Just read this passage at starrycave.com, Nicolaj de Mattos Frisvold’s blog. Frisvold’s credentials are impeccable. He’s a Ph.D. psychologist, an initiated member of the Clan of Tubal Cain and an initiated Quimbandeiro and Palero. His books, especially his Pomba Gira and the Quimbanda of Mbumba Nzila and Exu and the Quimbanda of Night and Fire, have had an enormous influence on me. In his most recent blog entry I just read this passage.
The word ‘witch’ has become so problematic that practitioners of Traditional Craft often accept the label, just to escape it, as in the case of Robert Cochrane who merely accepted the label as holding some sort of meaning, though he would not define himself as a witch. For Cochrane this discomfort with the term ‘witch’ was partly caused by a group of Wiccans he dubbed ‘Gardnerians’, who also considered themselves ‘witches’. I will leave this issue alone and just state that Gerald Gardner — as demonstrated in recent research by Philip Heselton — most likely obtained a traditional induction into a lineage of traditional witches [italics mine].
I must look up in the local university library this research by Philip Heselton. —This is a sort of Golden Age of historical scholarship on witchcraft, with such luminaries as Emma Wilby, Éva Pócs, and Carlo Ginzburg demonstrating that witchcraft did indeed exist in forms much as Traditional Witchcraft does today from at least the early days of the Inquisition, and perhaps, as the archaeologists at Saveock Water in Cornwall are discovering, much earlier. Perhaps even in an unbroken tradition from truly ancient times.
And yet the myth — perhaps it’s time to start calling it a lie — that Traditional Witchcraft is a modern invention, of no earlier provenance that 1950, that Gerald Gardner invented Wicca, inspired by Margaret Murry and with liberal help from Aleister Crowley, persists. As Frisvold goes on to say:
But [Gardner] also wanted to make the transmission and the knowledge he received his own. For Gardener this meant turning witchcraft into a ritualistic system mediated by fringe masonry sprinkled with some Crowleyan and Rosicrucian elements. Nothing wrong in this…
And there is nothing wrong in that. —I’m not a Wiccan, let me state that outright. Most people would call me a witch or cunning woman, if they examined my praxis, despite my insistence on calling myself a sorceress. But neither am I an initiated Traditional Witch. —It simply irks me … no, it’s frankly beginning to make me angry that people persist in the unwarranted belief that today’s witchcraft is an invention out of whole cloth of no earlier a date that the mid 20th Century. Witchcraft has been a constant fact in the West for hundreds of unbroken years. Perhaps thousands. The gibbering and peeping of those who continue to assert otherwise proves they don’t read books.
It proves that all too many folks know how to do nothing except regurgitate obsolete lies.