Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches

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9781515019732: Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches
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"Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches" from Charles Godfrey Leland. American humorist and folklorist (1824-1903).

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Witchcraft is known to its votaries as la vecchia religione, or the old religion, of which Diana is the Goddess, her daughter Aradia (or Herodias) the female Messiah, and that this little work sets forth how the latter was born, came down to earth, established witches and witchcraft, and then returned to heaven. With it are given the ceremonies and invocations or incantations to be addressed to Diana and Aradia, the exorcism of Cain, and the spells of the holy-stone, rue, and verbena, constituting, as the text declares, the regular church-service, so to speak, which is to be chanted or pronounced at the witch-meetings. There are also included the very curious incantations or benedictions of the honey, meal, and salt, or cakes of the witch-supper, which is curiously classical, and evidently a relic of the Roman Mysteries... [From the Introduction]

About the Author:

Charles G. Leland (August 15, 1824 – March 20, 1903) was an American humorist and folklorist. He became interested in folklore and folk linguistics, publishing books and articles on American and European languages and folk traditions. He studied languages, wrote poetry, and pursued a variety of other interests, including hermeticism, Neo-Platonism, and the writings of Rabelais and Villon. After college, he went to Europe to continue his studies. In his travels, he made a study of the Gypsies, on whom he wrote more than one book. He began to publish a number of books on ethnography, folklore and language. His writings on Algonquian and gypsy culture were part of the contemporary interest in pagan and Aryan traditions. He erroneously claimed to have discovered 'the fifth Celtic tongue': the form of Cant, spoken among Irish Travellers, which he named Shelta. He became president of the English Gypsy-Lore Society in 1888. He wrote Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, reportedly containing the traditional beliefs of Italian witchcraft as conveyed him in a manuscript provided by a woman named Maddalena, whom he refers to as his "witch informant." This remains his most influential book.

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