Jump to content

Written History versus Oral Lore


sarasuperid

Recommended Posts

I would just like to speak up and say that I personally value the lore passed on by our Elders in witchcraft more than what scholars come up with from their history books.

 

I also value archaeology and folklore more. History is stuff that is written down and preserved unchanged. Witchcraft was very rarely written down until now and if it was written down, it was likely written anew often and old ones destroyed.

 

I don't want our elders to be reluctant to speak up about the oral lore they have because of some scholarly texts based only on historical records that aim to discredit all oral teachings.

 

I am grateful when our elders speak up!

 

Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would just like to speak up and say that I personally value the lore passed on by our Elders in witchcraft more than what scholars come up with from their history books.

 

I also value archaeology and folklore more. History is stuff that is written down and preserved unchanged. Witchcraft was very rarely written down until now and if it was written down, it was likely written anew often and old ones destroyed.

 

I don't want our elders to be reluctant to speak up about the oral lore they have because of some scholarly texts based only on historical records that aim to discredit all oral teachings.

 

I am grateful when our elders speak up!

 

Thank you.

 

Voted this up, because I agree with you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Voted it up as well because I also agree with you.

 

History has it's place but history is analytical and witchcraft isn't. Lore and the like speak to something deeper, history only offers literal interpretations of things in the past. It's no surprise that one would be of greater use to those who are focused on the undercurrent, on things unseen, on the "gut" than the other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Voted it up as well because I also agree with you.

 

History has it's place but history is analytical and witchcraft isn't. Lore and the like speak to something deeper, history only offers literal interpretations of things in the past. It's no surprise that one would be of greater use to those who are focused on the undercurrent, on things unseen, on the "gut" than the other.

 

:) Just like anyone in the craft, I do love my history and my books, but like you said, there is something special about the passed on information from other witches who have been *there*. Gut is super important in this, because some things don't ring true to the witch might not be, there will always be those that try to pull one over on us, but when another witch has earned your trust, their lore can be very inspiring and helpful!

 

Goodness, I would take the word of Marabet on what *works* to connect to the witchcraft current over a Professor of such and such's* anyday. :)

 

thankyou.gif

 

*Unless that professor of such in such is Jevne hearts2.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.

 

I agree that I wish the elders of the traditional witchcraft lines would let other know more about them for the sake of history. As some of you know I like researching some individuals and families of the past that are supposedly connected to witchcraft.

 

It sort of bothers me that most history that is available is about 1950 and afterwards. And I feel that it is not good that everything is kept secret to the point where it all get losts when the individuals die out.

 

In one of the researches, I contacted some people that were the children of the people that were supposedly members of the coven in Norfolk and I crashed into the brick wall. The usual "don't know about that" and "I didn't see anything of the sort". I'm sure some of them didn't know anything but with some of them I get the feeling that they know something but can't talk about it or may be Oath Bounded. History being locked up and not shared.

 

I don't see what the harm might be if the elders would release some informations, names, places of former members that have been dead a long time, it would help strengthen the history on the traditional witchcraft of pre-1950. I know the main arguement against it would be that their descendants may be alive. But we live in a different world now, where the young ones now would think it is great to have some ancestor who were among the witches.

 

I also like archeology and history.

 

 

Since I started to get to know people like you here, I find that a lot of people are very knowledgable in the lore of witchcraft and mythology and read many books and I admit I'm a dolt in those areas.

 

.

Edited by The Exile
Link to comment
Share on other sites

.

 

I agree that I wish the elders of the traditional witchcraft lines would let other know more about them for the sake of history. As some of you know I like researching some individuals and families of the past that are supposedly connected to witchcraft.

 

It sort of bothers me that most history that is available is about 1950 and afterwards. And I feel that it is not good that everything is kept secret to the point where it all get losts when the individuals die out.

In one of the researches, I contacted some people that were the children of the people that were supposedly members of the coven in Norfolk and I crashed into the brick wall. The usual "don't know about that" and "I didn't see anything of the sort". I'm sure some of them didn't know anything but with some of them I get the feeling that they know something but can't talk about it or may be Oath Bounded. History being locked up and not shared. I believe this may be the case, that being Oath Bound, due to the respect of the family heritage is just that. They have a family value system, that while honorable in that, can not share with another, who possibly is not "like-minded".

I don't see what the harm might be if the elders would release some informations, names, places of former members that have been dead a long time, it would help strengthen the history on the traditional witchcraft of pre-1950. I know the main arguement against it would be that their descendants may be alive. But we live in a different world now, where the young ones now would think it is great to have some ancestor who were among the witches.

I also like archeology and history.

 

 

Since I started to get to know people like you here, I find that a lot of people are very knowledgable in the lore of witchcraft and mythology and read many books and I admit I'm a dolt in those areas.

 

.

 

Very well put, Exile. I'm of the mindset that it is beneficial to the younger generation to have mindful connection to their path, and if informational truths are kept hidden, even after a person is dead, who does that benefit ? I say this with this experiance. Trying to get information when a document is sealed for 100 years. Why that time frame, I don't know, but I'll have to stay alive until 2017 just to find out after the document is unsealed. lol.

 

What you bring to the Forum table, through your tireless research, in my opinion, is wonderful. Personally, I've learned alot from you, and have gone back time and time again to your posts to further my curiousity and clarity.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very well put, Exile. I'm of the mindset that it is beneficial to the younger generation to have mindful connection to their path, and if informational truths are kept hidden, even after a person is dead, who does that benefit ? I say this with this experiance. Trying to get information when a document is sealed for 100 years. Why that time frame, I don't know, but I'll have to stay alive until 2017 just to find out after the document is unsealed. lol.

 

What you bring to the Forum table, through your tireless research, in my opinion, is wonderful. Personally, I've learned alot from you, and have gone back time and time again to your posts to further my curiousity and clarity.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

 

 

.

 

Many thanks Gypsy for the nice comments about the research I have done. Now I got some energy to keep on typing up my notes and update most of the works.

 

 

I know that to the members of the covens, I am an outsider, like someone knocking on their door late at night.......:thatsit:

 

So i do can understand that point.

 

 

A simular analogy to this is in the field of genealogy.

 

Because I started researching the family since I was 20 years old, i got to write to many relatives that were of my grandparents generation, they shared a lot of stories and facts about their own grandparents (the great-great-grandparent generation). That was back in the late 1970's to early 1980's. Most people who start doing genealogy do so when they retired or old and have nothing else to do. But the bad news is all the older relatives are dead and stories that they may been able to give about there ancestors is lost.

 

 

I'm sure there were witches or coven members of the past that probably didn't have any children and once the current members of the covens die out, that certain member of the past is totally forgotten since she/he didn't have any children

 

.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love scholarly research and academia, but will say that I can't agree more with this post. With the research aside, folklore& archaeology provide links that to me at least seem much more direct and alive. Research is good for explaining things, but the survival of lore is a penetrating and makes personal connection like none other.(IMO at least)

 

Listening to seanchaí just gives me goosebumps, and also being a part of an initiatory tradition with it's own oral lore, it feels good to belong to the preservation and tradition that few scholars will get the chance to be a part of unless they pursue it themselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh give me oral anyday! :biggrin:

 

Once Oral lore and tradition becomes the written word it immediately becomes something else as the reader places their own biases, conditioning, possible misunderstandings and perceptions upon the now written piece thus changing the message from the original thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.

 

Further point from family history

 

Many times as you trace back farther into the past, all you basically have on ancestors is their baptism, marriage, and burial dates and places (if you are lucky to find any of the three).

 

But because of oral history (or originally oral then at some point written down) from family members you will know more of the person's life.

 

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm tempted to agree more with written history if it exists, but at the same time I'm aware of how easily it can be forged. A book written twenty years ago and published by an unscrupulous publishing house could be sheer bias or propaganda. At the same time, it could be an accurate written account, preserved more accurately than a memory. Meanwhile, when dealing with oral accounts, there's more room for minor errors due to the capacity of memory to fade or be confabulated, but a firsthand account from a trusted and reliable individual can give a unique perspective that a book can't, and they may be able to answer extra questions that arise. Even oral lore passed down over generations might have personal details that a book might skim over, and you can't ask a book to clarify something for you. I also have to consider that a book is likely based upon similar works, and may become very inaccurate through repeated revisions, or it may sugarcoat reality or skim over facts in order to ensure that a publishing house will accept it, especially when dealing with culturally "taboo" subjects like paganism or witchcraft.

 

The conclusion that I have to draw is that, in many cases at least, oral lore is more trustworthy and detailed than written accounts. Even between a handwritten diary and a vocal account, the spoken method will hold some advantages, as fear of political or social consequences would not hold sway, assuming that both the listener and the speaker trust each other. You can never be sure who'll read a diary or note, and I find myself more often than not leaving important pieces of events out of things I write for this fact. I have to assume that many others would do the same.

Edited by Rennn
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would just like to speak up and say that I personally value the lore passed on by our Elders in witchcraft more than what scholars come up with from their history books.

 

I also value archaeology and folklore more. History is stuff that is written down and preserved unchanged. Witchcraft was very rarely written down until now and if it was written down, it was likely written anew often and old ones destroyed.

 

I don't want our elders to be reluctant to speak up about the oral lore they have because of some scholarly texts based only on historical records that aim to discredit all oral teachings.

 

I am grateful when our elders speak up!

 

Thank you.

 

I've read that the "history" of witchcraft is not an ethnographic study of a people known as witches. Instead, the academic view of witchcraft history is the account of non-witches and their beliefs about what they imagined witches and witchcraft to be all about. It's a "history" that certainly isn't going to match what is passed and known in the lineage of witches.

 

I know some Elders who have come forward, in whatever way they could at the time, only to be ridiculed and attacked (particularly on Internet forums). This has prevented others from attempting to do so, which is extremely unfortunate. I know first hand that the Elders of my Path haven't and won't write or talk in any public way because their ways are intimate to them and they don't want them subjected to mean-spirited people who want to debunk anything that is contrary to their invested beliefs.

 

I suppose it's like the old saying that nothing is closed to an open mind. But much is lost to a plugged ear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm tempted to agree more with written history if it exists, but at the same time I'm aware of how easily it can be forged. A book written twenty years ago and published by an unscrupulous publishing house could be sheer bias or propaganda. At the same time, it could be an accurate written account, preserved more accurately than a memory. Meanwhile, when dealing with oral accounts, there's more room for minor errors due to the capacity of memory to fade or be confabulated, but a firsthand account from a trusted and reliable individual can give a unique perspective that a book can't, and they may be able to answer extra questions that arise. Even oral lore passed down over generations might have personal details that a book might skim over, and you can't ask a book to clarify something for you. I also have to consider that a book is likely based upon similar works, and may become very inaccurate through repeated revisions, or it may sugarcoat reality or skim over facts in order to ensure that a publishing house will accept it, especially when dealing with culturally "taboo" subjects like paganism or witchcraft.

 

The conclusion that I have to draw is that, in many cases at least, oral lore is more trustworthy and detailed than written accounts. Even between a handwritten diary and a vocal account, the spoken method will hold some advantages, as fear of political or social consequences would not hold sway, assuming that both the listener and the speaker trust each other. You can never be sure who'll read a diary or note, and I find myself more often than not leaving important pieces of events out of things I write for this fact. I have to assume that many others would do the same.

 

I have to agree here! Oral transmission really is from mouth to ear. When it is written down so much is lost and that trust isn't assumed. Anyone can read it from any point of view. I do like to read it when someone I trust writes out their oral accounts, but of course that trust is earned by long association too. And I must assume that much is left out of oral accounts written down, because of course, who knows who will read it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...