XXVI. The Beginning of the Book of the Generation of Aradia
[From the Gospel of Diana, as translated by A. Verrazano and A. Peregrino]
I am Diana, the daughter of Aradia. Aradia was Queen of all the Witches and taught them magic in the school of her mother, the Goddess Diana. She named her daughter Diana, and I shall name my own daughter Aradia.
Aradia came to teach that our sexual ecstasy is the sacred mystery of the Goddess of love. If God sent us his son, then the Goddess has sent us her daughter. This, then, is the beginning of the book of the generation of Aradia, and her genesis happened in this way.
My mother told me that Aradia had said, “The messenger of the Goddess said to me in a dream, `Aradia!’
“I said, `Here am I.’
“The angel said to me, `I am Hecate, that stand in the presence of the Goddess. The Lady has sent me to say to you in Her name, I will give you the treasures of darkness, and the hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, who call you by your name, am the Goddess of the Craft.’
“My heart was hot within me; while I was musing fire burned. Then I said, `Lady, let me know the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.’
“The messenger replied, `You shall die for your people of the Craft, and yet you shall not die; for the Gods will be with you. In the cold of the earth there is but sleep, wherein you will awaken refreshed and renewed, your journey into dark lands ended. If you will not do this for your people, then many will die in vain who might be spared.’
“I replied, `Lady, I am your servant, and the servant of my people of the Craft; as you say, so mote it be.’
“And the messenger replied, `So mote it be.’
In those days when Aradia appeared a few were rich on Earth, many more were poor. The rich made slaves of all the poor, and treated them cruelly: in the palaces of Florence and Siena, in the villas of Pisa and Livorno, the poor were tortured and imprisoned. The noblemen raped the women of the poor whenever they chose to, and forced them to work as prostitutes in the towns; and any beautiful girls among the peasants they locked up in their convents for the nobles and black priests to use as whores. Many slaves did not sleep at night, but plotted escape. Whenever they could, they robbed their masters and slew them, then fled to the countryside, to live as outlaws. They dwelt in forests and mountains as robbers and assassins, ate from the trees with the beasts, and slept on the ground with the beasts, all to avoid slavery.
Aradia came into the country about the Arno, preaching the initiation of awakening and curing of illnesses, and no one knew who she was or where she was from. She began to preach the Gospel of Diana, moving from town to town along the valley of the Arno, going always secretly among the poor, the peasants, the slaves, giving them a message of hope, and they began to listen to her and follow her. She bore fruit in them, saying,
“Hearken to me, O Witches, my called; I am Aradia, set apart for the Craft of the Goddess. I have learned to work all Witchcraft; so I have come to teach the good news according to the flesh.
“The Queen of Heaven is at hand! Forsake the darkness, receive the light of the Gods, you who dwell in the darkness of death! A light has arisen for you!
“If you would learn to work all Witchcraft, come study in my school. Come to me, all you who are weary, who seek truth but do not find it. I will show you Truth herself, for I have brought her down from the dwellings above, that you may see her naked and understand her beauty, that you may hear her speak and understand her wisdom.“
Women and men alike began to follow her. The prostitutes deserted the towns to follow her; young nuns fled from the convents where they had been imprisoned and abused. They all followed her, sleeping on the ground and eating whatever they could find, and they said, “Better a fig in freedom than a feast in prison.”
The poor and the servants would sneak out into the forest and sit in a circle on the ground with the slaves and outlaws to listen to her, or would creep into empty churches and sit with candles lit before the altar, saying, “The Goddess Herself will teach us Witchcraft, for there we were in darkness.” When Aradia appeared to them, the slaves beheld the spirit of the Goddess and knew where she is.
Aradia began to speak to all those who followed her. She explained the glory of the incorruptible Goddess by means of images of women, of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. She taught them of the power that enables us each to become Gods and Goddesses.
“Like you, I was cast down in darkness, in slavery, in ignorance, in despair. But Diana appeared to me and awoke me to remember who I am. She said, `Blessed be, daughter. You must go, and preach the good news. Although you were born a spirit, you must become mortal. To rise, you must fall. To become a Goddess, you must be a woman first. You must teach all who would study Witchcraft in my school, and you shall be known as first of all the Witches in the world.’
“Diana explained to me the generation of the universe, which She had never before revealed to anyone, either of the Gods or of women, and taught me the initiation unto the Gods, which the Witches shall work with all who desire it, despite the laws inspired by the evil race of the root of wickedness.
“Diana, the Queen of Heaven, is mother of all things. She alone exists, before everything, and She is everything, since She exists in everyone. She is innumerable, immeasurable, ineffable, yet whenever She wishes, She shall reveal herself of Her own accord. Being infinite, She has no opposite; She is both male and female, both One and Many, both transcendant and immanent.
“The first darkness, She divided Herself into darkness and light. Apollo, Her son, Her brother, Her self, Her other half, was the light. Diana saw that the light was beautiful. She yearned to swallow it up again into Her darkness. But Apollo fled from Her into the farthest heavens, the mouse that flees before the cat.
“Apollo had a cat whom he loved; it slept on his bed every night. Diana took the form of the cat, and lay on his bed. In the darkness She resumed Her own form; and crept beneath the covers, humming a spell to keep Apollo sleeping as She caressed and kissed his mouth and his body. . . . So that night by Apollo She became pregnant with Aradia.
“In the morning Apollo saw that he lay by his sister, that it had not been a dream, that darkness had seduced the light. He rose up in anger, but Diana sang him a spell—she hummed the song, like bees buzzing, a top turning round, a spinning wheel—and he was silent, and yielded to Her love. They loved and were one. He taught Her all the Magics and gave Her the necklace, which is the Circle of Rebirth. She taught him the mystery of the sacred cup, which is the cauldron of rebirth. Thus Diana spun all things, the lives of men, from Her wheel, and Apollo turned the wheel.
“When Her time was up, Diana gave birth in a cave to Her daughter, and named her Aradia. Diana returned to the sky, then preached the great power announced to all who thirst for truth, and she danced on the day of harvest.
“Know then that Our Lady is the Queen of Death, and yet the Queen of Love: her right hand holds the pomegranate, and her left, the dove. In truth, Our Lady is Love. At every time, in every place, She loves, and Her ecstasy keeps the cosmos in existence. Were She to cease loving for even an instant, there would be nothing anywhere.
“Whenever you make love, She is the Lover, and the Beloved, and the love itself.
“Wherever there is Love, there is Our Lady. In everything She lives and loves and has Her being, and Her service is perfect freedom.
“Hear me: those who hate sex hate the Goddess.
“Hear me again: Those who hate the words of sex are dying of Christianity.
“Hear me yet again: Those who love sex and love, who love to make love, are those who love the Goddess; and it is they who shall live forever in the ecstasy of Her reign.”