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The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft Paperback – May 31, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"An excellent reference edition....I highly recommend it."--Weekly Alibi
"Hutton uses his historical skills to tease apart some of the themes in this popular rural romanticism, and to locate their purely modern origin."--Times Literary Supplement, UK
"Hutton's book is excellent..."--Times Literary Supplement
"Hutton has synthesized a huge body of sources, and woven together a fascinating narrative with supreme skill. The reader is sure to be gripped by the wonderful cast of characters that he assembles...Hutton shows us that paganism is a matter of interest not only for the classicist and archeologist, but for the modern historian as well. In doing so his Triumph of the Moon proves to be a triumph of cultural history."--Owen Davies, History Today (UK, Vol. 50 No. 3
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Top Customer Reviews
Hutton is something of a bête noire for many Wiccans and other Neopagans after his iconoclastic PAGAN RELIGIONS OF THE ANCIENT BRITISH ISLES, particularly for his corrosive attacks on Robert Graves and THE WHITE GODDESS (however deserved they may have been). Hutton's work is, nevertheless, grounded in substantial research (as befits a widely-published historian) and a generally non-judgmental tone. Hutton continues his no-stone-unturned approach in this new book, but departs from simple history to offer rationales for the viability of Neopaganism as a religious path, even given its apparent twentieth-century origins.
For many Neopagans outside of traditionalist Wicca, the book's focus on Neopagan Witchcraft (and in particular on Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders) may render its iconoclasm old news. Hutton's research only buttresses the deconstruction of Wicca begun in the '70s. Hutton's gift, though, is to go beyond the first order deconstruction and find unexpected bits of information amidst an impressive array of personal papers and museum holdings. For example, most informed readers will already be aware that "Old" Dorothy Clutterbuck, Gardner's supposed initiatrix, was shown to be a real person, after years of argument to the contrary.Read more ›
Hutton really starts with the eighteenth century, with Masonry, "cunning men", and other magic-workers of various kinds. He discusses these folks as sources for the later witchcraft revival, and gives his sources scrupulously. He then moves on to the nineteenth-century "occult revival", which is only rather sketchily handled, and to Gardner and the whole complex from which he arose.
Next, Hutton discusses Gardner in considerable detail, considering the whole "Dorothy Clutterbuck" problem and the whole complex of the first Wiccan covens. It seems not unlikely that this discussion will infuriate those who don't want to think of Gardner as a spiritual ancestor for their modern practices. At the same time, it's likely to tick off those would-be "debunkers" who want a lurid account of Gardner the evil sex-maniac. Overall, I found that Gardner came off rather sympathetically, which surprised me.
For me, the best thing about the book is the discussion of the extension of Wicca past Gardner's own influence. For example, I tend to associate the rise of Neopaganism with liberal politics, given the strong affiliations with the rise of feminism, ecological activism, and a kind of back-to-the-earth approach to collapsing the modern military-industrial dominance of (especially) American economics and politics.Read more ›
If you can't see the pattern here, his interest seems to have been trying to back-track elements of modern pagan tradition and mythology. It should be noted that at no time does he ever stray from his essential (and frequently stated) premise - that modern paganism is a perfectly valid modern religious format.
It is from this foundation that he finally takes the leap in his Triumph of the Moon, wherein he examines the history of modern paganism and places it into its place in a larger counter-cultural tradition stretching back at least to the Romantic period (if you've seen his article on the Great Neolithic Goddess Cult that appeared in Antiquity several years ago, you may have some idea of where the path this has taken).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An intellectual analysis of the only true religion out of Europe.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
A delightful history of modern paganism, but older readers, and those prone to eye strain should be aware the type font is pretty small.Published 7 months ago by A Reader
While reading through this book, I was assured that I'd be giving it 5 stars on Amazon, but by the time I finished reading the last page I changed my mind. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Austin
Some like it but I think it's too wordy. Didn't read it all.Published 10 months ago by Valerie Kelley-Curtis
If you want an honest, intellectually honest understanding of neo-Paganism or Wicca, this is a MUST read book. The book isn't like most books on Wicca, etc. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Karl L. Justice
amazing book, trully needed for pagans who wish to know the roots of their faith!Published 14 months ago by Christina09