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Grrrr...

I am not a fan of Hutton.
I am not a fan of academics who try to dissect and sterilize and parse the Mysteries into digestible/understandable/ pieces for the plaguan public.
I think the theory that Cochrane did anything for the sole purpose of "being different from Gardner" is crap.

I think the theory that Wicca was created in the 50's from whole cloth is crap, made up by a bitter, failed Wicca [edit: Not Hutton, but one of his sources.] who refused to take responsibility for his own fuck-ups, and who revels in his role of Apostate of the Craft.

No, I'm not going to offer sources or "proof" or whatnot that the seeds of the Craft, and all its parts, were extant pre-Gardner. Do your own research, and your own thinking, and come to your own conclusions.

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Comments

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
kaowolfie
Jul. 7th, 2005 12:36 pm (UTC)
It's always so /nice/ to see people who have such disdain for serious scholarly research, and such a preference for false history. Does the truth hurt you, dear?
sanacrow
Jul. 7th, 2005 03:47 pm (UTC)
Since when does a dislike of Hutton = "disdain for serious scholarly research"? Or a "preference for false history"?

There are quite a number of very serious, very qualified scholarly researchers out there. And a lot of them have a number of issues with particular things written by Hutton.

If you want "truth", a good place to start would be taking a look at Hutton's original source material (as well as *their* sources) - as well as the material he chose to ignore.
kaowolfie
Jul. 7th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
I'm not referring to your dislike of Hutton. I'm referring to the fact that you're wilfully ignorant of the history of your religion, and I'm referring to your disdain for applying analytical thinking to religion. You claim that you think people should go out and do their own research, then you turn around and whiiiiine about people who do that and, oh my god, actually /publish/ their results.

Frankly, I'm getting a vibe of "the lady doth protest too much" from you.
dbmyrrha
Jul. 7th, 2005 05:45 pm (UTC)
Yet, you can't even read carefully enough to noice that Sana and I are not the same person. You say I am willfully ignorant of the history of my religion, but you have no idea what I know, what I have read, or what I believe about the history of my religion. You don't even know what my religion is.
You are making a number of huge assumptions about me, and that is your prerogative.
However, I believe you are wrong about many, if not all of them. Perhaps your Vibe-o-Meter is broken.
The only thing you've said that I even partially agree with is that I do have disdain for those who look to analyze that which can not be analyzed, and call that the Truth. They will never find what they seek.

kaowolfie
Jul. 7th, 2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
So I mistook her for you. However, if you'd look at the timing of that comment, it was early this morning -- maybe I was a wee bit distracted by current events. /So/ sorry for the mistaken identity. I should remember to never eljay when I'm not perfectly clear headed, shouldn't I? After all, it /is/ such serious stuff.

If you aren't Wiccan, then fine. You're wilfully ignorant about the history of -Wicca-, the way it actually is, not the way people want to pretend it is. There's not a damn thing wrong with it being a relatively young religion, but it does no one any good to waltz around pretending it is super duper old. I would wonder about anyone who felt such a need for mysticism that, rather than create it for themselves, they depend on a myth perpetuated by silly fantasy authors.

You're also making quite a few assumptions of your own, about how some individuals experience their religion and spirituality. Did it occur to you that there are people out there who are very analytical, all the time, and that that heavily colors their religious experiences? What leg do you have to stand on, telling them that what they have found to be their "Truth" (to use your term) isn't actually true, because whoa my god! They process their experiences in a logical manner. You may not feel a need to analyze, but other people do -- they just do it quietly, and don't look down on other people for being different.
dbmyrrha
Jul. 7th, 2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
You are assuming I ascribe to the belief that Wicca is "super duper old." I don't. Gardnerian Wicca, yes, it is 50-ish. I never debated that. I debated the Kelly "whole cloth" theory, which does not automatically mean I believe the "ancient, into the mists of time" theory, either.

Now who's protesting much?

I just don't believe there is an Objective Truth TM. I think trying to find it may be a fruitless exercise. If it is your journey to find that Truth, good luck. I've known people who believed there is a mathematical formula for God. if so, good luck in your journey.

You don't know me and I don't know you. You say I look down on others, and imply you do not. Yet, you replied to my original post with sarcasm. Hmmm. If we met and engaged in civilized conversation, perhaps we'd understand each other better. As it is, we'll just have to disagree on the purpose of religion.
kaowolfie
Jul. 7th, 2005 07:08 pm (UTC)
It's so charming the way you dismiss the idea of objective truth almost out of hand, simply because it's not what works for you. To steal a turn of phrase from my younger brother, One True Wayism for the win! Your major fault here, by the way, is still in assuming that Wicca predates Gardner. He synthesized it and formalized it, with the help of a couple of buddies, sure, but he's the one everyone remembers.

I never once implied that I don't look down on others. For instance, I do look down on you, and I'm pretty sure I've been honest about that. That, coupled with the fact that this is a /snark community/, is why I was all dastardly and used sarcasm. The typical protocol in a snark community, especially a dot_cattiness offshoot, is that if you dish it, prepare to take it in return. You don't post to snark communities expecting to have everyone be all lovey dovey and polite and sparkly nice.
sanacrow
Jul. 7th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
Your major fault here, by the way, is still in assuming that Wicca predates Gardner. He synthesized it and formalized it, with the help of a couple of buddies, sure, but he's the one everyone remembers.

And you have *conclusive* *proof* of this? And *absolute* *proof* that Wicca did not exist before Gardner (et al)?

If not, why do you consider someone having a different opinion to be a "major fault"?
kaowolfie
Jul. 7th, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
I find it pretty funny that your little buddy may make statements and loudly refuse to provide /any/ sources whatsoever to back them up, yet if another person does the same thing, they're expected to cite sources. If I wasn't needed at home right now, I would hie myself off to a couple of university libraries, just for -you-. Unfortunately, I can't, so as it stands, what I've said is at least as valid as what she's said, although I do think that the side I'm espousing has far more interesting members than the side she does.

As for the difference of opinion, it could be the fact that she waltzed in here and declared that Absolutely Nobody should attempt to analyze their spiritual and religious experiences, because that's Not The Path To The Truth. Without seeming to consider that maybe, oh my god, she's wrong! Heaven forbid that different people have different spiritual experiences -- it's only the truth if you experience it -her- way, at least from what she's said /here/.

And, again. I find it damn funny that you two are expecting serious discussion in a snark community. Did it ever occur to either of you that getting huffy is like starting to bleed in a tank full of sharks?
swisscelt
Jul. 7th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
How do you prove a negative? The onus is upon those who would claim that Wicca existed before Gardner, as it's impossible to "prove" that it didn't. I might as well ask people to prove that they are not figments of my imagination.
00goddess
Jul. 16th, 2005 06:37 am (UTC)
It's not up to anyone to prove a negative. It is up to those who claim Wicca is older than Gardner to prove their positive, especially in the face of so much evidence against their premise.
dbmyrrha
Jul. 8th, 2005 02:33 am (UTC)
You don't post to snark communities expecting to have everyone be all lovey dovey and polite and sparkly nice.

I don't. Hel, I don't expect anything from you at all.
kaowolfie
Jul. 9th, 2005 01:15 am (UTC)
Aw, was I supposed to be hurt? My kid brother comes up with more cutting remarks than that.

Then again, my kid brother also has a clue, and you don't, so... maybe that explains a few things.
dbmyrrha
Jul. 9th, 2005 04:06 am (UTC)
Sorry, but I have no interest in winning an Asshole contest I never entered, especially when the other contestant is so hell bent on winning.
:)


kaowolfie
Jul. 9th, 2005 05:41 am (UTC)
Then don't be surprised the next time you post in a /snark community/ and somebody dares to get sarcastic with you. The only reason I kept commenting, other than for my own amusement, is the way you acted surprised when I used sarcasm. If you don't want people to be sarcastic to you over things you said in snark communities, don't post in snark communities. If all you want is for people to go "OMG you are sooo right!!198453!!" and heap praise at your feet, your own journal is usually a better bet. I'm sure all your friends are as impressed with you and your attitude as you seem to think people should be.
feste_sylvain
Jul. 7th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
I think the theory that Wicca was created in the 50's from whole cloth is crap, [...]


First off, you probably mean "in the 1950s".

Second, Hutton's assertion was not that it was made up "from whole cloth", but specificly that it wasn't handed down from grandmother to grandchild in a continuous line until these more tolerant times.


I have no idea what Cochrane's internal motives were, but Gardner did several things to specificly distinguish himself from Crowley, so the assertion is not without merit.

dbmyrrha
Jul. 7th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
Yes, Mr. Picky-pants, I did mean the 1950's. I forgot an apostrophe. I know that the "whole cloth" theory is not Hutton's assertion. That was the Apostate's assertion. I had switched gears. Sorry. I was in rant mode.

I'm not so ignorant as to believe that Gard Wicca Today is what it was when Gerald was initiated. it's not even what it was when he worked with Pat Crowther. I'm just tired of the "Gardner was just a flakey old pervert who decided to make a religion so he could get spanked by cute chicks" crowd. I'm also tired of "if we can just find all the original sources that went into this Religion, maybe we can fully intellectually understand it, and find the Truth, and maybe than we can read this book and it will tell us all we need to know, and who needs emotional input or experiential ecstacy or so called "mysteries" anyway? That stuff is too wiggy and weird (read: scary and/or difficult) for me."

Throwing away the mystery and turning to books and only books (or rather The Book) did wonders for critics of the Catholic Church.

What Gardner did or did not do is interesting to me, historically, but really it is irrelevant to my practice. In turn, it is also irrelevant whether or not Cochrane made his tradition all up. What matters is that their systems work.

The symbolic keys, the lore, the structures, and the practices which are present in both of these systems, and their other, related, systems, were present long before "Wicca" was developed into what it is today. Whether they were used in similar configurations or not, I don't think we will ever know, and in fact, I think it is non-constructive to try.

Oh, and just because I think something does not mean I expect everyone to agree with me.


00goddess
Jul. 16th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
I'm also tired of "if we can just find all the original sources that went into this Religion, maybe we can fully intellectually understand it,

While no one can "fully understand" any religion, as every individual's understanding is unique, I am pretty confident that all the source material Gardner used in his creation of Wicca has been found. That information goes a long way toward understanding the history of Wicca. Now, history must be important, or you wouldn't be arguing about it, right?

Oh, and you didn't forget an apostrophe.
seshen
Jul. 7th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
I am not a fan of academics who try to dissect and sterilize and parse the Mysteries into digestible/understandable/ pieces for the plaguan public.

I'm not a fan of those who prefer the masses remain ignorant of any portion of a religion rather than educate themselves with what is available. I am not a fan of those who consider everyone who does so to be "playguns."

Do your own research, and your own thinking, and come to your own conclusions.

That would kind of be the point of having academics available.
sanacrow
Jul. 7th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)

I'm not a fan of those who prefer the masses remain ignorant of any portion of a religion rather than educate themselves with what is available.

I don't see anyone saying that folks should remain ignorant. Saying that certain popular authors/BNPs are not entirely reliable does not say anything other than *those* *particular* *individuals* may not be the best sources for folks to base their opinions on.

Do your own research, and your own thinking, and come to your own conclusions.
That would kind of be the point of having academics available.

Yes. But "doing your own research" does not mean read Hutton (or certain other BNPs) and take him (/them) at face value.

"Doing your own research" includes critically analyizing Hutton (and others), checking their biases, double-checking their sources (as well as the source's sources and biases), as well as doing your own digging into history and surviving sources to see if there's anything (sources, theories, whatever) that's been overlooked or ignored.

All too often folks read Hutton (or a few others) as gospel truth, and don't bother to look beyond the pop-press summary books. Or they hear that so-and-so has been disproven, so they don't bother to read their works completely, or that FITB material doesn't exist, so they don't bother to check to see if that's really the case or not.
dbmyrrha
Jul. 7th, 2005 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Sana. My thoughts exactly.
hagazusa
Jul. 7th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
The biggest "problem" I see with Hutton, as far as these internet debates are concerned, is that a WHOLE lot of people, on both and pro- and anti-Hutton sides, haven't actually read TRIUMPH OF THE MOON. He never actually said Gardner invented Wicca in the 1950s bla bla bla or that it never existed previously. He said there is no proof of ancient origins of Wicca, or of Wicca pre-dating Gardner's life time.

However, Hutton provides evidence of a 19th century Pagan group in Angelsey, Wales, which is interesting in itself and bears very little resemblance to BTW.

Hutton's detailed research into the origins of Wicca and Neopaganism are much more nuanced than "Gardner was a lying fake neener neener neener."

That said, no researcher or academic is infallible. Hutton surely has his blind spots, as does every author. But I do believe it is an act of willful ignorance to dismiss him out of hand.
c_korone
Jul. 7th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Having read him myself, I thought he was very respectful, and very careful to state clearly and repeatedly when there was still the possibility of him being wrong about his findings. In fact I personally feel he was overly generous in that regard. But what he did was to collect and present as many verifiable facts and clues as possible, and to make no unsupported conclusions, but to allow the reader to draw their own conclusions. Many times in that text he pointed out when a person was unable to comment themselves, or that there could be other explanations in spite of his findings, if there was even a miniscule chance of that. He didn't even dismiss the possibility that Wicca could have existed for quite a while before the 1950's and Gerald Gardner. Actually I didn't get the impression at all that he would be upset by any conflicting evidence to that effect, if it were presentable and trustworthy. I got the impression that he would welcome such a thing.

Is there a Cliff Notes version or something floating around? I don't know how people would get so affronted by actually reading the entire book. It seemed almost more like a sympathetic love poem to Wicca than 'bitter' diatribe (as the OP suggests), especially the last chapter IMO.
badseed1980
Jul. 7th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
I do often get the feeling from Hutton, though, that he takes absence of proof as proof of absence. It's not ALWAYS the case, but he does seem to do that sometimes. (I haven't read TOTM yet, though I did read Stations of the Sun).
ashley_y
Jul. 8th, 2005 09:08 am (UTC)
Do you have any details about this group? I'm guessing it bears very little resemblance to Cochranite witchcraft either...

Hutton also sums his theories about Gardner and the origins of Wicca in one of his essays in Witches, Druids and King Arthur. He considers the idea that Gardner invented all himself to be unlikely, considering his known tendency to work with others. I suppose the others in this case would include Doreen Valiente and "Dafo".

People may also be interested in ronald_hutton.
hagazusa
Jul. 8th, 2005 09:15 am (UTC)
Re the Angelsey group, if you have TOTM, you can look it up in the index.
00goddess
Jul. 16th, 2005 06:43 am (UTC)
I suppose the others in this case would include Doreen Valiente and "Dafo".

Almost all of Gardner's early liturgy was cribbed from Crowley. I think he would definitely be one of the "others" referenced whenever the origins of Wicca are being discussed.
kittysaysno
Jul. 7th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
Now, since that's off your chest, do you feel better? :)

To rely on one author is foolhardy. To go out, look at many different sources and then draw your own conclusions, deserves a cookie. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's what the OP meant. I'm sure I'll be corrected, so that's fine. :P
dbmyrrha
Jul. 7th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

That is what I meant.

I had an argument on a mailing list with someone because she wanted me to provide her with lofty academic proof of something I said regarding Irish songs and lore (examples of said lore was not good enough.) I gave her a list of authors and told her to do her own reading.

I always try to claim my opinions, experiences, beliefs as my own, and not to label them as "fact." I don't expect others to believe what I believe.

I know for a fact that Hutton is loved and respected by many, including by some people I myself know and like. I don't have a problem with him, personally. I don't like how people use what he said, or supposedly said, as a sledgehammer to crush open the skulls of those who still follow a Mystery Tradition. I have a philosophical issue with the intellectualization of ecstatic mystery. It's my issue. I claim it. I get frustrated about it. I blow. I feel better. Thanks for seeing my point through the steam.
swisscelt
Jul. 7th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC)
No, I'm not going to offer sources or "proof" or whatnot that the seeds of the Craft, and all its parts, were extant pre-Gardner. Do your own research, and your own thinking, and come to your own conclusions.

That's nice. Now run along and play, so that the adults may talk.
kaowolfie
Jul. 7th, 2005 07:03 pm (UTC)
...Reason #98405 that I'm glad I've learned to not consume food or drink while reading dot_whatever communities.
thegreencall
Jul. 7th, 2005 10:22 pm (UTC)
Right on.
I posted a rant to my journal about this topic not too long ago.

Personally, when or where Wicca "officially" started or was created is irrelevant to me and my faith. I *like* the stories we tell each other about the begining. I am far more interested in "myth" and Mystery.

I leave the historical debates to the reconstructionists and historians. While I do think that such debates have place in the community (and the history is important), I'm comfortable with a disconnect between schololarly research and the mythic history of my religion.
hagazusa
Jul. 7th, 2005 10:44 pm (UTC)
There's a difference between "facts" and "Truth." Facts must be proven with evidence. Truth can just be. In this sense, myths are true. Fairy tales are true. Not *literally* true. But they reflect deep truths about the human condition and our longings and our wonders and our connection with the divine. This is the essence of the Wonder Tale.

Academics deal in facts.

Mystics deal in mystery.

I think it's only a problem when people confuse their mythic Truth for literal facts. Or mythic origins for factual, literal history.

Ie a devout, non-braindead Christian can honor Darwin's theory of evolution and all the advances of modern science and still honor the mythic truth of the world being created in 7 days and the Garden of Eden.

So there might not be the evidence that Wicca is ancient but the mysteries contained in it might well reflect ancient Truths. If that makes sense.
swisscelt
Jul. 8th, 2005 12:58 pm (UTC)
From your above-quoted entry:

Eden has it's snake and we had our "invaders, despoilers" (which I view as the concept of power-over rather than power-from within) that moved us out of paradise and into the world we live in now.

Yeah, you know the problem with that is that all too often, the "invaders, despoilers" are members of another religion (most often Christianity, but occasionally Judaism or Islam) and those subscribing to that theory act as though Christians should be opposed at any cost.

Not exactly "an it harm none, do as thou wilt".
ashley_y
Jul. 8th, 2005 09:12 am (UTC)
I'm relieved as well as slightly disappointed that it wasn't Hutton who was the "bitter, failed Wicca who refused to take responsibility for his own fuck-ups".

Come to think of it, this bitter, failed Wicca doesn't happen to live in your town, by any chance?
hagazusa
Jul. 8th, 2005 09:14 am (UTC)
Isn't the OP referring to Aidan Kelly?
ashley_y
Jul. 8th, 2005 09:16 am (UTC)
Oh well give it away, then...
hagazusa
Jul. 8th, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
Was it an oathbound seekrit?!
dbmyrrha
Jul. 8th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
LOL. That's rich, concerning the subject. :)
dbmyrrha
Jul. 8th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
Yup.
Lucky me!
Of course, I'm moving a bit southerly soon-- not because of AK-- to the Land of the Correllians!
(always have to have a new challenge...)
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