July 15, 2003
Origins of Modern Witchcraft: The Evolution of a World Religion
By Ann Moura
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (October 2000)
Pages: 282 - Price: $14.95
Review by Lee Prosser - email@example.com
Ann Moura, also known by her Wiccan name of Aoumiel, is the respected author of several books including her Green Witchcraft series. She has been an active practitioner of Green Witchcraft for over thirty-five years and is a historian with both a BA and an MA degree in history. With her nonfiction work, Origins of Modern Witchcraft, she reveals the roots of Witchcraft and what has come about in its development.
It should be mentioned that Witch, and Witchcraft are capitalized at the beginning of each word, in the same manner that Christian and Christianity are capitalized at the beginning of each word. By doing so, Wiccans and Witches of all types have realized they are not so easily dismissed as a religion.
What makes Origins of Modern Witchcraft a standout historical document is that it goes back to the roots of Witchcraft and shows the actual development of Witchcraft. The book contains a well-written introduction with a note on dating, an author's note, and an interesting "Where Do Pagans Fit In?" There are eight chapters to the book.
Chapter One sets the stage and openly establishes the early connection of Witchcraft to India. Moura's research is impeccable.
What got started and what developed in India is important reading for all those who would like an honest approach to how and what Witchcraft is. Chapter Two discusses the foundational deities of pagan and non-pagan religions. Many themes and topics are covered in the first two chapters, such as the Vedic writings of Ancient India, Durga, Shiva, Parvati, and other deities of India. Ancient Egypt is mentioned for its contributions as are the contributions of groups such as the Celts.
As the book unfolds its documented and illustrated facts, other religions are discussed including Christianity and Buddhism. Dravidian and Dravidic topics are detailed. The Kabbalah and Islam are discussed. The Bible of the Christians is discussed and ceremonial magic is discussed for its importance. An important section on gypsies is included which will answer some questions about their origin and beliefs.
Clearly written, with a straight-ahead approach, factual, documented, and written by a Witch who knows of what she speaks, Ann Moura has put together an informative history. It is entertaining reading.
For those who are interested in other writings by credible Witches with strong research credentials, the reading audience should look into these authors: Gerina Dunwich, Sybil Leek, Raymond Buckland, and Scott Cunningham, Raven Grimassi, among others. Origins of Modern Witchcraft by Ann Moura will go a very long way towards dispelling the myths concerning Witchcraft, and Witches.
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