Author(s): Charles Leland
Aradia is a book of folklore considered a vital foundation upon which the beliefs and practices of modern witchcraft and Wicca practices are understood and performed.
An important part of the literary canon of witchcraft, Aradia - colloquially termed 'the Gospel of the Witches' - is a story regarding the witches living in Italy during the 17th century. Charles Godfrey Leland obtained, arranged and translated the original scripts to modern English; the result is a coherent narrative which is authentic, readable and uncompromising, with none of the stark details of Strega witchcraft omitted or softened.
Aradia is a story unorthodox and anti-establishment in tone, detailing the exploits of witches who seek to undermine oppressive landowners and other powerful interests portrayed as antagonistic. The aristocracy are frequently the targets of witches, who are deeply ritualistic and nominally aligned to the lower classes in the economic order. Allusions to the Dianic goddesses and the many traditions which comprise witchcraft are frequent.
Charles Godfrey Leland was a folklorist who spent decades in study of pagan texts. His extensive travels throughout Europe yielded several important texts lost to obscurity, which he reintroduced to a wider modern audience. Leland's works brought new interest to witchcraft and other folk traditions and inspired a multitude of authors and practitioners. To this day, Leland's works are widely read by modern enthusiasts of Wicca.