History of Wicca
The history of Wicca documents the rise of the Neopagan religion of Wicca and related witchcraft-based Neopagan religions. Wicca originated in the early twentieth century, when it developed amongst secretive covens in England who were basing their religious beliefs and practices upon what they read of the historical Witch-Cult in the works of such writers as Margaret Murray, it was subsequently popularised in the 1950s by a number of figures, in particular Gerald Gardner, who claimed to have been initiated into the Craft – as Wicca is known – by the New Forest coven in 1939. Gardner's form of Wicca, the Gardnerian tradition, was spread by both him and his followers like the High Priestesses Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther and Eleanor Bone into other parts of the British Isles, into other, predominantly English-speaking, countries across the world. In the 1960s, new figures arose in Britain who popularised their own forms of the religion, including Robert Cochrane, Sybil Leek and Alex Sanders, organisations began to be formed to propagate it, such as the Witchcraft Research Association.
It was during this decade that the faith was transported to the United States, where it was further adapted into new traditions such as Feri, 1734 and Dianic Wicca in the ensuing decades, where organisations such as the Covenant of the Goddess were formed. From the 1970s onward, books began to be published by such figures as Paul Huson, Scott Cunningham, Stewart and Janet Farrar which encouraged self-initiation into the Craft, leading to a boost in the number of adherents and the development of traditions. With the rising popularity of Wicca, it was used as a partial basis for witchcraft-based American films and television shows, further increasing its profile amongst younger people, in the 1990s. Since the early 1990s, historians have published studies and research into the history of Wicca, including the American Aidan Kelly and the Britons Ronald Hutton and Philip Heselton. During the 16th and 17th centuries, a widespread moral panic took place across Europe and the American colonies; the social and political turmoil following periods of widespread crop failure and disease, led to numerous men and women being accused of practicing malevolant witchcraft, which resulted in the witch trials in the early modern period.
The accused were put on trial and alleged to be witches who worshiped the Devil and committed acts of diabolism that included the cannibalism of children and desecration of the Eucharist. Between 40,000 and 60,000 people were executed for witchcraft during this period. Most scholars agree that the witch trials were the result of isolated incidents of hysteria in remote peasant communities. While many of the accused confessed to various acts of magic and Satanism, all did so under threat of torture, historians agree that there is no evidence any of the victims of the trials were practicing any real magic or any non-Christian religious or magical practices. An alternative explanation for the early modern witch trials, known as the Witch-cult hypothesis, was proposed by the German Professor Karl Ernst Jarcke in 1828. Jarcke's hypothesis claimed that the victims of the early modern witch trials were not innocents caught up in a moral panic, but members of a unknown pan-European pagan religion which had pre-dated Christianity, been persecuted by the Christian Church as a rival religion, driven underground, where it had survived in secret until being revealed in the confessions of those accused in the witch trials.
This idea was endorsed by German historian Franz Josef Mone and French historian Jules Michelet. In the late 19th century, variations on this hypothesis were adopted by two Americans, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Charles Leland, the latter of whom promoted it in his 1899 book Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches; the witch-cult hypothesis' most prominent and influential advocate was the English Egyptologist Margaret Murray, who promoted it in a series of books – most notably 1921's The Witch-Cult in Western Europe and 1933's The God of the Witches. Murray's books were the sources of many well-known motifs which have been incorporated into Wicca; the idea that covens should have 13 members was developed by Murray, based on a single witness statement from one of the witch trials, as was her assertion that covens met on the cross-quarter days four times per year. Murray was interested in ascribing naturalistic or religious ceremonial explanations to some of the more fantastic descriptions found in witch trial testimony.
Murray suggested, based in part on the work of James Frazer in The Golden Bough, that the witches accused in the early modern trials were not in fact Satanists, but worshiped a pre-Christian god associated with forests and the natural world. Murray identified this god as Janus, who she described as a "Horned God" of the wilds in order to explain descriptions of a horned Satan provided by witch trial confessions; because those accused of witchcraft described witches meetings as involving sexual orgies with Satan, she suggested that a male priest representing Dianus would have been present at each coven meeting, dressed in horns and animals skins, who engaged in sexual acts with the gathered women. Murray further interpreted descriptions of sexual intercourse with Satan as being cold and painful to mean that the priest would use artificial implements on the witches when he became too exhausted to continue. Unlike most modern forms of religious witchcraft, Murray's conception of the witch-cult was therefore patriarchal.
In her hypothesis, witches worshiped a single god, though a female figure in a role known as "the Maiden" would be present at coven gatherings, Murray did not consider her to represent a goddess. In th
Church and School of Wicca
The Church and School of Wicca was founded by Gavin Frost and Yvonne Frost in 1968. It was the first federally recognized Church of the religion known as Wicca in the United States, it is well known for its correspondence courses on the Frosts' unique interpretation of Wicca. The Church and School are located in West Virginia; the Church of Wicca was founded in 1968. Gavin Frost was a British-born aerospace engineer. While working for an aerospace company in southern England's Salisbury Plain—an area replete with prehistoric monuments—he became interested in the druids, his wife Yvonne was an American with a background in Spiritualism. He claimed to have been initiated into a Wiccan group in St. Louis, Missouri; when living in St. Louis they developed a correspondence course through which to teach others about Wicca, advertising these courses as the "School of Wicca", they argued that by spreading their religious teaching in the form of a correspondence course, they were reaching a wider range of people than initiatory-based forms of Wicca, that this would be necessary in order for the religion to become a "strong religious force".
They believed that Wicca should be presented publicly, believing that the secrecy observed by some Wiccan group brought mistrust and persecution from wider society. The Frosts had adopted the term "Wicca" in the late 1960s, when it was gaining increasing usage within the Pagan Witchcraft community as a name for their religion; the pair resisted using the term "Pagan" until the late 1970s. In 1975, Yvonne stated. I do not worship any nature deity. I reach upward to the unnameable which has no gender". In conjunction with his lawyers, Gavin secured religious recognition for his School from the Internal Revenue Service in 1972; that year they began working on their Church and School full time. Gavin appointed himself as its archbishop, Yvonne as a bishop, they awarded themselves doctorates of divinity through the Church; the couple moved first to Salem, Missouri—where they ran a pig farm—and to New Bern, North Carolina in 1974. There they tried to establish a survival community. In he late 1970s they began holding an annual "Samhain Seminar", in which workshops and lectures took place for students of their correspondence course.
In 1996 they relocated to West Virginia. In 1985 the Church of Wicca were involved in the Dettmer v. Landon case, during which the District Court of Virginia ruled that Wicca constituted a legitimate religion under U. S. law. The Virginia prison authorities appealed the case, in 1986 Judge J. Butzner of the Federal Appeals Court upheld the original decision; this made the Church of Wicca the only federally recognised Wiccan church to have its status as a religion upheld in a federal appeals court. Within the American Wiccan and wider modern Pagan community, the Frosts have been at the centre of various disputes surrounding issues such as homosexuality and theology; the Wiccan Margot Adler suggested that much of this controversy stemmed from Gavin's "wry and rather bizarre sense of humor, his tendency to say anything to get a rise out of someone", something which she thought had resulted in the Frosts being "misunderstood". In person, she thought, the Frosts "have always been delightful", with Gavin being "kind and humorous" and Yvonne being "forthright and a bit prim".
They published. Many critics referred to it as a "Witchcrap book". Many of the central teachings featured in the book—such as its emphasis on the existence of an asexual monotheistic deity—were at total odds with mainstream Wiccan belief. Many Wiccans were angered at the word The as it appeared in the title, presupposing that it carried some form of authority within the Wiccan community, its comments on race and sex caused controversy. The Church of Wicca defines Wicca as a monotheistic religion. Gavin expressed the view that there was one God, abstract and beyond the need for any worship; this is one of the teachings. Unlike many other Wiccan groups, there was no particular emphasis on female divinity or the feminine, with Gavin calling beliefs about ancient matriarchies "a Marxist heresy", he expressed belief in "stone gods", "idols" which are created by humans as a storage for energy which can be utilised for magical purposes. The Church taught that the astral realm, which they called the "Side", is structured into ten levels.
They taught that each human has a soul which undergoes a progressive system of reincarnation though which it can learn. The Frosts' view was; the Church taught kundalini sex practices. These included "introitus". Tens of thousands of students have begun the School's twelve-lesson course in Wicca, although only several hundred have finished it. In 2006, the Wiccan journalist Margot Adler suggested that the School of Wicca may have been responsible for the formation of as many as one hundred covens; the School's curriculum includes classes on a variety of subjects associated both with Wicca as a religion and with occult and metaphysical studies and practices in general. These classes begin with an "Essential Witchcraft" course, which lasts "a year and a day". Other topics include: Advanced Celtic Witchcraft and Shamanism, Astral Travel, Graphology, Mystical Awareness, a Natural Wicca Survey Course, Practical Sorcery, Prediction and Herbal Healing, Tantr
Wicca termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a contemporary Pagan new religious movement. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices. Wicca has no central authority figure, its traditional core beliefs and practices were outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books as well as in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates. There are many variations on the core structure, the religion grows and evolves over time, it is divided into a number of diverse lineages and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what constitutes Wicca; some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to similar traditions, but not to newer, eclectic traditions.
Wicca is duotheistic, worshipping a Goddess and a God. These are traditionally viewed as the Horned God, respectively; these deities may be regarded in a henotheistic way, as having many different divine aspects which can in turn be identified with many diverse pagan deities from different historical pantheons. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the "Great Goddess" and the "Great Horned God", with the adjective "great" connoting a deity that contains many other deities within their own nature; these two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic divinity, regarded as an impersonal force or process rather than a personal deity. While duotheism or bitheism is traditional in Wicca, broader Wiccan beliefs range from polytheism to pantheism or monism to Goddess monotheism. Wiccan celebrations encompass both the cycles of the Moon, known as Esbats and associated with the Goddess, the cycles of the Sun, seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats and associated with the Horned God.
An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is a popular expression of Wiccan morality, although it is not universally accepted by Wiccans. Wicca involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary. Scholars of religious studies classify Wicca as a new religious movement, more as a form of modern Paganism. Cited as the largest, best known, most influential, most extensively academically studied form of Paganism, within the movement it has been identified as sitting on the former end of the eclectic to reconstructionist spectrum. Several academics have categorised Wicca as a form of nature religion, a term, embraced by many of its practitioners. However, given that Wicca incorporates the practice of magic, several scholars have referred to it as a "magico-religion". Wicca is a form of Western esotericism, more a part of the esoteric current known as occultism. Although recognised as a religion by academics, some evangelical Christians have attempted to deny it legal recognition as such, while some Wiccan practitioners themselves eschew the term "religion" – associating the latter purely with organised religion – instead favouring "spirituality" or "way of life".
Although Wicca as a religion is distinct from other forms of contemporary Paganism, there has been much "cross-fertilization" between these different Pagan faiths. The terms wizard and warlock are discouraged in the community. In Wicca, denominations are referred to as traditions, while non-Wiccans are termed cowans; when the religion first came to public attention, it was called "Witchcraft". For instance, Gerald Gardner—the man regarded as the "Father of Wicca"—referred to it as the "Craft of the Wise", "witchcraft", "the witch-cult" during the 1950s. There is no evidence that he called it "Wicca", although he did refer to the collective community of Pagan Witches as "the Wica"; as a name for the religion, "Wicca" developed in Britain during the 1960s. It is not known who invented the term "Wicca" in reference to the religion, although one possibility is that it might have been Gardner's rival Charles Cardell, referring to it as the "Craft of the Wiccens" by 1958; the first recorded use of the word "Wicca" appears in 1962, it had been popularised to the extent that several British practitioners founded a newsletter called The Wiccan in 1968.
Although pronounced differently, the Modern English term "Wicca" is derived from the Old English wicca and wicce, the masculine and feminine term for witch, used in Anglo-Saxon England. By adopting it for modern usage, Wiccans were both symbolically cementing their connection to the ancient, pre-Christian past, adopting a self-designation that would be less controversial than "Witchcraft". In early sources "Wicca" referred to the entirety of the religion rather than specific traditions. In ensuing decades, members of certain traditions – those known as British Traditional Wicca – began claiming that only they should be termed "Wiccan", that other forms of the religion must not use it. From the late 1980s onwards various books propagating Wicca were published that again used the former, broader definition of the word. Thus, by the 1980s, there were two competing de
Gardnerian Wicca, or Gardnerian witchcraft, is a tradition in the neopagan religion of Wicca, whose members can trace initiatory descent from Gerald Gardner. The tradition is itself named after a British civil servant and amateur scholar of magic; the term "Gardnerian" was coined by the founder of Cochranian Witchcraft, Robert Cochrane in the 1950s or 60s, who himself left that tradition to found his own. Gardner claimed to have learned the beliefs and practises that would become known as Gardnerian Wicca from the New Forest coven, who initiated him into their ranks in 1939. For this reason, Gardnerian Wicca is considered to be the earliest created tradition of Wicca, from which most subsequent Wiccan traditions are derived. From the supposed New Forest coven, Gardner formed his own Bricket Wood coven, in turn initiated many Witches, including a series of High Priestesses, founding further covens and continuing the initiation of more Wiccans into the tradition. In the UK, Europe and most Commonwealth countries someone self-defined as Wiccan is understood to be claiming initiatory descent from Gardner, either through Gardnerian Wicca, or through a derived branch such as Alexandrian Wicca or Algard Wicca.
Elsewhere, these original lineaged traditions are termed "British Traditional Wicca". Gardnerian Wiccans organise into covens, that traditionally, though not always, are limited to thirteen members. Covens are led by a High Priestess and the High Priest of her choice, celebrate both a Goddess and a God. Gardnerian Wicca and other forms of British Traditional Wicca operate as an initiatory mystery cult. Any valid line of initiatory descent can be traced all the way back to Gerald Gardner, through him back to the New Forest coven. Rituals and coven practices are kept secret from non-initiates, many Wiccans maintain secrecy regarding their membership in the Religion. Whether any individual Wiccan chooses secrecy or openness depends on their location and life circumstances. In all cases, Gardnerian Wicca forbids any member to share the name, personal information, fact of membership, so on without advanced individual consent of that member for that specific instance of sharing. In Gardnerian Wicca, there are three grades of initiation.
Ronald Hutton suggests. In Gardnerian Wicca, the two principal deities are the Mother Goddess. Gardnerians use specific names for the God and the Goddess in their rituals. Doreen Valiente, a Gardnerian High Priestess, revealed, she said that Gardner referred to the Goddess as Airdia or Areda, which she believed was derived from Aradia, the deity that Charles Leland claimed was worshipped by Italian witches. She said that the God was called Cernunnos, or Kernunno, which in Celtic meant "The Horned One". Another name by which Gardnerians called the God was Janicot, which she believed was Basque in origin; the Gardnerian tradition teaches a core ethical guideline referred to as "The Rede" or "The Wiccan Rede". In the archaic language retained in some Gardnerian lore, the Rede states, "An it harm none, do as thou wilt." Witches... are inclined to the morality of the legendary Good King Pausol, “Do what you like so long as you harm no one". But they believe a certain law to be important, “You must not use magic for anything which will cause harm to anyone, if, to prevent a greater wrong being done, you must discommode someone, you must do it only in a way which will abate the harm."
Two features stand out about the Rede. The first is that the word rede means "advice" or "counsel"; the Rede is not a commandment but a guideline. The second is that the advice to harm none stands at equal weight with the advice to do as one wills, thus Gardnerian Wiccan teachings stand firm for informed consent. To expound a little further, the qualifying phrase "an it harm none" includes not only other, but self. Hence, weighing the possible outcomes of an action is a part of the thought given before taking an action; the declarative statement "do as thou wilt" expresses a clear statement of what is, known as "free will."A second ethical guideline is called the Law of Return, sometimes the Rule of Three, which mirrors the physics concept described in Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion: "When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body." This basic law of physics is more today stated thus: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."
Like the Rede, this guideline teaches Gardnerians that whatever energy or intention one puts out into the world, whether magical or not, will return to that person multiplied by three. This teaching underlies the importance of doing no harm—for that would give impetus to a negative reaction centered on oneself or one's group; this law is controversial, as discussed by John Coughlin, author of T
Polytheistic reconstructionism is an approach to modern paganism first emerging in the late 1960s to early 1970s, which gathered momentum starting in the 1990s. Reconstructionism attempts to re-establish historical polytheistic religions in the modern world, in contrast with neopagan syncretic movements like Wicca, "channeled" movements like Germanic mysticism or Theosophy. While the emphasis on historical accuracy may imply historical reenactment, the desire for continuity in ritual traditions is a common characteristic of religion in general, as seen in Anglican ritualism, or in much Christian liturgy. D. H. Lawrence put a sketch of a fictional program into the mouth of a character in The Plumed Serpent: So if I want Mexicans to learn the name of Quetzalcoatl, it is because I want them to speak with the tongues of their own blood. I wish the Teutonic world would once more think in terms of Thor and Wotan, the tree Igdrasil, and I wish the Druidic world would see that in the mistletoe is their mystery, that they themselves are the Tuatha De Danaan, but submerged.
And a new Hermes should come back to the Mediterranean, a new Ashtaroth to Tunis. The term "Reconstructionist Paganism" was coined by Isaac Bonewits in the late 1970s. Bonewits has said that he is not sure whether he "got this use of the term from one or more of the other culturally focused Neopagan movements of the time, or if just applied it in a novel fashion." Margot Adler used the term "Pagan Reconstructionists" in the 1979 edition of Drawing Down the Moon to refer to those who endeavour through scholarly research and use of folklore, to revive or "reconstruct" a accurate, pre-Christian spiritual practice. This emphasis on reconstruction contrasts with the more fanciful and eclectic approaches to paganism, as seen for example in Wicca. Linzie enumerates the difference between modern reconstructionist polytheism, "classical" paganism as found in eighteenth to mid-twentieth century movements. Aspects of the former, not found in the latter, are as follows: There is no attempt to recreate a combined pan-European Paganism.
Researchers attempt to stay within research guidelines developed over the course of the past century for handling documentation generated in the time periods that they are studying. A multi-disciplinary approach is utilized capitalizing on results from various fields as historical literary research, religious history, political history, forensic anthropology, historical sociology, etc. with an overt attempt to avoid pseudo-sciences. There are serious attempts to recreate culture, politics and art of the period in order to better understand the environment within which the religious beliefs were practiced; the use of the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan" to apply to polytheistic reconstructionists is controversial. Some reconstructionist and indigenous religious groups take great issue with being referred to as "Pagan" or "Neopagan," viewing "Pagan" as a pejorative term used in the past by institutions attempting to destroy their cultures and religions. In addition, reconstructionists may choose to reject the terms "Pagan" and "Neopagan" in order to distance themselves from aspects of popular Neopaganism, such as eclecticism, cultural appropriation, the practice of magic, a tendency to conduct rituals within a Wiccan-derived format, that they find irrelevant or inimical to their religious practice.
Among those reconstructionist groups who see themselves as part of the broader, Pagan or Neopagan spectrum, or who see some members of the Pagan community as allies, there is still a refusal to accept or identify with what they see as the more problematic aspects of that community, such as the above-noted eclecticism, cultural appropriation or Wiccan-inspired ritual structures. Many Polytheistic Reconstructionists see Reconstructionism as the older current in the Pagan community, are unwilling to give up this part of their history because eclectic movements are more fashionable. Armenian: Hetanism Baltic: Baltic Neopaganism Canarian: Church of the Guanche People Caucasian: Caucasian Neopaganism Celtic: Celtic Reconstructionism Egyptian: Kemetism Finnish: Suomenusko Germanic: Germanic Heathenism Greek: Hellenismos Hungarian: Hungarian Neopaganism Latin: Roman Tradition Romanian: Zalmoxianism Semitic: Semitic Neopaganism Slavic: Rodnovery Baltic: Romuva Uralic: Uralic neopaganism Turkic: Tengrism Linzie, Bil.
"Reconstructionism's Role in Modern Heathenry". Retrieved September 2008. Linzie, Bil. "Uncovering the Effects of Cultural Background on the Reconstruction of Ancient Worldviews". Retrieved May 2015. Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Goddess-Worshippers, Other Pagans in America Today ISBN 0-14-019536-X ecauldron.com: What is Pagan Reconstructionism? The Association of Polytheist Traditions While not reconstructionist, APT is an educational group concerned with ancient historical religions as well as modern syncretist new age religions Neopagans vs. the Recons The CR FAQ - An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionism A consensus document, co-authored by representatives
The modern Celts are a related group of ethnicities who share similar Celtic languages and artistic histories, who live in or descend from one of the regions on the western extremities of Europe populated by the Celts. A modern Celtic identity emerged in Western Europe following the identification of the native peoples of the Atlantic fringe as Celts by Edward Lhuyd in the 18th century. Lhuyd and others equated the Celts described by Greco-Roman writers with the pre-Roman peoples of France, Great Britain and Ireland, they categorised the ancient British languages as Celtic languages. The descendants of these ancient languages are the Brittonic and Gaelic languages, the people who speak them are considered modern Celts; the concept of modern Celtic identity evolved during the course of the 19th century into the Celtic Revival. By the late 19th century, it took the form of ethnic nationalism within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, where the Irish Home Rule Movement resulted in the secession of the Irish Free State, in 1922.
There were significant Welsh and Breton nationalist movements, giving rise to the concept of Celtic nations. After World War II, the focus of the Celtic movement shifted to linguistic revival and protectionism, e.g. with the foundation of the Celtic League in 1961, dedicated to preserving the surviving Celtic languages. The Celtic revival led to the emergence of musical and artistic styles identified as Celtic. Music drew on folk traditions within the Celtic nations. Art drew on decorative styles associated with the ancient Celts and with early medieval Celtic Christianity, along with folk-styles. Cultural events to promote "inter-Celtic" cultural exchange emerged. In the late 20th century some authors criticised the idea of modern Celtic identity by downplaying the value of the linguistic component in defining culture and cultural connection, sometimes arguing that there never was a common Celtic culture in ancient times; these authors opposed language preservation efforts. Malcolm Chapman's 1992 book The Celts: The Construction of a Myth led to what the archaeologist, Barry Cunliffe has called a "politically correct disdain for the use of'Celt'" Traditionally, the essential defining criterion of Celticity is seen as peoples and countries that do, or once did, use Celtic languages and it is asserted that an index of connectedness to the Celtic languages has to be borne in mind before branching out into other cultural domains.
Another approach to defining the Celts is the contemporary inclusive and associative definition used by Vincent and Ruth Megaw and Raimund Karl that a Celt is someone who uses a Celtic language or produces or uses a distinctive Celtic cultural expression or has been referred to as a Celt in historical materials or has identified themselves or been identified by others as a Celt or has a demonstrated descent from the Celts. Since the Enlightenment, the term Celtic has been applied to a wide variety of peoples and cultural traits present and past. Today, Celtic is used to describe people of the Celtic nations and their respective cultures and languages. Except for the Bretons, all groups mentioned have been subject to strong Anglicisation since the Early Modern period, hence are described as participating in an Anglo-Celtic macro-culture. By the same token, the Bretons have been subject to strong Frenchification since the Early Modern period, can be described as participating in a Franco-Celtic macro-culture.
Less common is the assumption of Celticity for European cultures deriving from Continental Celtic roots. These were either Germanised much earlier, before the Early Middle Ages. Celtic origins are many times implied for continental groups such as the Asturians, Portuguese, Northern Italians, Belgians or Austrians; the names of Belgium and the Aquitaine hark back to Gallia Belgica and Gallia Aquitania in turn named for the Belgae and the Aquitani. The Latin name of the Swiss Confederacy, Confoederatio Helvetica, harks back to the Helvetii, the name of Galicia to the Gallaeci and the Auvergne of France to the Averni.'Celt' has been adopted as a label of self-identification by a variety of peoples at different times.'Celticity' can refer to the inferred links between them. During the 19th century, French nationalists gave a privileged significance to their descent from the Gauls; the struggles of Vercingetorix were portrayed as a forerunner of the 19th-century struggles in defence of French nationalism, including the wars of both Napoleons.
Basic French history textbooks emphasised the ways in which Gauls could be seen as an example of cultural assimilation. In the late Middle Ages, some French writers believed that their language was Celtic, rather than Latin. A similar use of Celticity for 19th-century nationalism was made in Switzerland, when the Swiss were seen to originate in the Celtic tribe of the Helvetii, a link still found in the official Latin name of Switzerland, Confœderatio Helvetica, the source of the nation code CH and the name used on postage stamps. Before the advance of Indo-European studies, philologists established that there was a relationship between the Goidelic and Brythonic languages, as well as a relationship between these languages and th
Gerald Gardner (Wiccan)
Gerald Brosseau Gardner known by the craft name Scire, was an English Wiccan, as well as an author and an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist. He was instrumental in bringing the Contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca to public attention, writing some of its definitive religious texts and founding the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca. Born into an upper-middle-class family in Blundellsands, Gardner spent much of his childhood abroad in Madeira. In 1900, he moved to colonial Ceylon, in 1911 to Malaya, where he worked as a civil servant, independently developing an interest in the native peoples and writing papers and a book about their magical practices. After his retirement in 1936, he travelled to Cyprus, penning the novel A Goddess Arrives before returning to England. Settling down near the New Forest, he joined an occult group, the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship, through which he said he had encountered the New Forest coven into which he was initiated in 1939. Believing the coven to be a survival of the pre-Christian witch-cult discussed in the works of Margaret Murray, he decided to revive the faith, supplementing the coven's rituals with ideas borrowed from Freemasonry, ceremonial magic and the writings of Aleister Crowley to form the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca.
Moving to London in 1945, he became intent on propagating this religion, attracting media attention and writing about it in High Magic's Aid, Witchcraft Today and The Meaning of Witchcraft. Founding a Wiccan group known as the Bricket Wood coven, he introduced a string of High Priestesses into the religion, including Doreen Valiente, Lois Bourne, Patricia Crowther and Eleanor Bone, through which the Gardnerian community spread throughout Britain and subsequently into Australia and the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Involved for a time with Cecil Williamson, Gardner became director of the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft on the Isle of Man, which he ran until his death. Gardner is internationally recognised as the "Father of Wicca" among the Pagan and occult communities, his claims regarding the New Forest coven have been scrutinised, with Gardner being the subject of investigation for historians and biographers Aidan Kelly, Ronald Hutton and Philip Heselton. Gardner's family was wealthy and upper middle class, running a family firm, Joseph Gardner and Sons, which described itself as "the oldest private company in the timber trade within the British Empire."
Specialising in the import of hardwood, the company had been founded in the mid-18th century by Edmund Gardner, an entrepreneur who would subsequently become a Freeman of Liverpool. Gerald's father, William Robert Gardner had been the youngest son of Joseph Gardner, after whom the firm had been renamed, who with his wife Maria had had five sons and three daughters. In 1867, William had been sent to New York City, in order to further the interests of the family firm. Here, he had met Louise Burguelew Ennis, the daughter of a wholesale stationer. After a visit to England, the couple returned to the US, where they settled in Mott Haven, Morrisania in New York State, it was here that their first child, Harold Ennis Gardner, was born in 1870. At some point in the next two years they moved back to England, by 1873 settling into The Glen, a large Victorian house in Blundellsands in Lancashire, north-west England, developing into a wealthy suburb of Liverpool, it was here that their second child, Robert "Bob" Marshall Gardner, was born in 1874.
In 1876 the family moved into one of the neighbouring houses, Ingle Lodge, it was here that the couple's third son, Gerald Brosseau Gardner, was born on Friday 13 June 1884. A fourth child, Francis Douglas Gardner, was born in 1886. Gerald would see Harold, who went on to study Law at the University of Oxford, but saw more of Bob, who drew pictures for him, Douglas, with whom he shared his nursery; the Gardners employed an Irish nursemaid named Josephine "Com" McCombie, entrusted with taking care of the young Gerald. Gardner suffered with asthma from a young age, having particular difficulty in the cold Lancashire winters, his nursemaid offered to take him to warmer climates abroad at his father's expense in the hope that this condition would not be so badly affected. Subsequently, in summer 1888, Gerald and Com travelled via London to Nice in the south of France. After several more years spent in the Mediterranean, in 1891 they went to the Canary Islands, it was here that Gardner first developed his lifelong interest in weaponry.
From there, they went on to Accra in the Gold Coast. Accra was followed by a visit to Funchal on the Portuguese colony of Madeira. According to Gardner's first biographer, Jack Bracelin, Com was flirtatious and "clearly looked on these trips as manhunts", viewing Gardner as a nuisance; as a result, he was left to his own devices, which he spent going out, meeting new people and learning about foreign cultures. In Madeira, he began collecting weapons, many of which were remnants from the Napoleonic Wars, displaying them on the wall of his hotel room; as a result of his illness and these foreign trips, Gardner never attended school, or gained any formal education. He taught himself to read by looking at copies of The Strand Magazine but his writing betrayed his poor education all his life, with eccentric spelling and grammar. A voracious reader, one