initiatory lineages, they look beyond the personalities of the people and instead focus on what they consider to be at the heart of the tradition – the practices. Evidence from many previously uncredited and unconsidered sources is examined. This clearly shows how all the significant component parts of Wiccan ritual and practice have roots reaching back, in some instances thousands of years, before its public emergence at the hands of Gerald Gardner in 1950’s England. They explore the sometimes surprising antecedents for key practices such as initiation, magick circles, ritual tools, the invocation of the Guardians of the Watchtowers, Drawing Down the Moon and The Great Rite. The precedents for the Book of Shadows, Wiccan Rede and Charge of the Goddess are also considered as part of this groundbreaking work.

Wicca Magickal Beginnings may well answer as many questions as it creates about the true origins and nature of what is probably the most influential of the Western Esoteric Traditions today. Through combining scholarly research with practical knowledge, the authors clearly illustrate that the future of the tradition lies in utilising the rich diversity of its past, through the appreciation of its magickal origins and the untapped potential inherent in it.

This book will be invaluable to anyone with an interest in the history, practices and beliefs of the Wiccan Tradition – and its links to Paganism, Witchcraft, the British Folk Traditions and Ceremonial Magick.

*** * ***
"Fascinating stuff. Definitely a book worth getting if you’re at all interested in Thelema and Wicca.” Rodney Orpheus (Author of Abrahadabra: Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic Magick)

"... the New Forest coven, which some die-hard skeptics refuse to believe ever existed, was not a figment of Gardner’s imagination and that he did not just cobble together the rites of Wicca from books. Personally, I would go along with d’Este and Rankine. Highly recommended” Michael Howard (Editor of The Cauldron, and author of MODERN WICCA)

"Long awaited, and sorely needed in both the academic and Pagan community… Wicca Magickal Beginnings is, in one word, brilliant. In another word it is ‘orgasmic’ for the academic in me, ‘scintillating’ for the Pagan in me, and ‘un-put-downable’ (okay, so it’s technically not a word…) for the avid reader in me. " Kim Huggens (Author of SOL INVICTUS and editor of 'Vs.')

"By emphasising the link to ceremonial magick, the authors actually reinforce Wicca’s connection to original European witchcraft… “Magickal Beginnings” pulls together all the subjects that will interest wiccans, but which are usually too diverse to be found in one place… a vital part of many wiccans’ bookshelves.” Stephen Blake (The Apple Branch)

"This is an excellent book, set to become a classic that will be found on every Wiccan’s bookshelf, alongside The Triumph of the Moon.. and Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration." Vogelbere

"this is an exceptional book of references and one which I was hard pressed to find fault with. The material here will spark some interesting discussions, to say the least." Boudica (

With something of interest for both the newcomer and the scholar Wicca:Magickal Beginnings should find a place in any serious collection.” Pagan Dawn Magazine, Pagan Federation

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1393 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 284 pages
  • Editeur : Avalonia; Édition : Kindle Edition September 2014 (12 février 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004TGUCD6
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°166.593 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.9 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Open Exploration of the Possible Sources of Wiccan Rituals & Practices 15 mai 2009
Par Thaumagnost - Publié sur
This book was a project of love: a shared love between the authors for the tradition. I didn't know what to expect and, while reading, found myself surprised on more than one occasion. I own and reference more than a few books related to Witchcraft and Wicca, including Russell's A History of Witchcraft, Hutton's The Triumph of the Moon, and even Bonewits's Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca. Although these books are recommended, even as introductions to outsiders, this book is an act of devotion from within. It will be appreciated more from actual practitioners, although those who practice outside of the Wiccan tradition can also benefit (since it borrows from esoteric sources outside of itself - one of the things that makes this book so fascinating!). The key here is the comparison of current rituals and practices with historical precedents, including parallels. The authors are humble in their approach, even as they gently point out errors or inconsistencies of transmission. They are open-minded in their exploration, and it is shown that some sources are more probable, if not certain, than others. They also make the point that "the further back in time we go, the less evidence there is for direct lines of descent for practices and beliefs" (page 239), even if there are parallels from the ancient world.

The book is divided into two parts: Beginnings (comprised of 16 chapters) and Peripheral Visions (comprised of 4 chapters), before ending with their "Conclusions" and five appendices along with a bibliography and index. In the first part, one is introduced to the magical and literary culture within which Wicca emerged via Gerald Gardner, and sources for the terms "Wicca" and "Wiccan" are explored before delving into the bloodstream of contemporary ritual and practice. The Book of Shadows is shown to be rooted in prior grimoires, and initiation ceremonies are shown to have derivatives from sources such as Freemasonry, the Ordo Templi Orientis & the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Sources are also explored for the following: the Wiccan Rede, ritual nudity, the athame, the magick circle, the guardians of the watchtowers, the drawing-down-the-moon invocation, the Charge of the Goddess, the ceremony of Cakes and Wine, the Great Rite (as part of the Third Degree initiation ceremony), chants such as the Witches Rune and the Healing Rune, the eight Sabbats, and the pentagram. The second part looks at Cernunnos as the horned god of Wicca, the origins of the elements (earth, air, fire, water), the Theban Script (sometimes referred to as the Witches Alphabet), and the relevance of grimoires to the Wiccan tradition. If that wasn't enough, one is graced with five appendices which cover topics such as the use of "magick" instead of "magic", magickal philosophy, use of the phrases "So Mote it Be!" and "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust", and the magick circles used by Alex Sanders.

Based on the information provided, five different conclusions are given as to the POSSIBLE beginnings of Wicca. It seems clear that each conclusion may have some relative role to play in the development of the eclectic rituals and practices of the Wiccan tradition, although one trumps the others in terms of greater influence and it is NOT the one popularized by some contemporary authors and researchers which is that Wicca is the creation of Gerald Gardner and his associates. As the book's preface indicates, the book was born from a discussion with students as to the origins of the Wiccan tradition in late 2001 and it was apparent that "all the evidence being presented was focused on the people who were the early public face of the tradition and their contemporaries". But the Craft is an experiential tradition, not one focusing on personalities. This is one book that I will be referring back to throughout my esoteric studies and, like I said before, one does not have to embrace the Wiccan tradition to benefit from it.
16 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent and needed 24 mai 2008
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
(A version of this review was originally posted on 'The Avalonia Esoteric Book Review' site)

If we look at the arguments people have over Wicca, the biggest one is generally whether "Gardner made it up" or not. He introduced `The Craft' to the public in 1951, claiming that he'd been initiated into a system which was already in existence, not one that he invented himself. Since then we've found evidence that Gardner certainly changed parts of it later (as did Doreen Valiente and others), but the question over whether he really found an existing tradition remains.

The authors of this book decided not to focus on the big names like Gerald Gardner, but instead trace the origins of Wiccan *practices*. These are, after all, the things that make Wicca what it is - the ceremonies, tools and systems.

And this is where the trouble is going to start, because many people now see Wicca as primarily a pagan Earth-religion. Early `Gardnerian' Wicca (before it was called that) was very different in some ways: more like an initiatory system of ceremonial magic with some witchy themes. People are quite angry on both sides about whether real Wicca today is the initiatory type, or one that should be open to all.

So what does the book say about this? Well, the first conclusion is that - even if Gerald did make it up - the systems Wicca draws together go back a long way. The early chapters are interesting, but the sections on the Athame, Magic Circle and Calling the Quarters are brilliant. There is a lot of information here for Wiccans who want to know more about where their practices come from: specific parts are traced to the Lesser Key of Solomon or John Dee and Enochian Magic, but beliefs such as only walking sunwise around a circle go back strongly to Egyptian times.

The chants and verses are also examined. `The Charge of the Goddess' is analysed in detail, as are some of the more common chants such as the Witches Rune. This is where the arguments will begin again, because the authors point to some sources that many people won't like. They show just how much of the Charge of the Goddess comes straight from Aleister Crowley, who isn't always a popular figure with modern wiccans. Doreen Valiente re-wrote much of the Charge from the original version, claiming she wanted to reduce the amount of Crowley material in it, but then replaced it with more! In fact, Valiente doesn't come out of this very well at all, although the authors politely use phrases such as "she may have been mistaken...".

I already knew some of these origins before reading this book, but the level of detail here really adds something. It makes a difference that the authors are practicing Wiccans with experience in ceremonial traditions, because finding the sources sometimes depends on understanding exactly what each ritual represents. Unfortunately, the answers aren't always going to be what wiccans want to hear. At one point the list reads "Crowley, Lesser Key of Solomon, Crowley, Christianity". For wiccans whose path may be primarily a pagan religion, this isn't going to go down well.

It doesn't have to offend, though. By emphasising the link to ceremonial magick, the authors actually reinforce Wicca's connection to original European witchcraft. Cunning Men are well known to have worked from books on astrology and texts such as these, but included here are also illustrations of *witches* working in a similar way. One illustration from 1715 shows a woman in a double-circle commanding spirits with a wand, following instructions from a book on the ground.

So, the big question: Do the authors claim that Wicca has a beginning that goes back before Gardner? Well, I'm not going to tell you. Finding out is half the fun of this book! They set out a number of possibilities, and discuss the evidence for each before picking one based on their own opinions. Regardless of whether you agree with their conclusions, people are already so divided on this topic that it is likely to be a very controversial book.

Because of that, I expected `Wicca: Magickal Beginnings' to sell very quickly. (I didn't expect it to sell every copy of its first print run in approximately three hours, however!) What was a nice surprise was how useful it will be to wiccans in their daily practice - knowing the roots of the tools and ceremonies really added a lot to my appreciation of many areas, and I loved reading about them. Some of the references are put in just for fun (and clearly labelled as such), but quite often the conclusions are a little different to those the wiccan community usually assumes are the case.

The first printing isn't free from mistakes: an errata sheet is included (humourously claiming that the minor spelling errors are all the fault of Hermes, the mischievous God of communication). The rest of the presentation is good though, and it becomes a real page-turner when you find a part of wiccan practice you feel strongly about.

"Magickal Beginnings" pulls together all the subjects that will interest wiccans, but which are usually too diverse to be found in one place. Readers who want to go further now have a valuable set of links to excellent texts. (The bibliography at the back runs to 16 pages...) By covering the ceremonial topics as well as looking at themes on the pagan side such as Cernunnos, I think "Wicca: Magickal Beginnings" is going to become a vital part of many wiccans' bookshelves.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Leads the door open for intelligent discussion 27 janvier 2009
Par LunaNoire - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
These days it is always a delight to read something about the history of Wicca that is appears to be actually researched (and thoroughly at that) and without the usual assumptions and "bitch wars" resulting from hidden agendas and basically sour grapes that unfortunately seems to appear in such books.

Instead of pre-judging Gardner as simply "a silly old man", or even as a bit of a perv, the authors of ths book set about analysing various key aspects within the Wicca belief in an attempt to determine not only possible sources but also connections and reason why - moving beyond the standard "dismissing" everything cos "old Gardner was a bit of a fraud".

As a result of this mature and indepth study, they conclude with not one but THREE possible conclusions, and whilst summarising with their own, leaving it open for the reader to make up their own mind. At the end of day, I guess no one can be 100% sure what Gardner's inspiration, motives etc were .. but the conclusions given are extremely pulsable and offers much thought.

But that is only one aspect of this book - what the authors have also managed to achieve is to offer possibly sources and reasoning behind the inclusion of many aspects of Wicca rituals - such as:
- Where the Drawing Down of Moon came from and its accruate history
- Where Alex Sanders may have gained his inspiration for his circle that contains migher magickal names and symbols
- Where the concept of "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust" came from
- Meanings behind terms such as "watchtowers", the elemental pentagrams, the athame ...

This book was a delight to read as it was not preachy, even at the end. It was apparent that the authors had given much research and thought into this project and presented all the evidence they discovered without forcing their own conclusion down the reader's throat - a conclusion, I should add, that might actually surprise a lot of the "Gardner-bashers".

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, beginner or advanced, interested in Wicca and its possible origins.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting and informative research 11 février 2012
Par Mr. H - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
As an avid reader of religious history, finding good books on the beginnings of modern religions, or the modern expression of older religions, is a great deal more difficult than literature on those systems that go back centuries. Counting the number of good, historical authors on the phenomena of modern paganism does not require me to take off my shoes. Both David and Sorita are among those authors I'd count as worth reference sources for modern paganism and Wicca, along with Hutton and Heselton, and I hope they do not mind me including them with those two highly respected scholars in this field.

Most of the practitioners of Wicca I have met and discussed religion with do not say much about what they believe and practice, explaining that much of their belief system is highly personal and 'oathbound.' Somehow the authors manage to walk the fine line between respecting the wishes of those who practice in the way Dr. Gardner did, and the demands of historical research and accuracy.

As many of older generation pass beyond the veil, works like this will be a valuable insight into the thoughts and reasons behind the practice of a religion that might otherwise be lost to future historians.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Finally! 28 mars 2014
Par Saya Leland - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
A well researched, engaging discussion on the true origins of Wicca. If I were to teach a university class on Wicca and modern witchcraft, this would definitely be one of the required texts.

D'Este and Rankine explore the basics of traditional Wicca from a historical perspective, focusing not only on Gardener and Crowley, but centuries' worth of literature, theology, and lore. They are almost scientific in evaluating material and the conclusions reached therein, and ultimately arrive at a plausible, workable theory regarding the origins of Wicca.

This is a book that a lot of witches have been waiting for!
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