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The Triumph of the Moon
by Ronald Hutton

There are very few books that delve into the origins of our modern Neo-Witchcraft movement the way that Mr. Hutton has.  This is technically a history book, going into great detail to discuss the history and origins of the only religion to be truly originated and founded in England.   Mr. Hutton points out that while England has always adapted other religions to their own unique English flavor, the modern "Pagan Witchcraft" (as he calls it) religion is totally English in origination and has spread to the rest of the world from there.

Mr. Hutton goes into great detail as to the definitions of modern religion and how it becomes structured and evolves.  He finds the roots of many of the beliefs and myths that become incorporated into this religion.  He examines the influences of people, literature and Deities on this fledgling religion and gives us a most insightful and unique perspective into the birthing of a new religion.

He also examines the ideas of Gerald Gardner, how he put all this together and presented it to the world at large.  Many of the influences of Gerald Gardner are examined, his writings are discussed and the formation of this new religion is presented in an historical context.

We look at the whole picture, not just bits and pieces as provided by individual writers.  This gives us a larger perspective of what was going on at the time of Gerald Gardner, how England and the world was changing and how society and culture effected the presentation of this new religion as well as how they looked at it at that time.

Mr. Hutton goes on to look at the evolution of the religion after Gerald Gardner, how it becomes more based in the Goddess culture by the influences of other members, how it changed and yet still remains basically the same. 

Mr. Hutton not only relies on documents and writings of the time, but also discussed this with persons who were part of the early movement, calling upon eyewitness accounts to validate points of historical value as well as discussion of the more questioned points.

There really is so much more to this book than just a look at the birthing of a new religion, it is more a social account of a time in history when thought was at the beginnings of being more open than it had ever been.  The spreading of these new ideas started a revolution in religion, which had been a set in the stone tradition for hundreds of years, now started to give way to independent thought.

This is not a book for casual enjoyment, but more a text book on the English "Pagan Witchcraft" movement and how it began and was influenced and how it came to influence our modern Neo-Pagan and Neo-Witchcraft movement.  It is an examination of the roots of Wicca and the people who founded it. 

This may go against the grain of the traditional teachings of some Trads, but there is controversy in any teaching that is outside of those who feel it is their responsibility alone to pass along the faith.  Historical writers have never taken this into account and never will.  They see it as just another influence in the overall picture of the events they examine outside the boundaries and restrictions placed upon traditional teaching.  That is what gives history its unique flavor, it is looking at an event from outside, not feeling it as a participant. 

This may detract in some ways, but also gives us a different perspective as to where we came from and where we are possibly going. 

I enjoyed reading this book, it took me a while to get through as there was much to digest as well as contemplate.  Not a book to be taken on lightly.  It was worth it for the insights that Mr. Hutton provided me with and if you are a student of religious history, this book will definitely give you some good material to digest.

Reviewed by Boudica