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Trials of the Moon: Reopening the Case for Historical Witchcraft. A critique of Ronald Hutton's The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft Paperback – November 10, 2010
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About the Author
Ben Whitmore is an Alexandrian High Priest, Co-Freemason, Morris dancer, artist and software engineer. He lives in rural Auckland, New Zealand, with his partner and daughter.
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With all due respect to Dr. Hutton, as well as to the fact that modern Paganism was indeed (thankfully) influenced by outside elements such as Freemasonry, the Rosicrucians, and even Christianity, it has always seemed a matter of common sense that anything as widespread and influential as pre-Christian religion and practises would have found some way to survive into modern times. Fragmented, disguised, and even refined, perhaps, but still alive in some form, and adapted to a more enlightened period. The same can be said of most all religions and spiritual disciplines as they relate to their followers. They change as we change. They grow with us. One could even say that "God", that Creative Essence which is the Source of every belief system-- or more precisely, our perception of "God"-- changes throughout time.
Does this fact make any religion less genuine? I don't think so. Nor does the fact that what was the basis of modern Wica/Witchcraft/Paganism possibly retained some element of it's original form into modern times, while abandoning the brutality of ancient times, make that less genuine. Given the examples of most major religions, I would venture to say that Neo-Paganism, in all it's forms, reflects at least some historical elements accurately, and has found itself willing to accept the evolution necessary to survival. Modern Pagans do not sacrifice humans or animals, even though their ancestors did. A more enlightened age results in a more enlightened expression of faith, but such changes should not be taken as something entirely new when they may very well be the mere evolution of an older tradition.
Here's hoping this volume serves to help open the research into one of the fastest growing spiritual movements of our time further than ever before. After all, any religion should be able to stand up to scrutiny, provided that scrutiny is fair and balanced.
I would also recommend the excellent books of Philip Heselton, especially in regard to the modern Witchcraft movement.
That's because the most accurate history foregrounds the debate rather than obscuring it (as Hutton and many others do).