Witchology, the history of Wicca & Witchcraft
by Dr Leo Ruickbie

Study and learn the history of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic and the Occult with our courses and resources

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Read Dr Ruickbie on witchcraft and magic in Paranormal magazine.

What is Witchcraft?

That's what this website is here to find out. Witchology.com is the website of WICA - the Witchcraft Information Centre and Archive - founded in 1999 by Dr Leo Ruickbie as a research and education provider specialising in the areas of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic (Magick) and the Occult. We have been online continuously since 2000.

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About Leo Ruickbie's Books:

The Supernatural"The Supernatural is the perfect introduction to the world of all things eerie, inexplicable and otherworldly." - Jason Karl, Most Haunted
Coming in 2012!

Witchcraft out of the Shadows: A Complete History"Witchcraft out of the Shadows: A Complete History is an engaging book which deserves to be the benchmark for all future analyses of the Craft." More

Faustus: The Life and Times of a Renaissance Magician"Dr Ruickbie has re-evaluated the Faust tradition from a position of authority. A work of meticulous scholarship that can be read as a gripping page-turner." More


Open Source WiccaHistories of the Barbarians: Vandals, Goths and FranksBeowulf in Anglo-Saxon and English Translation


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History of Wicca

History of Witchcraft & Wicca

It is the Riddle of the Sphinx Lodge, the secret at the heart of Wicca. Where did Wicca come from? Who was Gerald Gardner? Was Freemasonry involved? Or something darker? What part did the Great Beast have to play?

The Founding of the Modern Religion of Wicca

Extract from Leo Ruickbie's Witchcraft Out of the Shadows

text / image

5. The Craft of Invention: The Founding of the Modern Witchcraft Religion of Wicca


The founding process of the modern Witchcraft religion of Wicca begins with the invention of a tradition, leads to the invention of a founder, undergoes the discovery of both inventions and re-invents itself to survive. Currently Witchcraft is portrayed by its practitioners as a religion of invention with individual creativity at its core. Understanding the convolutions and convulsions of the birth of modern Witchcraft is central to understanding its character and structure today.


'“Magic! Witchcraft! Stuff and nonsense. No one believes in such things nowadays. It was all burning evil-smelling powders, muttering words. The Devil jumped up, and you sold him your soul. That was all there was to it.” But was that really all?' So begins Gerald Gardner’s High Magic’s Aid and, perhaps, a new chapter in the sociology of religion, if not in history. It certainly did not mark any moment in literature. Yet despite the dreariness of the prose and inadequacy of characterisation and plot, this novel achieves its aim: it answers its own question. Gardner portrays witchcraft as something more than the devilish pacts and powders. He shows it to have been a pre-Christian fertility cult. His ruse is the past tense. Witchcraft, whatever it was, is not what Gardner intends it to be. In retrospect we see a man in the process of building a new faith. Witchcraft is no longer what we thought it was. But is it now what Gardner meant it to be?


Five years after High Magic’s Aid Gardner publicly claimed to be a member of “one of the ancient covens of the Witch Cult which still survive in England.” Moreover, he claimed to be writing on


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Get Witchcraft Out of the Shadows

Hardback 2004 1st Edition (sold out)

Paperback 2011 2nd Edition

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