Vol 13 No. 3 (2011) Issue Number 3, February 1998
Notes from the Underground
An important area of contention that arises when the scholars of today approach the religions of Witchcraft and Paganism concerns the origins of modern Witchcraft and whether any historical continuity exists between contemporary Pagans and the ancient pagan religions of Europe.
Even though many scholars and practitioners of Wicca recognise English archaeologist and historian Margaret Murray's influence in significantly shaping the Wiccan myth of origins, the implications of her scholarly method and colonial contexts have received little attention.
There is a lake near Rome known as 'The Mirror of Diana'. An ancient volcanic crater, the lake is perfectly round and almost completely enclosed by steep wooded slopes. Lake Nemi and its surrounding forest, in our age, is a heavily numinous landscape still.
The dust jacket of this book defines Diane Purkiss as a Lecturer in English; within its pages she prefers to describe herself as a feminist literary critic. It is a potent combination, and has resulted in a thoroughly individual and important book. Its preoccupation is with the manner in which images of English witches have been formed and manipulated during two distinct periods of history, that of Elizabeth and the early Stuarts, and the late twentieth century.