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The Triumph of the MoonA History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207443.001.0001

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Finding a Structure

Finding a Structure

(p.52) 4 Finding a Structure
The Triumph of the Moon

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the widespread growth of secret societies in Europe from the 18th century onwards. Members were initiated into these societies upon an oath to observe confidentiality of proceedings, and which contained a strong ceremonial element. The source, and thereafter the main tradition, of these was Freemasonry. By the opening of the 20th century, millions of British men, and hundreds of women, were accustomed to working within closed groups which initiated newcomers through a process that involved blindfolding, a series of challenges and responses, admission to a ritual space, the taking of an oath of secrecy, and the passage of an ordeal. All imparted arcane knowledge to those who were accepted, and all claimed to represent an immemorial body of wisdom and practice — commonly called ‘craft’ — which had been handed down in private, through initiation and training, from the beginning of recorded time. All had incorporated actual historical figures and events into their own mythological past.

Keywords:   paganism, pagans, witchcraft, secret societies, Freemasonry, initiation, Masonic rituals

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