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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

The article below was written back in 1991 or 1992 e.v.
For an update by the author, please see:

                     Modern Wiccan Concepts based in Literary Satanism 

          By: Diane Vera

          As I pointed out to Warren Grant in the PAGAN echo recently, Charles
          G. Leland mentions Michelet in the Appendix to _Aradia:_
          _Gospel_of_the_Witches_: "Now be it observed, that every leading
          point which forms the plot or centre of this _Vangel_  [...]  had
          been told or written out for me in fragments by Maddalena (not to
          mention other authorities), even as it had been chronicled by Horst
          or Michelet" (pp.101-102, 1974 Weiser paperback edition).
          In _A_History_of_Witchcraft_, Jeffrey B. Russell writes:
          "Michelet's argument that witchcraft was a form of social protest
          was adapted later by Marxists; his argument that it was based on a
          fertility cult was adopted by anthropologists at the turn of the
          century, influenig Sir James Frazer's _Golden_Bough_, Jessie
          Weston's _From_Ritual_to_Romance_, Magaret Murray's _Witch-
          Cult_in_Western_Europe_, and indirectly T.S. Eliot's
          _The_Waste_Land_" (_A_History_of_Witchcraft_, p.133).
          Russell states further: "Neopagan witchcraft has roots in the
          tradition of Michelet, who argued that European witchcraft was the
          survival of an ancient religion.  This idea influenced Sir James
          Frazer and a number of other anthropologists and writers in the late
          nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The publication of
          Charles Leland's _Aradia_ in 1899 was an important step in the
          evolution of the new religion of witchcraft.   [...]   The doctrines
          and practices of the witches as reported by Leland are a melange of
          sorcery, medieval heresy, witch-craze concepts, and political
          radicalism, and Leland reports ingenuously that this is just what he
          expected, since it fitted with what he had read in Michelet"
          (Russell, p.148).
          As far as I know, it's possible that Michelet's influence on Gardner
          was only indirect, via the other above-named writers.  This would
          not invalidate my point, which is that Michelet played a key role in
          the development of the ideas in question.
          Michelet has had a more direct influence on feminist Goddess
          religion than on Wicca proper.  Michelet's _La_Sorciere_
          (_Satanism_and_Witchcraft_) is listed in the bibliography of
          _Woman,_Church,_and_State_ by Matilda Gage (19th-century Women's
          Suffrage leader and the founder of pre-Wiccan feminist Goddess
          religion) and, more recently, in _Witches,_Midwives,_and_Nurses:_
          _A_History_of_Women_Healers_ by Barbara Ehrenreich and Dierdre
          English (1973).
          In my opinion, Michelet's most important contribution to both Wicca
          and feminist Goddess religion was that, as far as I know, he was the
          first well-known writer (in recent centuries, anyway) to use the
          word "Witch" (capital W) with its present-day positive connotations
          of healing and opposition to tyranny.


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