- Series: Llewellyn's Modern Witchcraft Series
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Llewellyn Pubns; 1 edition (May 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0875423701
- ISBN-13: 978-0875423708
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,232,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Crafting the Art of Magic, Book I: A History of Modern Witchcraft, 1939-1964 (Llewellyn's Modern Witchcraft Series) (Book 1) Paperback – May, 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
A: Wait while we go see what Gardner's Book of Shadows says.
In Wicca, many people have been exposed to "ancient" and "hereditary" traditions while the ink in the spellbook was still drying--often on materials that had been lifted from another craft or magical tradition. Much of the Craft today, in its diverse forms, owes its existence to the original work of Gerald Gardner.
Aidan Kelly takes a critical look at the source material for Gerald Gardner's teachings about the craft. This is an excellent textual criticism of the Gardnerian materials. I cannot fault him for his work with "original" documents. I doubt we will ever learn more about when things were written, and from where they were lifted, than Dr. Kelly has presented in his book.
One of the most interesting evolutions is that of the Charge of the Goddess. On p. 52 he presents Gardner's original, a redacted bit of Leland & Crowley. It reads like a hack. This was its state between 1949 & 1953. On p. 114 he presents the Charge, essentially as we know it today, after Doreen Valiente (see my review of her The Rebirth of Witchcraft) had helped him rewrite it. On p. 162 he presents a verse form of of the Charge from 1961, a quintain adaptation of Dorreen's quatrain form (not included).
Kelly argues that nothing in the Craft pre-existed Gardner. He attempts to explain the creation of the Craft as Gerald's way of manipulating strong women into spanking him for sexual gratification. While I find his critical analysis compelling, his theory about Gardner's sexuality seems to be a long reach.
This book is required reading for anybody interested in the history of the Craft.Read more ›
Part of the campaign to remove it from the public eye involves discrediting "reviews", such as the one by Frew, referenced by another reviewer on this listing. His self-important article is not so much a review as a prolonged collection of innuendo, misdirection, logical hair-splitting, and frantic micro-analytical fault finding designed to divert the reader from addressing the spine of Kelly's argument: that all of the material present in Gardner's Book of Shadows were derived from presently available literary sources, leaving essentially nothing for a secretive pre-Gardnerian tradition to contribute. In other words, even if Gardner did join a pre-exiting coven of Witches as was his claim, their existence proves irrelevant as they effectively contributed nothing to the formation of present day Wicca. It was all Gardner (and then Valiente, and so on, and so on ...). This aspect of Dr. Kelly's book is scholastically and analytically solid and worthy of study.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book makes a pretense out of being scholarly, but is anything but scholarly. The author makes suppositions on one page and then treats those same suppositions are facts a few... Read morePublished on July 19, 2013 by Garnet
While Kelly's book is not perfect, it was by far the best systematic debunking of Wicca until Ronald Hutton came along. Read morePublished on November 22, 2007 by Abbacuss
Aidan's book is most important for the history of Witchcraft. Its debunkers can be seen for what they are: ignorant and unable to cope with the real roots of their professed... Read morePublished on August 26, 2007 by GW Alumna
This book has more assumption than it does research that has been proven false. See Don Frew's Critical Review here:
Llewellyn publishes something good in the early 90's an it never comes back, while tripe gets republished over and over..... Read morePublished on August 12, 2005 by Lupa