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Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches Paperback – September 17, 2010


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Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches + Italian Witchcraft: The Old Religion of Southern Europe
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Theophania Publishing (September 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1926842340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1926842349
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,936,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Godfrey Leland (August 15, 1824 – March 20, 1903) was an American humorist and folklorist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Princeton University and in Europe. Leland worked in journalism, travelled extensively, and became interested in folklore and folk linguistics, publishing books and articles on American and European languages and folk traditions. By the end of his life shortly after the turn of the century, Leland had worked in a wide variety of trades, achieved recognition as the author of the comic Hans Breitmann’s Ballads, fought in two conflicts, and had written what was to become a primary source text for Neopaganism half a century later, Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. Leland travelled widely, eventually settling in London. In his travels, he made a study of the Gypsies, on whom he wrote more than one book. Leland began to publish a number of books on ethnography, folklore and language. His fame during his lifetime rested chiefly on his comic Hans Breitmann’s Ballads (1871), written in a combination of broken English and German (not to be confused, as it often has been, with Pennsylvania German). His writings on Algonquian and gypsy culture were part of the contemporary interest in pagan and Aryan traditions. He erroneously claimed to have discovered 'the fifth Celtic tongue': the form of Cant, spoken among Irish Travellers. He named it Shelta. Leland became president of the English Gypsy-Lore Society in 1888. Eleven years later Godfrey produced Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches.

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Customer Reviews

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The book is very simple to read filled with stories and some rather easy to do spells.
S. Cranow
This book is also historically interesting; it's where Doreen Valiente got many of her ideas when she was writing the early Wiccan liturgy.
Kelly (Fantasy Literature)
Im reading it slowly so that I make sure to understand each and every bit of it but it is definitely interesting.
Diana Nolan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Vincent M. Silenzio on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
The controversies surrounding Leland's book aside, this edition, which includes several essays as well as side-by-side translations of the origianl texts, is an invaluable resource. No matter what its faults, "Aradia" remains an important link in the chain of neopaganism in the past century. This expanded edition will remain an important reference work for folklorists and ethnographers, and for Wiccans, Witches, and neopagans whose traditions have been heavily influenced by this work.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
This new translation of Charles Leland's classic corrects many of the original errors, comparing Leland's renderings of Italian with Pazzaglini's own renderings. Pazzaglini offers a chapter that explores Leland and his witch informant Maddalena, along with a brief overview of various elements that pertain to the period in which the original text was written. The section by Pazzaglini on Magical Principles and Practices provides a glimpse into the folk magic of Old Italy. Other chapters such as the one by Robert Mathiesen are best taken with a grain of salt. While the new translation is indeed a book that one should add to their library of books on witchcraft, the entire work itself could well have benefited from an expert on Leland and Italian witchcraft such as Raven Grimassi.
The Aradia material portrays Italian witches worshipping the Roman deities Diana and Lucifer. Here we find perhaps the earliest mention of witches worshipping a mated set of male and female deities. Diana's witches gather nude during a full moon ritual and celebrate with cakes and wine, something we also later find in the writings of Gerald Gardner on Wicca. Throughout the new Aradia book we encounter various elements of Italian folklore, folk magic, and witch lore seen through the filters of Judeo-Christian concepts. When one considers the era in which the original text was written, there is really very surprise to find such a view.
The Aradia material is an important part of the history of modern Wicca and for that reason alone this new translation is an important book. For a greater understanding of Italian witchcraft read Etruscan Roman Remains by Leland.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By L. Kolosky on June 2, 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
this book might offend alot of wiccans,but remember this book is about italian witchcraft not wicca. i dont recommend doing all spells in this book,especially the ones that threatens diana if she doesnt give you what you want. this book has alot of christian elements. i think the poetry in this book is beautiful. this book is an important read for anyone that studies or practices witchcraft. this book is very questionable,but still a very interesting read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Blair Gilman-Grossman on June 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book by the noted scholar Charles G. Leland sheds light on the ancient and much misunderstood religion of southern Europe. With the help of a strega, an Italian witch, Leland collected and compiled stories which he would form into te Witches Gospel. Used by many witches, both practitioners of the old religion and of more modern nature based faiths, this text is a must read for anyone interested in the origins of witchcraft in today's world.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on October 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
OK, since I've gotten several "not helpful" votes, I'm retooling my review.
I like _Aradia_ for the mood it puts me in when I read it; it has a very wild and anarchic feel, and I find that it boosts my self-esteem. One of the major ideas contained in _Aradia_ is that money is not the only kind of power, that our power comes from ourselves and the Gods, if we dare to grasp it.
I also like _Aradia_ for its weird spells. Yes, there are some cursing spells here, which I wouldn't recommdn using except in dire circumstances, but that's my own opinion. There are also spells for gaining beauty, comminucating with a lover through dreams, and (something most Pagans can appreciate) finding cheap used books. There is also an absolutely beautiful invocation to Diana the moon goddess. Many of the spells and incantations are embedded in folk tales; some are moving, others are just plain entertaining.
This book is also historically interesting; it's where Doreen Valiente got many of her ideas when she was writing the early Wiccan liturgy. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sylvanscion on August 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Yes, this is the grandaddy of all the wiccan/pagan books. It is what some of Gardner's ideas are based on, and that alone makes it an interesting read. This particular edition has major background on Charles Leland (we share the same birthday!), the original text, the new text with new translation of the italian, and the line-by line retranslation including how the italian was supposed to be in the first place and what it was supposed to mean. I was very impressed by all the information, and alot of the original Leland stuff is supported by still-existing stregha and italian traditions today. Very very good read. Go get it! :}
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph R. Calamia on September 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Aradia: Gospel of Witches" was written by Charles Godfrey Leland in 1899. Leland was basically an Anthropologist and folklorist who began his studies of ancient witchcraft in and around Italy in about 1862. He was attempting to gain old knowledge regarding "witchcraft" and its beginnings. In his studies, Leland met a woman (witch) who allegedly became his confidant, and informant. This informant, "Maddalena" supposedly assisted Leland in gathering secret writings, and incantations that had been used in "Stregheria" for hundreds, even thousands of years going back to the Etruscans of Tuscany.

There has always been conjecture by historians as to the validity of the "Witch's Gospel."
Many believe that Leland's "informant" was more likely than not, simply using him, and taking money for gathering information that simply...was not there. However, others disagree and believe these are true representations of "the old religion."

Personally, I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

From my layman's understanding of this subject matter, the information that Leland gleaned naturally parallels some of the ancient Greek, Etruscan, and Roman mythology. Much of the Moon Goddess's worship is the same ideology using various names depending upon the time and culture that worshiped her. Whether, one wishes to use the name of; "Isis", Herodias, Tana, Lilith, Diana, or the Blessed Virgin Mary, they are...one in the same.

According to the legends provided in "Aradia", it would appear that the story line of her birth was probably based upon Roman antiquity, but developed more closely with the rise of Catholicism, and the inquisitions that followed. Aradia is the daughter of the Goddess, Diana.
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