Wicca/ Geschichte

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History of Wicca


The history of Wicca is much debated. Gardner claimed that the religion was a survival of matriarchal Pagan religions of pre-historic Europe, taught to him by a woman known either as "Dafo" or "Old Dorothy". Doreen Valiente identified these as a single person, Dorothy Clutterbuck,[15] however modern researchers such as Philip Heselton have theorised that Dafo and Clutterbuck were two separate individuals.[16] It has been posited by authors such as Aidan Kelly and Francis X. King that Gardner himself invented it, following the thesis of Dr. Margaret Murray and sources such as Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches by Charles Godfrey Leland,[17] and incorporating practices of ceremonial magic. While Clutterbuck certainly existed, Ronald Hutton concluded that there was no evidence for her involvement in Gardner's Craft activities.[18] Since then, however, new evidence presented by Philip Heselton makes her involvement seem more likely, and suggests that while Gardner may have been mistaken about the ancient origins of the religion, his statements about it were largely made in good faith. A widespread theory [citation needed] is that after Gardner retired from adventuring around the globe, he encountered Clutterbuck and her New Forest coven in the region. He was supposedly initiated into the New Forest coven in 1939, where he stayed for years until England's ban on witchcraft-related books was repealed. At this point, and later claiming to fear that the Craft would die out,[19] he worked on his book Witchcraft Today, releasing it in 1954. He followed it with The Meaning of Witchcraft in 1960. It is from these books that much of modern Wicca is derived.

While the ritual format of Wicca is undeniably styled after late Victorian era occultism (even co-founder Doreen Valiente admits seeing influence from Crowley), the spiritual content is inspired by older Pagan faiths, with Buddhist and Hindu influences. Whether any historical connection to Pagan religion exists, the aspiration to emulate Pagan religion as it was understood at the time certainly does.

Due to historical suspicions, it is seems very likely that Gardner's rites and precepts were taken from other occultists, particularly Aleister Crowley, and was not in fact anything new to the world. There is very little in the Wiccan rites that cannot be shown to have come from earlier extant sources. The original material is not cohesive and mostly takes the form of substitutions or expansions within unoriginal material. Roger Dearnaley, in An Annotated Chronology and Bibliography of the Early Gardnerian Craft,[20] describes it as a patchwork.

Philip Heselton, writing in Wiccan Roots and later in Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration[16], argues that Gardner was not the author of the Wiccan rituals but received them in good faith from an unknown source. (Doreen Valiente makes this claim regarding the "basic skeleton of the rituals," as Margot Adler puts it in Drawing Down the Moon.) He notes that all the Crowley material that is found in the Wiccan rituals can be found in a single book, The Equinox vol 3 no. 1 or Blue Equinox. Gardner is not known to have owned or had access to a copy of this book.

Some, such as Isaac Bonewits, have argued that Valiente and Heselton's evidence points to an early 20th century revival predating Gardner, rather than an intact old Pagan religion. The argument points to historical claims of Gardner's that agree with scholarship of a certain time period and contradict later scholarship. Bonewits writes, Somewhere between 1920 and 1925 in England some folklorists appear to have gotten together with some Golden Dawn Rosicrucians and a few supposed Fam-Trads to produce the first modern covens in England; grabbing eclectically from any source they could find in order to try and reconstruct the shards of their Pagan past. Crowley published the aforementioned Blue Equinox in 1919.

The idea of primitive matriarchal religions, deriving ultimately from studies by Johann Jakob Bachofen, was popular in Gardner's day, both among academics (e.g., Erich Neumann, Margaret Murray) and amateurs such as Robert Graves. Later academics (e.g. Carl Jung and Marija Gimbutas) continued research in this area, and later still Joseph Campbell, Ashley Montagu and others became fans of Gimbutas' theories of matriarchies in Old Europe. Matriarchal interpretations of the archaeological record and the criticism of such work continue to be matters of academic debate. Some academics carry on research in this area (such as the 2003 World Congress on Matriarchal Studies). Critics argue that such matriarchal societies never actually existed and are an invention of researchers such as Margaret Murray. This is disputed by documentaries such as "Blossoms of Fire" (about contemporary Zapotec society).

The idea of a supreme Mother Goddess was common in Victorian and Edwardian literature: the concept of a Horned God — especially related to the gods Pan or Faunus — was less common, but still significant.[21] Both of these ideas were widely accepted in academic literature and the popular press at the time.[22] Gardner used these concepts as his central theological doctrine and constructed Wicca around this core. [edit]

Later developments

Wicca has developed in several directions since it was first publicised by Gerald Gardner. Gardnerian Wicca was an initiatory mystery religion, admission to which was limited to those who were initiated into a pre-existing coven. The Book of Shadows, the grimoire that contained the rituals, was kept secret and was only obtainable from a coven of proper lineage. Despite the fact that several versions of the Book of Shadows have now been publicly published, many traditions of Wicca still maintain strict secrecy regarding the book and certain other aspects of the religion.

Raymond Buckland introduced modern Wicca to America after moving to Long Island. Buckland enlarged the Book of Shadows, adding further degrees of initiation which were required before members could found their own covens. Interest outstripped the ability of the mostly British-based covens to train and propagate members; the beliefs of the religion spread faster by the printed word or word of mouth than the initiatory system was prepared to handle. [citation needed]

Other traditions appeared that gradually brought more attention and adherents to the extant Neopaganism movement.[citation needed] Some claimed roots as ancient as Gardner's version, and were organised along similar lines.[citation needed] Others were syncretic, incorporating aspects of Kabbalah, romanticised Celtic Pagan concepts, and ceremonial magic. In 1971 "Lady Sheba" (self-styled "Queen of the American Witches") published what she claimed was a version of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, although the authenticity of this book has never been validated. Increasing awareness of Gardner's literary sources and the actual early history of the movement made creativity seem as valuable as Gardnerian tradition. [citation needed]

Another significant development was the creation by feminists of Dianic Wicca, or feminist Dianic Witchcraft. This is a specifically feminist, Goddess-oriented faith that had no interest in the Horned God, and discarded Gardnerian-style hierarchy as irrelevant. Many Dianic Wiccans felt that witchcraft was every woman's right and heritage to claim. This heritage might be best characterized by Monique Wittig's words on the subject: "But remember. Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent." This tradition was comparatively (and unusually for that time) open to solitary witches. Rituals were created for self-initiation to allow people to identify with and join the religion without first contacting an existing coven.[citation needed] This contrasts with the Gardnerian belief that only a witch of opposite gender could initiate another witch.[citation needed]

The publications of Raymond Buckland illustrate these changes. During the early 1970s, in books such as Witchcraft - Ancient and Modern and Witchcraft From the Inside, Buckland maintained the Gardnerian position that only initiates into a Gardnerian or other traditional coven were truly Wiccans. However, in 1974, Buckland broke with the Gardnerians and founded Seax-Wica, revealing its teachings and rituals in the book The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. This tradition made no claims to direct descent from ancient Saxons; all of its then-extant rituals were contained in that book, which allowed for self-initiation. In 1986 Buckland published Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft (colloquially known as "Uncle Bucky's Big Blue Book"), a workbook that sought to train readers in magical and ritual techniques as well as instructing them in Wiccan teachings and rituals. Unfortunately, even after Buckland wrote his revised edition of this book there were still many errors from his original work that were never updated.

The first Wiccan Wedding to be legally recognised in the U.K (by the Registrars of Scotland) was performed in 2004.[23] [edit]


Gerald Gardner is credited with re-introducing the word Wicca into the English language, although he himself used the spelling 'Wica' in his published work of 1954[1], and that only sparingly, usually just calling his religion 'witchcraft'. The spelling 'Wicca' is now used almost exclusively, Seax-Wica being the only major use of the four-letter spelling. The word's first appearance within the title of a book was in Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in the late 1980s.[citation needed]

Wicca was previously an Old English word (pronounced 'witcha'), meaning a male witch or wizard; wicce was a female witch (see also Völva), and wiccecræft was witchcraft. Its earliest known use is in the circa 890 Laws of Ælfred.[24][25] Earlier origins of the word are uncertain, however, and are much disputed.[26]

The most likely derivation is through the Old English word wigle (sorcery, divination) from the Indo-European root *weg (liveliness, wakefulness).[27][28] Gardner and other writers on Wicca have proposed a relationship with the Old English words wita 'wise man' and witan 'to know', asserting that witches had once been regarded as the "wise" people;[29][30] Wicca is often called the "Craft of the Wise" in allusion to this derivation. Still others claim a derivation from the Indo-European root *wei which connotes bending or pliance (from which we get the words 'wicker' 'willow' and 'witch-elm'), suggesting the concept of magic as a "bending" of forces of nature.

The word wicca is associated with animistic healing rites in Halitgar's Latin Penitential where it is stated that Some men are so blind that they bring their offering to earth-fast stone and also to trees and to wellsprings, as the witches teach, and are unwilling to understand how stupidly they do or how that dead stone or that dumb tree might help them or give forth health when they themselves are never able to stir from their place.

The phrase swa wiccan tæcaþ ("as the witches teach") seems to be an addition to Halitgar's original, added by an eleventh-century Old-English translator.[31] [edit]

Discrimination and persecution of Wiccans Religious persecution By persecuting group:

   * Christians
   * Muslims
   * Soviet Union

By victimized group:

   * Ancient Greek religion
   * Atheists
   * Bahá'ís
   * Christians
   * Heathens
   * Hindus
   * Jews
   * Mormons
   * Muslims
   * Pagans
   * Roman religion
   * Wiccans

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According to the traditional history of Wicca as given by Gerald Gardner, Wicca is a survival of the European witch-cult that was persecuted during the witch trials (sometimes called the Burning Times), and the strong element of secrecy that traditionally surrounds the religion was adopted as a reaction to that persecution.

Since then Margaret Murray's theory of an organised pan-European witch-cult has been discredited, and doubts raised about the age of Wicca, and many Wiccans no longer claim this historical lineage. However it is still common for Wiccans to feel solidarity with the victims of the witch trials, and being witches, to consider the witch-craze to have been a persecution against their faith. [32]

In modern times, Wiccans have been incorrectly associated with black magic and Satanism, especially in connection with Satanic Ritual Abuse hysteria.[citation needed] The Bible (Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them[33] and Exodus 22:17 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live[34]) may incite Christians to be less than sympathetic toward neo-Pagans in general. Wiccans also experience difficulties in administering and receiving prison ministry, although not in the UK of recent times.[citation needed]

Because of the popular negative connotations associated with witchcraft, many Wiccans continue the traditional practice of secrecy, concealing their faith for fear of persecution. Revealing oneself as Wiccan to family, friends or colleagues is often termed "coming out of the broom-closet". FreddyE 05:51, 8. Aug 2006 (UTC)


Die Geschichte des Wicca ist ein viel diskutiertes Thema. Gardner behauptete die Religion sei ein Überbleibsel der matriarchalischen Panganreligionen des prähistorischen Europas, die ihm von einer Frau namens "Dafo" oder "Old Dorothy" beigebracht wurde. Doreen Valiente hat dies als eine einzelne Person identifiziert: Dorothy Clutterbuck [15], doch heutige Forscher, wie zum Beispiel Philip Heselton, haben Dafo und Clutterbuck als zwei verschiedene Personen theorisiert.[16] Andere Autoren (zb. Aidan Kelly und Francis X. King) nehmen an Gardner habe die Religion selbst erfunden in dem er die Thesen des Dr. Margaret Murray, Quellen wie beispielsweise Aradia oder "Gospel of the Wichtes" von Charles Godfrey Leland [17] und Praktiken Zeremonieller Magie kombinierte. Obwohl Clutterbuck sicherlich existierte gibt es laut Ronald Hutton keine Hinweise für ihre Beteiligung bei Gardeners Aktivitäten.[18] Seitdem wurden jedoch von Philip Heselton neue Hinweise präsentiert die ihre Beteiligung warscheinlicher erscheinen lassen. Er nimmt an das Gardner sich zwar in Bezug auf die antiken Ursprünge der Religion irrte, doch seine Äußerungen zum Großteil in gutem Glauben machte. Laut einer weit verbreiteten Theorie begegnete Gardnerer, nach seinen weltweiten Reisen, Clutterbuch und ihrem "New Forest Coven".

Angeblich wurde er 1939 in den Coven initiert wo er viele Jahre blieb bis Englands Verbot von Büchern über Hexerei aufgehoben wurde. Zu dieser Zeit arbeitete er an seinem Buch "Witchcraft Today", das er 1954 veröffentlichte. 1960 folgte das Buch "The Meaning of Witchcraft".Das moderne Wicca ist von diesen beiden Büchern abgeleitet.

Zwar ist das rituelle Format des Wicca unbestreitbar dem späten viktorianischen Okkultismus (sogar Co-Gründer Doreen Valiente bestätigt Einflüsse von Crowley) nachempfunden, doch die spirituelle Komponente ist von älteren panganistischen Religionen, Buddhismus und Hinduismus beeinflusst. In wie fern auch immer die historische Verbindung zum Panganismus existiert, das Bestreben die Religion nach dem damaligen Verständnis nachzubilden ist sicherlich vorhanden.

Es scheint sehr warscheinlich das Gradners Riten und Ansichten von anderen Occultisten, vorallem von Aleister Crowley, stammen und damit nichts neues darstellten. Sehr wenig in den Wicca Riten stammt nachweislich nicht aus früheren Quellen. Die neuen Inhalte sind nicht kohäsiv und es handelt sich dabei vorallem um Ergänzungen und Ersetzungen innerhalb des Orginalmaterials. Roger Dearnaly beschreibt es in "An Annotated Chronology and Bibliography of the Early Gardnerian Craft" als Flickwerk.

Philip Heselton behauptet in seinen Büchern "Wiccan Roots" und "Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration" das Gardner nicht der Autor der Wicca Rituale ist, sonder sie in gutem Glauben von einer unbekannten Quelle erhalten hat. (Auch Doreen Valiente behauptet dies in Bezug auf "das Basisskelett der Rituale", wie in Margort Adlers "Drawing Down the Moon" zu lesenen ist.) Laut ihm kann das gesamte Material das von Crowley stammt in einem einzigen Buch gefunden werden: "The Equinox vol 3 no. 1 or Blue Equinox". Es ist nicht bekannt dass Gardner dieses Buch besaß oder Zugriff darauf hatte.