Yesterday evening I watched a documentary on Wicca, by BBC:
It made me think a lot because I didn’t expect to hear what I heard. The main thing they talked about was how Wicca was such a young belief. And it struck me: is it? Is it that young a religion?
I understand that Gardner put it all in one book in the last century, his Book of shadows, which I read, but I don’t think he started the whole thing. Yes he told the world about modern Witchcraft, but these beliefs are ancient. He just put them into words in a book, and that’s it.
And then he was interviewed about it a lot, and told even more about it. However I do think it takes an unusual person, someone thinking outside the box, to make a difference. And I won’t deny he was such a person. But to say he founded Wicca, I think it is a bit too much. It is older than that. This belief gathers all sorts of ancient beliefs, passed down through generations for centuries.
In a nutshell, as much as I believe Gardner has been a very important milestone in the wicca faith, I don’t agree with saying that he founded it.
Let me know what you think,
EDIT: Reactions to my post in the comments section:
« I think that he founded it. There’s evidence that suggests that Wicca is influenced by Freemasonry, Eastern philosophy, and magical orders such as Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis. Also, history (or Murrayism) taught to us in New Age and pagan books has been discredited. Here’s a link to a Wiccan (I still think she’s Wiccan) historian:
That said, even though the evidence suggests that Gardner created Wicca, I do believe that it is Divine’s will that Wicca came to be.
Personally, I don’t think any part of Wicca is « ancient » though.
Not to say that Wicca is not a real religion. It is. From my understanding, it’s just new 🙂 »
« I agree with Libra concerning the fact that Gardnerian wicca is a creation from the begining of the century. The Book of Shadows, according to Doreen Valiente herself was not the half of what it is today before her rewriting. And even before that she reshaped some passages obviously taken from Aleister Crowley. In general the degree system and key words are clearly inspired by Masonry (see the book Square and the Circle for a comparative study) and the « mythological tone » is even more clearly the tone of The Gospel of the Witches from Leland and Frazier’s Golden Boughs. It’s not really a secret though, Wicca is the typical fruit of 20th century school of thought sponsored by Murray and it’s even more clear reading the Meaning of Witchcraft that she prefaced. But for me it does’nt mean that Dorothy Clutterbuck didn’t exist and that Wicca isn’t connected to a witch cult tradition. It means, imho, that Gardner filled the gaps of à fragmented or even « recreated » tradition. It’s success for me proves it’s effeciency and the mystery of it’s origins does’nt stop with the Triumph of the Moon. Aknowledge what Gardner did does’nt break away the « spell » of Wicca on our minds. Just an opinion of course. »