Where Witchcraft Lives 3rd Edition by Doreen Edith Valiente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
During her younger years Doreen Valiente, considered by many to be the mother of modern witchcraft, did na investigation of Witchcraft practices in Sussex, England. She went in not as a witch but as a scholarly investigator. She identified herself as a student. This was done primarily as a ruse to save her mother from any potential embarrassment as her mother was a member of a prominent church. This book has garnered enough attention to cause Ronald Hutton, author of "Triumph of the Moon" to write a short introduction. Doreen's work was praised as scholarly and her techniques at finding information were very scholarly as well. The book in his opinion should have garnered even more attention and publicity as it was a valuable source of information. Doreen never attempted such work again. The book's impact was limited in part because Doreen embraced a theory put forward by Margaret Murray which stated that at one time the entire European continent worshiped the Goddess and her horned consort.
Witchcraft practices still survive or at least did when Doreen wrote this book. Bits and pieces survived in modern folk practices and cures. People still throw gifts to the rivers and wells in order to pray for good luck and fortune. Although they may call out to the saints back in the day it was to water spirits or deities. the Christian church did it's utmost to demonize witchcraft. Most witches were followers of Diana, Roman Moon goddess. There are depictions of her battling the saints and trying to set a ship on fire with her cursed oil. Of course a priest was able to abolish her plot. The horned god was turned into the devil. But even until quite recently the horned God was honored in folk dances and countryside revels.
Doreen Valiente also discussed witchcraft trials. It was always easy to say that someone blighted your crops or was haunting you in the night. Name the person and they would stand trial and most likely they would be found guilty. One story involved two families the Stroppers and the Bennets. Apparently four spirits revealed themselves at one of the women's bedside and told her where a treasure was. Mrs' Bennet a local witch told Mrs. Stroppers that if she found it she could have part of it as the treasure was really part of Mrs. Bennet's lost inheritance. Two ladies were questioned by the mayor and later condemned to death for cavorting with witches and spirits.
Witches are often associated with the moon. So are rabbits and so is water. Witches are said to be able to turn into different animals and one of those animals is a hare. The hare has associations with fertility and the moon. It is also associated with Artemis the moon hunter goddess who is by the way the Greek version of Diana. Witches it should be noticed have what is called a fetch or an astral body wich projects out when the witch is in a trance. The astral body leaves no shadow yet if it receives and injury so to will the witch. Hares are considered back luck for sailor. As the moon controls the oceans and is associated with the Witch Goddess so goes the Ocean is also equated with the witch. Witches are said to have some control over the ocean and water.
Three other areas that are discussed are White Witchcraft, Black magic and surviving rite and covens. White witchcraft can be used to cure, heal and help find love. Doreen gives a few examples of how a woman can get love or use divination on how to find who her future husband will be. Some remedies for warts are included in this as well. Black magic still survives. Doreen gives a couple of stories on how people come across public desecration of Christian holy places, secret altars and people who are abducted and forced to join in occult activities. Doreen is against harming other and black magic yet magic itself is a force that can be used for good or bad. Secret covens still exist their are circle dances in former pagan sights. Coven masters still conduct seances in back rooms. The persecution may have taken their toll but they cannot eradicate the followers of the Goddess and her horned consort.
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