The Great History Of Witchcraft

During the Burning Times and even for a time thereafter, Witches went underground. From the mid 1930s onwards a slow re-emergence of Witchcraft started taking place. A leader in this re-emergence was Gerald Gardner, an Englishman. In the USA, pressure was exerted by the Spiritualist movement to repeal the Witchcraft Laws, an effort which was rewarded with success in 1951.

Witchcraft started growing steadily during the fifties in spite of some internal disputes within the hatchling Wiccan Community and a continuous attack from Fleet Street media. Still, all of this took its toll and in 1957 the Wiccan community split into two groups – one headed by Doreen Valiente and the other by Gardner. During the remainder of the fifties and until his death in 1964, Gardner was the dominant influencer in Wicca.

Doreen Valiente’s contribution to the Craft was as significant as that of Gardner. She removed most of the ‘Crowleyisms’ from Wicca and replace it with poetic phrases and compositions, the most famous of which is probably the Wiccan Rede.

The numbers of those following the Wiccan ways continued to grow gradually over the next 30 years, albeit quietly in most cases. The last 15 years have seen many Witches come out of the proverbial broom closet, inspired by influential authors such as Cunningham, Starhawk, Telesco, Buckland and Ravenwolf. It is estimated that there are currently at least 1,000,000 witches world-wide today.

A religion steeped in history, mystery and myth, the goddess tradition of Witchcraft has survived severe onslaughts over millennia. Onslaughts that probably would have destroyed any of the mainstream religions in the world today. Whilst there is much greater tolerance – at a theoretical level – of the Craft than 50 years ago, Witches are still campaigning for tolerance at a practical level in schools, the workplace and society in general. It is inevitable, as the number Witches increases, that this campaign will ultimately result in success.

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Rose Ariadne: Providing “Magickal” answers to your Pagan, Wiccan, Witchcraft spell casting questions since 2006.

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