by Gerald Garner
“This book is a wonderful complement to Gardner’s groundbreaking Witchcraft Today. It draws you in and will introduce you to the ancient practices and beliefs of the Old Religion, with fascinating details of history, myth, and legends. The details of the forgeries of early Christian ’authoritative texts’ are eye-opening. The book underscores Gardner’s knowledge and experience in the field of religio-magic. This is one of my favorite reference books.” – Raymond Buckland, author of Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft.”
The Meaning of Witchcraft is a non-fiction book written by Gerald Gardner. Gerald Gardner, known to many in the modern sense as the “Father of Wicca”, based the book around his experiences with the religion of Wicca and the New Forest Coven. It was first published in 1959, not long after laws punishing witches were repealed, and proved to be Gardner’s final book.
It is a sequel to Gardner’s previous book on the subject, Witchcraft Today, which was published in 1954. Chapters include: Witch’s Memories and Beliefs, The Stone Age Origins of Witchcraft, Druidism and the Aryan Celts, Magic Thinking, Curious Beliefs about Witches, Signs and Symbols, The Black Mass, Some Allegations Examined. When Gardner died in 1964, the copyright for the book was left to the High Priestess of his coven, Monique Wilson.
Gardner wrote the book in order to publicise Wicca, which he believed would die out unless more converts could be attracted. Gardner himself believed that Wicca was the survival of an ancient pagan Witch-cult, a theory originating from historian Margaret Murray which has now largely been discredited by historians like Ronald Hutton and Jeffrey Russell.