The God of the Witches

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Overview

The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some neopagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is associated with nature, wilderness, sexuality, hunting and the life cycle. :32-34 Whilst depictions of the deity vary, he is always shown with either horns or antlers upon his head, often depicted as being theriocephalic, in this ...
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The God of the Witches

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Overview

The Horned God is one of the two primary deities found in some neopagan religions. He is often given various names and epithets, and represents the male part of the religion's duotheistic theological system, the other part being the female Triple Goddess. In common Wiccan belief, he is associated with nature, wilderness, sexuality, hunting and the life cycle. :32-34 Whilst depictions of the deity vary, he is always shown with either horns or antlers upon his head, often depicted as being theriocephalic, in this way emphasizing "the union of the divine and the animal", the latter of which includes humanity.:11

The term Horned God itself predates Wicca, and is an early 20th century syncretic term for a horned or antlered anthropomorphic god with pseudohistorical origins who, according to Margaret Murray's 1921 The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, was the deity worshipped by a pan-European witchcraft-based cult, and was demonized into the form of the Devil by the Mediaeval Church.

The Horned God has been explored within several psychological theories, and has become a recurrent theme in fantasy literature

This celebrated study of witchcraft in Europe traces the worship of the pre-Christian and prehistoric horned god from paleolithic times to the medieval period. Murray, the first to offer a scholarly look at the mysteries of witchcraft, shows that witchcraft as a religion is nearly as old as humankind itself. A classic work of anthropology. Illlustrated.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781477596524
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 6/4/2012
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Margaret Alice Murray (13 July 1863 - 13 November 1963) was a prominent British Egyptologist and anthropologist. Primarily known for her work in Egyptology, which was "the core of her academic career," she is also known for her propagation of the Witch-cult hypothesis, the theory that the witch trials in the Early Modern period of Christianized Europe and North America were an attempt to extinguish a surviving pre-Christian, pagan religion devoted to a Horned God. Whilst this theory is today widely disputed and discredited by historians like Norman Cohn, Keith Thomas and Ronald Hutton, it has had a significant effect in the origins of Neopagan religions, primarily Wicca, a faith she supported.

Her work in Egyptology took place largely alongside her mentor and friend, the archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie, whom she worked alongside at University College London. One of the earliest women to "make a serious impact upon the world of professional scholarship," she was also an ardent feminist, being actively involved in the Suffragette movement. From 1953 to 1955, she was the president of the Folklore Society, although since her death various members of the society have attempted to dissociate the organisation from her and the Murrayite theory of the Witch-Cult.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 11
Introduction 13
I The Horned God 23
II The Worshippers 46
III The Priesthood 65
IV The Rites 94
V Religious and Magical Ceremonies 118
VI The Position of the Witch in the Social Structure 145
VII The Divine Victim 160
References 198
Index 208
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2003

    Its all good. Or bad, depending.

    Another reviewer indicated that 'modern' research has moved beyond the guess work, wishful thinking and history-bending that the author of this work is accused of using. Well, it has not. Perhaps this book gave way to the 'New-age' practice of faking history which pervades modern paganism. But this book has one thing that the others do not. Support for the possibility that witches, if any, may have worshiped a God not a Goddess. (Heaven forbid!)If you really want to know the truth you have to read both sides of the story. If you have not read this you are not prepared to debate the issue. Right or wrong, this book can not be any worse for ware than any modern author, most of which have invented the religion to suit their own delusions. Go Murray!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2000

    The Verdict of Other Scholars

    I guess on the plus side you could say that this book eventually sparked a more scholarly investigation into medieval paganism, but the book itself is far from scholarly or truthful. As a researcher who has translated the document which this book uses as the basis for its section about Joan of Arc (near the end of the book), I thought I would comment on that subject first. It's a little hard to believe that the author bothered to read that transcript in translation, much less in the original language, since the book's version of the subject bears so little resemblance to the actual documents; for instance, the claim is made that Joan never used the phrase 'Our Lord' in the original language and never identified 'the King of Heaven' as Jesus Christ, both of which are patently false: all 5 surviving copies of the original transcript do, in fact, quote her as saying 'Our Lord' ('Nostre Seigneur' in medieval French) when speaking to the clergy, and if you look at Article XXII you will see a copy of a letter in which she not only places the names 'Jesus' and 'Mary' at the top, but also identifies the King of Heaven as, quote, 'the son of Saint Mary' (i.e., Jesus Christ, whom Christian theology considers the son of Saint Mary (the Virgin Mary)). The other surviving letters which she dictated (found in other documents aside from the trial transcript) are just as specific: one of these, dated July 17, 1429, contains the phrase 'King Jesus, the King of Heaven'; another, dated March 23, 1430, orders the Hussites to return to the Catholic faith, which she describes as, quote, 'the original source of light', thereby removing any doubt as to her religion. The author replaces all this with her own fictional spin on things, such as the invention of fictional 'rules' of Christianity which Joan allegedly violated, and the attempt to confuse the modern and medieval usages of the term 'Lorraine' in order to link her with a region allegedly associated with witchcraft, and so forth. As a final note on the subject, the book completely ignores all of the other documents which deal with Joan's life: military chronicles, letters, and the transcript of the Rehabilitation trial in which it was shown that the transcript of the original trial had been falsified at a number of crucial points in order to make the charge of heresy seem more plausible, a tactic which is also employed by this book. On other fronts, the book has been rightly criticized by several generations of scholars for similar misrepresentations of evidence and outright invention on numerous topics; citing all of these would make for a fairly large book in itself, but in a nutshell the author has simply taken her knowledge of ancient religious practices, modified those practices wherever needed, and then inserted these beliefs into medieval European history, rewriting or concocting whatever evidence is needed to promote that view. It's refreshing to see that modern scholarship on this subject is moving away from the methods used by this book, although it remains to be seen whether a truly substantial view of medieval pagan beliefs will emerge. Hopefully it will.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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