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History of Neo-Pagan Druidism, Requirement 2

Name and describe several of the literary sources that contributed to Neopaganism in the first quarter of the 20th century, and discuss their impact on its development. (minimum 300 words)

George Russell, a poet who helped Yeats found the Dublin Hermetic society, was a prolific poet who saw a revival of the Irish deities and genuinely believed that they existed. His work is extensive and prolific, including The Candle of Vision, which describes a henotheistic idea that all deities come from a single source. He believed that he had visions of these deities and had been granted revelations. His work later influences Crowley and Fortune. (Hutton, 158)

The Rainbow, by D. H. Lawrence (1915), created a sort of synthesis between woman, moon, and stars, adding to the literature of identification of the female power with the moon and cosmos. Aliester Crowley was highly influenced by this writer, and found himself agreeing quite often with the descriptions given by Lawrence. (Hutton, 159)

The Witch Cult in Western Europe, by Margaret Murray (1921), had what was perhaps the largest and most lasting impact on Neo-Paganism as it was practiced through the 1980's and 1990's (her influence had diminished as we have become more and more interested in scholarship), and was founded on some archeological evidence and relied very heavily on the transcripts from the witch trials from the 19th century. The footprint left by this particular book is best seen in the idea that the "horned god of the woods" is the oldest male deity of humans, while the goddess is (of course) older still than he is. It is from her research that we find the first assertation that Cernunnos is the primary deity of the Celts, and that he is a particular form of this "horned god". (Hutton, 196) Further, this is the beginning of the long, unbroken chain of witchcraft from ancient times through to the modern age, at least until the witch trials in the 19th century, tying the myth to that of Robin Hood, surviving folk customs, and men like Thomas Becket. (Hutton, 197)


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