Gospel of the Witches: Diana’s Speech to Aradia, Regarding Freedom from Oppressors

‘Tis true indeed that thou a spirit art,
But thou wert born but to become again
A mortal; thou must go to earth below
To be a teacher unto women and men
Who fain would study witchcraft in thy school

Yet like Cain’s daughter thou shalt never be,
Nor like the race who have become at last
Wicked and infamous from suffering,
As are the Jews and wandering Zingari,
Who are all thieves and knaves; like unto them
Ye shall not be….

And thou shalt be the first of witches known;
And thou shalt be the first of all i’ the world;
And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning,
Of poisoning those who are great lords of all;
Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces;
And thou shalt bind the oppressor’s soul (with power); 1
And when ye find a peasant who is rich,
Then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil, how
To ruin all his crops with tempests dire,
With lightning and with thunder (terrible),
And the hall and wind….

And when a priest shall do you injury
By his benedictions, ye shall do to him
Double the harm, and do it in the name
Of me, Diana, Queen of witches all!

And when the priests or the nobility
Shall say to you that you should put your faith
In the Father, Son, and Mary, then reply:
“Your God, the Father, and Maria are
Three devils….

“For the true God the Father is not yours;
For I have come to sweep away the bad,
The men of evil, all will I destroy!

“Ye who are poor suffer with hunger keen,
And toll in wretchedness, and suffer too
Full oft imprisonment; yet with it all
Ye have a soul, and for your sufferings
Ye shall be happy in the other world,
But ill the fate of all who do ye wrong!”

– Aradia, Gospel of the Witches: How Diana Gave Birth to Aradia (Herodius)

Extract from Devisukta

“I am the Queen, the gatherer-up of treasures, most thoughtful, first of those who merit worship.
Thus Gods have established me in many places with many homes to enter and abide in.
Through me alone all eat the food that feeds them, – each man who sees, breathes, hears the word outspoken.
They know it not, yet I reside in the essence of the Universe. Hear, one and all, the truth as I declare it.
I, verily, myself announce and utter the word that Gods and men alike shall welcome.
I make the man I love exceeding mighty, make him nourished, a sage, and one who knows Brahman.
I bend the bow for Rudra [Shiva], that his arrow may strike, and slay the hater of devotion.
I rouse and order battle for the people, I created Earth and Heaven and reside as their Inner Controller.
On the world’s summit I bring forth sky the Father: my home is in the waters, in the ocean as Mother.
Thence I pervade all existing creatures, as their Inner Supreme Self, and manifest them with my body.
I created all worlds at my will, without any higher being, and permeate and dwell within them.
The eternal and infinite consciousness is I, it is my greatness dwelling in everything.”

– Devisukta, Rigveda 10.125.3 – 10.125.8

How Diana Made the Stars and the Rain

Diana was the first created before all creation; in her were all things; out of herself, the first darkness, she divided herself; into darkness and light she was divided. Lucifer, her brother and son, herself and her other half, was the light.

And when Diana saw that the light was so beautiful, the light which was her other half, her brother Lucifer, she yearned for it with exceeding great desire. Wishing to receive the light again into her darkness, to swallow it up in rapture, in delight, she trembled with desire. This desire was the Dawn.

But Lucifer, the light, fled from her, and would not yield to her wishes; he was the light which files into the most distant parts of heaven, the mouse which flies before the cat.

Then Diana went to the fathers of the Beginning, to the mothers, the spirits who were before the first spirit, and lamented unto them that she could not prevail with Lucifer. And they praised her for her courage, they told her that to rise she must fall; to become the chief of goddesses she must become a mortal.

And in the ages, in the course of time, when the world was made, Diana went on earth, as did Lucifer, who had fallen, and Diana taught magic and sorcery, whence came witches and fairies and goblins–all that is like man, yet not mortal.

And it came thus that Diana took the form of a cat. Her brother had a cat whom he loved beyond all creatures, and it slept every night on his bed, a cat beautiful beyond all other creatures, a fairy: he did not know it.

Diana prevailed with the cat to change forms with her, so she lay with her brother, and in the darkness assumed her own form, and so by Lucifer became the mother of Aradia. But when in the morning he found that he lay by his sister, and that light had been conquered by darkness, Lucifer was extremely angry; but Diana sang to him a spell, a song of power, and he was silent, the song of the night which soothes to sleep; he could say nothing. So Diana with her wiles of witchcraft so charmed him that he yielded to her love. This was the first fascination, she hummed the song, it was as the buzzing of bees (or a top spinning round), a spinning-wheel spinning life. She spun the lives of all men; all things were spun from the wheel of Diana. Lucifer turned the wheel.

Diana was not known to the witches and spirits, the fairies and elves who dwell in desert place, the goblins, as their mother; she hid herself in humility and was a mortal, but by her will she rose again above all. She had such passion for witchcraft, and became so powerful therein, that her greatness could not be hidden.

And thus it came to pass one night, at the meeting of all the sorceresses and fairies, she declared that she would darken the heavens and turn all the stars into mice.

All those who were present said–

“If thou canst do such a strange thing, having risen to such power, thou shalt be our queen.”

Diana went into the street; she took the bladder of an ox and a piece of witch-money, which has an edge like a knife–with such money witches cut the earth from men’s foot-tracks–and she cut the earth, and with it and many mice she filled the bladder, and blew into the bladder till it burst.

And there came a great marvel, for the earth which was in the bladder became the round heaven above, and for three days there was a great rain; the mice became stars or rain. And having made the heaven and the stars and the rain, Diana became Queen of the Witches; she was the cat who ruled the star-mice, the heaven and the rain.

– Aradia, Gospel of the Witches: Chapter 3. How Diana Made the Stars and Rain

Ishtar’s Descent into the World Below

A time came when the Lady of the Gods, even Ishtar, thought upon the spouse of her youth, upon Tammuz; her heart inclined her to go down into the realm of Irkalla, into the Place of Darkness where Tammuz had gone. So, in all the magnificence of her apparel, in all her splendour and power, the Lady Ishtar went into the cavern that goes down to the realm of Irkalla. She came to the place that is surrounded by seven walls, that has seven gates opening into it, the place where the Dead sit in unchanging and everlasting gloom. Before the first gate she called upon the Watchman, Nedu: “Ho, Watchman! Open thou the gate that I may enter in!” The Watchman looked at her from over the gate; he did not speak to her; he did not open the gate to her. “If thou openest not the gate, I will smite upon it; I will shatter the bolt, and beat down the doors! Yea, I will bring away the Dead that are under the rule of thy mistress! I will raise up the Dead so that they will devour the Living, so that the Dead shall outnumber those that live!” So spoke the Lady of the Gods standing before the gate in all her power and splendour.

And hearing her commanding voice and looking upon her in all her power and splendour, Nedu, the Watchman of Irkalla’s realm, said, “Great Lady, do not throw down the gate that I guard. Let me go and declare thy will to the queen, to Irkalla.” He went before the queen. And hearing of the coming of the Lady of the Gods, Irkalla was angered terribly. She bade the Watchman open the gates and take possession of the new-comer according to the ancient usages. He returned to the first gate. He laid hands upon that side of the gate on which the dust lies thick; he drew the bolt on which the dust is scattered. “Enter, O Lady, and let the realm of Irkalla be glad at thy coming; let the palace of the land whence none return rejoice at thee.” He said this and he took the great crown off Ishtar’s head. “Why hast thou taken the great crown off my head?” “Enter so, O Lady; this is the law of Irkalla.”

So Ishtar entered through the first gate and saw the second wall before her. With head bent she went towards it. The Watchman at her coming opened the second gate. “Enter, O Lady, and let the realm of Irkalla be glad at thy coming; let the palace of the land whence none return rejoice at thee.” He said this and put forth his hand and took that which was at her neck, the eight-rayed star. “Why, O Watchman, hast thou taken the eight-rayed star?” “Enter so, O Lady; this is the law of Irkalla.”

So the Lady Ishtar, her head bent, the radiance gone from her, went through the second gate and saw the third wall before her. The Watchman opened the gate that was there. “Enter, O Lady. Let the realm of Irkalla be glad at thee; let the palace of the land whence none return rejoice before thee.” He said this and he took the bracelets from off her arms-the bracelets of gold and lapis-lazuli. “Why, O Watchman, hast thou taken the bracelets from off mine arms?” “Enter so, O Lady; this is the law of Irkalla.”

So Ishtar, her head bent, the radiance gone from her, and no longer magnificent in the gold of her ornaments, went through the third gate and saw the fourth wall before her. The Watchman opened the gate that was there. “Enter, O Lady. Let the realm of Irkalla be glad at thee; let the palace of the land whence none return rejoice before thee.” He said this and he took the shoes from off her feet. “Why, O Watchman, hast thou taken the shoes from off my feet?” “Enter so, O Lady; this is the law of Irkalla.”

So the Lady Ishtar, her head bent, the radiance gone from her, no longer magnificent in the gold of her ornaments, with stumbling and halting steps went through the fourth gate and saw the fifth wall before her. The Watchman opened the gate that was there. “Enter, O Lady. Let the realm of Irkalla be glad at thee; let the palace of the land whence none return rejoice before thee.” He said this, and he put forth his hand, and he took her resplendent veil away. “Why hast thou taken the veil from me?” “Enter so, O Lady; this is the law of Irkalla.”

So Ishtar, her head bent, the radiance gone from her, no longer magnificent in the gold of her ornaments, no longer resplendent in her apparel, with stumbling and halting steps went through the fifth gate and saw the sixth wall before her. The Watchman opened the gate that was there. “Enter, O Lady. Let the realm of Irkalla be glad at thee; let the palace of the land whence none return rejoice before thee.” He said this, and he took off her outer robe. “Why hast thou taken my outer robe?” “Enter so, O Lady; this is the law of Irkalla.”

So the Lady Ishtar, her head bent, the radiance gone from her, no longer magnificent in the gold of her ornaments, with apparel no longer full nor resplendent, with stumbling and halting steps went through the sixth gate and saw the seventh wall before her. The Watchman opened the gate that was there. “Enter, O Lady. Let the realm of Irkalla be glad at thee; let the palace of the land whence none return rejoice before thee.” He said this, and he took off her garment. “Why hast thou taken off my garment?” “Enter so, O Lady; this is the law of Irkalla.”

And naked, with her splendour, and her power, and her beauty all gone from her, the Lady of the Gods came before Irkalla. And Irkalla, the Goddess of the World Below, had the head of a lioness and the body of a woman; in her hands she grasped a serpent. Before her stood Bêlit-sêri, the Lady of the Desert, holding in her hands the tablets on which she wrote the decrees of Irkalla.

Ishtar saw the Dead that were there. They were without light; they ate the dust and they fed upon mud; they were clad in feathers and they had wings like birds; they lived in the darkness of night. And seeing their state, Ishtar became horribly afraid. She begged of Irkalla to give her permission to return from the House of Dust where dwelt high priests, ministrants, magicians, and prophets; where dwelt Tammuz, the spouse of her youth. But Irkalla said to her:

“Thou art now in the land whence none return, in the place of darkness;
Thou art in the House of Darkness, the house from which none who enter come forth again;
Thou hast taken the road whose course returns not;
Thou art in the house where they who enter are excluded from light,
In the place where dust is their bread and mud their food,
Where they behold not the light, where they dwell in darkness,
And are clothed like birds in garments of feathers.
Over the door and across the bolt the dust is scattered.”

Then Irkalla cursed Ishtar; she called upon Namtar, the demon of the plague, to smite the Lady of the Gods. And Namtar went to her and smote her, so that the plague afflicted every member of her body. Ishtar saw the light no more; feathers came upon her; she ate dust and fed upon the mud; she was as one of those whom she had sent down into Irkalla’s realm.

She stayed in Irkalla’s realm and went no more upon the earth. A season passed. The earth was not as it had been when Ishtar went upon it. No longer did the cow low for the bull; no longer did the bull bellow so that the cows might hear of his might. The ewe did not run to ram; the mare was not drawn to the stallion; the he-goat, chief of a flock, browsed with the flock as though there were no longer male and female; the birds did not call to each other. The hero did not take the maid in his arms; the warrior returning did not embrace his wife; his wife uttered no words of love to the warrior. None sought the women in the temple of Ishtar. The women in the temple did not call to the men who went by. So it was on the earth when Ishtar was in the World Below.

Shamash, the Sun God, beheld all this; he knew of the calamity that had befallen men and birds and beasts and all things upon the earth. The generation of creatures would die; no life would be left after them, and the creation of the Gods would perish. So Shamash said in his heart, and in haste he came before Ea, the great God. And when he had heard what Shamash related–that life was not being renewed upon the earth–and when it had been made known to him that this was because Ishtar was being held in the World Below, Ea, the great God, formed a being, Ud-dushu-nāmir, and bade him go down into the World Below, and into the presence of Irkalla, and conjure her by the power of the great Gods to give him the Water of Life with which to sprinkle Ishtar, the Lady of the Gods.

So the being whom Ea had formed went into the presence of Irkalla, and over Ud-dushu-nāmir Irkalla had no power. He conjured her by the power of the great Gods to grant him the Water of Life with which to sprinkle Ishtar, the Lady of the Gods. Irkalla was enraged when she heard his saying; she opened her lion’s mouth; her woman’s body shook with rage as she cursed Ishtar and cursed the being that was before her. But the being that Ea had formed stood there, not trembling at all at her curses. The Water of Life she had to bring to him. She put the vessel that held it into his hands; she bade Namar bring forth the Lady of the Gods.

Ishtar came from out the dust and the mud; the Water of Life was sprinkled upon her. She stood before Irkalla’s seat living, but pale, powerless, naked, and trembling.

Nadu the Watchman put his hand upon the bolt on which the dust lay; he opened the gate on which the dust was scattered. Ishtar passed through the gate. He gave her her garment; she put the garment upon her and her nakedness was covered. She went upon her way. He opened the second gate. He gave her back her outer robe. He gave her back her veil; he gave her back the shoes for her feet; he gave her back her bracelets of gold and lapis-lazuli; he gave her back the eight-rayed star that had been at her neck. At last he opened the outer gate of the realm of Irkalla. He took the great crown and he set it upon her head. Then Ishtar went from the realm of Irkalla. But she did not go in splendour, she did not go in radiance; she went with her head bowed. She went into the world where light was. No blossoms were there, and no birds called.

But no sooner had she come upon the earth than her splendour and power came back to Ishtar; she walked as a Goddess–yea, as the Lady of the Gods. The creatures of the earth heard her voice. Then the bull bellowed; the cow heard and lowed back to him; the stallion neighed and the mare was drawn to him; the warrior returning embraced his wife; his wife said, “Thou shalt be my man, I shall be thy woman”; the hero took the maid in his arms. All creation rejoiced; all creation praised the works of Ishtar. And the Gods rejoiced, knowing that what they had created would not pass away.

– Ishtar’s Descent into the World Below

A Wiccan Creation Story

Long, long ago, the world slept in the arms of the dark void. From this place of nothingness, Spirit drew together and created Our Lady of Infinite Love. The Lady danced among the heavens, her feet beating out the rhythm of all creation. Sparks of light catapulted from Her hair, giving birth to the stars and planets. As She twirled, these heavenly bodies began to move with Her in the divine symphony of the Universe. When Her dancing quickened She formed the seas and the mountains of the Earth. She chanted words of love and joy, as these sounds fell to the Earth, the trees and flowers were born. From the pure, white light of Her breath came the colours of the Universe, turning all things to vibrant beauty. From the bubbling laughter in Her throat sprang the sounds of the pristine running water of the streams, the gentle lapping vibrations of the lake, and the roaring screams of the oceans. Her tears of joy became our rains of survival.

When Her dancing slowed and She sought a companion to share the wonders of the world, Spirit created The Lord as Her life-mate and companion. Because She so loved the Earth, Spirit made Her companion half spirit, half-animal, so that together the Lord and Lady could populate our planet. The Lord’s power moves through Her and She showers the Earth and all upon it with Her blessings. Together, the Lord and Lady gave birth to the birds, animals, fishes and people of our world. To protect and guide the humans, the Lord and Lady created angels and power spirits. These energies walk with us always, though we often cannot see them. Their speech created a tapestry of positive energy, from which we draw strength. To each bird, the Lady gave a magic song, and to each animal the Lord bestowed the instinct to survive. The Lord is the master of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and therefore wears the antlers of a stag crowning His great head. This aspect of half man, half animal shows his joy in both the human and animal creations of the spirit.

As the humans began to grow and prosper, the Lord and Lady saw need for healers among them. And so they drew forth energy from the realm of angels, the realm of power animals and the realm of the humans to create the Witches. The Witches brought with them the wisdom of the Lord and Lady, the ability to heal, and the art of magic. The Lady taught the Witches how to cast a magic circle and talk to Spirit, and the Lord taught the Witches how to communicate with the energies of air, fire, earth and water, and commune with the animal and plant kingdoms.

At first, the humans accepted the Witches and treated them fairly; but because the Witches were different, humans began to fear the Wise Ones of the Lord and the Lady, thus the Witches became the Hidden Children, conducting their rites of positive energy in secret lest they risk capture and death at the hands of uneducated humans.

As the world grew darker with ignorance and hate of human creation, The Lady took the body of the Moon to represent the gentle light of Her perfect peace, and the Lord took the vibrant rays of the Sun as his symbol of strength in perfect love. And once a month, when the Moon is full, The Witches celebrate and remember the blessings our Mother has bestowed upon us. We call forth Her energy to help us take care of ourselves, our families, our planet and our friends. Four times a year the Witches celebrate the festivals of fire and honour the Lord and His love for us – these are called the Cross-Quarters. At the Four Quarters of the seasons, the Witches honour the cycle of life and the gifts of the Earth with festivals to both the Lord and Lady – signifying the balance they have brought us – the Equinoxes and the Solstices.

The Lady has many names – Isis, Astarte, Bride, Diana, Aradia, Hecate – and the Lady walks within and beside each woman of every race. The Lord has many faces, from the strong Cernunnos to the delightful Pan. He guards and guides us and resides in each man of every race. When the thunder roars in the heavens, and lightning cracks from the ground, the Lord and Lady dance the divine myth of creation so that we may remember them and know that we are never alone. When the Sun rises each morning, we bask in the joy of His love for us, and when the Moon moves through Her phases, we understand the cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth.

When it is our time, the Witches enter the Summerland. From the Spirit that moves through the Lord and the Lady we continue to learn the mysticism of the Universe so that we may return, life after life, to serve our brothers and sisters. In each lifetime, Spirit guides us through learning experiences, preparing us along the way for our individual missions. Sometimes we are born among our own kind, and in other cases we must seek our spiritual family. Many of us do not remember our chosen path until we reach adulthood, but others know instinctively of their heritage from the time they form their own thoughts.

We are the Witches, the representation of the growth of wisdom on our planet. We are the Hidden Children, back from the dead. We are the people, the power, the change, and we have incarnated in every race and every culture. We are the angels of the Earth.

– Silver Ravenwolf

The Pelasgian Creation Myth

In the beginning, Eurynome, the Goddess of All Things, rose naked from Chaos, but found nothing substantial for her feet to rest upon, and therefore divided the sea from the sky, dancing lonely upon its waves. She danced towards the south, and the wind set in motion behind her seemed something new and apart with which to begin a work of creation. Wheeling about, she caught hold of this north wind, rubbed it between her hands, and behold! The great serpent Ophion.

Eurynome danced to warm herself, wildly and more wildly, until Ophion, grown lustful, coiled about those divine limbs and was moved to couple with her. Now, the North Wind, who is also called Boreas, fertilises; which is why mares often turn their hind-quarters to the wind and breed foals without aid of a stallion. So Eurynome was likewise got with child.

Next, she assumed the form of a dove, brooding on the waves and, in due process of time, laid the Universal Egg. At her bidding, Ophion coiled seven times about this egg, until it hatched and split in two. out tumbled all things that exist, her children: sun, moon, planets, stars, the earth with its mountains and rivers, its trees, herbs, and living creatures.

Eurynome and Ophion made their home upon Mount Olympus, where he vexed her by claiming to be the author of the Universe. Forthwith she bruised his head with her heel, kicked out his teeth, and banished him to the dark caves below the earth.

Next, the goddess created the seven planetary powers, setting a Titaness over each. Theia for the Sun; Phoebe for the Moon; Dione for the planet Mars; Metis for the planet Mercury; Themis for the planet Jupiter; Tethys for Venus; and Rhea for the planet Saturn.

But the first man was Pelasgus, ancestor of the Pelasgians; he sprang from the soil of Arcadia, followed by certain others, whom he taught to make huts and feed upon acorns and sew pig-skin tunics such as poor folk still wear in Euboea and Phocis.

– Taken and adapted from: “The Pelasgian Creation Myth,” from Robert Graves‘ The Greek Myths.

The Charge of the Goddess

Listen to the words of the great mother, who was of old also called Artemis; Astarte; Diana; Melusine; Aphrodite; Cerridwen; Dana; Arianrhod; Isis; Brigid; and by many other names.

Whenever you have need of anything, once in a month, and better it be when the moon is full, then you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of me, who am queen of all maid.

There shall you assemble, you who are eager to learn all magick, yet have not yet won its deepest secrets: to these will I teach things that are yet unknown.

And you shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that you are really free, you shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.

For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine also is joy on earth; for my law is love unto all beings.

Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever toward it; let nothing stop you or turn you aside.

For mine is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth; and mine is the cup of the wine of life, and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the holy grail of immortality.

I am the gracious mother who gives the gift of joy unto the heart. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold I am the mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear the words of the star goddess, she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven; whose body encircles the universe; I, who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the heart’s desire, call unto your soul. Arise and come unto me.

For I am the soul of nature, who gives life to the universe; from me all things proceed, and unto me must all things return; and before my face, beloved of gods and mortals, your inmost divine self shall be unfolded in the rapture of infinite joy.

Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who think to seek for me, know your seeking and yearning shall not avail you, unless you know this mystery: that if that which you seek you find not within you, you will never find it without you.

For behold, I have been with you from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

– Taken from Doreen Valiente The Charge of the Goddess

The Myth of Diana

Diana was the first created before all creation; in her were all things. Out of herself, the first darkness, she divided herself into darkness and light. Dianus, her brother and son, herself and her other half, was the light.

And when Diana saw that the light was so beautiful, the light which was her other half, her brother Dianus, she yearned for it with exceeding great desire. Wishing to receive the light again into her darkness, to swallow it up in rapture, in delight, she trembled with desire. This desire was the Dawn.

But Dianus, the light, fled from her, and would not yield to he wishes. He was the light which flies into the most distant parts of heaven, the mouse which flies before the cat.

Then Diana went to the Fathers of the Beginning, to the Mothers, the Spirits who were before the first spirit, and lamented unto them that she could not prevail with Dianus. And they praised her for her courage; they told her that to rise she must fall; to become the chief of goddesses she must become a mortal.

And in the Ages, in the course of Time, when the World was made, Diana went on Earth, as did Dianus, who had descended, and Diana taught magic and sorcery, from whence came Witches and magicians, and all that is like Man, yet not mortal.

And it came thus that Diana took the form of a cat. Her brother had a cat whom he loved beyond all creatures, and it slept every night on his bed, a cat beautiful beyond all other creatures, a fairy (but he did not know this).

Diana prevailed with the cat to change forms with her, so she lay with her brother, and in the darkness assumed her own form, and so by Dianus became the mother of Aradia. But when in the morning he found that he lay by his sister, and that light had been conquered by darkness, Dianus was extremely angry; but Diana sang to him a spell, a song of power, and he was silent, the song of the night which soothes to sleep, and he could say nothing.

So Diana with her wiles of Witchcraft so charmed him that he yielded to her love. This was the first fascination; she hummed the song which was as the buzzing of bees, and the spinning of a wheel; the spinning wheel spinning Life. She spun then the lives of Men, and all things were spun from the Wheel of Diana. And it was Dianus who turned the Wheel.