A lecture at Treadwell’s Bookshop, London:
MARGARET MURRAY – Wicked Stepmother of Wicca?
Dr Juliette Wood, Univ of Cardiff
8 December (Wednesday) 7.15 for 7.30 pm – £5.00
The Witch-cult in Modern Europe is a history book written just after the First World War by a young Egyptologist named Margaret Murray.
Miss Murray, an archaeologist at University College London, became convinced that early modern England was a semi-Christian one in which pre-Christian religion survived in a secret cult – ‘witchcraft’. The witch-hunts were thus an attempt to eradicate a non-Christian survival religion. The ‘Murray thesis’, was quickly dismissed by historians but was fertile fodder for the imagination of nonspecialist readers. Among those inspired were the formulaters of modern Wicca in the 1940s and 1950s.
Murray, in fact, wrote the introduction in to Gerald Gardner’s 1954 book, Witchcraft Today – the two were friends. Murray’s thesis became the ‘creation myth’ of modern paganism, a fact that has caused pagans no end of ridicule in educated society.
THE TALK: Tonight’s talk introduces the ‘wicked stepmother of Wicca’: her eccentric life, her shocking books, and her astonishing theory. Juliette Wood then looks critically Margaret Murray’s profound influence modern Wicca. Finally, Dr Wood asks us all: was the Murray Thesis a blessing or a curse?
THE SPEAKER: Dr Juliette Wood returns to Treadwell’s by popular demand. She is a lively and engaging speaker in full command of her subject. She is one of the world authorities on Margaret Murray. A lecturer at the University of Cardiff and secretary of the Folklore Society, she co-wrote, with Caroline Oates, A Coven of Scholars: Margaret Murray and her Working Methods.
SEMINAR: The lecture will be followed by seminar discussion, during which ideas are shared and we can all ask questions and raise points of interest.
RECEPTION: The discussion is followed by a drinks and wine party on the shop floor, during which you can meet the speaker, chat with fellow guests, and enjoy a browse of new Tradwell’s Christmas stock.
FIRST EDITION SALE: On this night only, we will be selling first editions of Margaret Murray’s works at 10% discount. We have in stock first editions of
– The Witch Cult in Western Europe
– The God of the Witches
– The Splendour that was Egypt
– My First Hundred Years (Murray’s autobiography)
– Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today (to which Murray wrote the Introduction)
Plus: Juliette Wood’s own book, ‘A Coven of Scholars’ (£6), will be on sale and she will be signing copies.