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The Rebirth of Witchcraft [Paperback]

Doreen Valiente
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 May 2007
This classic work is now available for the first time in paperback. Since 1951, when the last of the Witchcraft Acts was repealed, many books have been written about the reappearance of witchcraft and the development of a pagan theology. Churchmen have denounced it. Sociologists have wondered at it. Journalists have penned sensational stories about it. But until the publication of this book, no one had told the real story of it from the inside as frankly as it is told here. Doreen Valiente, one of witchcraft's most widely known figures, was a close friend of the late Gerald Gardner, generally regarded as the founder of present-day witchcraft. Initiated by him and for a time High Priestess of his coven, Doreen Valiente helped him rewrite his seminal "Book of Shadows". She records the break with Gardner that split his coven, the controversy surrounding Alex Sanders, "King of the Witches" and memories of many other witches whom she has known, including the lady called 'Dafo', Robert Cochrane, Leslie Roberts and Sybil Leek. Doreen Valiente took part in many witchcraft rituals and had strange psychic experiences as a result. Described here are the clairvoyant communications she received purporting to come from 'John Brakespeare', an eighteenth-century witch. "The Rebirth of Witchcraft" traces the lineage of the present-day witchcraft from its forerunners through to modern feminist neo-paganism and the new wave of interest in ecology and holistic medicine.

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The Rebirth of Witchcraft + An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present + Natural Magic
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd (31 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0709083696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0709083696
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Doreen Valiente lived in Brighton, Sussex. She was the widow of a freedom fighter from the Spanish Civil War. Of British descent herself, her family came from Cerne Abbas, Dorset, famous for its hill-figure of a giant god of fertility. She was a firm believer in witchcraft, having been initiated into four different branches of the Old Religion in Britain. Author of An ABC of Witchcraft: Past and Present, The Rebirth of Witchcraft and Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed (all published by Robert Hale), she also wrote poetry. She made many television and radio appearances, discussing witchcraft and folklore and displaying items from her collection of witchcraft objects. Doreen Valiente died in 1999.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I read this book as a semi-beginner in Wicca, after hearing Doreen Valiente's name dropped often and seeing how accessible this book looked. If you think you know how Wicca came about then read this - it goes into detail without being boring and reaffirms your belief in Wicca if, like me, you sometimes have a hard time justifying a religion which is so new (The Meaning of Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner is also fantastic for this). Valiente covers so many topics here without it feeling 'Wicca 101', writing engagingly and intelligently. I found myself of many of the same opinions as her which helped - she is obviously an open-minded and, at times, slightly sceptic person.

Her communications with the 18th century witch John Brakespeare, whether you believe them or not, are inspiring as he tells you how the craft should be practised ie. simply and easily.

When I first started on the path I felt overwhelmed with all the names I heard, which it was (I was told) important to know about; eg. George Pickingill, Robert Cochrane, Alex Sanders. This book has a chapter on each one, which you can either be perfectly happy with or use as a springboard for your own research. I feel I know so much more about the path from this book, and it enables the transition from beginner to intermediate. Valiente also opens your mind to topics and new names you might not have known or thought you didn't care about, such as feminist Wicca and the fantastic artist Monica Sjoo.

Easy and quick to read, with so much info and inspiring and belief-affirming stuff, every Pagan should read this if they want to know more about the roots of the new age of Paganism.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars really interesting 29 Jun 2008
This is a really interesting book on the history of modern witchcraft, starting with the founder of modern witchcraft Gerald Gardner and the authors early involvement with him. Valiente also details her involvement with non Gardnerian branches of witchcraft: Robert Cochranes coven and writes a chapter on Alex Sanders. Probably the most intrigueing chapter is where Valiente describes and details a spirit cummunication she recieved from a witch who lead a coven in the nineteenth century, obviously some people will say Valiente just made the whole thing up but all I will say is keep an open mind and remember that all results that come from occult practices are subjective. Overall I would say this is a really good book and highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gem for Wiccans 19 Dec 2008
"The Rebirth of Witchcraft" is one of the most important, and perhaps best, books about the history of the neopagan religion of Wicca. Doreen Valiente is, after Gerald Gardner, the most important figure in Wiccan history - she was a High Priestess of the Gardnerian Bricket Wood coven, and was also a member of Cochrane's Clan of Tubal Cain coven. She helped to rewrite the Charge of the Goddess, probably the most sacred scripture of Wiccans, and played a part in uniting the Neopagan groups through the Pagan Federation, and also, along with the Farrars, helped to open Wicca up into becoming a public religion and no longer simply a mystery cult.

This book, her fifth and final, is a history of Wicca (or "Witchcraft" as she called it, she disliked the term "Wicca", which was introduced in 1966 by June Johns in her biography of Alex Sanders). This history is not quite as long and detailed as several others by professional historians (such as "Triumph of the Moon" by Ronald Hutton), but it is very easy to read, and is written by a person who was actually there!
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