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Post number 25692Forum: Pagan and Occult Authors   Posted: Today at 9:21   Subject: The Charge of the Goddess – Who really wrote it?

The Charge of the Goddess – Who really wrote it?

This week I kept bumping into various articles on Wicca, and in particular the Charge of the Goddess, in rather unexpected ways. I love the text of the Charge, but I have a personal annoyance with the way it is attributed to Doreen Valiente. The fact is, even though it is sometimes heretical to say so, Doreen Valiente did not write the Charge of the Goddess.

This is also not a revelation, because Doreen herself in her book The Rebirth of Witchcraft (1987) claimed that she edited the earlier Lift up the Veil Charge she encountered in Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows to remove a section which was taken directly from Aleister Crowley’s Gnostic Mass. By comparing the two versions, both of which have been in the public domain for many years, it is evident that the second half of the Charge of the Goddess is indeed significantly different from the earlier Lift up the Veil version.

But there is another curious anomaly with Doreen’s story. In The Rebirth of Witchcraft Doreen wrote that she rewrote the Charge “cutting out the Crowleyanity as much as I could”. Which is a strange claim considering that so much of the earlier material by Crowley, which she removed, was replaced by more work by Crowley – but there might be an explanation.

This analysis, which is adapted from the more detailed analysis in the 2008 book Wicca: Magical Beginnings, which I co-authored with David Rankine, illustrates just how much of the Charge comes directly from, or has been directly influenced by earlier work.

The Cyberbully in Paganism, Wicca and the Occult. Textual Analysis: The Charge of the Goddess
(Much of this was published in 2005, 2008 in WMB)

The Charge commences with:

“Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the Moon is full. Then ye shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me who am Queen of all Witcheries. There ye shall assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet who have not won its deepest secrets. To these will I teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites…”

This is nearly verbatim from the 1899 book by Charles G. Leland, Aradia: Gospel of the Witches:

“Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and when the Moon is full, ye shall assemble in some desert place, or in a forest all together join to adore the potent spirit of your queen, My mother, great Diana. She who fain would learn all sorcery yet has not won its deepest secrets, them my mother will teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown. And ye shall all be freed from slavery, and so ye shall be free in everything; and as the sign that ye are truly free, ye shall be naked in your rites, both men and women also. ”

The Charge then continues:
“…and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music, and love, all in my praise. ”

Which again comes from Leland’s Aradia, adapted from the following:
“… and, the feast over, they shall dance, sing, make music, and then love in the darkness, with all the lights extinguished: for it is the Spirit of Diana who extinguishes them, and so they will dance and make music in her praise. ”

It continues:

“For mine is the ecstasy of the Spirit, and mine is also joy on earth.
For my Law is Love unto all beings. ”

This is where it starts getting strange, as the above appears to be cobbled together from Aleister Crowley’s Law of Liberty, quoting “ecstasy be thine and joy of earth” (AL I. 53) and “love is the law” (AL I. 57). Followed by more Crowley:

“Keep pure your highest ideal. Strive ever towards it. Let naught stop you or turn you aside. “

This time taken from Crowley’s Law of Liberty, where he wrote: “Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever toward it, without allowing aught to stop you or turn you aside. ” This key line refers to the concept of the true will, and doing only what is right to achieve your full potential.

The Charge continues:
“For mine is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth; ”

This is rewritten from the earlier version of the Charge (Lift Up the Veil), which draws more directly from Liber Al, “There is a secret door that I shall make to establish thy way in all the quarters” (AL III. 3[Cool].

And then:... read on... ... ly-wrote-it/
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