A few years ago, I picked up a copy of Lelands “Aradia: Gospel of the Witches”. I was freaking excited because I knew this was a “first hand account” of Italian Witchcraft that had survived for so long under the radar of the dominant religion. I knew it had been out of print for probably fifty years. I totally paid, like, $12 for it and thought that was a deal for such a rare book. AND it had commentary by a fairly well known Pagan author, who has had his ups-and-downs in his career.
Study study study study...
And then I read it. It was, by all accounts, fascinating, although the scholarship was a little…well, Victorian. Victorian in the way that the author, Leland, never attended graduate school in any sense, and is basically what we call an “arm-chair” anthropologist. He did, however, travel to Italy and meet the source of this information, although she basically handed him a mansucript and talked to him about it–other than that, to my knowledge, he never met anyone else claiming to have any information about. (See Russell, Jeffrey (1982). A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics and Pagans. Thames and Hudson. pp. 148–53. ISBN 0-19-820744-1. and especially Hutton, Ronald (2000). Triumph of the Moon. Oxford University Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-500-27242-5. for a discussion of the dispute). I’m not saying that knowledge only comes from university professors, I’m just saying that one has to take his info with a grain of salt.
So I was hoping to get some real good info out of it, with AJ Drew’s commentary. Unfortunately, he only seemed to have a passing familiarity with the work, and mostly just rephrased the information, or provided some rather obvious footnotes, like explaining who the Goddess Diana is.
Hey, not every book is a hit. It was then that I discovered I could have had this book for free if I’d just done a little more research. So here’s a list of books you can totally get for free that might help your studies in history, occult lore, and discovering our roots. There is a lot in the public domain that some companies are reprinting. If you prefer having a book on your shelf, then, by all means, purchase a reprint, or find an old copy. But if you just want some passing information, try Project Gutenberg, Ibiblio, and Wiki Source.
Some Free Books!
That should keep you busy for a little while!
Also, most mythology is not copyrighted. However, the translations often are. There are definitely some better ones than others! Consider searching for the poetry of Ishtar, Innana’s Descent into the Underworld, The Poetic Eddas and Vedas, or Eastern literature such as the Upanishads.
Happy studies, everyone!