Monday, 13 March 2017

Witches And The Time Patrol

"'...there may or may not have been an underground of Witches in Europe in the old days...'"
-SM Stirling, The Protector's War (New York, 2006), Chapter Fourteen, p. 370.

Pagan scholars of Paganism tell me that there was no underground of Witches in Western Christendom. Gardner had to invent Wicca while (imp)lying that he had revived an ancient tradition. Neo-Pagans are simply Neo.

Nevertheless, a woman in Preston Moot claimed to have been brought up in a Traveller community that had been Pagan for generations. Women worshipped the Moon; men worshipped Herne. Her community no longer existed so she sought out Neo-Pagans and was surprised by some of their practices. She has since died.

It might be a matter of indifference to the Time Patrol whether Gardner's Wicca did link back to an earlier tradition or whether instead he created it de novo. Either way, it exists now. The Patrol must protect Gardner's existence just as it must protect St Paul whether or not what Paul said about Jesus was historically accurate. (When I began to post about Witches, I did not expect to wind up with the Time Patrol.)


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Of COURSE there was no pagan "underground" Western or Eastern Christendom. The very last pagan nation in Europe, the Lithuanians, converted to Catholicism around 1400, and nothing has ever been said of an "underground" of Lithuanian pagans!

As you the neo-paganism we see today is just that, NEO. And no even accurately modeled on the real pagan cults of the past! Because, as I've said in another note, to seriously examine the Classical, Celtic, Mid Eastern, Egyptian, or Eddaic pagan gods is to see how FLAWED they were.


Sean M. Brooks said...

First sentence of the second paragraph, I omitted "said" after "As you...". Second sentence, "no" should be "not." Dratted typos!


S.M. Stirling said...

Gardner cribbed heavily not only from Western esoteric sources (the Golden Dawn and so forth) but also from Indian religions and philosophies -- he'd lived there for some time.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Thanks for commenting. Yes, I recalled reading of how Gerald Gardner lived in the Far East for a time when I looked him up.

I don't want to cause any offense to neo-pagans, but their religion, even when loosely modeled on past pagan pantheons of the kind I listed above, feels unreal, rootless, and unhistorical to me. And I keep remembering how more and more people found the old gods increasingly unsatisfactory by the time of the period set by Poul Anderson for THE GOLDEN SLAVE.