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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Doreen Valiente

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Fain

 “...ye who are fain to sorcery...”

 

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets: to these shall I teach such things as are yet unknown.

So speaks the Goddess of Witches to her people in Doreen Valiente's foundational masterpiece, The Charge of the Great Mother.

Valiente's evocative phrase is based, nearly word-for-word, on Charles Leland's English rendering of “Madalena”'s Tuscan text: She who fain would learn all sorcery yet has not won its deepest secrets, them [ i.e. the deepest secrets] my mother [i.e. the Goddess of Witches] will teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown.

Fain. Already in 1899, when Leland published his Aradia: the Gospel of the Witches, fain read archaically, mysteriously.

Don't confuse it with fane: that means “temple,” from the Latin fanum. Nor (speaking of homonyms) is it the same as feign, “pretend, fabricate” (< French feindre). (Which is not to say [snarkiness alert] that we all haven't met some who are feign to sorcery.)

No, fain is a good Old English word. In the dialect of the Hwicce, the original Anglo-Saxon Tribe of Witches, faegen (pronounced, more or less, fain) meant “glad, joyful, rejoicing.” (The Old Norse cognate, feginn, means “joy” tout court.)

As a verb, fain means “to rejoice in, enjoy; to take to gladly.” As an adjective, fain is “disposed, inclined or eager toward, willing.”

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why Pagans Do Ritual

It's still the single best rationale for pagan ritual that I've ever heard.

Back in the early days of the Wiccan revival, a reporter asked Gardner's first post-Valiente priestess, Dayonis, "Why do you do your rituals?"

"Because," she told him, "if we didn't, the Sun wouldn't come up in the morning."

Now that's a proper pagan answer.

Aunt Doreen—rather peevishly, one thinks—later dismissed this reply as simple-minded. Well, she knew Dayonis better than I do.

But I still think she missed the point.

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"Witches' Rune" Originally Sung to Stephen Foster Tune, Says Historian

AP: London

According to Wiccan historian Philip Heselton, Doreen Valiente's famous chant “Witches' Rune” was originally intended to be sung to the tune of the Stephen Foster tune, “Camptown Races.”

“According to some recently-discovered correspondence, that's the tune that she originally wrote the words to fit,” said Heselton. “Of course, since then it's been sung to many other tunes as well.”

American composer Stephen Foster (1826-1864) wrote “Camptown Races” (also known as “Camptown Ladies”) in 1850, and the tune was a favorite of Valiente's first husband, Joanis Vlachopoulos, who had learned it while in the Merchant Navy.

Although the Foster tune was Valiente's intended setting for her lyrics to what was to become a classic Wiccan liturgical chant, it never caught on with British witches, perhaps because they were unfamiliar with the American tune.

An interesting aspect of this discovery is the fact that the original words to “Witches' Rune” were slightly different from those now found in most recensions of the Book of Shadows.

According to Heselton, the first verse, along with a now-disused chorus, originally went:

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Recent History: Doreen Valiente

I usually stick to much older history, but having had the chance to catch the Doreen Valiente exhibit at Preston Manor in Brighton, I figured I should share a few pictures as I know it's a bit tricky for many folks to get there. The exhibit itself is small but there's a great delight in seeing how intimately history is made by a most unassuming woman. I picked up Philip Heseltine's biography too and am much enjoying it. Here are some of the artifacts collected:

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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, June 15

Our writer Laura Tempest Zakroff discuses the magic of genderbending. Australian Pagans meet for a conference this autumn. And the Poetic Edda, one of the most commonly cited sources for knowledge on Norse mythology, is examined. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about and commentary from the Pagan community! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, May 4

Is there anything Pagans can learn from Christian fundamentalists? What can the superhero Deadpool teach Pagans about heroism and the cult surrounding it? And just what are Heathen holidays anyway? It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Pagan News Beagle: Watery Wednesday, April 6

The New York Times takes a look at the collection of Doreen Valiente. The way in which gods have "evolved" over time is considered. And the debate over politics within polytheism continues. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on new about the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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