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THE SACRED INTERNAL FLAMEContains "mature" content, but not necessarily 
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©Copyright 1992 by Allen Greenfield. All rights reserved.

   "The fact is that the instincts of  ignorant people invariably
find expression in  some form of witchcraft. It matters little 
what the metaphysician or the moralist may  inculcate; the animal
sticks to his  subconscious ideas..." 

Aleister Crowley 
  The Confessions

 "As attunement to psychic (occult) reality  has grown in
America, one often misunderstood  and secretive branch of it has
begun to flourish also -- magical  religion..." 

 J. Gordon Melton
Institute for the Study of 
     American Religion, Green Egg, 1975

 "Curse them! Curse them! Curse them!
  With my Hawk's head I peck at the eyes of
  Jesus as he hangs upon the cross
  I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed &
  blind him
  With my claws I tear out the flesh of the
  Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and

   Liber Al Vel Legis 3:50 - 53 

  "Previously I never thought of doubting that  there were many
witches in the world; now,  however, when I examine the public
record, I  find myself believing that there are hardly  any..."

Father Friedrich von Spee, S.J. , Cautio  Criminalis, 1631

I use  the word `mythology'in this context in its  aboriginal meaning,
and with considerable respect. History is more metaphor than factual
accounting at best, and there are  myths by which we live and others
by which we  die. Myths are the dreams and visions which  parallel
objective history. This entire work is, in fact, an attempt to
approximate history.

To arrive at some perspective on what the  modern mythos called,
variously, "Wicca", the  "Old Religion", "Witchcraft" and 
"Neopaganism" is, we must firstly make a firm  distinction;
"witchcraft" in the popular  informally defined sense may have
little to  do with the modern religion that goes by the same
name. It has been argued by defenders of  and formal apologists
for modern Wicca that  it is a direct lineal descendent of an 
ancient, indeed, prehistoric worldwide folk  religion.

Some proponents hedge their claims,  calling Wicca a "revival"
rather than a  continuation of an ancient cult.  Oddly  enough,
there may never have been any such  cult!  The first time I met
someone who thought she was a "witch," she started going on 
about being a "blue of the cloak."  I  should've been warned
right then and there. In fact, as time has passed and the
religion  has spread, the claims of lineal continuity  have
tended to be hedged more and more. Thus, we find Dr.
Gardner himself, in 1954,  stating unambiguously that some
witches are  descendants "... of a line of priests and
priestesses of an old and probably Stone Age religion, who have
been initiated in a  certain way (received into the circle) and
become the recipients of certain ancient learning."

(Gardner, WITCHCRAFT TODAY, pp  33-34.)

 Stated in its most extreme form, Wicca may  be defined as an
ancient pagan religious  system of beliefs and practices, with a
form  of apostolic succession (that is, with  knowledge and
ordination handed on lineally  from generation to generation), a
more or  less consistent set of rites and myths, and  even a
secret holy book of considerable  antiquity

(The Book of Shadows). 

More recent writers, as we have noted, have  hedged a good deal
on these claims,  particularly the latter.  Thus we find  Stewart
Farrar in 1971 musing on the  purported ancient text thusly:
"Whether,  therefore, the whole of the Book of Shadows  is post-
1897 is anyone's guess. Mine is that,  like the Bible, it is a
patchwork of periods  and sources, and that since it is copied
and  re-copied by hand, it includes amendments,  additions, and
stylistic alterations  according to the taste of a succession of
copiers...Parts of it I sense to be genuinely  old; other parts
suggest modern  interpolation..."

(Farrar, WHAT WITCHES DO,  pp34-35.) 

 As we shall discover presently,  there appear to be no
genuinely old copies of the Book of Shadows.

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