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Thursday, 2 August 2007

The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft

The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft Cover

Book: The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft by Allen Greenfield

This monograph has a long history. The earliest published draft appeared in a small, independent radical journal during my sojourn in Florida in the middle 1980s. I was at that time closely associated with the OTO, but was not then an initiate member. I had been in close contact with Wiccan and other Neopagan groups at that time for over a decade.

I had been a welcome guest in many Neopagan circles, from Northern California to Southern Florida, and was widely, although inaccurately, described as a "Neopagan writer" (as in Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon). I was frequently published in the journal of the Church of All Worlds, Green Egg. Several years later, a revised and updated version appeared in the first issue of LAShTAL, the journal of Eulis Lodge OTO, which by then I had joined.

Since that time, the essay has been repeatedly updated and revised. After I lost my bid for it, the copy of Ye Book of Ye Arte Magical in the Ripley Collection was sold to a private collector with pro Wiccan sympathies (or so I have heard) and has disappeared from view, though I understand each page has been photographed and will likely appear soon in facsimile, for all to judge for themselves. I got a VERY good look at it, and expect no serious surprises.

A bootleg edition of this essay appeared in Canada in 2003. This version has never before been published before, and was prepared especially for this anthology. It was one of the editor's selections—I claim no connection to, or responsibility for any of the other selections published here, any more than I do for the choice of titles of the volume itself. But this essay is a product of some nearly twenty years of research and revision on my part. There are conjectures that might be wrong, and certainly satirical points not intended to be taken at face value, but it is a carefully measured, honest appraisal of the origins of "the old religion" as it has called itself, or Wicca. It is not an attack on a system of beliefs.

My bottom line is that Wicca is not related historically in any way other than literary inspiration to any aboriginal pagan religion. It is, in fact, a product of the 1930s and '40s, hugely influenced by the rituals of Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). It, in fact, is a errant direct descendent of an OTO encampment in London chartered by Aleister Crowley, then the OTO Grand Master General, and under direction of Crowley's student and would-be successor, Gerald Gardner. It is interesting to observe that Crowley's Acting Master of Agape Lodge OTO in America in the same period also wrote extensively a few years later on a "revival of witchcraft".

The present revision includes newer insights into the early claims concerning Gerald Gardner relative to his status in the OTO. Several letters published by Bill Heidrick, International Grand Treasurer General of the OTO, exchanged between Lady Frieda Harris and both Karl Germer and Frederic Mellinger, immediately after Aleister Crowley's death, add new insight. Br. Heidrick was kind enough to provide me with copies of these letters in my preparations for the previous revision of this essay. There is also an important letter by Gerald Gardner to Vernon Symmonds, written during the same period. A copy of the latter was kindly provided by Sabazius X°, the present U.S. Grand Master General of the OTO. I have also carefully examined the correspondence between Crowley and the Gnostic Bishop W.B. Crow, in which Crowley explicitly refers to Gardner's encampment, indicating it had a future as an OTO Lodge and urging Crow to work with it.

I have additionally had occasion to closely examine the aforementioned writings of John Whiteside Parsons on the subject of modern witchcraft, written during at the end of the same period. It is of more than passing interest that Ye Book of Ye Arte Magical, the OTO Charter granted to Gerald Gardner by Aleister Crowley, the writings by Parsons on witchcraft, the publication of High Magic's Aid and the public emergence of Wicca all date from the same period, circa 1945-1950.

Download Allen Greenfield's eBook: The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Reginald Scot - The Discoverie Of Witchcraft
John Mitchell - The Philosophy Of Witchcraft
Samuel Croxall - The Secret History Of Pythagoras
Allen Greenfield - A True History Of Witchcraft
Allen Greenfield - The Secret History Of Modern Witchcraft