"Witchcraft" An excellent chapter from the book Women, Church and State written by Matilda Joslyn Gage, 1893. This is an excellent document on how the woman was treated as a witch during the persecution of Witches
But the greatest revolution the Sorceress brought about, the chief movement of all in contradiction, in direct contradiction to the spirit of the Middle Ages, is what we might well call a rehabilitation of the belly and its digestive functions. They boldly proclaimed the doctrine that "nothing is impure and nothing unclean." From that moment the study of physical science was enfranchised, its shackles loosed, and true medicine became a possibility.--
This classic of neo-Paganism is one of the few books which purports to be an actual sacred text of traditional witchcraft, in particular that of the Tuscan region of Italy. Charles Leland was an American expatriate journalist, folklorist, and author. He based this book on material which he received from a woman named Maddelena, who had assisted him in collecting regional Italian folklore. On New Years day, 1897 she handed over to him a document in her own handwriting, the Vangel, which is the core of this book. Maddelena then reportedly went missing, and never contacted Leland again.
The authenticity of Aradia has always been in question. Ronald Hutton, in his scholarly study of the roots of neo-Paganism, The Triumph of the Moon (Oxford University Press, 1999), presents three divergent theories about Aradia: first, that is a genuine text of an underground Italian Goddess religion, second, that Maddelena wrote it based on her family tradition, or third, that Charles Leland forged it based on his extensive knowledge of folklore. Each of these theories has pros and cons: it may be that the second and third are closest to the truth.
Whatever the source of this material, it has had a profound impact on the emergence of neo-Paganism, and is required reading for anyone interested in the subject.
This version of the etext, originally scanned early in 2001, was proofread a second time in July of 2002 and upgraded to current coding standards of sacred-texts.
The Gypsies, who call themselves Rom or Romany, are a nomadic culture which originated in India during the Middle Ages. They migrated widely, particularly to Europe, where they worked as farm laborers, metalworkers, scrapdealers, and horsetraders. They also made a living as entertainers, fortune tellers, and grifters. Persecuted by the Nazis, and discriminated against to this day, the Rom have a long tradition of magic and shamanism. As Leland points out, these practices have parallels with those of other traditional pagan cultures around the world.
This book discusses spells, incantations and talismans used within Rom culture, as well as the more practical magic they use in their interaction with the Gorgios--the non-Gypsies. It is this latter topic which provides some of the most interesting and instructional reading. Leland gives some generalized methods of fortune-telling which any prospective psychic would do well to study; as well as the details of the 'Great Secret', a magic trick in which all of your money disappears...
Gypsy life has a romantic appeal, and Leland, who popularized Gypsy lore in this and other books played no small part in this image-making. However, Leland makes it abudantly clear that life on the road was hard. The Rom people are to be admired for their survival skills in a hostile world, and for the longevity and persistance of their culture.