Vol 13 No. 10 (2011) Issue Number 12, May 2000

Notes from the Underground

We are delighted to offer our readers an excerpt from Ronald Hutton’s new book, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. To readers familiar with his previous works, Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles and Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain, Dr Hutton needs no introduction, and new readers are sure to find his ideas provocative and entertaining. We are delighted to see such a book published by the prestigious Oxford University Press. In addition to whatever effect this work might have on the Neopagan community, it has already made its mark on academia.

Readers' Forum

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Finding a Folklore [+-] 4-14
University of Bristol
Wilhelm Mannhardt tended to over emphasise ancient European religions as concerned with fertility rites, and made a leap beyond the evidence to assert that they had been focused upon the concept of animating spirits of vegetation.
In many ‘traditional’ cultures, religion and magic are not easily separated from people’s everyday existence. Today, an increasing number of people within North America are drawn to some form of earth-centred spirituality, whether as solitary practitioners or members of Neopagan circles, Wicca covens, Heathen kindreds or Druid groves. For many of these people, religion and spirituality do not form a closed category of their experience: they inform, and are formed by, events of their lives as distinct or diverse as childbirth, gardening, social protest, sexual expression, and everyday occupations of work and leisure
… as manifestations of the divine creative ideation, we are created in the divine image. At the same time, we carry that same creative consciousness within and use it to create our own images of divinity according to our needs or understanding
Service to the community is a hallmark of historical shamanism, in contrast to closed or private circles (such as most Wiccan circles) where psychic practice is primarily kept 'in house'.
The concept of polarity proceeds from the Golden Dawn's way of working with the masculine and feminine pillars of the Kabalistic Tree of Life, and the magicians absolute need for a balance between those influences in performing the Great Work.