The Vine

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Book Review

Finally! I finished Triumph of the Moon! I have been working on this book for 4 months. Between the microscopic typeface, and the fact that I only read at bedtime and usually with only xmas tree lights so as not to wake LM, and because I was taking time to chew, I let this one take its time.

Triumph of the Moon examines the history of the genesis of modern pagan witchcraft. It is written by a real historian academic scholar, Ron Hutton, and he spends most of the book debunking popular pagan stories of our own genesis, like where Gerald Gardner got his material, no, there was no pervasive goddess religion that covered all of Europe, and no, the people killed during the Witch Burning time were not practitioners of witchcraft or an underground pagan religion.

My only criticism of the book is that once he smashes a myth, he rarely bothers to suggest an actual reality as opposed to the delusion. So I feel like I have woken up from a dream, but I can't find my glasses and I don't remember how I got here. Some kind of reconstruction is in order here.

I wonder what some of the living authors who purposefully or ignorantly passed on bad information will do to recant or do a new foundation job where the shims got taken out. Starhawk in particular takes some direct hits. The bookwriting and reading pagan clergy need to pay attention to this sort of thing.

It strikes me how easily language and human willingness to be deluded allow falsehood and misinformation to be passed around. Again I wonder how much else of the world we are taking for truth, just because it is part of the fabric of pop culture/the dominant paradigm (or the submissive counterculture's reaction to it). In many ways, myths and lies are easier to perpetuate. They are catchy, like advertising jingles. We want to believe. Truth is much more complicated, it takes time and work to do it justice, and most people just do not have the time or intellectual curiosity. Reminds me of the "Honesty" card in Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle deck.

I toast people like Ron Hutton who are brave enough to confront willing self delusion. "Here, I found your glasses. They were covered with crud, so I cleaned them for you." "Oh, thanks, Ron, but I sure hope you made coffee too, 'cause I have a mean hangover. And you're not nearly as cute as when I took you to bed!"


Post a Comment

<< Home