Here is a book that brings witchcraft out of the shadows. The Triumph of the Moon is the first full-scale study of the only religion England has ever given the world--modern pagan witchcraft, otherwise known as wicca. Meticulously researched, it provides a thorough account of an ancient religion that has spread from English shores across four continents.
For centuries, pagan witchcraft has been linked with chilling images of blood rituals, ghostlike druids, and even human sacrifices. But while Robert Hutton explores this dark side of witchery, he stresses the positive, reminding us that devotion to art, the natural world, femininity, and the classical deities are also central to the practice of wicca. Indeed, the author shows how leading figures in English literature--W.B. Yeats, D.H. Lawrence, and Robert Graves, just to name a few--celebrated these positive aspects of the religion in their work, thereby softening the public perception of witchcraft in Victorian England. From cunning village folk to freemasons and from high magic to the black arts, Hutton chronicles the fascinating process by which actual wiccan practices evolved into what is now a viable modern religion. He also presents compelling biographies of wicca's principal figures, such as Gerald Gardner, who was inducted into a witch coven at the age of 53, and recorded many clandestine rituals and beliefs.
Ronald Hutton is known for his colorful, provocative, and always thoroughly researched studies on original subjects. This work is no exception. It will appeal to anyone interested in witchcraft, paganism and alternative religions.
`This work ... makes for excellent reading. Hutton's extensive scholarship allows him to make and clarify connections between people and movements in recent centuries.'
Northern Earth, No.83.
`Hutton uses his historical skills to tease apart some of the themes in this popular rural romanticism, and to locate their purely modern origin.'
T. M. Luhrmann, TLS
`Hutton's book is excellent ...'
T. M. Luhrmann, TLS
`The Triumph of the Moon, which is densely argued and heavily annotated, leaves little doubt that the history which modern occultism has constructed for itself is bunk ... It all makes for riveting reading and, despite Hutton's demolition of the supposed lineage of witchcraft, I am tempted after reading his book to become a witch myself.'
Robert Irwin, The Independent 11/12/99
`Hutton has synthesised 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 archaeologist, 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 Vol.50 No.3
`he shows a bracing and candid scepticism about the architects of pagan witchcraft belief in the past ... he shows energetic rigour when exposing the fallacies and fantasies suffusing paganism's canonical texts ... has a very interesting story to tell.'
Marina Warner The Times
`A brilliant insight into the history of modern witchcraft by the author of the classic study of Paganism. Very readable and well researched.'
Kindred Spirit, Issue 50, Spring 2000
1: Finding a Language
2: Finding a Goddess
3: Finding a God
4: Finding a Structure
5: Finding a High Magic
6: Finding a Low Magic
7: Finding a Folklore
8: Finding a Witchcraft
10: God (and Goddess) Parents
11: Gerald Gardner
12: Gerald's People
13: The Wider Context: Hostility
14: The Wider Context: Reinforcement
15: Old Craft, New Craft
16: The Man in Black
17: Royalty from the North
18: Uncle Sam and the Goddess
19: Coming of Age
20: Grandchildren of the Shadows