Witchcraft Today

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Witchcraft Today coverWitchcraft Today

Submitter: A 1974 reprint of the 1954 book Witchcraft Today by Gerald B. Gardner acquired by our library in 1975 for $4.15.  Based on the number of check-outs then and now we have gotten our money’s worth.

The author is (was) the Director, the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft, The Witches Mill, Castletown, Isle of Man. In his forward he explains he was asked by the witches of England to “Write and tell people we are not perverts.  We are decent people, we only want to be left alone, but there are certain secrets that you mustn’t give away.”   The book reveals only what he has been permitted to share from the covens of England.

The museum is still open, google is your friend if you are interested.

Holly: Well, friends, since this post was so popular, let’s go again! The cover looks horrible, so it fails on condition. It’s almost 40 years old, so it fails on currency. If a university needs it for some reason, they should think about preserving it better than this so it continues to be useful. The tape on the spine is peeling up too.  There is a 2004 edition available, and that would be a much better option for most libraries, even if it only reveals certain secrets.


  1. I suspect it was a paper back. I think what we are seeing is the fancy bind of cutting the cover off and pasting it to the hardback.

    I have seen this done a few times at my local library.

    I do the binding for my library.I always question this? Would it not be cheaper to buy a new copy then to spend the money to have this rebound? As in this case, the extra money to have the cover kept too???

  2. “A 1974 reprint of the 1954 book Witchcraft Today by Gerald B. Gardner”

    Oh believe me, I know it’s the 1974 reprint just from the font alone. That bold, curly font reminiscent of the old Belk logo is just too ubiquitous to the ’70s not to be!

  3. At my library, all the “good” books about witchcraft get stolen, so that suggests to me that this one must not be very popular anymore.

  4. Wow! I’m impressed that anyone managed to keep a book on witchcraft on their shelves for 40 years! They don’t last for more than about 4 days here without getting stolen. We’ve had to resort to keeping them behind the desk which is not an ideal situation, but the only way we can keep them on hand.

    1. I wish I knew so I could nail their butts to wall for stealing! We can’t keep books about ghosts or haunting on the shelves, either, so I suspect it’s the enthusiasts who are the thieves.

  5. Witchcraft isn’t real except in fairy tales. If it was the amphibian population would be a lot higher than it is today. End of story.

    1. I guess all the people out there practicing witchcraft are just a collective hallucination.

      That’s just freaking rude.

    2. Witchcraft is a legitimate religion, Lora. It’s not spells to change people into frogs. In fact, the first rule is “First, do no harm.” Turning people into frogs would be doing them harm.

      (Not a witch, just did some reading and had some friends in the past who were and I respect the religion.)

  6. Gardner was, in essence, the person who invented the word/concept/reiligion of “wicca,” so he’s of certain historical value. However, as you say, a copy this used isn’t going to be of much use even in a University library with a focus on alternative religions. His stuff will always be in print. Get a new one if you need it.

  7. This is an important book to anyone studying the foundation of modern Wicca. There are also a decent number (relative to a pretty small group) of Wiccans who follow Gardner’s practices, or fairly close to them, so it’s also a useful religious book. I would make an argument that it’s a reasonable book for a public library with a decent religious studies section to have, but this condition definitely calls for replacement.

  8. I’ll add my voice to this as well. Gardner is an important figure in the development of Wicca and in the study of religious movements. As popegrutch said, this book will always be in print. There are many Gardnerians in the world, practicing according to the information in this book. It looks awful but in my opinion, a new copy is important. It is one of the primary documents in the study of the religion. That’s not to say it’s the only important one or that it is the be all and end all of the practice of modern Wicca.

  9. Gardner is hugely important in the history of Wicca. Still, there are better texts for a public library.

    However, the submitter said it got a lot of circs, so, based on that alone, I’d replace it.

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