This is a favorite subject of mine, but I'm no expert.
Thanks to Joe offer for bringing this thread to my attention; I haven't had a lot of time lately for threads.
A few points:
the burning-people-in-wicker-baskets thing first appeared in Caesar's Commentaries. He was writing about conquered people he considered barbarian. To my knowledge, there is not a shred of archeological or anthropological evidence that this practice occured.
One neat song that is done as a round, and I think I have mentioned it before, is the "Blossom of Bone/Hole in the Stone" one. Probably on one of the tapes mentioned above.
The circle dancing and stuff is fun; I am also guilty of needling neo-pagans for their deliberate lack of historical perspective. Once upon a time I did a lot of study on the witchcraft persecutions. (Try reading *Hammer of Witches* if you want an eyeful of inquisitorial self-delusion.) The hysteria wiped out all non-conformists, openly sexual women, political targets of the Church, etc etc etc. The plague had wiped out much of the population of Europe, and another nine million died in an orgy of sadism. Much as people would like it to be true, any shamanistic pre-christian practices did not survive this Holocaust. the fevered imaginations of the clergy, invented the Black Sabbath -- the reverse-image of christian rituals.
All the Morris Dancers I have ever known sedem pretty convinced that the midsummer dances are sympathetic magic, to help the corn grow. It is logical, whether there is any proof or not.
thanks for the info. on new groups to check out. I still recommend *Straw into Gold,* who I understand to have regrouped. (PS, Joe, one of them is a minister.)