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The God of The Witches Margaret Alice Murray

The God of The Witches

Margaret Alice Murray

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224 pages
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 About the Book 

an excerpt from the: INTRODUCTION MUCH has been written of late years on the changes, evolution, and continuity of material culture from the Palaeolithic period down to the Roman era when written accounts of Western Europe began. The movements ofMorean excerpt from the: INTRODUCTION MUCH has been written of late years on the changes, evolution, and continuity of material culture from the Palaeolithic period down to the Roman era when written accounts of Western Europe began. The movements of peoples, the increase of trade, the advance of civilisation, have all been traced with considerable precision. The late Palaeolithic period of Europe has been linked with the Capsian, which is of African origin, and the gulf between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic civilisations is being rapidly bridged. The material side of life has received most attention, for the concrete remains of Early Man are very numerous. The pictorial and plastic arts of the most remote periods have also been studied, and from the arts and handicrafts the mental development of the Palaeolithic and Neolithic peoples can be traced. But the religion of those early times has been entirely neglected, with the exception of a few references to Mother-goddesses and to burial customs. The student of early religion begins his subject in the early Bronze-age of the Near East and totally ignores Western Europe in the Stone-ages- he ends his study with the introduction of Christianity, as the study of that religion is known as Theology. There is, however, a continuity of belief and ritual which can be traced from the Palaeolithic period down to modern times. It is only by the anthropological method that the study of religions, whether ancient or modern, can be advanced. The attitude of all writers towards the post-Christian era in Europe, especially towards the Middle Ages, has been that of the ecclesiastic, the historian, the artist, the scholar, or the economist. Hitherto the anthropologist has confined himself to the pre-Christian periods or to the modern savage. Yet medieval Europe offers to the student of Mankind one of the finest fields of research. In this volume I have followed one line only of anthropological enquiry, the survival of an indigenous European cult and the interaction between it and the exotic religion which finally overwhelmed it. I have traced the worship of the Horned God onwards through the centuries from the Palaeolithic prototypes, and I have shown that the survival of the cult was due to the survival of the races who adored that god, for this belief could not have held its own against the invasions of other peoples and religions unless a stratum of the population were strong enough to keep it alive.