ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
spectacles, with flaming torches and fireworks. I once knew someone who attended one of these, an observance for Germany’s defeat in World War One. SS men stripped to the waist held torches around the perimeter as a band marched into the field playing sad Wagnerian dirges. Suddenly, the torch bearers drove their torches into the ground, symbolizing the blackness of defeat.
Hitler was also completely convinced of the validity of astrology by the war years, and, indeed, had a staff astrologer to advise him. When he took over command of the armies on the Russian front, astrological predictions played a significant role in his decisions, and probably contributed to Germany’s defeat.
In recent years, some scholars have attempted to reconstruct paganism, and have radically deflated the nineteenth and early twentieth century views. Other academic myths concerning the pagans have been deflated as well, for instance, the constructions of diffusionist scholars of the years between 1920 and 1960, discussed in an earlier chapter, which were accepted as authoritative as late as the mid-1970s. All have been demolished. They are, however, of great importance in the history of occultism, because many esoteric doctrines are largely based on these academic myths, notably those constructed by Margaret Murray and Robert Graves.
The latter two, along with the archaeological theories of Gordon Childe, Geoffrey Bibby, and Marija Gimbutas,. have provided the basis of the chief Neo-Pagan cult of the New Age, Wicca. Their theories continue to enchant many Neo Pagans, who base their beliefs on them and who cite them as authorities. We need, therefore, to examine these theories and then consider the reconstructions which have replaced them during the late twentieth century.
Modern Pagans, as we have said, draw heavily on the works of imaginative writers such as the abovementioned. They don colorful costumes of their own devising and practice rites of their own invention. The modern Druids who perform mid-summer ceremonies at Stonehenge are a familiar example. Wicca, which we will now discuss in detail, is another.
The effects of the revisionists on the mother-goddess theories of the New Age have been great. However, the overwhelming majority of New Agers are not even aware of them, and those who are, reject them. They offer no comfort or support.
Wicca is a case in point. According to its adherents, Wicca, meaning “wise women,” originated during the era of the mother-goddess religion, which was inherited by the Celts. This even contradicts Bibby, since the Celts, like the Germans, were Indo European and proponents of the masculine warlike sky religion. However, New Agers are seldom aware of scholarly views, and depend mainly on imaginative tracts and magazines as their sources.
For example, according to Wiccan ideology, the majority of people were pagan goddess-worshippers in medieval times, subjugated by Christian elites