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About the author

I should like to explain to the reader a little about my background and how I came to write this paper. I am not a professional anthropologist or historian. Before my retirement I was a lawyer in a number of Government departments in London. However I am an admirer of Sir James Frazer's work and for many years I have had a full set of The Golden Bough (third edition) on my bookshelves at home. From time to time I have attended lectures and workshops at Treadwell’s Books, which is a pagan bookshop in central London. On one occasion a discussion was taking place (I am not sure of the precise topic, though it may have been the Samhain issue). I chipped in to the discussion with something I had read in The Golden Bough. The lady taking the workshop gravely shook her head and explained that we couldn’t possibly take anything like that into account. Ronald Hutton had shown it all to be nonsense. She appeared to be rejecting Frazer's work in total. I asked what in Hutton’s works she was relying on to make this statement. She said “The Stations of the Sun”. Confronted with this wholesale – and to me amazing - rejection of Frazer’s work, I read Professor Hutton’s book. Then I began to research into the basis on which Hutton condemned a range of beliefs of pagans and the works of Frazer and other earlier scholars. This paper gives and explains the results of my research.

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