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The article below was written back in 1991 or 1992 e.v.
For an update by the author, please see:

http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/dvera/pagan/intro.html#bos.

                     Modern Wiccan Concepts based in Literary Satanism 

          By: Diane Vera

          As I pointed out to Warren Grant in the PAGAN echo recently, Charles
          G. Leland mentions Michelet in the Appendix to _Aradia:_
          _Gospel_of_the_Witches_: "Now be it observed, that every leading
          point which forms the plot or centre of this _Vangel_  [...]  had
          been told or written out for me in fragments by Maddalena (not to
          mention other authorities), even as it had been chronicled by Horst
          or Michelet" (pp.101-102, 1974 Weiser paperback edition).
           .
          In _A_History_of_Witchcraft_, Jeffrey B. Russell writes:
          "Michelet's argument that witchcraft was a form of social protest
          was adapted later by Marxists; his argument that it was based on a
          fertility cult was adopted by anthropologists at the turn of the
          century, influenig Sir James Frazer's _Golden_Bough_, Jessie
          Weston's _From_Ritual_to_Romance_, Magaret Murray's _Witch-
          Cult_in_Western_Europe_, and indirectly T.S. Eliot's
          _The_Waste_Land_" (_A_History_of_Witchcraft_, p.133).
           .
          Russell states further: "Neopagan witchcraft has roots in the
          tradition of Michelet, who argued that European witchcraft was the
          survival of an ancient religion.  This idea influenced Sir James
          Frazer and a number of other anthropologists and writers in the late
          nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The publication of
          Charles Leland's _Aradia_ in 1899 was an important step in the
          evolution of the new religion of witchcraft.   [...]   The doctrines
          and practices of the witches as reported by Leland are a melange of
          sorcery, medieval heresy, witch-craze concepts, and political
          radicalism, and Leland reports ingenuously that this is just what he
          expected, since it fitted with what he had read in Michelet"
          (Russell, p.148).
           .
          As far as I know, it's possible that Michelet's influence on Gardner
          was only indirect, via the other above-named writers.  This would
          not invalidate my point, which is that Michelet played a key role in
          the development of the ideas in question.
           .
          Michelet has had a more direct influence on feminist Goddess
          religion than on Wicca proper.  Michelet's _La_Sorciere_
          (_Satanism_and_Witchcraft_) is listed in the bibliography of
          _Woman,_Church,_and_State_ by Matilda Gage (19th-century Women's
          Suffrage leader and the founder of pre-Wiccan feminist Goddess
          religion) and, more recently, in _Witches,_Midwives,_and_Nurses:_
          _A_History_of_Women_Healers_ by Barbara Ehrenreich and Dierdre
          English (1973).
           .
          In my opinion, Michelet's most important contribution to both Wicca
          and feminist Goddess religion was that, as far as I know, he was the
          first well-known writer (in recent centuries, anyway) to use the
          word "Witch" (capital W) with its present-day positive connotations
          of healing and opposition to tyranny.


                                                                            1536


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