Preface. If the reader has ever met with the works of the learned folk-lorist G. Pitré, or the articles contributed by “Lady Vere De Vere” to the. Aradia: Gospel of the Witches. Charles G. Chapter 1 – How Diana Gave Birth To Aradia (Herodius); Chapter II – The Sabbat, Treguenda Or Witch-Meeting. Aradia has ratings and 61 reviews. Steve said: In Northern Italy there are vestiges of an ancient faith that maybe still practiced by the common pe.
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Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is a book composed by the American folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland that was published in It contains what he believed was the religious text of a group of pagan witches in TuscanyItaly that documented their beliefs and rituals, although various historians and folklorists have disputed the existence of such a group. In the 20th century, the book was very influential in the development of the contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca.
The text is a composite. Some of it is Leland’s translation into English of an original Italian manuscriptthe Vangelo gospel. Leland reported receiving the manuscript from his primary informant on Italian witchcraft beliefs, a woman Leland referred to as “Maddalena” and whom he called his “witch informant” in Italy.
The rest of the material comes from Leland’s research on Italian folklore and traditions, including other related material from Maddalena. Leland had been informed of the Vangelo ‘ s existence inbut it took Maddalena eleven years to provide him with a copy.
After translating and editing the material, it took another two years for the book to be published. Its fifteen chapters portray the origins, beliefs, rituals, and spells of an Italian pagan witchcraft tradition.
The central figure of that religion is the goddess Aradiawho came to Earth to teach the practice of witchcraft to peasants in order for them to oppose their feudal oppressors and the Roman Catholic Church. Leland’s work remained obscure until the s, when other theories about, and claims of, “pagan witchcraft” survivals began to be widely discussed.
Aradia began to be examined within the wider context of such claims. Scholars are divided, with some dismissing Leland’s assertion regarding the origins of the manuscript, and others arguing for its authenticity as a unique documentation of folk beliefs. Along with increased scholarly attention, Aradia came to play a special role in the history of Gardnerian Wicca and its offshoots, being used as evidence that pagan witchcraft survivals existed in Europe, and because a passage from the book’s first chapter was used as a part of the religion’s liturgy.
After the increase in interest in the text, it became widely available through numerous reprints from a variety of publishers, including a critical edition with a new translation by Mario and Dina Pazzaglini. Charles Godfrey Leland was an Ggospel author and folkloristgosel spent much of the witchez in Florence researching Italian folklore.
Aradia was one of the products of Leland’s research. While Leland’s name is the one principally associated with Aradiathe manuscript that makes up gkspel bulk of it is attributed to the research of an Italian woman whom Leland and Leland’s biographer, his niece Elizabeth Robins Pennellreferred to as “Maddalena”.
Gosoel to folklorist Roma Listera contemporary and friend of Leland’s, Maddalena’s real o was Margherita, and she was a ” witch ” from Florence who claimed a family lineage from the Etruscans and knowledge of ancient rituals.
Leland reports meeting Maddalena inand she became the primary source for his Italian folklore collecting for several years. Leland describes her as belonging to a vanishing tradition of sorcery. He writes that “by long practice [she] has perfectly learned Leland wrote that he had “learned that there was in existence a manuscript setting forth the doctrines of Italian witchcraft” inand had urged Maddalena to find it.
The manuscript was written in Maddalena’s handwriting. Leland understood it to be an authentic document  of the “Old Religion” of the witches, but explains that he did not know if the text came from written or oral sources.
Leland’s translation and editing was completed in early and submitted to David Nutt for publication. Two years passed, until Leland wrote requesting the return of the manuscript in order to submit it to gospdl different publishing house. This request spurred Nutt to accept the book, and it was published in July in a small print if. After the eleven-year search, Leland writes that he was unsurprised by the contents of the Vangelo.
It was largely what he was expecting, with the exception that he did not predict passages in “prose-poetry”. They adored forbidden deities and practised forbidden deeds, inspired as much by rebellion against Society as by their own passions. Leland’s final draft was a slim volume. He organised the material to be included into fifteen chapters, and added a brief preface and an appendix.
The published version also included footnotes and, in many places, the original Italian that Leland had translated. Most of the content of Leland’s Aradia is made up of spellsblessings, and rituals, but the text also contains stories and myths which suggest influences from both the ancient Roman religion and Roman Catholicism.
Major characters in the myths include the Roman goddess Dianaa sun god called Luciferthe Biblical Cain as a lunar figureand the messianic Aradia. The witchcraft of “The Gospel of the Witches” is both a method for casting spells and an anti-hierarchical “counter-religion” to the Catholic church.
Leland, Charles Godfrey : Aradia: Gospel of the Witches
Entire chapters of Aradia are devoted to rituals and magic spells. These include enchantments to win love Chapter VIa conjuration to perform when finding a stone with a hole or a round stone in order to turn it into an amulet for Diana’s favour Chapter IVand the consecration of a ritual feast for Diana, Aradia, and Cain Chapter II. The narrative material makes up less of the text, and is composed of short stories and legends about the birth of the witchcraft religion and the actions of their gods.
Leland summarises the mythic material in the book in its appendix, writing “Diana is Queen of the Witches; an associate of Herodias Aradia in her relations to sorcery; that she bore a child to her brother the Sun here Lucifer ; that as a moon-goddess she is in some relation to Cain, who dwells as prisoner in the moon, and that the witches of old were people oppressed by feudal lands, the former revenging themselves in every way, and holding orgies to Diana which the Church represented as being the worship of Satan “.
After giving birth to Lucifer, Diana seduces him while in the form of a cat, eventually giving birth to Aradia, their daughter.
Diana demonstrates the power of her witchcraft by creating “the heavens, the stars and the rain”, becoming “Queen of the Witches”. Chapter I presents the original witches as slaves that escaped from their masters, beginning new lives as “thieves and evil folk”. Diana sends her daughter Aradia to them to teach these former serfs witchcraft, the power of which they can use to “destroy the evil race of oppressors “.
Aradia’s students thus became the first witches, who would then continue the worship of Diana. Leland was struck by this cosmogony: Aradia is composed of fifteen chapters, the first ten of which are presented as being Leland’s translation of the Vangelo manuscript given to him by Maddalena. This section, while predominantly made up of spells and rituals, is also the source of most of the myths and folktales contained in the text.
At the end of Chapter I is the text in which Aradia gives instructions to her followers on how to practice witchcraft. The first ten chapters are not entirely a direct translation of the Vangelo ; Leland offers his own commentary and notes on a number of passages, and Chapter VII is Leland’s incorporation of other Italian folklore material. Medievalist Robert Mathiesen contends that the Vangelo manuscript actually represents even less of Aradiaarguing that only Chapters I, II, and the first half of Chapter IV match Leland’s description of the manuscript’s contents, and suggests that the other material came from different texts collected by Leland through Maddalena.
The remaining five chapters are clearly identified in the text as representing other material Leland believed to be relevant to the Vangeloacquired during his research into Italian witchcraft, and especially while working on his Etruscan Roman Remains and Legends of Florence. The themes in these additional chapters vary in some details from the first ten, and Leland included them partly to “[confirm] the fact that the worship of Diana existed for a long time contemporary with Christianity “.
Leland explains its inclusion by a note that Diana, as portrayed in Aradiais worshipped by outlaws, and Laverna was the Roman goddess of thievery.
In several places Leland provides the Italian he was translating. According to Mario Pazzaglini, author of the translation, the Italian contains misspellings, missing words, and grammatical errors, and is in a standardised Italian rather than the local dialect one might expect.
There is no cohesive narrative even in the sections that Leland attributes to the Vangelo. This lack of cohesion, or “inconsistency”, is an argument for the text’s authenticity, according to religious scholar Chas S.
Cliftonsince the gosspel shows no signs of being “massaged Leland wrote that “the witches even yet form a fragmentary secret society or sect, that they call it that of the Old Religion, and that there are in the Romagna entire villages in which the people are completely heathen”.
Leland’s claim that the manuscript was genuine, and even his assertion that he received such a manuscript, have been called into question. After the publication of Margaret Murray ‘s The Witch-cult in Western Europewhich hypothesised that the European witch trials were actually a persecution of a pagan religious survival, American sensationalist author Theda Kenyon’s book Witches Still Live connected Murray’s thesis with the witchcraft religion in Aradia.
Hutton himself is a sceptic, not only of the existence of the religion that Aradia claims to represent,  but also of the existence of Maddalena, arguing that it is more likely that Leland created the agadia story than that Leland could be so easily “duped” by thhe Italian fortune-teller.
Mathiesen also dismisses this “option three”, arguing that while Leland’s English drafts for the book were heavily edited and revised in the process of writing, the Italian sections, in contrast, were almost untouched except for corrections of “precisely the sort that a proofreader would make as he compared his copy to the original”. The History and Development of a Legend. Magliocco writes that Aradia “may represent a 19th-century version of [the legend of the Cult of Herodias] that incorporated later materials influenced by medieval diabolism: Magliocco calls Aradia “the wradia real text of the 20th century Witchcraft revival”,  and it is repeatedly cited as wittches profoundly influential on the development of Wicca.
The text apparently corroborates the thesis of Margaret Murray that early modern and Renaissance witchcraft represented a survival of ancient pagan beliefs, and after Gerald Gardner ‘s claim to have encountered religious witchcraft in 20th-century England,  the works of Michelet, Murray, and Leland helped support at least the possibility that such a survival could exist. The Charge of the Goddessan important piece of liturgy used in Wiccan rituals,  was inspired by Aradia’s speech in the first chapter of the book.
Aradia, or, The Gospel of the witches
Parts of the speech appeared in an early version of Gardnerian Wicca ritual. Valiente subsequently rewrote the passage in both prose and verse, retaining the “traditional” Aradia lines. Historian Ruth Martin states that it was a common practice for witches of Italy to be “naked with their hair loose araadia their shoulders” while reciting conjurations. The reception of Aradia amongst Neopagans has not been entirely positive.
Clifton suggests that modern claims of revealing an Italian pagan witchcraft tradition, for example those of Leo Martello and Raven Grimassimust be “match[ed] against”, and compared with the claims in Aradia.
He further suggests that a lack of comfort with Aradia may be due to an “insecurity” within Neopaganism about the movement’s claim to authenticity as a religious revival. Clifton writes that Aradia was especially influential for leaders of the Wiccan religious movement in the s and s, but that the book no longer appears on the “reading lists” given by members to newcomers, nor is it extensively cited in more recent Neopagan books.
Author Raven Grimassi has written extensively about Aradia in his popularization of Stregheriapresenting what he admits is his own personal rendering of her story. He differs from Leland in many ways, particularly in portraying her as a witch who lived and taught in 14th-century Italy, rather than a goddess.
Therefore it cannot effectively be used to discredit other od or views on Italian witchcraft, nor is it a representative ethnographic foundation against which other writings or views “must” witcues compared. The Aradia material is, unfortunately, a disputed text with problems of its own when compared to the usually accepted folklore, folk traditions, and folk magic practices of Italy.
He agrees with Valiente that the major objection of Neopagans to this material is its “inclusion of negative stereotypes related to witches and witchcraft”, and suggests that comparisons between this material and religious witchcraft are “regarded as an insult by many neo-pagans”. The Norwegian classical composer Martin Romberg wrote a Mass for mixed choir in seven parts after a selection of poems from Leland’s text.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches Title page of the original edition. Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. Leland and the Witches hte Italy: The Origin of Aradia”.
Triumph of the Moon. A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics and Pagans. A Razor for a Goat.
Aradia, Gospel of the Witches Index
University of Toronto Press. Their Nature and Legacy. The History and Development of a Legend”. The Journal of Pagan Studies. Archived gospep the original on The New Edition of Leland’s Aradia “.