Synopses & Reviews
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 principle 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.
"Hutton's exceptional work is by far the most scholarly, comprehensive and judicious analysis of the subject yet published." Publishers Weekly
"Hutton shows us that paganism is a matter of interest not only for the classicist and archeologist, but for the modern historian as well. In doing so his The Triumph of the Moon proves to be a triumph of cultural history." Owen Davies, History Today
"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, Independent
"An excellent reference edition....I highly recommend it." Weekly Alibi
"[Hutton] shows a bracing and candid skepticism about the architects of pagan witchcraft....a very interesting story." The Times
Bringing witchcraft out of the closet, this full-scale study offers readers a glimpse of modern pagan witchcraft, otherwise known as Wicca. Hutton shows how leading figures in English literature, including W.B. Yeats and D.H. Lawrence, celebrated the positive aspects of the religion in their work, thereby softening the public perception of witchcraft in Victorian England.
About the Author
Ronald Hutton is Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is the author of seven other books, including The Stations of the Sun, which The Times Literary Supplement called "a tour de force from one of the liveliest and most wide-ranging English historians." He lives in the United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
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