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Aradia; or, The gospel of the witches by Charles G. Leland

By Charles G. Leland

Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is a booklet composed by way of the yank folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland that used to be released in 1899. It includes what he believed was once the spiritual textual content of a gaggle of pagan witches in Tuscany, Italy that documented their ideals and rituals, even if numerous historians and folklorists have disputed the life of the sort of staff. within the twentieth century, the booklet was once very influential within the improvement of the modern Pagan faith of Wicca. The textual content is a composite. a few of it truly is Leland's translation into English of an unique Italian manuscript, the Vangelo (gospel). Leland suggested receiving the manuscript from his basic informant on Italian witchcraft ideals, a lady Leland known as "Maddalena" and whom he known as his "witch informant" in Italy. the remainder of the fabric comes from Leland's study on Italian folklore and traditions, together with different comparable fabric from Maddalena. Leland were trained of the Vangelo's life in 1886, however it took Maddalena 11 years to supply him with a duplicate. After translating and enhancing the cloth, it took one other years for the booklet to be released. Its fifteen chapters painting the origins, ideals, rituals, and spells of an Italian pagan witchcraft culture. The imperative determine of that faith is the goddess Aradia, who got here to Earth to coach the perform of witchcraft to peasants to ensure that them to oppose their feudal oppressors and the Roman Catholic Church.

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Extra info for Aradia; or, The gospel of the witches

Sample text

When she had said this, there appeared before her a bright but shadowy form — uno ombra bianca — which said: — “Rise, and go to thy home! Thou has(sic) well deserved this grace; No one shall trouble thee more, Purest of all on earth! ” Page 46 Thus it came to pass that Tana became the dea or spirit of the Moon. ” The dramatic centre is just the same in both. The English ballad soberly turns into an incurable fit of ague inflicted on a greedy young boor; the Italian witch-poetess, with finer sense, or with more sympathy for the heroine, casts the brute aside without further mention, and apotheosises the maiden, identifying her with the Moon.

But while the race is being run, as the moon becomes warm she casts off one garment after another, till she is naked and then stops, and then when dressed the race begins again. As the vast storm-cloud falls in glittering drops, even so the great myths of the olden time are broken up into small fairy-tales, and as these drops in turn reunite “En rivière ou sur l’estang,” (“On silent lake or streamlet lone,”) as Villon hath it, even so minor myths are again formed from the fallen waters. In this story we clearly have the dog made by Vulcan and the wolf — Jupiter settled the question by petrifying them — as you may read in Julius Pollux his fifth book, or any other on mythology.

The foregoing tale was not given to me as belonging to the Gospel of the Witches, but as one of a very large series of traditions relating to Virgil as a magician. But it has its proper place in this book, because it contains the invocation to and incantation of Diana, these being remarkably beautiful and original. When we remember how these “hymns” have been handed down or preserved by old women, and doubtless much garbled, changed, and deformed by transmission, it cannot but seem wonderful that so much classic beauty still remains in them, as, for instance, in “Lovely goddess of the bow!

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