Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is an 1899 book by Charles
Godfrey Leland. The book is an attempt to portray the beliefs and
rituals of an underground religious witchcraft tradition in Tuscany
that had survived for centuries until Leland's claimed discovery of
its existence in the 1890s. Scholars have disputed the veracity of
this claim. Still, the book has become one of the foundational texts
of Wicca and Neo-paganism. Its fifteen chapters portray the origins,
beliefs, rituals and spells of an Italian pagan witchcraft tradition.
The central figure of that religion is the goddess Aradia who came to
Earth to teach the practice of witchcraft to oppressed peasants in
order for them to oppose their feudal oppressors and the Christian
church. Leland's work remained obscure until the 1950s, when other
theories about, and claims of, "pagan witchcraft" survivals began to
be widely discussed. Aradia began to be examined within the wider
context of such claims. Scholars are divided, with some dismissing
Leland's assertion regarding the origins of the manuscript, and others
arguing for its authenticity as a unique documentation of folk
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León first sighted Florida,
purportedly while searching for the Fountain of Youth in the New
The United States Navy was established.
Nikita Khrushchev became Premier of the Soviet Union.
The Good Friday Earthquake and subsequent tsunamis devastated
Two Boeing 747 airliners collided in the Tenerife disaster on Tenerife
of the Canary Islands, killing 583 people and resulting in the worst
aircraft accident in aviation history.
Wikiquote of the day:
History is a novel written by the people. -- Alfred de Vigny