August 21, 2004

A Little Witch-lore from Aradia

Posted at August 21, 2004 09:29 PM in Paganism .

Aradia is a famous text from the 19th century. Collected by Charles Leland, he purported it to be recorded from a witch he met in Italy. This isn't the modern witch-lore of the Wiccans but the more Christian-influenced, folk magic of previous centuries. It is not sweetness and light and, in fact, has much in common with the feeling of the common people towards their "betters" over the centuries so it includes quite a bit on cursing, poisoning and the like. It is still interesting and was quite influential on the rebirth of Witchcraft in the 20th century in the form of the modern religion of Wicca.

(Obvious fucking caveat: My opinions and those espoused in the text are often lightyears apart...)

How Diana Gave Birth to Aradia

“It is Diana! Lo!
She rises crescented.”

-Krats’ Endymion


“Make more bright
The Star Queen’s crescent on her marriage night.”


This is the Gospel of the Witches:

Diana greatly loved her brother Lucifer, the god of the Sun and of the Moon, the god of Light (Splendor), who was so proud of his beauty, and who for his pride was driven from Paradise.

Diana had by her brother a daughter, to whom they gave the name of Aradia

In those days there were on earth many rich and many poor.

The rich made slaves of the poor.

In those days were many slaves who were cruelly treated; in every palace tortures, in every castle prisoners.

Many slaves escaped.  They fled to the country; thus they became thieves and evil folk.

Instead of sleeping by night, they plotted escape and robbed their masters, and then slew them.  So they dwelt in the mountains and forests as robbers and assassins, all to avoid slavery.

Diana said one day to her daughter Aradia:

‘Tis true indeed that thou a spirit art,
But thou wert born but to become again
A mortal; thou must go to earth below
To be a teacher unto women and men
Who fain would study witchcraft in thy school

Yet like Cain’s daughter thou shalt never be
Nor like the race who have become at last
Wicked and infamous from suffering,
As are the Jews and wandering Zingari,
Who are all thieves and knaves; like unto them
Ye shall not be...

And thou shalt be the first of witches known;
And thou shalt be the first of all in the world;
And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning,
Of poisoning those who are great lords of all;
Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces;
And thou shalt bind the oppressor’s soul (with power);
And when ye find a peasant who is rich,
Then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil, how
To ruin all his crops with tempests dire,
With lightning and with thunder (terrible),
And with the hail and wind...


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