Vol 1 No. 2 (1997) Issue Number 2, August 1997
Notes from the Underground
I am most pleased to see that so many of you have returned to read the second edition of our new journal. We have prepared for you a veritable feast of articles designed to entertain as well as to educate. Although thematic issues were never part of our original plans for this magazine, several of the writings here assembled for your pleasure might be thought of as having been inspired by Cleo, the muse of History.
When one says that one wants to study and, perhaps, reconstruct the religion of the ancient Celts, it is well to be clear about whom one speaks. 'Celtic' describes a language group which, over time, has divided into two strains - P-Celtic, spoken in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany and Q-Celtic, spoken in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. One must also be clear about the possible tools for such study that are available. As so many things Celtic comes in threes, so do our sources - archaeology, classical commentaries and the vernacular traditions of the Celtic countries.
Modern belief in the veneration of a single Great Goddess in the European Neolithic is often accompanied by the notion that those cultures of 'Old Europe' were woman-centred in society as well as religion. What is the long history which precedes these contemporary notions? What is the complex history of their political development? A chain runs from Classical times to Marija Gimbutas and our own day.
The importance of science fiction and fantasy writing in the Pagan community is undeniable. Most often told is the story of how Robert Heinlein's 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land helped spawn the Church of All Worlds.
Back in the dark ages when many of us started Wicca, we were starved for knowledge and, being of the intellectual bent, headed to our nearest libraries and book stores looking for revealing tomes. What we found were abstruse esoterica only indirectly relayed to our doings, or decidedly spare recipe books of 'spells' and a few rituals. There were few sources that provided satisfactory 'whole cloth' rituals, nor were there books that explored the implications and obligations of doing magic.