I had an interesting email discussion with my editor today (part of the ongoing editing process of the newest book Lauren DeVoe and I have been writing for Llewellyn, which will be available in the spring). The conversation was:
Llewellyn Editor: ...public knowledge of the roots of Wicca has shifted dramatically, and your book will garner much more respect if you don’t refer to Wicca as an ancient religion that has been practiced for centuries. Wicca is a modern religion, birthed by Gardner, definitely based on some indigenous English folk practices, but much more so on the ceremonial magic of the Masons, the Golden Dawn, the OTO, etc.
Me: I completely agree with this history. I always say, in my blogs, missives, etc., that Gardner took the little bit of traditional Witchcraft he might have known, and housed it within a framework of Ceremonial Magic that came to him from the Masons, the Golden Dawn and Crowley. I'm happy to make sure the MS states this. I think the kernel of magic housed within Wicca probably goes back to the Saxon settlers of England, but it has definitely been changed, reworked, and has evolved at the hands of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century author/magicians. ...Yes I've been doing this for decades, but I completely believe that in its current form Wicca is only traceable to 1951.
[End of email conversation, and revelation of top secret Llewellyn editorial process]