Text A: Teasing Out the Influences on Early Gardnerian Witchcraft as Evidenced in the Personal Writings of Gerald Brosseau Gardner

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Title: Text A: Teasing Out the Influences on Early Gardnerian Witchcraft as Evidenced in the Personal Writings of Gerald Brosseau Gardner
Authors: Crandall, Lisa
Date: 2013
Abstract: This thesis is an intensive, multi-layered analysis of an unpublished, English language, handwritten, mid-20th century manuscript. Originally undated, untitled and unsigned, it has now been positively identified as “Text A”, a Wiccan proto-Book of Shadows compiled by Gerald Brosseau Gardner (1884-1964) in the last half of the 1940’s. Different methodologies were applied to the document: transcription using Leiden conventions, handwriting analysis to identify the author, archival research to uncover photographs of the manuscript in use, historical and bibliographical research to situate the manuscript and its author, and finally, an in-depth and exhaustive source analysis to uncover literary and documentary influences on the text. Subsequently, the manuscript was identified as handwritten by Gerald Gardner, from 1940 to 1949, and contains almost no original material other than a handful of pages for a speech or oral presentation. The rest of the document is comprised of extracts from published sources available to Gardner. These include books on Free Masonry, Templars, British Folklore, Kabbalah, Magic – ancient and ceremonial, and books by Aleister Crowley. The document also includes ritual passages and ceremonies, most of which also appear in Gardner’s published novel, High Magic’s Aid. Two theme-lines, “Magic – ancient and ceremonial” and “the writings of Aleiser Crowley”, comprising almost 40% of the total page count, were chosen for thorough analysis. Based on the information revealed by the various methodologies applied to this document, one can assert that Gardner’s claims to have been initiated into an ancient indigenous tradition, Wicca, and to be making available its long secret rituals are not supported by this document.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30196
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-3392
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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