Here are several photos of Maxine Sanders as well as a few of Alex.

Alex Sanders and Maxine Morris (Sanders) were responsible for spreading Wicca throughout the craft community ever since the 60s

Maxine (born Arline Maxine Morris) is a prominent member of the Wiccan faith and a co-founder with her late husband, Alex Sanders, of Alexandrian Wicca. Maxine was educated at St. Joseph’s, Manchester. At fourteen she was introduced to the charismatic Alex Sanders (re-introduced actually, she had met Alex as a young child). Two years later, at sixteen, while a student at secretarial college, she was initiated into Alex’s coven;

Maxine and Alex were handfasted later in the same year. In January 1966 photographs of a naked Maxine (with other members of Sanders’ coven) were published in The Comet, a local tabloid and widely syndicated. Press interest in Alex and Maxine was, thereafter, intense. Maxine was hounded by paparazzi and subject to considerable local vilification.

Shortly thereafter, her mother died. Maxine abandoned her studies; in 1967 she married Alex in a civil ceremony and moved into a basement flat near Notting Hill Gate in London. In the same year their daughter Maya was born; a son Victor was born in 1972. It was about this time that the Sanders separated.

The Sanders became household names during the late sixties and early seventies. The Sanders ran their coven and taught classes on Witchcraft. Constant media publicity, guest appearances on talk-shows, and public speaking engagements led to a number of record, film and book contracts.

A record of the initiation of Janet Owen, 'A Witch is Born', was released in 1970. The Sanders’ coven also appeared in 'Legend of the Witches' (1970), 'Witchcraft ’70' (1970) and 'Secret Rites' (1971). A biography of Alex appeared in 1969 (King of the Witches, by June Johns); biographies of Maxine appeared in 1976 (Maxine: The Witch Queen) and 1977 (The Ecstatic Mother, by Richard Deutch). Syndicated photos of Maxine and Alex also appeared in a number of high-profile publications, dramatically bringing Witchcraft, its practices and reality into global consciousness.

Maxine remained in the London flat where, for many years, she continued running the coven and teaching the Craft. More recently she has moved from the city and now lives in Wales. Although retired from the formal work of teaching she still travels and gives talks.

Alex Sanders was born in Manchester, the oldest of six children. His year of birth is variously listed as 1926 or 1929. His father was a dance-hall entertainer and suffered from alcoholism. Alex became an analytical chemist and married nineteen-year-old Doreen, when he was 21. They had two children, Paul and Janice, but the marriage quickly deteriorated and Doreen took the children and left Sanders when he was 26. After this, Sanders spent time studying magick and he became involved with Satanism and homosexuality.

In the early '60's, Sanders was initiated by a Gardnerian Witch and ran off to start his own coven, using the Gardnerian Book of Shadows with some changes. It is no secret that Alex, far from being initiated by his grandmother when he was seven, was in fact turned down by Pat Crowther in 1961, but was later accepted by one of her ex-coven members, Pat Kopinski, and initiated to 1st Degree.   Doreen says that Alex later met Gardner, and was allowed to copy from the Book of Shadows. Craft tradition alleges that he stole what he could from Pat Kopinski before leaving the group, and that the main differences between the Alexandrian and Gardnerian Books of Shadows occur where Alex misheard, or miscopied something.

There are certainly significant differences between the two Books; some parts of Gardnerian ritual are quite unknown within the Alexandrian tradition, and the ritual techniques are different. It is usually very easy to spot whether someone is an Alexandrian, or Gardnerian initiate.

Maxine Sanders.  He then married a woman much younger than himself, Maxine Morris. Alex needed a HP.S., and chose Maxine for the role. Maxine is a striking Priestess, and made an excellent focus for the movement, which grew in leaps and bounds.  In the late 1960s, Alex and Maxine were prolific initiators, and a number of their initiates have become well known. There are still a number of covens in the UK today whose HP and/or HPS was initiated by Alex or Maxine. 

Rhuddlwm Gawr's photo.

In 1971, Alex and Maxine went their separate ways. Sanders moved to Sussex, while Maxine remained in the London flat where she continued running the coven and teaching the Craft. 

Maxine and David Goddard, a Liberal Catholic Priest, worked in the Liberal Catholic faith for many years, and did not run a coven of any kind. Then in 1984, Maxine gathered together a group again, and started practicing a combination of Wicca, Qabalah and Liberal Catholicism. She and David separated in 1987, and since then her coven has been exclusively Wiccan. In 1989, she married one of her initiates, Vincent

Rhuddlwm Gawr's photo.

Alex's history after the split was a little more sordid. He married Jill ...., who after leaving him, filled the press with stories about Alex being homosexual, claiming that he had defrauded her of all her money and spent it on his boyfriends. None of this was ever substantiated. Sanders lived in seclusion until his death on April 30, 1988, from lung cancer.  He and Maxine more than any other Wiccan at the time are responsible for the explosion of interest in the Craft from 1967 until today.



Janet and Stewart Farrar (Stewart 1916-2000, Janet 1950-present), English Witches and writers, Alexandrian initiates.

Alex and Maxine Sanders most influential initiates are almost certainly Janet and Stewart Farrar, who left them in 1971 to form their own coven, first in England, then later, in Ireland. The Farrar’s books have probably had the most influence on the direction of modern Craft. With the publication of "What Witches Do", their form of Wicca has become the "standard" by which others are measured.

For many involved in British Traditional Witchcraft their first exposure to those types of ritual came in the form of the Farrar’s A Witches’ Bible (originally published as two seperate books Eight Sabbats For Witches and The Witches’ Way). Later books such The Witches’ Goddess and The Witches’ God contained some of the first extended looks at the deities of Modern Pagan practice. Janet Farrar continues to have a strong influence on Modern Paganism, now writing and teaching with husband Gavin Bone. On a personal note words can’t convey just how influential the writings of Stewart and Janet have been on my own development. Their Witchcraft has always been how I’ve wanted my own Craft to look and feel.

Stewart Farrar was born on June 28, 1916 in Highams Park, Essex. His father was  employed as a bank official and his Scottish mother was a schoolteacher. Stewart was raised as a Christian Scientist. He attended University College, London, where he majored in journalism. He served in the Army from 1939 to 1946. Later he undertook a career as a journalist, author and scriptwriter, working for Reuters, the Communist Party's Daily Worker and A.B.C. Television. From 1969 to 1974 Stewart was a feature writer for the weekly Reveille, a job that propelled his introduction into Witchcraft. In 1969, he met Alex and Maxine Sanders while on assignment given to him by Reveille to review the film "Legend of the Witches" at a press event. Whilst there, he ran across Alex and Maxine Sanders, who had played a part in the making of the film as advisors. On being interviewed, Alex Sanders decided to invite Farrar to one of his rituals and he then went on to become a member of the Sanders' coven in 1970. Here he was to meet Janet Owen who became his second wife, and together they seem to have quickly accelerated through the Degrees, becoming Third Degree Witches in 1971, and setting up their own coven later that year. Sanders secured a contract for Stewart to write a book on Witchcraft (What Witches Do) and the rest, as they say, is history. On February 21, 1970, Maxine Sanders initiated him into the coven, where he met his future wife, Janet Owen. On December 22, 1970, the Farrar's formed their London coven. In 1976, the Farrar's moved to Ireland and formed a new coven. They returned to England in 1988. Their seminal books Eight Sabbats For Witches and The Healing Craft .

Janet Owens Farrar was born on June 24, 1950, in Clapton, London. Her father was English/Welsh and her mother was an Irish immigrant. Both belonged to the Church of England and were hospital workers. When Janet was five her mother died. Janet attended the Leyton Manor School in London and Royal Wanstead High School for Girls in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. Following her graduation, she worked as a model and receptionist. In 1970 she was initiated into Alex and Maxine Sander's coven where she met Stewart Farrar.

Following nine years of running a coven, the Farrars coauthored two books of ritual and non-ritual material: Eight Sabbats for Witches (1981) and The Witches' Way (1984) (See above) . In the United States both books were combined and published as A Witches Bible Compleat. The Farrars also coauthored The Witches' Goddess (1987); Life & Times of a Modern Witch (1987); and The Witches' God (1989), a companion to The Witches' Goddess. Stewart also wrote a number of fiction books, including seven occult novels; The Twelve Maidens (1974); The Serpent of Lilith (1976); The Dance of Blood (1977); The Sword of Orley (1977); Omega (1980); Forcible Entry (1986); and Blacklash (1988).

After Stewart’s death, Janet continued teaching; writing books and producing Videos on various elements of the Craft, with one of her initiates and her consort Gavin Bone. They were recently hand fasted.

In an interview by Morgana of the Netherlands, in 1998, Janet was asked, "Could you tell us more about the changes you have witnessed in Wicca and Witchcraft over the years?"

She replied: "Probably the most important change has been the conscious awareness of the need to become adults. In 1970 when Stewart and I were initiated into the Craft, the elders molded the physical age and mentality in the coven. There was little encouragement to think for you.

"After we had been in the Sanders coven for about one year, we felt it was necessary to stretch our mental abilities. Stewart was already in his fifties. I was in my early twenties. We met others from different traditions and there arose the serious question of progress within the Craft. It was all very childlike and we were rather like children in kindergarten. But Stewart was an adult who had traveled, including a visit to Auschwitz. He was involved in cleaning up the physical mess of post-war Europe.

"I, as an ex-60's hippie wanted to see Modern Witchcraft move towards a university rather than the kindergarten it was. We left England in 1976 and moved to Ireland. At that time we used basic Alexandrian/ Gardnerian guidelines in the coven. Suddenly however we were put into a different culture. We started to become familiar with the culture of the Republic of Ireland, learning their history, delving into Irish Pagan roots. Really there is very little difference between the Celtic Tribal people and the Saxon, Norse Teutonic peoples. The more we researched historical documents the more we realized how modern Wicca really was. So much of "modern" Wicca is based on medieval superstition rather than grass root paganism.

"Grimoires and Enochian, even "modern Qabalah", bear no relation whatsoever to OUR ancestors. Our true Pagan ancestral roots are of Shamanistic origin. All of the books we have written are a guideline to discovering those roots.

"Our active practice is now far more Shamanistic. We truly believe that ancestral knowledge is passed down by word of mouth and experience, rather than high-bound laws."

Since their early days of undiluted Alexandrianism, Janet and Stewart drifted towards a more Gardnerian approach, and wrote their many books based on this amalgam, but as she has stated above, after Stewart’s death, she shifted more towards a pagan based Shamanistic Wicca. In the past Janet has stated that there are no differences between the two traditions of Alexandrian and Gardnerian In fact, despite the merging that has been occurring over the last few years, there are very distinct differences between the traditions; some merely external, others of a very significant difference of philosophy.


Sybil Leek was born in Straffordshire on February 22, 1917. Her entire family was involved in astrology, and it is reported that guests who visited her home included H.G. Wells, Lawrence of Arabia and Aleister Crowley. In their New Forest home, her mother and her mother's friends regularly met for tea, and they called themselves the Pentagram Club.

When she was fifteen years old, Sybil claimed to have been initiated into the Horsa coven during one of the family's regular trips to the south of France to visit the French covens from which the English New Forest covens were derived.

Sybil came from a relatively well-to-do family and grew up as a young society lady; her mother’s maiden name was Masters, and was very well known in high society. She reported that during World War II, she joined the Red Cross and worked as a nurse in a military hospital near Southhampton, then at Anzio Beach and finally, at a military barracks in the isolated Scottish Hebrides Islands.

Though she ended the War with a handful of medals for her efforts, the prosperity of her family was lost to the austerity of the War. Sybil says that she spent several years living with a band of Gypsies in the New Forest. She became HPS of the Horsa Coven just before the witchcraft laws were repealed.

The coven later took up Gardner's idea of an equal number of men and women to increase the group's psychic power and establish a balance of power, plus a High Priestess. Another Gardnerian trait they adopted was the invocation of the Lords of the Watchtowers, which Gardner had taken from the Enochian magick of the Golden Dawn. Most of the members were healers, and they stressed developing psychic powers through visualization and shifting the center of consciousness in the body. The Horsa taught that becoming was the secret to all magick. All children of members have their horoscope done at birth.

Sybil ran an antique shop in England until her landlord discovered she was a Witch and evicted her. She then came to the US, where she teamed up with writer Hans Holzer to undertake a series of psychic investigations, with Holzer detailing them in his books.

Sybil was one of the first of the popular Witches to take up environmental causes. She was a master astrologer, a prolific author and a gifted psychic. Sybil died October 26, 1982 at the age of 65, in Melbourne, Florida USA, of cancer. (The author was driving through Melbourne and heard the news on the radio the day it happened)

She wrote: Diary of a Witch, My Life in Astrology, The Night Voyagers, Numerology: The Magic of Numbers, Phrenology, Reincarnation: The Second Chance, Star Speak, Astrological Guide to Love and Sex, Astrological Guide to Financial Success, Astrology and Love, Driving Out the Devils, Sybil Leek's Book of Curses, Sybil Leek's Book of Fortune Telling, Moon Signs, ESP - The Magic Within You, Herbs, Medicine and Mysticism, Complete Art of Witchcraft, The Jackdaw & The Witch (Mr. Hotfoot Jackson), and How To Be Your Own Astrologer.

Rhuddlwm Gawr: "I was driving down to Miami as a computer analyst from Atlanta when there was an announcement on the Radio as I passed through Melbourne Florida that Sybil Leek famous witch had passed away that same day.  It rather shocked me since I had met the Lady in Atlanta back in the early eighties."


Joseph Bearwalker Wilson (1942–2004) was a shaman and witch, founder of the 1734 Tradition of witchcraft, Toteg Tribe, Metista, and a founding member of the Covenant of the Goddess.

Wilson was born December 11, 1942 and raised just inside the city limits of St. Johns in Clinton County, Michigan. He grew up with some Christian influence but developed an early interest in the occult, and in fully utilizing the powers of the mind, which he felt were barely tapped. During his early adult life he studied comparative religion, and encouraged such study in his teaching: "What they all have in common must be close to the truth". He died August 4, 2004 from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and is recognized for his contributions to modern spiritual practice.

Joe is one of the unsung heroes of the International Pagan/Wiccan movement. Joe met several influential pagans in the U.S., during the 60s and 70s. These pagans went on to help frame the first Pagan Way organization in the U.S., which became the Pagan Federation in England. Joe traveled to the UK in the 70s, as a member of the U.S. Air force, where he met Roy Bowers, whom he had corresponded with for several years earlier. Joe says that after meeting Roy he acquired several clues as to the real meaning of Witchcraft. He also met Ruth Wynn Owen who claimed to have been taught a pre-Gardnerian tradition of Witchcraft. He continued the correspondence until Bowers death.

As a result of Joe Wilson sharing his letters from Bowers with others, several lines of the 1734 Tradition have sprung up in the US. Two of the better known is Coven Ashesh-Hekat in California and Coven Dragonstar Rising in the Midwest. Through contact with one of Bowers' initiates in 1976, Evan John Jones, the Americans Ann and David Finnin recreated an experimental form of this tradition, which they called the Roebuck, and later, the Ancient Keltic Church.

Joe passed away several years ago.  Click Here to read Joe's Autobiography (1942-1972) in his own words.

Rhuddlwm Gawr: "I corresponded with Joe for several years before he sent me his autobiography identified above.  He said he was going to complete it...I really don't know if he ever did."


 Raymond Buckland (1934-present), Witch, Spiritualist, Author

Buckland’s fingerprints all over the Modern Craft. He brought Gardnarian Witchcraft to the United States back in the early 60′s. Ten years later he wrote the first complete how to Witchcraft book (The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft), providing enough information so that anyone could practice the Craft regardless of circumstances. After The Tree Buckland continued to write, and has penned numerous fiction and non-fiction titles, with the most famous probably being Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (or as my friends and I used to call it Uncle Bucky’s Big Blue Book). He’s also a completely nice and approachable gentleman says the guy who was totally star-struck the moment he met Mr. Buckland.

Raymond and Rosemary Buckland brought the Gardnerian version of Wicca to the United States from Britain. Raymond is also the founder of his own tradition of Witchcraft called Seax-Wica, and for a time operated his own Museum of Witchcraft in America. He has been a leading spokesman for the Craft in America for more than three decades. Ray, who has a PhD in anthropology, is also a prolific Author and Witch.

Buckland was born in London, England, on the 31st of August 1934. When he was 12 years old, an uncle introduced him into Spiritualism and the occult and over time, that interest included Witchcraft and Magic.

His father came from a line of Gypsies and Buckland himself is a half-blooded Gypsy or in their terminology a "poshrat". Buckland is a royal Gypsy name, and Ray has made a study of Gypsy culture. 

Ray was educated at King’s Collage School in London, and then studied at Brantridge Forest Collage in Sussex, earning a doctorate in anthropology. In 1955 he met and married his first wife Rosemary before serving a short term in the Royal Air Force (RAF). In 1962 he and Rosemary immigrated to the United States. They settled in Brentwood, Long Island, where Buckland went to work for British Airways, then known as BOAC.

Buckland’s interest in Spiritualism and the occult had continued, but he felt there was something missing. Within a short period of time two books came into his possession that influenced his life and beliefs, The Witch-Cult In Western Europe by Margaret A. Murray, and Witchcraft Today by Gerald B. Gardner. Until reading these two books, Buckland had never looked upon Witchcraft as a religion, but now he realized he had found what he felt was missing. He contacted Gerald Gardner in the Isle of Man, and soon began a long-distance mail and telephone friendship with him. As their friendship matured Buckland became Gardner’s spokesperson in the United States, and whenever Gardner received a query from the U.S. it was forwarded to, and answered by Buckland.

Late in 1963 he and Rosemary journeyed to Perth, Scotland, where, as Gerald had arranged, they underwent a brief, intense training by Lady Olwen (Monique Wilson) and were initiated. They then brought the Gardnerian Book of Shadows and secret names back to Bay Shore on Long Island, New York

In imitation of Gardner’s Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the Isle of Man and perhaps inspired by it, Buckland began to collect artifacts and pieces for his own museum. He called it the First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the United States. His collection started in a bookcase, and then as it grew it took over the basement of their house, and eventually had to be housed in a separate building. It was also during this time that Ray and Rosemary started their first coven.

Immediately after the coven was formed, Wicca began to spread over the United States leaving no city unaware that it was there. People attracted to the God and Goddess faith began to create variations, and these variations are now referred to as neo-pagan Wicca. Some neopagan groups differ primarily from Wicca groups because of their rejection of the designation 'witch'.

Ray Buckland started to write about witchcraft in 1968, and in 1969 he published his first book A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural. He followed it in 1970 with Witchcraft Ancient and Modern and Practical Candle burning Rituals. That same year he wrote his first novel Mu Revealed under the pseudonym "Tony Earll", an anagram for – "not really". Writing became a passion for Buckland and he wanted more time to devote to it. By 1973 his collection of artifacts had grown large enough for him to occupy a rented building. He quit his job with BOAC and opened the museum proper, running it himself while at the same time writing full-time.

The Bucklands did their best to screen people carefully and train them thoroughly according to the principles and procedures in the Gardnerian Book. Over the years, however, more and more people came banging on the door, demanding to learn the Craft, and threatening to dire things if they weren't let in.  In order to prevent such a tendency from growing wild, Ray Buckland and Lady Rowen gradually relented: letting people in sooner, training them less rigorously, elevating them to the higher degrees sooner. Still, there were fewer than 20 women raised to the Third Degree during the nine years of their "administration" of the New York Coven. 

In 1972, Lady Rowen decided that she was tired of being High Priestess, and retired, turning the coven over to Theos and Phoenix (Judy and Tom Kneitel). At first the Bucklands remained as Elders in the coven, but then they parted ways with each other and started becoming less active in the coven. When Theos and Phoenix realized that Rowen would no longer be available to answer questions, they picked her brain about everything and anything she could remember about oral traditions and about how the coven actually operated, thus creating the longest single document in the current Gardnerian Book of Shadows, the "Notes and Guidelines," which was at first intended to be mere guidelines, but over the years has solidified into rigid rules and regulations.  Most of the controversies in the American Gardnerian movement for the last 30 years have resulted from text in this document, which never existed in England.

Some sources say that needing a new coven, Ray raised Deirdre to Third Degree by himself, However, Ray states in a recent e-mail:" I never did need a new HPS, and certainly did not team up with Deirdre nor would I have thought to try to raise her to Third by myself. Rowen and I parted ways and I moved up to New Hampshire where I eventually remarried Joan (Taylor) and we went on to form the Seax-Wica. I never had a Gardnerian coven after leaving Long Island, and certainly never had Deirdre as my HPS.

Theos and Phoenix for some years refused to recognize Deirdre's elevation as being valid, and this created the "Kentucky" line when Deirdre moved to Louisville. However, Theos later persuaded Deirdre to accept a "re-initiation" by the procedures of the New York coven, thus healing the schism. Louisville later became the new center of Gardnerian orthodoxy. We are inclined to accept Ray’s version.

Ray soon became aware that there were many flaws that he had come to perceive in the Gardnerian tradition. He felt that he could design a version of the Craft that did not suffer from those flaws. He soon founded Seax-Wica as a Craft tradition that recognized self-initiation, allowed democratic governance of the coven, and encouraged creativity, among its other advantages, and soon thereafter moved to New Hampshire.  He commented, "Samhain 1973 was to be the first actual Seax-Wica Sabbat held."

Although Lady Theos & Phoenix studied with Rowen & Robat for only a brief period, it was a very intensive one. They recorded and studied the teachings they received, because they knew they would not always be able to call on their Queen for advice & counsel Then they researched various mystery traditions, in an attempt to create a more cohesive and complete book of shadows.

Some sources say that in 1973, Lady Rowen, Ray Buckland, Lady Theos, Phoenix, Ed Fitch, and one other person, as the actual Elders of the Gardnerian movement in America, signed the materials they were adding to the first-degree Book of Shadows, thus certifying it as authentic and authoritative. The rules and procedures thus created, observed faithfully by American Gardnerians, are the ones that the English Gardnerians have never heard of, and to which their response is usually more or less on the order of, "What? Surely you jest!"

But Ray says: "I never signed such a document! I have always been very protective of the original Gardnerian work and would not add to it or alter it. Rowen may well have worked on such a document with Theos but I had no part of it." This actually makes more sense. Ray has always been very respectful of the original Gardnerian documents.

As mentioned above, Ray moved to New Hampshire where he reopened his museum and later married "Joan Helen Taylor". At about the same time he decided to leave the Gardnerian tradition feeling it no longer met his religious needs. He was also fed-up with the egotism and power trips he perceived was exhibited by others within the craft. He developed and founded a new tradition called Seax-Wica. He based it on a Saxon heritage and made it more open and democratic.

In the early eighties he and Joan moved on to Virginia and established the Seax-Wica Seminary. This was a correspondence school that grew to have more than 1,000 students worldwide. They had plans to build a campus for it, but these fell through due to lack of funds. After nearly 10 years of marriage together working and building the school, their marriage deteriorated and finally broke down. Buckland and Joan were divorced.

Buckland next met and married "Tara Cochan" of Cleveland, Ohio. Together they moved to Charlottesville in Virginia, where they re-established the seminary school and set up a publishing company, Taray Publications. In December 1984 they moved again, this time to San Diego, where they phased out the seminary correspondence course. By this time the Seax-Wica tradition was well established worldwide.

In 1992 after more than a quarter of a century working in and leading the craft in America, Buckland decided to retire from active participation. He moved his family to a small farmstead in north central Ohio. There except for occasional public appearances, he’s content to practice as a solitary. Buckland also practices Pecti-Wita, a Scottish tradition inspired by "Aidan Breac" and which Buckland helped to develop

Buckland was a much sought-after authority on the occult, magic and the supernatural. He was a prolific and diverse writer, covering such subjects as mystery and fantasy fiction, screenplays, divination systems, spiritualism and metaphysical nonfiction. He has averaged more than one book a year over the last thirty years. He has also written numerous magazine and newspaper articles, television scripts for the ITV’s The Army Game, a pilot script Sly Digs, for the BBC, and for a short time was the personal scriptwriter for the English comedian "Ted Lane". He served as technical adviser for the "Orson Welles" movie Necromancy, and worked with The Exorcist director "William Friedkin"on a stage production of Macbeth.

Buckland has also promoted the craft all across America; he has been seen on BBC-TV in England, the RAI-TV in Italy, and the CBC-TV in Canada. He has also appeared extensively on stage in England as an actor, and played small role character parts in moves in America. Buckland was also a distinguished teacher on craft subjects and has taught courses at New York State University, Hofstra University, New Hampshire Technical Collage and for Hampton, Virginia City Council. Without doubt, Buckland can be considered amongst the top of America’s leading Witches, his contribution to the revival of Witchcraft in America is perhaps without equal.

Ray Buckland's books include Practical Candle Burning, Advanced Candle Burning, Witchcraft from the Inside, The Complete Book of Witchcraft, Buckland's Complete Gypsy Fortune Teller, The Truth About Spirit Communication, Doors to Other Worlds, The Magick of Chant-O-Matics, Practical Color Magick, Scottish Witchcraft, Secrets of Gypsy Fortune Telling, Secrets of Gypsy Love Magick, and the True and Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft.

There is only three fully recognized Gardnerian lineages in the United States that we know of: The Long Island Line (from Raymond and Rosemary Buckland), The Kentucky Line and the Donna Cole Line. A fourth line, the emerging California Line, is an offshoot of the Long Island Line. Gardnerians in the United States tend to be highly attentive to lineage and its traceability. Some American Gardnerian Witches will not recognize the initiation of another if the initiation was through a male.

And just think if it weren’t for Ray Buckland, there probably would not be a Gardnerian tradition in the U.S.

Late news: The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick has re-opened. Brad Fuglaar is the General Manager. The museum is located in New Orleans at 523 Dumaine St. in the French Quarter. They are currently offering tours through the Museum: both guided and unguided. They can book private tours as well. Their phone number is 504-581-1457. They are currently in the process of putting together a web site for the Museum, as well as an information packet regarding what/where the museum is and can offer.

Now Wiccae History straight from the man who brought Gardnerian Wicca back to the United States:


The Saturday after I returned home – on December 7, 1963 – I cast the first (Wica - Wicca) circle on American soil and initiated Rosemary. She took the Craft name of Rowen. I had taken Robat. The following Monday I took her to Second Degree and, on Saturday December 13, to Third Degree. We now had a full-fledged Witch High Priestess and we could start initiating others and forming the first coven. (I would again emphasize that this "fast-forward" through the degrees was done as a most exceptional measure, necessary at that particular time, and was done on the understanding that Rowen be confirmed in her position, by Olwen, as soon as possible.) However, we took time to adjust to the positions and for Rowen to familiarize herself with the Book of Shadows. Consequently we did not initiate our first coven member until the start of the New Year. Al Bessette was the first to be brought-in, on January 11, 1964. He took the name Maverick. Joe Kaster was initiated on January 16, taking the name Reinhardt.

An interesting aside here – in 2008, at Lily Dale, New York (the big Spiritualist community) I was talking with a Canadian lady who was a medium. She suddenly stopped and said "I have someone trying to come through and say hello, but it’s very strange . . . I’m getting two different names for this one person: Joseph and – an unusual name – Reinhardt." I hadn’t even thought of Joe in many years, but there he was!

We held a Circle every week, usually on a Saturday. There were times when we had more . . . for example, in the first week of April, 1964, we had some initiations to do and so we had Circles on four different nights of the week. Yet actually, to many eyes, we were very slow to bring-in people. In 1964 we initiated Maverick, Reinhardt, Wanda, Jonet, Lilith, Andro, Puck, Hu and Herne. The following year we only added five more to that number: Rima, Raynar, Fian, Theo and Thain.

Theo and Thain were Fran and Jerry Fisher of Louisville, Kentucky, and this was the first coven to "hive off" from ours. They were initiated and taken through the degrees in August of 1965, so that they could go back to Kentucky and start bringing-in people there. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . The reason we were relatively slow to bring-in people was because we had been taught to carefully assess any would-be Witches. At that time especially there was still the general perception that this new form of Wica – this Neo-Witchcraft – was an excuse for sex and drugs, not to mention a good possibility of it actually being Satanism! It was therefore essential to really get to know those who wanted to join us; to make sure that they were right for the Craft and that the Craft was right for them. The traditional waiting period before initiation was a year and a day. If we had stuck to that, Wica would have been very slow indeed, to grow in the United States. We did, therefore, speed up things as much as we could and – as in the case of Fran and Jerry Fisher – we did follow the lead given by Olwen and could give a crash course in order to get the Craft established on a broader footing. We were later severely criticized for this general caution, but that criticism was leveled by those ignorant of what needed to be done; the reasoning behind it. However, we did feel pressured to speed up the process as much as we could. There were many people who now knew of the Old Religion and its re-emergence and – like me and Rosemary – wanted to be a part of it. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . On Wednesday, February 12, 1964, Gerald Gardner died. He usually spent his winters abroad; his favorite place being Lebanon. It was on his way home from there, aboard a ship – The Scottish Prince – that he died of a heart attack. He was taken ashore and buried in Tunis the following day. The newly-developing world of Witchcraft, or Wica (later more generally spelled Wicca), had suddenly lost its founder and leader. In New York we had a special Circle in remembrance of him and on March 3 I gave a talk on him at the New School.

Interestingly, at the Samhain celebration of that year, 1964, Gerald made an appearance at our circle. We had done the sabbat ritual and were sitting having the cakes and wine, after that part of the service, when a gasp went up from a couple of people. Looking up, I saw Gerald – looking quite solid; not at all transparent or "ghostly" – standing behind the altar and smiling around at all of us. Then he slowly faded away. We all compared notes afterward and all of us saw him and agreed on his appearance and his actions.

Wanda was initiated April 3; we had the Spring Rite on April 4; Jonet was initiated April 6; Lilith on April 9; and Andro (Wanda’s husband) on April 10. Then we had our usual weekly Circle April 11. It was a busy week! I took a quick trip to Salem, Massachusetts, April 17 through the 19, visiting the Essex Institute, which housed the records of the Witch Trials of 1692. I also went to look at the homes of Rebecca Nurse and Anne Putnam, both of whom figured largely in the trials.

On July 2 Rosemary and the two boys flew to London and I joined them a week later. On July 11 we flew across to Belfast, then went by land to Dublin and from there flew to the Isle of Man. Olwen and Loic had moved into Gerald’s wonderful 16th century cottage, at 77 Malew Street, Castletown, and we stayed there with them. Rosemary – as Rowen – was finally confirmed in her initiation and then, more than that, had her coronation as a Witch Queen and Queen of the Sabbat, on Monday, July 13, 1964. We had Circles with Olwen and Loic most of the evenings we were there. On the following Saturday we were joined by Qarl and Helen, two Isle of Man Witches. . . . . .

. . . . . contacting people seeking the Old Religion. Two of those people were a young couple – Marcia and Philip – who studied with Rosemary and me and who eventually were ready for initiation in early April. They took the names Rima and Raynar. In June Fian was initiated. Fian was the Craft name of Floyd, an officer in the U.S. Air Force who worked at the Pentagon. Today there are a tremendous number of Wiccans in the different branches of the Armed Services, but Floyd was probably the first of them. A couple of years later another Air Force officer, Ed Sitch (known as Ea), also came into the Craft and these two – Fian and Ea – did tremendous work in helping spread the Old Religion, to get it established in America. More on Ea later. . . . . . . .

. . . . . In late July of 1965 Fran and Jerry Fisher arrived to stay for a while. This was a couple from Louisville, Kentucky, with whom we’d been in contact and who were ready to start a coven in that state. In the course of their stay, they were taken through the degrees, copied the Book of Shadows, and were taught so that they could go back to Louisville and promote Wicca there. I see that some Internet web sites state that the Louisville coven was started by a Deidre and Modred. If this was another Louisville Gardnerian group it was at a much later date. Fran and Jerry (Theos and Thain) were the first, reaching Third Degree on August 5. There were no more initiations for the rest of that year. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . In late 1965 we initiated Fian’s friend, Julia, and in June of 1966 we had a visit from Margaret, a young lady who lived in Canada. She had read Gardner’s books and written to him, as I had. She had not been able to travel to Britain so Gerald had put her in touch with me and we had been writing to one another for a couple of years. During her stay with us, she was initiated but wanted to return later in the year with her fiancé. Together, they wanted to start the first Canadian coven. In August she did return, with her partner Gerald. He was initiated and then the two of them were eventually advanced through the other two degrees. They took the names Morag and Ketrin. When they returned to Canada, they did indeed start a coven there. Some time later I went up to Canada to attend their wedding.

July 4, 1966, we initiated Peggy of New Jersey, who took the name Deidra. She needed a partner but her husband had no interest in the Craft as, unfortunately, is often the case. However, her father-in-law Ray had a great interest and later – on October 5 of that year – he too was initiated, as Sea. They were both later raised to the point where they could start a coven in New Jersey. Also in October we brought in Mary Nesnick (Dionysia). When we first met her she’d claimed that she owned a flower shop in lower Manhattan. I guess she didn’t realize that I would do some checking, as I did with all would-be initiates. I found that although she had indeed worked at the shop very briefly over one Christmas period, she certainly did not own it and was only an occasional customer there. However, I said nothing to her about it. (She kept up the pretense of ownership for as long as we knew her.) Why she felt it necessary to make the claim I don’t know; though it turned out not to be the only spurious claim she made. In later years she started what she termed the "Algard" tradition: a combination of Gardnerian and Alexandrian, obviously unaware that Alexandrian was already comprised mainly of Gardnerian! She also later claimed (to others) that we had taken her to the Second Degree, which was untrue; she never went beyond First Degree with us. Not only that but, immediately after being initiated she ran off to tell Hans Holzer all the details so that he could put them in a book he was working on. It seemed that our earlier hesitation at bringing her in was justified. It was unfortunate that we hadn’t followed our initial intuition and rejected her altogether.

Initiations continued over the next couple of years. One of the most notable was that of Ed Sitch, mentioned above. Ed and his lady friend, who took the name of Jonviève, were both initiated on August 26, 1967. Ed was an officer in the U.S. Air Force. His work involved him traveling about the country and so he became Rowen’s "Red Garters." In the Middle Ages, when Witches were having to keep a low profile, the Witch Queen would send out word to her various covens by messenger. So that he would be recognized as bringing word from the Queen, he would wear red garters and so the position became known as "Red Garters." Ed took on this position (though without the garters!), visiting those who had contacted us but were too far distant to come and visit. He would visit them and then send a report to Rowen and myself. Ea’s reports were always very lengthy, with full details, which we very much appreciated. He did a tremendous service. At one time, however, when Ea was Second Degree, he visited a friend in Chicago, Donna Cole, and initiated her. This he did without authority (either from Rowen or by degree), but from that action has grown another "line" of Gardnerians.

In those days it wasn’t a wise thing to be an Air Force officer and also to be a visible practicing Witch, so Ed changed his "public" name to Fitch. Not much of a change, but enough to fool the Armed Services, it seems! Ed has continued with that name for writing on Paganism and the Craft in more recent years. Half the time I still have difficulty remembering whether he’s Sitch or Fitch!

Elspet was brought into the Craft September 20, 1967, and Roman and Hecate on October 7. Robin, a young lady from Canada who was a brilliant artist, visited and was initiated in May of 1969. . . . . . . . . Most of our neighbors were very devout Roman Catholics and it was a long time before they discovered that we were of the Old Religion. But they had all come to know us gradually, and therefore came to accept us as they knew us rather than making judgements based on the teachings – and misconceptions – of their church. We never had any problems with our neighbors. Not so with others, however.

Perhaps lulled into a false sense of security from Mike McGrady’s gentlemanly treatment, a couple of years later we accepted another reporter as a visitor to a Circle. She was Lisa Hoffman, writing for the New York Sunday News. She came and seemed a very nice person, assuring us of a sympathetic article and promising not to reveal our names or whereabouts. My hope, after all, was to straighten misconceptions about the Craft but I was not looking to publicize myself. On October 27, 1968, her article appeared. In it she equated the Craft with Ira Levin’s novel Rosemary’s Baby, which was about Satanists not Witches (Witches do not believe in Satan). In her article, she included such innuendo as "… the Old English word wicce which, embarrassingly, is also the root of the English word Wicked." Embarrassing to whom, I wondered? Apparently Hoffman was ignorant of the fact that "wicked" itself comes from "witted", i.e. to have wit; to have knowledge. Both wit and Witch come from wicce meaning "the wise ones." But more to the point, perhaps, was the fact that not only did she publish my name and Rosemary’s, but she also printed our complete address! So much for journalistic integrity.

During the ensuing weeks after Hoffman’s article appeared, we were plagued with unwelcome visitors. We had rocks thrown through our windows. We had the front door and screen kicked in. We had a car set on fire. We – my wife and children especially – suffered verbal abuse whenever they went out, all thanks to Ms. Hoffman. One day I arrived home from work to find about twenty or thirty teenagers standing in the road outside, just looking at the house. Another day a group of teenagers was passing the house, walking slowly and singing the latest popular song: "Ding dong, the witch is dead!" That was actually rather amusing. I think they were a little surprised when I opened the door and loudly played that very song on our stereo.

However, Hoffman’s cavalier attitude did actually have one positive aspect to it. Now that the cat was out of the bag – or the Witch was out of the broom closet – it meant that I would be able to do far more, for I still believed that it was a duty to persevere with trying to straighten the misconceptions. So now I could do television and radio, and magazine and newspaper articles, without having to worry about my name being given since it was already out there.

Another sad treatment of the truth was presented through Carlson Wade, editor of a small magazine put out by R. M. Publishing of Sparta, IL. The magazine was called Popular Medicine. Wade asked me if he could reprint my booklet Witchcraft . . . the Religion in the magazine. I thought it would be great to get the word out to the many subscribers and I even provided photographs to go with it. I guess I should have been warned when I visited Wade’s office and arrived at a time when he was on the phone shouting at someone who was threatening to sue him. Anyway, I went ahead and the magazine came out a couple of months later. What a travesty! My book not only makes the point but emphasizes that Witches do not worship the Christian Devil and do not even believe in him. Yet Wade added a subtitle to the book saying: "The author of this Book Bonus is a Satan Church leader in New York. He worships the Devil and tells why he and his many followers believe in Satan worship. Occult Feature!!" Occult feature indeed! Not content with that, Wade re-labeled the photographs I had supplied. He described the Book of Shadows as the "Official Satan Bible" and described one ritual as "A salute to Satan – this ceremony commences the worship service of the Devil followers of this New York Church of Satan." Since the actual text of the book had been left intact, it must have confused any reader of the magazine, showing that the magazine’s editor hadn’t bothered to read what he was publishing. I requested a retraction and apology from both Wade and the publisher but it was not forthcoming, of course.

As a postscript to this story, it was brought to my attention that my Witchcraft . . . the Religion appeared in an anthology titled Tales From the Unknown, edited by Kurt Singer. It was originally published by W. H. Allen in London and then reprinted in the U.S. by Pinnacle Books. Wade’s ridiculous labels appeared as footnotes. Again, the body of the text was left intact, so once again the editor had not bothered to read what he was presenting. It transpired that Wade had sold the article to Singer, despite the fact that it was legally copyrighted material! I did manage to get an apology from W. H. Allen on that one.

One television show we did – in fact the very first one – was The Alan Burke Show; a syndicated talk show out of New York. They kept calling to try to entice us onto the show and we kept saying no. But finally we relented. Rosemary and I appeared on it May 5, 1967. The show went extremely well, though the format was to bring on people who disagreed with the main guest(s) and could, from a podium, ask what Alan Burke hoped would be embarrassing questions. We managed to field everything and even got laudatory words from the host at the close of the show.

Then, on June 11, I was asked to appear again when Sybil Leek was to be the guest. They wanted me to question her. Sybil had turned up in New York in the late sixties, to publicize the U.S. edition of her book A Shop In the High Street. This was about her life in the antique trade. It had no mention of Witchcraft in it but Sybil quickly jumped on what she saw as a band wagon. She was a real character! I got to know her well and we would sometimes go out to dinner together, in Manhattan. But she was all for publicity and articles by or about her popped up in a wide variety of magazines. She made a great number of claims; from being the only practicing Witch in England to being the chief Witch in England! A lot of her claims were quite ridiculous and I faced her with them when we were together on The Alan Burke Show. At the start of the show she greeted me like a long-lost relative and we hugged, surprising Alan Burke who, for some reason, thought we would fight one another. But I told Sybil I wanted to question her about her many and various often-ludicrous statements and she told me to go ahead. I quoted1 the actual articles and to just about everything, she said that she had been "misquoted." I know only too well how that can be. The problem was, many of the articles were actually written by Sybil herself! . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . Sybil launched an astrology magazine: Sybil Leek’s Astrology. In the June 1972 issue she had an article, "Witchcraft in New York – Raymond Buckland . . . Witch!" The article was written by R. Donald Papon, who also edited the magazine for Sybil. It included photos of my museum and my personal astrological chart. By the beginning of 1966 Sybil had somehow picked up the title of "Dame". This is not a Wicca title and she certainly hadn’t received it from the Queen of England (Dame is the female equivalent of a knighthood). But I think she had indirectly mentioned it somewhere and others had picked up on it and applied it to her – to her obvious enjoyment! Sybil was indeed a character and she did do a lot of good for the Craft, introducing many people to it. She later moved out to Texas and then on to Florida, where she died in 1983.

I had a habit of haunting Samuel Weiser’s Bookstore, when it was in downtown Manhattan, at 734 Broadway. I got to know well both Don Weiser and the store manager Fred Mendel. The basement was devoted to second-hand books and it was possible to trawl through shelf after shelf and occasionally find a treasure. One such that I found was an original First Edition copy of the 1899 book by Charles Godfrey Leland: Aradia,Or the Gospel of the Witches of Italy. Leland was a prolific writer and, at the time, President of the Folk Lore Society. He encountered a woman in Italy who claimed to be a Witch and he persuaded her to let him copy her Book of Shadows. Although the other members of the Folklore Society scoffed at him, Leland published the book. It garnered little interest at the time but, with the publication of Murray’s and Gardner’s books, there was a sudden interest in Aradia. So much so that I published a reprint of it myself, in 1968. This was the first of many – Leo Martello produced a truncated version in 1971 and Weiser himself came out with a version in 1974. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . On September 27, 1971, the hour-long special on the museum was aired on television. It was listed in the TV Guide for that week. I was listed in the TV Guide again on October 25, for the Barbara Walters show.

On October 16, I first met Tom and Judy Kneitel. Judy, a one-time Catholic, described herself as an "astrologist" and wanted to offer classes at the museum. This we were able to do when, on January 16, 1972, we opened the back room for workshops. The "Occult Studies Division" of the museum was described in its brochure as "an adult educational institute devoted to the needs of all people interested in the study of metaphysics." Courses included Astrology I (Beginning) and II (Intermediate), Graphology, Palmistry, Psychic Development, Tarot, Witchcraft, Voodoo and Magic. I was fortunate enough to get good instructors, like Mary Downing, Ina Rae Kurtzberg, Sally Ann Drucker, Rhys O’Brien and Artie Schiff. There was a very good response and we had several nice reviews in the New York newspapers. . .

. . . . . On April 10, 1972, Judy Kneitel was initiated into Rowen’s coven, taking the name of Theos. Her husband Tom wasn’t initiated until May 1 of that year, which was also the Beltane Sabbat. He took the name Phoenix. Tom wasn’t as deeply interested in the Old Religion as was Judy and I think he went along with it more for her sake than anything else. He did, however, later warm to the Craft. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . Judy Kneitel (Theos) was eventually raised to the Third Degree, in Rowen’s coven. It was rather amusing because, after a week or so, she came and pleaded with us to please also raise Tom (Phoenix) to Third. She said "He’s making my life hell because I’m Third and he isn’t!" So, to give Theos some relief, we raised Phoenix as well.

Rowen had, by this time, decided that she wanted to retire from leading the coven and so was preparing Theos to take over. It later transpired that my absorption in promoting the Craft had taken its toll on our marriage, and Rosemary had been spending time with the clarinet-playing music teacher from the high school. Later she left me and moved-in with him, leaving both our sons in my care. Theos became High Priestess of the coven, with Phoenix as her High Priest, and I became an Elder. . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . In recent years a saw a potted history of American Wicca on the Internet which said:

At this point, needing a High Priestess to form a new coven, Ray raised Deirdre to Third Degree himself, as had in fact been allowed under the procedural rules in effect at that time. However, one of the new "guidelines" Theos had learned from Rowen stated that valid initiations could be carried out only by a Third- Degree High Priestess; so Theos and Phoenix for some years refused to recognize Deidre’s elevation as being valid, and this created the "Kentucky" line when Deidre moved to Louisville. However, Theos later persuaded Deidre to accept a "re-initiation" by the procedures of the New York coven, thus healing the schism.

This was utter nonsense! I don’t know where all of this came from (though I can surmise). To start with, I did not "need a High Priestess to form a new coven." I had no interest in forming a new coven! I attended Theos’s Circles and various Pagan groups. Who this Deidre was I don’t know, and I certainly wouldn’t have initiated her by myself if I had needed a new High Priestess! As to these "procedural rules in effect at that time," I am again at a loss! It had always been that there had to be a High Priestess present for an initiation. (The one single exception had been when I originally brought-in and raised Rowen so that we could start the American line of Wica, back in 1964. But that had been done under the express "orders," one might say, of Gerald Gardner himself after conferring with Olwen and others, and it was seen as the only possible way of getting things started in the United States.) As to a "Kentucky line;" there already was one, as I’ve detailed above. The very first coven to branch off from ours was in 1965 – nearly ten years earlier – with Fran and Gerry Fisher (Theo and Thain) from Kentucky. In fact, on December 16, 1973, the Fishers made an announcement (in the first edition of Earth Religion News): "In accordance with the laws of the land, Gardnerian Wicca has been incorporated as a legal, non-profit religious corporation, and now has the same status as any legal religion in the United States and will enjoy legal protection under the law." So, with Gardnerian Wicca Inc. already in Louisville, how could it be said that the "Kentucky line" originated with a disputed, mysterious Deidre?

There has been a lot of absolute nonsense promulgated on the Internet. Here’s another example2:

When Theos and Phoenix realized that Rowen would no longer be available to answer questions, they picked her brain about everything and anything she could remember about oral traditions and about how the coven actually operated, thus creating the longest single document in the current Gardnerian Book of Shadows, the "Notes and Guidelines," which was at first intended to be mere guidelines, but over the years has solidified into rigid rules and regulations. Most of the controversies in the American Gardnerian movement for the last 30 years have resulted from text in this document, which never existed in England.

Exactly why Theos and Phoenix decided that Rowen would no longer be available to answer questions, I’m not sure. And certainly I was still there, at that time, and was perhaps better versed in the laws and oral traditions than Rowen. But Theos and Phoenix certainly did produce the longest single document in the current Gardnerian Book of Shadows; and in all those which now date from their one. In effect, these two very-new leaders of the New York coven decided to rewrite the Gardnerian Book of Shadows!

In 1973, Lady Rowen, Ray Buckland, Lady Theos, Phoenix, Ed Fitch, and one other person, as the actual Elders of the Gardnerian movement in America, signed the materials they were adding to the first-degree Book of Shadows, thus certifying it as authentic and authoritative. The rules and procedures thus created, observed faithfully by American Gardnerians, are the ones that the English Gardnerians have never heard of, and to which their response is usually more or less on the order of, "What? Surely you jest!"

"Surely you jest!" Indeed! I couldn’t agree more. Incidentally, in one report I see that the "other person" who supposedly signed this fictitious document is named as Puck. Puck, of course, was my young son. At the time of Rowen’s retirement he was about fourteen years old – hardly old enough to sign a document of this supposed importance! But was there such a document? Not to my memory; and I think I would have remembered signing such a momentous certificate. But, again, there was no such thing as the "Elders of the Gardnerian movement in America." Every coven in existence had its elders. Covens were autonomous. No one spoke for the whole Gardnerian movement, in America or anywhere else. No wonder the English Gardnerians laughed at the idea. I’m with them!

So where did these ideas spring from? I have to lay them at the feet of Theos and Phoenix, though I have no positive proof of this. After a disagreement with me, Theos and Phoenix took off on what I can only describe as a great power trip. It seems they determined that they would be the "biggest and greatest" Gardnerians in the world. They stopped vetting those who wished to join the Craft and simply initiated anybody and everybody. It was said of them that if anyone happened to drive past their house very slowly, then they would run out and initiate them! In Volume 3 of Earth Religion News it was reported: "Fate magazine has been carrying classified advertisements for people to become Witches by Gardnerian Theos of L.I. . . . Village Voice has been carrying a similar ad but we are not sure if there is a connection. Promulgation is not supposed to be one of the tenets of Wicca." Theos, it seems, wanted to be a "great" Witch Queen. (A Witch Queen, or Queen of the Sabbat, is a High Priestess who has had other covens hive-off from hers.) Theos set-to to have as many "daughter" covens as possible. And here was where her new rules came into play. Being uncertain of the people she had brought in, she stipulated that the new High Priestesses could not initiate anyone without her (Theos’s) approval. This was patently absurd. If someone was of the caliber to be a High Priestess and have her own coven, she would most assuredly be competent enough to decide who she initiated. The Witch Queen was supposedly there only to give help and advice if and when needed, not to overrule.

More than this, however, came about. For some years after leaving the New York coven – and after leaving Gardnerian (more on this below) – I was approached by a number of High Priestesses, understandably confused about their Books of Shadows. Apparently Theos was giving differing versions of the Book to different groups. It seems she didn’t think that at some point some of these new High Priestesses might get together and compare books! But that’s exactly what happened. Finally I sat down with Joyce Rasmussen, then of Council Bluffs, Iowa – a Gardnerian High Priestess I knew and respected – and went through her Book, page by page, bringing it into line with the original I had got from Olwen. I was then able to refer confused Gardnerian High Priestesses to her (it seemed ridiculous that, having then been several years out of Gardnerian, I was still being sought out on this issue). I have to say that in my opinion more harm has been done to the Gardnerian movement in America by Theos and Phoenix than by any one else, Wiccan, Pagan or Christian! . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . Another issue that should be addressed is the issue of what have become known as "The Ardanes" (or "Ordanes"). I was recently asked "Are they numbered or do they just have an asterisk at the start of each one?" The answer is that they are neither numbered nor asterisked. In the "original" Book of Shadows (the one I copied from Olwen) they are headed "The Law" and subheaded "The law was made and ardane of old." These were never truly "laws" that had to be followed to the letter by all, yet now it seems they have grown to be actual "Gardnerian Laws." They were never meant as such. When I copied them, Olwen told me that Gerald had included them in his book for their curiosity value more than anything. She said that it was obvious they belonged to a bygone age and were not pertinent today. Indeed, you can read such "laws" as: "if any die destroy their book (of Shadows) an’ if they have not been able to. For an’ it be found it is clear proof against them. And our oppressors know well ‘Ye may not be a Witch alone.’ So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture . . ." There are those who believe – and I am among them – that Gerald himself concocted these laws and tried to give them an antique flavor by the inclusions of a few archaic words scattered throughout. Olwen advised me to read them, retain what made good sense, and reject the rest. Certainly such lines as "As a man loveth a woman by mastering her, so the Wica should love the Gods by being mastered by them" need to be carefully thought through.

Copyright © 2011 Raymond Buckland

Rhuddlwm Gawr: Ray is the most knowledgeable about the Gardnerian Tradition I know of AND the most honest.


Starhawk (1951-present)

The influence of Starhawk (and people like her) is what changed English Witchcraft into Paganism. Starhawk wasn’t the first person to fuse political action, feminism, and Witchcraft, but she did it better (and more articulately) than anyone else. Starhawk brought new ideas and passions into Paganism and made them feel as if they had always been there.

Over thirty years after its initial publication The Spiral Dance (1979) remains a vital “how to” book. Sure Raymond Buckland might have done it first, but The Tree feels incomplete when compared to Dance. Starhawk also introduced concepts from Victor and Cora Anderson’s Feri Tradition to the wider world, she bridged the worlds between American and European Witchcraft. If that wasn’t enough she helped to found the Reclaiming Tradition, and has been an active participant in religious dialogue on a global scale.

In some ways Starhawk is the heart of Modern Paganism. Her gifts were those of awareness and activism. She certainly changed what was already there, but she didn’t create it, she only added to it.


Selena Fox (1949-present), founder of Circle Sanctuary, Pagan teacher and activist.

Selena set up the first Pagan Cemetery in the United States and win the lobbying effort to include the pentagram on the list of religious symbols allowed on military headstones.  Those are only two of her many accomplishments. Selena is the founder of Circle Sanctuary, a non-profit church and nature preserve run entirely by Pagans. She’s the force behind Circle’s magazine, one of the oldest and most enduring Pagan magazines in the United States, and is the editor of the Circle Guide to Pagan Resources, until the age of the internet an essential networking tool. She’s also a popular teacher and lecturer, and has participated in the World Parliament of Religions.


The Following Bio contains excerpts from Three Hands Press and various bios at other web sites.

MICHAEL HOWARD lives in England and is a writer, researcher, magazine publisher and editor, and member of the Folklore Society. As a writer and editor, his career began in 1974 when he launched the esoteric magazine Spectrum featuring articles on a wide range of occult subjects. This ceased publication after ten issues in 1976, when he inaugurated the witchcraft magazine The Cauldron, which celebrated 35 years of publication in 2011. In the early 1970s he also began contributing feature articles and book reviews to the US magazine Fate and the British astrological journal Prediction. In 1975, his first book on candle magic was published. Since then

He is an honorary member of the Pagan Federation and a member of the Folklore Society, the Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft at Boscastle, and the Royal Stuart Society. He was a student of the Luciferian Order of the Morning Star in the 1960s, founded by the famous astrologer, magus and taromancer Madeline Montalban, was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca in 1969, and he is currently an empowered initiate and Elder of the traditional witchcraft sodality known in the outer as the Cultus Sabbati.

He is the author of over thirty books on the occult, magic, runes, folklore, witchcraft, herbal remedies, faerie lore, traditional witchcraft, Earth Mysteries and the Luciferian tradition. He is the author of Children of Cain, which details the history and nature of Traditional Witchcraft in Britain and North America.  He is the author of Secret Societies (Destiny Books, 2009) and Modern Wicca: from Gerald Gardner to the Present (Llewellyn, USA 2010). He has edited books by E.W. Liddell on the Pickingill Craft, and by Evan John Jones on the Robert Cochrane tradition.  He is currently writing for Three Hands Press on historical witches and cunning-folk in Wales, the West Country, Scotland and East Anglia. These include Welsh Witches and Wizards (2009),  West Country Witches (2010), and Scottish Witches and Warlocks (2013). 

During his mundane life he has worked in both farming and horticulture and in senior managerial positions in private companies, local government and the Civil Service, including being a Customs officer. He is now retired.


Larry Cornett is best known for his Pagan Calendar of Events which has been available off and on since 1982.  The Pagan Calendar has been single handedly responsible for the great increase in the numbers of Pagan Festivals over the last twenty eight years.

Larry Cornett started along his Pagan path as a civil rights activist in the early 1960's. Rejecting the idea of an all knowing, all powerful, all good, one and only God, only one true religion, and the simultaneous existence of evil, he went on to study Physics in search of deeper truth. At Purdue University, he practiced a blend of Shamanism, ritual, and counterculture social and anti-war activism -- with a metaphysics blending quantum mechanics, psychedelic and Oriental mysticism, Unitarianism, and love of Mother Earth;  He was also initiated into the Reformed Druids of North America in 1968.

He went on from his BS in Physics and some Graduate level Astrophysics, to work for the Vietnam Moratorium Committee and to get an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1972 from the University of Cincinnati. He worked as a full-time professional in environmental monitoring, risk assessment, regulation, pollution control, and project and program management until March 1994. -- when he was fired from a Department of Energy (DOE) Contractor after he documented the major dangers to public health associated with DOE sites, actions and plans, along with attempts to cover-up.

Since then, he has been working mostly part time on such matters (often as an unpaid volunteer). In the 1970's, he shared water with CAW at anti-war conferences and helped found the Chameleon Club (which founded ACE.), He apprenticed with Circle in the early 1980s and was initiated in Amaranth Energies (a Dayton, Ohio NROOGD Coven that relocated to San Francisco, CA), and later in Coven Marasmius, a New York City NROOGD Coven led by Sally Eaton and Isaac Bonewits. While in New York City, he also studied in a Cherokee Medicine Society, was a member of the original ADF Mother Grove, and, in 1982, started publishing his Calendar of Events.; .

The calendar was continued until the year 2000 and helped the number of Pagan Festivals double every 4.5 years. He moved to Birmingham Alabama in 1985, where he organized Pagan Web (an Earth Religion Rights and networking organization) and a Wiccan Shamanic Coven. In 1986, a new job sent him to the Washington DC area, where he lived in Fairfax Virginia, and later in Vienna, Virginia. In Washington DC area, he founded VisionWeavers Coven in 1986;  and later was a founding member of the CAW Triskelion Nest, along with the Earth Religions Legal Assistance Network (;  ) and Earth Chalice (a Unitarian Pagan group in Arlington VA), along with the former with the Coalition for Pagan Religious Rights.

He blew the lid of a cover-up of the impact of US Department of Energy nuclear and hazardous waste sites and actions; and, with help from the Loa, Ganesha, Project Law and the Government Accountability Project, collected money owed to him after DOE issued a judgment ordering back-pay and legal expenses; . He collected a few hours after he was ridden by Damballa at a Voodoo ritual at Starwood, when the Government Accountability Project garnished the CIA account that was paying his former employer (who refused to pay directly).  Details about the attempted cover-up appeared on the first Page of the February 15, 1996 USA Today in an expose titled "Tragedy of Errors Engulfs Toxic Material", and in editions of Inside Energy and the Engineering News.

In 1997, he moved back to the Cleveland, Ohio area, where he started the Northeast Ohio Earth Religions Assistance Association (NEO-ERAA), Gaia Rising; , and the Ohio Pagan Confederation, networks of Earth Religion Rights and information activists that helped deal with dozens of religious discrimination cases in Ohio. These Ohio organizations evolved into networks of contacts with national links rather than ongoing Ohio organizations as the frequency of cases decreased; . For his general Pagan websites, see; , and for his Pagan Religious Rights websites see;  For his community organizing webpage see;  Larry is known for detailed political, environmental, and mystical articles and posts on the Internet, similar discussions in person, a sick sense of humor, his Calendar of Events (now a links page at;  and an Ohio Calendar at;  the Earth Religions Legal Assistance network; .

Larry is also known for powerful Pagan rituals and workshops, organizing occasional parties, camp-outs and gatherings, recording Pagan workshops and music, and helping with major festivals. He founded the Cleveland Area Pagan Pride Project in 2010. Some of his magical and Pagan writing is in a self-published Amaranth Anthology, and he is currently working on a book combining the VisionWeavers' Book of Shadows with his own blend of science, mysticism, Unitarianism, philosophy and activism.

He had a regular column, "Event Horizons", in The Green Egg (listing Pagan Festivals), and wrote a section of The Green Egg Omelette on working with Nature Spirits. He publishes articles from time to time in various Pagan publications.

Since returning to Cleveland, he has continued his Wiccan and shamanic practice, mostly as a solitary or with a few friends who have been actively involved in Wiccan, Faerie and/or Pagan magic and traditions for at least 15 years. He also participates in and helps organize large public rituals.

He also formed and coordinated the Collinwood Environmental Taskforce (a coalition of business and community groups which successfully lobbied the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to shut down and order the decontamination of a nuke site on London Road in Cleveland).

Larry presents workshops at festivals, universities, stores and gatherings on: * Science Consciousness and Magic * Earth Healing Magic * Working with Nature Spirits;  * Modern Paganism (with video tapes of Pagan rituals from many paths) * Earth Religion Rights * True Tales of the Occult (a sharing of funny true stories by participants) For more details, see; . He also organizes Magickal Forum and Practicum, a series of workshops in which practitioners of many paths share and practice various techniques related to aspects of magical ritual (purification, centering, casting circles, divination, etc.). The forums start out with a session on ethics before the practical sessions. Generally, by the time the forums get past invocation, participating magical groups are recruiting members from among the participants; and some participants form new magical groups. Both advanced practitioners and novices find the forums very worthwhile. Larry may be contacted at (216) 583-0007 . His professional resume is at; ."

Rhuddlwm Gawr:  "Larry is the Go-To person for a calendar of festivals and gatherings in the U.S.


It’s background and it’s evolution.

By Kenny Klein

I am fairly well known (at least to myself) as a performer in the Pagan, Ren Faire and Folk music communities, and now as a Llewellyn author of Through The Faerie Glass and the upcoming Fairy Tale Rituals. I've been around the Pagan community since the very early 1980s, though like many Pagans, I knew of the Old Gods and was drawn to their mythology from a very young age.

In my early twenties I found myself on a quest for the practice that felt right to me, and I ended up finding a place in Blue Star, a coven practicing traditional Wicca, and rooted in America (rather than Britain, as are our Gardnerian and Alexandrian cousins). At that point I feel that the story of Blue Star and its rise from a small coven to a world-wide tradition is my story, at least in a Craft sense, so I will tell the history of my involvement with Blue Star, opinionated as I may be.

In 1982, I was living in a one room tenement in New York City, playing Country fiddle for a living, and bass in a couple of Punk bands around the East Village as a lifestyle. I was a bit ahead of my time really, as I had my tribal punk band playing chanting Pagan songs, a trend which did not catch on until much later (which would explain why my friends the Bad Brains and the Beastie Boys got very famous and my band did not).

I had found Wicca after a (then) life-long spiritual search, first through a British Morris dancer in Upstate New York, then through my friendship and tutelage with Eileen Campbell Gordon, a Scottish woman with Traditional Craft training who owned a bookstore in the East Village. I frequented other bookstores and shops where Wiccans hung out, most notably Herman Slater’s Magical Childe in Chelsea, and Enchantments, then on Ninth street and First. It was there at Enchantments that I met Tzipora, who was teaching a Pagan Way, (the term for a series of Pagan classes in those early days of the Craft), and I became involved in Blue Star and in time, with her. The tradition, the coven, and my relationship with Tzipora both romantically and professionally dominated my life for the next nine years.

I came to learn the history of Blue Star up to that point, told to me by Tzipora, her then Priest Franque (that's how he spelled it), handmaiden Lucina, summoner Pan, and coven members at that time Kelly, Tommy, Mariah, Kali and Candle, and later through my own memories and experiences.

Blue star began in the 1970’s in the Philadelphia suburbs. Franque was a member of a local coven based on Alexandrian Wicca in Norristown, PA. As I was given the story, Franque and his group had no formal training, and relied on the written material available at the time to create a coven structure, a Book of Shadows, and a doctrine. because Stewart Farrar’s book What Witches Do spelled out Alexandrian doctrine and ritual, it became the group’s standard.

Franque was also active in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), a society or club that recreates the warfare and crafts of the Middle Ages. It was through the SCA that Franque met Tzipora.

Tzipora reported that from an early age she was interested in all things magical. According to her account, she would frequent Occult bookstores, including Samuel Weiser’s shop on Broadway in NYC. It was there that Tzipora came into contact with an elderly British gentleman who offered to teach her the Craft. This gentleman had a wife and a home in Long Island, New York, and it was there that Tzipora would go on weekends to be taught a traditional or family style Wiccan format. This continued through Tzipora’s late teens, until the family returned to the British Isles. According to Tzipora, they made her swear to keep a good deal of her training secret, and that she would receive signs when a time came to reveal what she had learned.

In her early twenties now, Tzipora had joined the SCA, and through their functions had met Franque. The two discovered a shared interest in the Craft. With no formal Wiccan training of his own, Franque welcomed Tzipora into his coven as a trained Priestess. The two became romantically involved, and ultimately Franque moved to Brooklyn to marry Tzipora. There the two formed Blue Star coven, whose original teachings were a cross between Tzipora’s traditional training and Franques Alexandrian roots.

Early Blue Star was a standard Alexandrian style coven with little exceptional history. Tzipora told me that in order to cloak her traditional training, due to the oaths of secrecy she swore, she used the Alexandrian format, took an Alexandrian initiation (from Spawn Far coven in Massachussets), and worked with Greco-Roman deities.

Tzipora and Franque also operated an occult shop together, called Tzipora and the Wizard, on 33rd street and 3rd avenue in NYC. Through the shop they made various Craft contacts, most notable of which were Richard and Tamara James of Toronto, Canada. The James settled in NYC for a time and worked for Tzipora in her store.

Another shop worker was Michele D. 16 at the time, she became very close to both Tzipora and Tamara, as all three were trained in various Family Tradition Craft covens or families: Michelle‘s training came from the Alsace area of France, and Tamara‘s from the British Isles. Tzipora, Michelle and Tamara began spending many hours comparing Craft traditions and creating ritual and doctrine based on their traditional teachings, and out of these many months of conversation, both modern Blue Star and the Odyssian Tradition of the Wiccan Church of Canada began to take shape.

There came a time when Tamara and Richard returned to Toronto, Michelle D. created her own coven in Staten Island, NY, and the Tzipora and the Wizard shop went out of business (largely because Tzipora would spend afternoons crafting Blue Star with Tamara and Michelle, leaving Franque to run the store, a task for which he had no aptitude whatsoever). Tzipora put all of her Craft energies into Blue Star and the local Pagan community, and in 1976, created a Pagan gathering in mid-state NY called "Panthea." It was around this time also that nationally, Pagans were becoming more public, creating gatherings on a national level and publishing newsletters and magazines. The magazine Green Egg, in publication since the ‘60s, found a wider audience and went into digest format. And Selena Fox, with partner Jim Allen, left the board of Pan Pagan gathering to form Circle and create the Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) in Wisconsin. Giving the New York Pagan community a yearly gathering and retreat put Tzipora and Blue Star on the map, and gained respect for the coven among such New York Pagan luminaries as Isaac Bonewitz, Margot Adler and Judy Harrow. Tzipora also hosted an early forum for budding San Francisco author Star hawk, and often worked with Andros and Dierdra Arthen, legends of the Boston Pagan community. This level of activity made Blue Star, and Tzipora herself, well known as a local coven and priestess.

Blue Star itself continued as a small Brooklyn based coven until 1982. In the Autumn of that year, Tzipora, who had been having marital strife with Franque, met me. As Kenny and Tzipora we began playing music together, and after her divorce from Franque, I married Tzipora in 1983.

Tzipora had wanted for some time to move Blue Star out of the Alexandrian framework and into a more Traditional structure. She saw our Craft union, with my basis in Scottish Craft and British folklore, as the "sign" her original teachers predicted would appear and allow her to do this. Over the next two years, 1983-85,while we worked together as a music duo and at various odd jobs, we began refining and redefining Blue Star to encompass the Traditional British Isles training we had been fortunate enough to acquire. Blue Star took on a new shape, with a focus on British Isles Gods/Goddesses and traditions, and new ritual procedures. While certain elements remained: using a round altar in the center of the circle, the traditional Sabbaths and Esbats, and the basic Alexandrian inspired ritual structure; many things changed: an insistence on British Isles worship, the addition of Traditional British ritual elements, a greater role for the priest in ritual, and certain British Isles/Craft dances and chants from each of the couples’ training.

This was not a good time for Blue Star as a functioning coven. Several well trained initiates hived from the group at this time, most notably Pan and Lucina, who did not wish to embrace the changes in Blue Star’s direction and decided to form a new coven based on the BS traditions they had originally been taught. Their group, Crystal Blue Star, was probably the first hived coven to carry Blue Star teachings to a new generation of students, and was a role model for nearly all hives that followed (including the tradition of taking "Blue" or "Star" in the newly formed coven’s name). The couple now live in Minnesota, and continue to teach the B* rituals and traditions that they were raised in. I consider them among the wisest and best trained Priestesses and Priests I know.

As far as newer students, B* had a dismal succession of flakes and junkies pass through over these difficult years. One student moved in and began stealing from the group to support her habit (not the last time this has happened), several entered sexual relationships with Tzipora and me but never quite "got" Blue Star teaching. In all (and this was largely due to Kenny’s Punk background and, at that time, his passion for weird homeless Punk if that has changed years later...) B* never really went anywhere for a while. But the time was used to put together a new ritual format and to transition to a more traditional Craft form. Kenny and Tzipora also used this time to work on their musical act. Despite the failure of B* to attract satisfactory students, this period laid the foundation for what was coming. It was like a period of chrysalis building, with the butterfly of B* doctrine forming.

In 1984, Tzipora and I moved to Staten Island, New York, first into a small duplex house, and later into an old graveyard caretaker’s house (just the place you would expect witches to live). I took a job as a ninth grade English teacher, and we began finding a better class of students. Among the people who came to B* at this time, and would become very influential were Daniel, who would take B* initiation and live with us as our nanny for many years; and Leira, who was perhaps the first student to learn the "new" Trad based B* and hive off to form her own coven, Starsong in Boston.

In these current days, nearly thirty years later, people in Blue Star argue and lament over who has "real" Blue Star training. The truth is, Blue Star is a living tradition, and underwent many changes in routine and policy. This period, 1983-86, was the time when possibly the greatest number of major changes were made. The worship of world pantheons was dropped in favor of British Isles Gods. Ritual elements were changed or replaced. Many ritual elements that were clearly Ceremonial in origin, rather than Wiccan, were dropped. Leira was perhaps the last BS initiate to be trained as we crossed from the old system to the new.

Perhaps the greatest major change to B* was the move from a local coven to a national tradition. This happened more by chance than design. After living in the graveyard in Staten Island for a while, in 1986, Kenny and Tzipora had left New York City to pursue a music career on the road (partly because the graveyard house had been condemned and was actually burned down by hoodlums the following Samhain). So with Daniel and our two children, we took to the road. We played Pagan fests, house concerts, renaissance festivals, and basically whatever would pay them (and few paid them much, believe me!). Kenny and Tzipora became the very first Pagan music at to create a festival circuit, and to play concerts at Pagan events nation-wide. Now many Pagan acts do this. I don't like to brag (ok, I really do like to brag) but we did it first, at a time when there was very little reward (ok, I also like to lament).

In our travels, we met people all over the US who wanted a more traditional or more in-depth training than they had received. Tzipora and I came to a decision that we could teach Blue Star while on the road by creating taped materials, a newsletter, and with frequent visits to an area where students lived (this had been tried before, with questionable success, in the early ‘80’s, when a couple studying with Tzipora had moved from Brooklyn to Youngstown, Ohio, and had wanted to continue their B* training). National Blue Star began to take shape, and B* began to shift from a local coven to a Craft tradition. Neophyte student George Marvil initiated a newsletter and began copying taped teaching materials. Tzipora and I taped a lesson for each Sabbath. And we began scheduling our tours around areas where Blue Star students lived. Pagan festivals became a meeting place for Blue Star people, and at fests like PSG and Heartland Festival, a Blue Star enclave formed each year.

As we spoke at Pagan fests and convened impromptu after-concert groups in diners, people would ask to be taken on as students. We hated to turn people away, and it came to pass that we found ourselves with study groups in Massachusetts, Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Minnesota and Northern California. The taped materials and newsletter held B* together during this period, and we spent weeks and even moths in areas where BS students lived, playing gigs, socializing, circling and teaching.

Winters were always a slow touring time for the musical duo, so we began scheduling Blue Star gatherings. Unlike the B* enclaves at existing Pagan fests, these gatherings were private B* only affairs, stretching over a long weekend or a week. The first such gathering, over a Yule in a rented beach house in North Carolina, saw about 50 Blue Star students and clergy come together for ritual and classes. In the Spring, 80 people came to a campground in Massachusetts. To me, these were the "golden days" of Blue Star. It was amazing for all involved to come into a circle where 80 people joined voices to sing our gathering song "Home Again" together.

Like other traditions, B* initiates ultimately hive off, or form new covens, based on B* tradition. Many of these covens, in deference to the name Blue Star, have taken "Blue" or "Star" in their coven names, i.e. Crystal Blue Star, Ostara, Second Star On The Right, Star Song, and others. Other groups have not opted for these elements, naming themselves for some important aspect of their worship: Balefires is one, and my own group Rose and Antler another. There is no hard and fast rule. Each B* coven, however, retains a vast amount of BS tradition, especially in the altar set up, the ritual format, the elevations toward initiation, and the worship of mostly European gods/goddesses (though this last is a big variable).

In early 1992 Tzipora and I ended our marriage and our musical union. The divorce was a bitter one, with much animosity on both sides, and many people in B* felt compelled to take sides or to lay low. Sadly, this did a good deal of harm, I feel, to B*’s structure, integrity and reputation. There was some vying for leadership roles (though each coven had its priest and priestess so each could stand autonomously) and a lot of name calling, accusations and scandal. I am glad to say that when the dust cleared, B* was still there, and still a living, evolving tradition.

Tzipora remarried, and settled in NJ. Any history of her involvement with BS from this point must be chronicled by herself or someone closer to her personal history. I will simply say, though, that though she and I had many very public differences, she was the finest, most knowledgeable Craft priestess I have ever personally known, and I learned a great deal from her.

I had met a woman in Kansas City, and I moved there to be with her. Bunny had been looking for Wicca for several years, and had been trained by a very questionable, charlatan coven. She had been going to some Pagan fests to connect with other Pagans when I met her at Heartland Pagan Festival. After establishing a romance, I began training her in B*, and she ultimately began functioning as priestess. We called our B* group Rose and Antler (the group name I still use). We took on several students, none of whom really lasted, though one, Kristie, was an excellent student and might have gone far. She was devoted to art, though and superb at it, and finally left Kansas City to go to the Art Institute in Chicago. She’s doing very well there.


While Bunny and I established Rose and Antler in Kansas City, other B* people did essentially the same thing. Until this point, B* had been a large coven, with the common thread being Kenny and Tzipora as teachers, priestess/priest, and central personalities. With the two of us split up, and Tzipora essentially dropping out of sight (and me in KC, MO, not on the road) B* evolved into a structure like any other large tradition, such as Gardnerian or Alexandrian: autonomous covens led by priests/priestesses, with the commonality of training, ritual and doctrine. Of course individual covens began evolving their own doctrine, or even verging drastically away from what B* was when they learned it (while rare, this happened in two cases that I know of). With clergy trained at different times and under different circumstances, one might see two B* covens as seeming completely different today. Pan and Lucina’s group, for instance, seems like a totally different group than Balefires in NJ, with very different rituals, songs, and priest/priestess roles. But each has commonalities of the altar set up, the Wheel of the Year arrangement, certain ritual elements like the Wine and Cakes, and the singing of "Home Again" as a call to worship. Other common elements from group to group include the altar set up, our Charge of the Goddess, our Wiccan Rede, and our elevations.

I stayed in Kansas City for a couple of years, and had frequent contact with the Columbia, MO group, and with the Minnesota group. In time, perceiving that I couldn't really make a living in KC, I went back to performing at renaissance festivals, which put me back on the road. This brought me back into contact with a large portion of BS. I was able to get a feel for how individual covens were creating their own B* niche throughout the United States.

I continued touring to play music through the 90s, mostly playing at renaissance faires, but venturing back into a few Pagan festivals. It was difficult, as only a few years before the Kenny and Tzipora duo had been an active festival band, and many remembered me from that act, an association I no longer cared for. I worked hard at establishing my presence as a solo musical act, and as a lecturer and Priest-at-large available for Pagan events. It took most of the 90s to do this.

I also had my first book published in '93, The Flowering Rod, a book on the involvement of men in traditional Wicca. The publisher, Delphi Press, went out of business about three minutes after publishing the book, so it was not exactly a lucrative venture (the book has been put back into print currently by Immanion Press, and is available on my web site, Because of the publisher going belly up, as we say in the biz, the book didn't do much in terms of sales or exposure, but writing it convinced me that I could do so again.


I moved Los Angeles in the year 2000, living with Lori Watley, with whom I recorded a couple of Cds.Lori and I had been on the Renaissance Festival circuit for a couple of years at that point, and she craved a permanent home. I was a little burnt out on travel as well, and we rented a pretty nice bungalow in Silver Lake, and began teaching Wicca and reforming Rose and Antler coven. We also played gigs together that included everything from Pagan fests to bars to cruise ships...obviously not all with the same material.

I want to say an anecdotal word on that; Pagans can be funny. I understand that Pagans know me as a Pagan performer, and often have never seen me in any other venue. But it has been my experience more than once that when I say to a Pagan listener “oh yea, I used to play on cruise ships” their response is they have Pagan music on cruise ships?!” I wish they did. But I think it's desperately obvious that I also know how to play Margueritaville and Brown Eyed Girl. No, please do NOT ask me to play these songs at Pagan events. I will scorn you.

In time Lori and I split up, and at that point I feel that my reinvestment in the Pagan community truly began. As a solo act I began aggressively seeking bookings at Pagan festivals, and began or resumed playing at such gatherings as Starwood, Pantheacon, Free Spirit Gathering, WicCan Fest, and at events held at Brushwood and Wisteria. These venues put me back in front of Pagan audiences both as a performer and as a lecturer/presenter on traditional Wicca.

I also got a publishing deal with Llewellyn, and wrote my first book for them, Through The Faerie Glass. I actually came up with this book when I lectured on Faerie lore at WicCan Fest, and a young woman approached me and told me she was impressed with my knowledge of traditional Faerie, and asked if I'd written a book. Now I have. I wrote a follow up, Fairy Tale Rituals, which is an examination of the dark and sexual elements of Grimms Fairy Tales, and which will be out in May of 2011. These books brought me into a career as a writer as well as a musician.

These days I live in New Orleans, a city rife with magic and folklore. I tour a great deal, hitting both renaissance faires and Pagan events. I continue to practice Blue Star Wicca, although I am newly moved to Louisiana and have not really established a coven here. I am in the process, though. I am writing new books, and constantly seeking new venues to perform in (here in town I play a lot of Irish bars, Jazz and Blues clubs, and on the street with a few different (non-Pagan) bands). I have seven CD titles available (, one of which, Meet Me In The Shade Of The Maple Tree, is the world's first CD of Pagan Bluegrass music. I am working on an upcoming CD which will be the world's first CD of Pagan Delta Blues and Jugband.

Rhuddlwm Gawr: Kenny is a Gifted Fiddler and Musician and hope he will continue to play at our Gatherings.


Kerr Cuhulain has been a Wiccan for 40 years and was involved in anti-defamation activism and hate crimes investigation for the Pagan community from 1986 to 2005. Kerr was awarded the Shield of Valor by the Witches League for Public Awareness. Kerr is best known among law enforcement organizations as author of his Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca.  This book has been a positive source of information for law enforcement and local government organizations and has done much to reduce the misinformation produced by radical fundamentalist publications.

He is also the author of Witch Hunts, Wiccan Warrior, Full Contact Magick and Magickal Self Defense. Kerr has a column with 182 articles on anti-defamation issues and hate crimes on The Witches’ Voice web site called Witch Hunts. His latest book, Modern Knighthood, will be coming out as an ebook soon. He has also begun to write fantasy fiction.

Kerr is the former Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon, an organization representing Neo-Pagan professionals in the emergency services (police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians). Kerr retired from the Vancouver Police Department in November 2005 after serving 29 years with them. He was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. Kerr's past job assignments within the VPD include the Emergency Response Team, Hostage Negotiator, Child Abuse Investigator, Gang Crime Unit, and the Mental Health Emergency Services Unit. Kerr is currently working as a police dispatcher and trainer for ECOMM for Southwestern BC

Kerr is the Grand Master and founder of a Wiccan order of Knighthood called the Order of Scáthach in Surrey, British Columbia in October 2007. The Order is now a registered society in the province of British Columbia and the sponsor of Vancouver Pagan Pride. The Order of Scáthach embraces the Warrior philosophies, precepts and code of chivalry outlined in Kerr’s books. The Order of Scáthach is a study group for people interested in Wiccan magick, energy work and rituals related to the Warrior path, focusing on empowerment, personal development and creative expression. The training focuses on the effective use of magickal energy and developing psychic skills. The Order of Scáthach is constantly developing new rituals, and magick and studying our Warrior philosophy. Our members are spread across the globe and connect through local preceptories and on line. All members are expected to participate and contribute.

The Order of Scáthach is named for Scáthach nUanaind, the daughter of Ard-Greimne of Lethra. Scáthach (“shadow” – pronounced “skya”), also known as Scáthach Buanand (“victorious shadow”) is the most famous of female Warriors in Celtic mythology. Living on the Isle of Skye (which is named for her), Scáthach ran a martial training academy at which all of the principal heroes of Celtic myth were trained. Her most famous pupil was Cúchulainn, who is the warrior hero that influenced Kerr Cuhulain’s choice of magickal name.

Rhuddlwm Gawr: Kerr is an expert on Law Enforcement Issues and The Occult


Silver Ravenwolf (1956-present), author of To Ride A Silver Broomstick and Teen Witch.

Silver has become a polarizing figure in many Pagan circles, but to an entire generation she was an early entry point into Paganism and Witchcraft.

To Ride a Silver Broomstick was an timely and influential work, contributing to and benefitting from the 90′s Pagan boom. I’m not a huge fan of Teen Witch either, but it began a new genre in Pagan books, and introduced a lot of young people to Modern Paganism. Despite the criticisms leveled at books such as Teen Witch there can be no denying that Ravenwolf is a tremendously talented writer, She’s also been one of the most popular Pagan authors in the world for two decades now. Love it or hate it, Silver’s version of Witchcraft has left a lasting mark.


With my husband/priest Canyondancer, I came to Wicca in 1984, and we initiated each other to First Degree at Samhain of 1986. In 1987, we formed Campsight Circle and hosted our first annual Beltane Village (a camping trip). I was awarded the Silver Salamander Award for excellence in Pagan journalism, and taught one session of the University of Arizona's Paranormal Anthropology course (which I continued to do annually until the class was discontinued in 1993).

In 1988, I was among the founders of TAWN, now the Tucson Area Wiccan-Pagan Network ( I'm still active in that organization, and occasionally serve on its Board and/or as an editor or staff member for its quarterly newsletter, 'Tapestry.'

In 1989, Canyondancer and I declared the Adventure Tradition of Wicca, which we continue to teach and develop. I was elevated to Third Degree in 1990 by two eclectic Elders in our community, in recognition of my writing, lecturing, and community activities. Campsight was formally encovened at Bride of '91, and Canyondancer was persuaded to elevate to Third in the Spring of '92. Though Campsight disencovened (amicably) in 2004, Foursight Coven, fourth in the Adventure line, is currently active in Tucson. (

In the Winter of '92 my chapter about Arizona was included in "Sacred Sites," edited for Llewellyn by Frank Joseph, and my first book, "The Family Wicca Book," was published. In '94, I contributed a chapter to volume three of "Witchcraft Today," edited by Chas Clifton, and in '96 I had a chapter in "Living Between Two Worlds," the fourth volume of that series.

In 2002, New Page Books published "Raising Witches;" in 2003, Citadel Press published "In the Service of Life: a Wiccan Perspective on Death," which was part of the curriculum at the Woolston-Steen Seminary; and in 2004 and 2005, New Page published the two volumes of "Celebrating the Seasons of Life," each of which covered half the year.

I've contributed chapters and other segments to other anthologies, including "Cakes and Ale for the Pagan Soul," "Out of the Broom Closet," "The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism," and "Happiness Awaits You."

In 2009, with co-author Carol Garr, I published "Enchantment Encumbered: the Study and Practice of Wicca in Restricted Environments." We wrote this book to aid the work of Mother Earth Ministries-ATC, an organization Carol and I (and a few others) founded in the Summer of 2000. I have been the senior -- and usually only -- writing priestess for MEM for over 10 years, and answer between 50-60 inmate letters every month. I am also responsible for MEM's literature, which includes introductory brochures about Wicca, Ásatrú and Druidry, and shorter brochures and flyers about other related topics. In 2004 I was ordained by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church for my work with MEM. (By the way, MEM is a 501(c)(3) organization; visit our website at for more information and to see how you can help!)

Since 1991 I've been giving radio and print interviews, publishing articles, chapters, appendices, and books. With Canyondancer, I've been offering classes and workshops, and making presentations and conducting ritual at gatherings here and abroad. (We also conduct rites of passage, and like most Pagan clergy, particularly enjoy handfastings.) Canyondancer and I have hosted Sabbat "Villages" -- camping trips for Ostara, Beltane, and Samhain -- for 25 years now, and have established, at least in Arizona, that Pagans do have a right to hang celebratory banners and conduct rituals in the woods.

In 2009 and 2010, I presented workshops at Wrangling with Writing, a nationally known and attended writing conference. My topic both years was how to write realistic Pagan characters and scenes. I do some work as a consultant, and one of my first clients was a New York Times best-selling author: Jennifer Lee Carroll acknowledged my and Carol Garr's help in "Haunt Me Still."

In 2009, Adams Media published "The Portable Spell Book," my first "not Wiccan" book. Also in 2009, I self-published my first novel, "The Green Boy." I followed that in 2010 with two more in the series, "The Flower Bride" and "Maiden, Vampire, Crone."

I continue to teach and write about Adventure Wicca, to offer workshops and conduct public and private rituals with Canyondancer, and to volunteer for Mother Earth Ministries. I'm working on more books, stories, and articles, trying to master my phone and my netbook, and always looking forward to the next camping trip. I'm reachable on Facebook and through my website,, and by e-mail at

Rhuddlwm Gawr:  I recommend Ashleen's publications and workshops...she is good people.


Margot Adler (April 16, 1946-present), is an influential American author, journalist, lecturer and Wiccan priestess. Her 1979 study of contemporary nature religions, “Drawing Down the Moon”, is considered a seminal book on modern witchcraft and Neopaganism. She remains one of the most visible and available leaders of the Pagan community in North America, and continues to educate people about Wicca and witchcraft and other topics related to Paganism, and regularly travels to give lectures, workshops and rituals.

Margot Susanna Adler was born on 16 April 1946, the only child of a non-religious family in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. Her father, Dr. Kurt Alfred Adler, was a psychiatrist and a self-professed atheist, while her mother, Freyda Nacque Adler, was a Jewish agnostic and a radical educator. Her grandfather, Alfred Adler, was the renowned Viennese psychiatrist considered by many to be the father of Individual Psychology.

What made Drawing Down the Moon so unique was that it was an overview of North American Paganism, and the first look at the origins of Modern Paganism and Witchcraft. While DDM is a bit dated in 2013 (first published in 1979, though updated every few years), time has neither diminished its importance or influence. Adler remains an active participant in the Pagan Community, speaking at public events and continuing to write, all while still writing and reporting for National Public Radio. 


(Victor 1917-2001, Cora 1915-2008), founders of the Feri Tradition.

The most important of the pre-Gardnerian witches was certainly Victor Anderson, a founder (or, as he said, a transmitter) of the Feri Tradition. Victor was born May 15, 1917, in New Mexico; his family moved to Bend, Oregon, when he was quite young. He claimed that he underwent a sexual initiation by an old woman at age nine. According to the research of Valerie Voigt, long-time coordinator of the Pagan, Occult, and Witchcraft Special Interest Group of American Mensa, one story that Victor repeated fairly consistently was that he was initiated into the Harpy Coven in Ashland, Oregon, in 1932; the High Priestess and High Priest were Maybelle and Jerome Warren, and other members included Jim Murdoch and Patricia Fern. The coven was quite eclectic, mixing Huna with varieties of folk magic more common in the continental United States. He said that the coven’s emphasis was on practical sex magic; there was little concern with worship, theology, ethics, or ritual. They did celebrate the Sabbats by getting together to work sex magic on them, but the only time they met in a circle, Victor said, was when they were eating—and yet this ordinary-looking meal was for them, he says, part of the celebration of the Sabbat.

The Harpy Coven broke up during World War Two. In 1944 Anderson met and married his wife, Cora, who came from a Southern family that practiced a folk-magic variety of witchcraft. They moved to San Leandro, CA, in about 1948. Cora worked as a hospital cook and was often asked to prepare her healing food for patients who were not responding to conventional treatment. Victor was legally blind, but could read with a magnifying glass. He was also a professional musician, somewhat of a virtuoso on the accordian.

Victor was greatly impressed by Gardner’s Witchcraft Today in the mid-1950s and began to think about founding a coven based on his and Cora’s traditional knowledge. He was encouraged to do so by several Craft correspondents, including Leo Martello in New York.  He and Cora founded The Feri Tradition.

The Feri Tradition, which, from small beginnings, has become known around the world. In large measure this is due no doubt to the writings of Starhawk, the tradition’s most famous member, as well as the work of the bard and poet Gwydion Pendderwen. The movement was created in the late 1950s by the poet Victor Anderson and wife Cora, who were influenced by Gardner’s Witchcraft Today. It goes under a variety of titles such as Fae, Fey, Feri, Faerie, Fairy, and Fairie Witchcraft. Its key aspect is the concept of the Three Souls, which derives from Huna (a metaphysical theory developed by Max Freedom Long in 1936). The Fey Folk believe that these souls make up the structure of a human being and should be brought into communication with each other to facilitate self awareness as well as knowledge of the God and Goddess. The tradition is joyous, creative and strongly sensual, working with a variety of goddesses and gods to realize practical magic and bring about self development.

In about 1962 Victor acquired his most important student, Thomas DeLong, who later wrote under the pen name Gwydion Pendderwen, when Tom befriended the Anderson’s son in junior high. Tom became a friend of the family and was initiated into the Craft. He was also Initiated into Welsh Witchcraft. During the 1960s Victor and Gwydion collaborated on writing the Feri Book of Shadows, using the basic Gardnerian format, but with added traditional materials.

About 1970, when Gwydion initiated Alison Harlow (1934-2004), who had been married to the science-fiction writer Randall Garrett, the Andersons formed the Double Helix coven. Gwydion’s wife, Cynthia, was also initiated into the coven. Gwydion had been in touch with Joe Wilson for some time and was invited to be a member of the Pagan Way "Committee of Correspondence." About 1970 Gwydion and Alison founded Nemeton ("sacred grove" in Welsh) in Oakland as a networking organization allied with the Pagan Way. It had about a dozen regional secretariats around the United States in the early 1970s. In 1973-1974 Nemeton published three issues of Nemeton magazine. The contributors were a cross-section of American Paganism, and indicate how much interaction there was among the various Pagan and Wiccan groups. They included Susan Roberts, Poul Anderson, Penny Novack, Victor, Joe Wilson, Harold Moss, Mikel Clifford, Ed Fitch, Rhuddlwm Gawr, Tim Zell, Dan Norman, Lady Theos, and Tony Spurlock.

Gwydion was not easy to work with. To contradict him was to be banished. He lived in mythic time and was utterly unconcerned about observing a "foolish consistency," although he could drop into ordinary time when necessary. Some people believed all his stories; some did not; but I knew him well enough to be sure he was not just making everything up. In some ways, it was a lot like working with Castenada’s Don Juan.

Gwydion died in an accident in 1982. Victor passed away in 2001, Alison in 2004, Cora in 2008.


(1949-2010), author, Druid, and Pagan scholar.

Have you ever heard the term “Neo-Pagan?” That’s Issac, but he’s influence on Modern Paganism transcends that one little term. He was the first (and only) person to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Magic from the University of California at Berkeley, an experience which lead to the writing of Real Magic: An Introductory Treatise on the Basic Principles of Yellow Magic, one of the early essentials of American Paganism and magick. Bonewits was an initiated Witch and a member of the Reformed Druids of North America before going on to start Ár nDraíocht Féin (probably better known as ADF, or A Druid Fellowship), currently the largest Pagan Druid group in North America. Bonewits was a tireless teacher, writer, and sometimes musician, whose influence on Paganism was as large as his personality.


There’s no doubt that internet has changed Paganism. I can remember a time in the 1990′s when most of us were still connecting through letters, magazine columns, and bulletin boards at the local New Age Bookstore. Today we connect and share information in seconds instead of weeks, and internet personalities have become as important as traditional writers. One of the first real changes in how Pagans connect with one another occurred with the founding of The Witches Voice by Wren Walker and Fritz Jung back in 1997. The Witches Voice was one-stop shopping to find other Pagans, festivals, and supply stores. There was nothing like it before, and nothing like it since. It was (and remains) an invaluable source for information and networking.


(1956-1993), Wiccan author, most famous for Wicca: A Guide For the Solitary Practitioner.

I think I’m only beginning to understand just how revolutionary it was to title Cunningham’s book on Solitary Practice Wicca back in 1988. Up until then the word Wicca was more a whisper than a book genre. Sure there were books on Witchcraft, but Wicca? Cunningham’s book opened the floodgates and began a dialogue that is still ongoing. If that weren’t enough Cunningham’s “Encyclopedia Series” are standard reference works for using oils, herbs, incenses, metals, rocks, and crystals. Solitary Practitioner has become one of the best selling “how to” books of all time, and continues to be highly influential. In 2009 Llewellyn released Cunningham’s Book of Shadows, showing just how popular Cunningham remains nearly twenty years after his death.


Carl Weschcke (1930-present), President of Llewellyn Worldwide.

Ah Carl...Fond Memories.  Llewellyn is responsible for publishing Lady Sheba’s Book of Shadows, Cunningham’s Wicca, and Ravenwolf’s Broomstick, all books that forever changed Modern Paganism, and none of that happens without Weschke’s purchase of Llewellyn Publications back in 1961. Llewellyn has been the largest and most influential New Age/Pagan publishing house for the last couple of decades, and continues to release important and popular work. There are few people within Pagandom who have not read a Llewellyn book and I’ve seen few Pagan libraries without one of those little crescent moon symbols somewhere on the shelf. In addition to Pagan-focused materials, Llewellyn is also a leader in publishing books on astrology, the super-natural, and a wide range of New Age disciplines. Llewellyn brought competent editing and marketing to Pagan publishing, changing it forever.


Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (1942-present), is founder of the Church of All Worlds and Green Egg Magazine.

Oberon was one of the first individuals to realize that Witches, Wiccans, Druids, and Heathens were all a part of the same Pagan tree, indeed Oberon was one of the first people to use the word “Pagan” to describe our very diverse spiritual movement. He did a lot that uniting in the pages of The Green Egg, one of the most influential Pagan magazines in the States. (Forget the articles, my favorite part of the magazine was always the letter column!) Green Egg was also the mouthpiece for The Church of All Worlds, one of the first (if not the first) legally recognized Pagan churches, and based in part on the book Stranger in a Strange Land by sci-fi scribe Robert Heinlein. In addition to founding a church and publishing a magazine Oberon was one of the first people to propose the Gaia Theory. He’s also written several books and started an online magic academy, The Grey School of Wizardry. It’s impossible to talk about Oberon without mentioning his wife Morning Glory who popularized the term and concept polyamory.



Taliesin einion Vawr was born in the forests of North Wales in 1927. During the next thirteen years, because of his father's government position, the family traveled throughout Europe. They returned to England in 1938, and the children were sent to live with relatives in Wales. In September 1940, their father and mother were killed in the bombing of London during the Battle of Britain. Taliesin and his sister were raised by relatives in a small village near a small village in Northern Wales He learned of his family’s heritage of Druidism and Witchcraft as they met Y Tylwyth Teg (welsh fairies) at Fairy Ring near Betws y Coed, and swam with the water sprites in the local river. His journal indicates this was the happiest time of his life.

In 1945 Taliesin’s uncle and auntie traveled to the United States, obtained work visas, and remained in the state of New Jersey until 1959. Returning to school, Taliesin graduated from a local high school and attended a nearby college. When the family returned to England, Taliesin went with them, and upon returning to North Wales he said he was very happy to get home. Over the next few years he continued his occult studies and spent a great deal of time with his auntie, an herbalist and Offieriadess (something like a priestess or elder) of Dynion Mwyn. He learned of the energy of the mountains by participating in "Cave Workings" and hiking near Mt. Snowdonia.

In 1963 while visiting friends, he met a gentleman named Ray (or Roy) Bowers who inspired him to begin teaching. He organized the family's records and held the first non-family class. Gwendolyn Wynne, a cousin, studied with the family and carried the religion to London where she taught the old ways until her death. R. (Math) Johnson, another cousin, immigrated to Australia where he taught the tradition, and D. (Gwydion) Jones took the tradition to Patagonia (a region of Argentina) where he taught until his death in 2002. (27)

In 1965, Rhuddlwm Gawr met Sarah Wentworth while in Majorca, Spain. She invited him to London and Wales where he met Taliesin. Rhuddlwm stayed in Wales and studied the Old Ways. In 1966, Rhuddlwm returned to the US and established the Coven and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg in Landover, Maryland. (28)

Taliesin taught the Old Ways until 1992 when he passed the leadership of Dynion Mwyn to his sister (who became chief elder until she died in 1999). Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr and Lady Cerridwen Gawr, of the United States, have inherited the leadership of Dynion Mwyn.

Taliesin was responsible for opening the Welsh tradition to outsiders. His dying wish was that the basic philosophy of the Welsh tradition be available to all through the Internet, and that seekers be given a "Taste of Wales" through home study courses.

In January 2000, after an extended illness, Taliesin, the sole surviving elder of the Dynion Mwyn Welsh Family Gwyddon (Witchcraft) tradition, died quietly in his sleep.

Prior to his death, Taliesin lived with a companion, on a small island off the coast of Scotland, writing and meditating. He survived the passing of his sister by a few months.

Here is a note of a review that was written about his contribution in writing The Word:

"Some readers might find Taliesin Einion Vawr, Merriden Gawr and Rhuddlwm Gawr's book disturbing for its' no-holds-barred approach to Welsh Witchcraft. In fact it is a good antidote to the "fluffy bunny pagan" and "Politically Correct" (as the Americans say) attitude prevalent in some new-age Wiccan circles (actually most!) that seek to ignore life's harder lessons, and try to make everything sweetness and light. Taliesin Einion Vawr was a practitioner of the "Dynion Mwyn" strand of traditional Welsh Craft and his book reflects that eclectic blend of Welsh folklore, Celtic Paganism and almost cabbalistic Medieval Witchcraft. A very practical book with very little fluff, but the reader definitely must make up their own minds as to what constitutes right or wrong when practicing magic AND whether they wish to accept the Welsh Witchcraft History as presented. You will have to get past the Dynion Mwyn Mythology though since their "history" is not accepted or academic history, it is "opinion" history. It is family history. It is controversial history. If you are into trying to match what is in the Christian authored history books, you will be disappointed. But then you won't be a Pagan either. This is a book for the Muse, as Taliesin would chortle.

"I met Taliesin in 1982 at a fair in Cornwall of all places.  I was 15 and he was a grumpy man with a gruff voice and a tendency to be egotistical.  But, he had one saving grace.  He told the most fascinating stories of his childhood and of his education in the finer points of herbology and Witchcraft.  His ancestors were Pictish (so he said) and they were originally from Scotland, arriving in North Wales in the 1800's.

"I don't think Taliesin was his real name because he was very vague about his parents and relatives. Over the years I found out even less about him, but I do know that several well known Pagans owe him their knowledge and initiation.

"As I understand it, he was responsible for 90% of the book, even though Rhuddlwm Gawr claims to have written most of it. I think Taliesin should get the recognition he deserves. I just wish he and his sister were still alive. They would be tickled at all the maneuvering going on by members and seekers trying to take over what he and his family passed on.

"I feel this will be a brilliant reference book on the Beliefs of Dynion Mwyn. I use it every day. Very definitely a must-read!"


"Taliesin, we never got along, but I respected you and hope that wherever you are, you are finally happy and content."...Rhuddlwm Gawr


The Tradition of Dynion Mwyn was formally organized in the 50s and 60s by Taliesin einion Vawr in North Wales. We believe he combined elements of Pictish Witchcraft, the Knights Templars, Druidic teachings, Etruscan ritual, NROOGD ritual and the Kibbo Kift in his workings. The original Mother Organization, Dynion Mwyn, was created between 1282 and 1525, by descendants of the Bards of Prince Llewellyn, the last true prince of Wales.


In the summer of 1965, Rhuddlwm (an American working in Europe), met his future teacher, Sarah Llewellyn, on the Isle of Majorca, Spain, and an instant spiritual connection began. (Robert Graves, who wrote The White Goddess, spent the last year of his life about 2 miles from their meeting-place.) Eight outside students, including Rhuddlwm traveled to North Wales to study.


In 1966, Rhuddlwm was initiated into the Welsh Tribe of Dynion Mwyn, "The Gentle Folk", near Betws-y-Coed, in North Wales. This is a family of Witches that claim a lineage from 1282 A.D. and the Bards of Prince Llewellyn of Wales. Thus began the first step on his journey to awakening. He was given the name Rhuddlwm Gawr by the elders of the Dynion Mwyn tradition, and told that he was to return to the United States and begin secretly to teach the Craft of - Y Tylwyth Teg - the Clan of "The Fairy Folk". Later, he wrote that he felt unprepared and unwilling to teach. But, after returning to the United States, he joined a major Aerospace company in Landover, Maryland and was immediately transferred to Houston, Texas and assigned to NASA's Apollo Manned Lunar Project. He tried to ignore the elders words but soon found himself teaching an introductory class in Witchcraft in a small Houston bookstore.


In Spring 1967, Rhuddlwm was transferred to Washington, DC, where he organized the Coven of Y Tylwyth Teg. Later, the "Coven of Y Tylwyth Teg" expanded into a much larger organization - "The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg in America."There was an enthusiastic response by many students in the area seeking an Earth-religion-oriented spiritual philosophy. . He initiated Lady Dana who becomes his first High Priestess. Y Tylwyth Teg's first coven brought together Wiccans and Pagans from several traditions, including solitaires and traditional Welsh Celtic Pagans. Y Tylwyth Teg presented its first Spring Festival "The Gathering of the Tribes" (the first Pagan Gathering of the Tribes recorded) and its first Midsummer celebration "The Battle of the Winter and Summer Kings" presided over by Lord Rhuddlwm and Lady Dana. Y Tylwyth Teg began to grow and establish sister covens in Florida, Texas, California and Georgia. During a trip to Bermuda, Rhuddlwm rendezvoused with Sarah and was initiated to third level and a higher level of responsibility. In late November of 1967, Rhuddlwm was instrumental in founding "The Association of Cymry Wiccae" as an assembly of Welsh Traditional Covens in America. Y Tylwyth Teg expanded, establishing sister covens in California, Florida, Texas and Georgia.

In 1967, Rhuddlwm was instrumental in establishing "The Association of Cymry Wiccae" as an assembly of Welsh Traditional Covens in America. He, with the help of several Witch leaders of Welsh heritage, organized a meeting (the first pagan Gathering of the Tribes) held that Spring. During this first meeting, many spoke of the "primal energy" that was generated, and the love that seemed to permeate everything. As a result of this meeting, a "conclave" of three Welsh Witchcraft covens was born. This conclave was thereafter referred to as the "The Grove of The Crystal Dragon."(35)


In 1968, Y Tylwyth Teg established a worship site on private land near Landover Maryland. A ritual circle was created and dedicated in a grove of oak trees near the main house. Rhuddlwm, with the help of several Witch leaders of Welsh heritage, organized the first annual Conclave meeting held in Spring 1968 at the Gathering of the Tribes. During this first meeting, many spoke of the "primal energy" which was generated, and the love that seemed to permeate everything. As a result of this meeting, a "conclave" of three Welsh Witchcraft covens was born. This conclave was thereafter referred to as the "The Grove of The Crystal Dragon." It consists of "The Coven of The Crystal Dragon", "The Coven of Merlin" and "The Coven of Ganymede."

Sharing a common vision of the ancient gods and the survival of the Dynion Mwyn Pagan religion, it was agreed that because of the current uncertainties of the day, The Association was to keep a low profile and operate in secret for as long as possible.

Through the summer and early fall, the Grove met, deepened their commitment of sharing a common vision of the ancient gods and the survival of our religion The Grove worked together over the next three years helping establish other pagan groups begin; disseminating knowledge and information. The three groups worked together over the next two years quietly disseminating knowledge and information when needed. In the Fall, Y Tylwyth Teg began sponsoring private classes and lectures in Alexandria, Virginia.


In 1969, through one of it's members, Beverly Sailer (Lady Arionrod), YTT formed an outer court pagan group known as "The Family". Due to several members being influential government employees, the members vote to keep the true purpose of "The Family" a secret. The second annual Conclave and pagan outer-court festival at the Gathering of the Tribes, was held in a forest near Cumberland, Maryland.


In 1970, "The Family" membership had reached thirty-two. The third annual Conclave, fourth annual Gathering of the Tribes, and Pagan outer court festival was held on the eastern shore of Maryland.


In the Fall of 1971, the headquarters of the Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, was re-located to Smyrna-Marietta, Georgia. The Family disbanded. The Coven of Ganymede relocated to Roanoke, Virginia and disbanded in 1975.

The Coven of Merlin relocated to Richmond, Virginia and disbanded in 1977. The Coven of the Crystal Dragon relocated to Athens Georgia where it continued until 1986 when it relocated to Kennesaw, Georgia. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the fifth annual Gathering of the Tribes on Land near Kennesaw GA


In 1972, Y Tylwyth Teg established Bangor, a Bardic school, in Smyrna, Georgia to prepare members for the priesthood and give religious instruction to children.

In 1972, Y Tylwyth Teg joined the Pagan Way and begins distributing the rituals. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the sixth annual gathering of the Tribes on Land near Kennesaw GA


In 1973, Through the Association of Cymry Wiccae, Y Tylwyth Teg applied to the Internal Revenue Service for a religious Tax Exempt Status. Y Tylwyth Teg began to publicly teach a correspondence course under the alias Brotherhood of Wicca. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the seventh annual gathering of the Tribes on Land near Kennesaw GA


In 1974, the Church of Y Tylwyth Teg joined the Fellowship of Isis in Ireland. Y Tylwyth Teg founded the first Pagan Special Interest Group at the University of Georgia. Lady Sirce of Sacramento, California was initiated. Lady Branwen of Augusta, Georgia was initiated. Lady Eilonwy of Florida was initiated, Lady Althaea of Rhode Island was initiated. The Brotherhood of Wicca is formally dissolved and all business is transferred to The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the eighth annual gathering of the Tribes on Land near Kennesaw GA


In 1975, Rhuddlwm founded the Pagan-Occult-Witchcraft SIG of MENSA. Valerie Voigt and others eventually became coordinators for this fine organization. Y Tylwyth Teg began publishing The Sword of Dyrnwyn, a newsletter of Y Tylwyth Teg.

Until October of 1975, the Church and Association grew very slowly and deliberately. During the Samhain ritual, one of our elders received a spiritual insight which changed his life forever. He saw figures of a Woman and a man merge within an Oak tree. It is explained to him by his spiritual guides and his teacher Sarah, that this means that his future task is to help relink humanity with Nature. The Association adopts the Goddess Cerridwen as its muse, and begins working to disseminate the concept of re-linking with Nature. Shortly thereafter, one of the original founders of the Association (Coven of Ganymede) leaves the group. The two remaining founders spend the Fall redefining their roles within the Association. Lady Branwen became vice president of The Association. During this time the energy toward manifestation quickens as the number of member covens grow from the original three to twenty-three. Y Tylwyth Teg's public relations work on behalf of Paganism begins. An accurate and positive article about Paganism accompanied by a full color photo of a High Priest of Y Tylwyth Teg performing a ritual appeared in the local newspaper. Rhuddlwm Gawr graduated from the University of Georgia with a BLA degree in Environmental Design and Ecology. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the ninth annual gathering of the Tribes on Land near Kennesaw GA The Association adopted the Goddess Cerridwen as its muse, and adopted the concept of re-linking humanity with Nature.

Rhuddlwm Gawr joined Mensa and founded the Pagan/Occult/Witchcraft Special Interest Group (POWSIG). Y Tylwyth Teg founded the Sword of Dyrnwyn Newsletter and starts a information exchange to help Pagans from many traditions and groups connect with each other. The newsletter included articles on Paganism, Witchcraft, Magick, herbs, spiritual healing, metaphysics, and parapsychology. Y Tylwyth Teg began serving as a resource center for Pagans and Witches.


Y Tylwyth Teg attended and helped with the publicity of the Pan Pagan Festival sponsored by the Midwest Pagan Council, and held at an Indiana campground.

Y Tylwyth Teg's land project began in 1976. Camelot-of-the-Wood was conceived as a haven for Welsh Witches and an International Pagan Studies Center. Camelot-of-the-Wood began working to establish a intentional community of members of Y Tylwyth Teg. Y Tylwyth Teg began to raise funds and search for land to purchase.

In February 1976, a US IRS Group Tax Exemption was issued to the Church and The Association of Cymry Wicca. This was the first Group Tax Exemption issued to a true Witchcraft church by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg became legally incorporated by the State of Georgia in Smyrna, Georgia on February 2, 1977.

The Association of Cymry Wicca began providing a means by where Pagan Churches and Covens can acquire a legal tax exemption and be that much closer to being accepted by Society.

Y Tylwyth Teg founded Pagan Grove Press whose purpose is to publish a Newsletter and books on paganism and Witchcraft.

In September 1976, The Association of Cymry Wiccae and the Church of Y Tylwyth Teg co-sponsored the tenth annual gathering of the Tribes and the first Gathering of the Tribes held in the North Georgia mountains. This was a gathering of pagan, Wiccan and earth religion leaders from all over the United States. Its theme was peace, and it was one of the first gatherings to forbid any kind of verbal animosity between groups. It worked. Groups began talking to other groups, met in friendship, and many lasting and important relationships prospered from this first gathering.

Rhuddlwm was contacted by Lady Circe of Toledo, Ohio to help one of her neophytes, Sintana, become established in Atlanta. He gives her a great deal of study material and helps her found Ravenwood in Atlanta. She becomes known as Lady Sintana.


In 1977, Y Tylwyth Teg celebrated the 10th Anniversary of its founding in the United States. Y Tylwyth Teg was legally incorporated as a Witchcraft Church in Georgia, establishing bylaws and a church structure with a board of directors, ordained ministers, a community of affiliated coven churches and a congregation. Y Tylwyth Teg's legal name as a non-profit organization became the Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, Inc. the name, Y Tylwyth Teg, becomes the church's trade name.

Rhuddlwm Gawr stepped down as the editor of POWSIG because of pressing duties with Y Tylwyth Teg. Valerie Voigt eventually took over as editor. Y Tylwyth Teg's local Sword of Dyrnwyn newsletter expanded to a national newsletter serving all Pagans and Wiccans.

Lady Rhea of Louisville was initiated. Lady Levannah of Atlanta was initiated. Lady Galadreal of today's Grove of the Unicorn attended her first neophyte class with Lord Rhuddlwm and Lord Mithrandir.

Y Tylwyth Teg began sponsoring Pagan presentations outside Georgia. Y Tylwyth Teg staff presented workshops and travel to California, Alabama, Virginia, New York, Texas, Iowa and Kansas to do presentations and rituals .

The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the eleventh annual gathering of the Tribes held at Unicoi state park in Helen, Georgia, a secluded state owned conference center in the forested mountains of North Georgia.

Y Tylwyth Teg through Pagan Grove Press, published Paganism's first "Yellow Pages", The Pagan NewAge Occult Directory, containing names and addresses of groups and individuals from many paths, plus a bibliography and other information. It stimulates contact and community building within and across geographical areas and traditions of Paganism. It was published until 1982.

In October, 1977, The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg and the Association of Cymry Wicca organized the Pagan Gathering of the Tribes in the Southeastern U.S., held at Unicoi State Park near Helen, Georgia. Unicoi means The New Way in the Cherokee tongue. It is located near Mt. Yonah, an important Cherokee psychic power point. (37)


In 1978 Y Tylwyth Teg's media work on behalf of Paganism became national and international. The twelfth Annual and third Georgia "Gathering of the Tribes" was held. For the first time, a Southeastern Pagan/Wiccan Leadership conference was held. It was attended by Ray Buckland, Margot Adler, Jim Alan and Selena Fox of Circle, and many other leaders. This gathering, held at the time of Summer Solstice, brought together Pagans from many paths and places. It focused on re-linking with Nature, building community and culture across a diversity of traditions and paths.

The Gathering was covered by a major American newspaper in an article appearing in the religion section. The article opened with an account and a photo of a ritual by Rhuddlwm Gawr then reported on Witchcraft and Paganism as a whole and as a growing religious movement. The article generated interest and more positive media coverage in the Southern USA.


In 1979, Rhuddlwm Gawr published The Quest, the first book in a trilogy about Welsh Witchcraft. In 1985, the second book, of the trilogy, The Way, was published and continued the theme of the ancient Welsh Tradition of Love, Knowledge and Power. Y Tylwyth Teg began providing face-to-face spiritual counseling for Pagans of many traditions in the Southeast US. Y Tylwyth Teg began offering training for it's Priest/esses, Covens and other Pagan Groups. Bangor Institute was founded to provide a means whereby members of the Welsh Witchcraft tradition and others could work toward entering the priest/esshood and acquire specialized degrees associated with the ancient Bardic traditions.

Bangor was the first Pagan School to give a Doctor of Divinity training program and Ordain Pagan ministers through the Church of Y Tylwyth Teg. Pagan Grove Press changed it's name to Camelot Press, Ltd. and published The Quest by Rhuddlwm Gawr and Marcy Edwards. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the thirteenth annual gathering of the Tribes held at Unicoi state park in Helen, Georgia, a secluded state owned conference center in the forested mountains of North Georgia.


In Fall of 1980 Y Tylwyth Teg sponsored Sun Bear, a Lakota Sioux medicine man, to speak at a public seminar in Athens, Georgia. Sun Bear later attended the thirteenth Gathering of the Tribes at Unicoi, blessed Y Tylwyth Teg and all future Gatherings as "The New Way" and presented a peace pipe to Rhuddlwm in honor of the purpose of the Gathering.

Camelot Press published The Witches Herbal: Herbs of Welsh Witchcraft, and The Thirteen Mystical Treasures of Welsh Witchcraft by Richard Lewis and Rhuddlwm Gawr.


The first Camelot-of-the-Wood finally manifested in 1981. After five years of fund raising, land was found in Northwest Georgia and purchase began. The purchase was kept secret except to a select inner circle. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the fourteenth annual gathering of the Tribes held at Unicoi State park in Helen, Georgia.


Camelot Press published Celtic Witchcraft Meditation: Discovering Your Higher Self by Rhuddlwm Gawr as told by Taliesin einion Vawr In 1982, Y Tylwyth Teg began sponsoring Pagan youth education activities with programs of workshops, rituals, and other activities for children and teens during the fifteenth Gathering of the Tribes near Athens Georgia.

Camelot Press re-published Mysteries of Welsh Faerie Witchcraft: by Rhuddlwm Gawr as told by Taliesin enion Vawr and Dream Magic: Programming Your Dreams with Welsh Witchcraft.


In 1983, Camelot Press re-published Sex Magick: Red Dragon Power and Celtic Witchcraft, and Welsh Witchcraft: An Initiation Into the Celtic Tradition. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the sixteenth annual Gathering of the Tribes held near Athens, Georgia, at a secluded nature center.


In 1984, Camelot Press published The Power of Welsh Witchcraft: Psychic Development and the Old Religion, and Nature Magick: Celtic Witchcraft and Psychic Healing. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the seventeenth annual gathering of the Tribes held near Athens, Georgia, at a secluded nature center.


In 1985, Rhuddlwm met with Gwen Thompson, founder of the Celtic Tradition in the United States. They agree to become unofficially affiliated. Y Tylwyth Teg battled federal anti-Witchcraft legislation. Y Tylwyth Teg staff helped with a nationwide campaign that defeated the Helms amendment. Senator Jesse helms attempted to take away federal church status from Wiccan churches. The amendment passed the US Senate in late September and was in danger of becoming law. Thousands of Wiccans and other Pagans joined with the American Civil Liberties Union and others in expressing opposition to this piece of legislation. A network of Pagan religious freedom activists including Y Tylwyth Teg formed a phone tree across the Southeastern U.S. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the eighteenth annual gathering of the Tribes held near Atlanta, Georgia, held on private land. Camelot Press published The Way by Rhuddlwm Gawr.


In 1986 Lady Cerridwen joined Y Tylwyth Teg and begins to reorganize the administrative and ministerial divisions. The Coven of the Crystal Dragon relocated to Kennesaw, Georgia. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the nineteenth annual gathering of the Tribes held near Athens, Georgia, at secluded nature center. The Word was published in May of that year. Camelot Press re-published Celtic Paganism: Woman, Man, and Nature.


In 1987, Y Tylwyth Teg celebrated the 20th Anniversary of its founding in the United States. Lady Gwynne passed on to Summerland soon after Rhuddlwm and Gwynne meet for the second time.

Y Tylwyth Teg won a controversial administrative court case regarding the ownership of a church post office box in Athens, Georgia. In so doing the Judge declared in his ruling that the Church of Y Tylwyth Teg is a legal Church, that Rhuddlwm Gawr is a legal minister of that church, and that Witchcraft is a bona fide religion. Y Tylwyth Teg won this intensive religious freedom battle on its own, preparing its own legal briefs. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the twentieth annual gathering of the Tribes held near Athens, Georgia, on private land. Camelot Press published Celtic Crystal Magick, Vol.1 by Rhuddlwm Gawr.


In 1988, Camelot Press published Celtic Crystal Magick, Vol. 2. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, voted to have a closed Gathering for Initiatory, ritual and business purposes near Atlanta, Georgia.


In 1989, Camelot Press published The Threefold Cauldron: Celtic and Witchcraft Mythology. In June, Y Tylwyth Teg sponsored the 21st Annual Gathering of the Tribes near Atlanta Georgia.


In 1990, Y Tylwyth Teg's networking expanded its endeavors. Camelot Press published Re-linking with Nature: Welsh Faerie Witchcraft - Cooperating With Nature Spirits by Merridden Gawr. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the 22nd annual Gathering of the Tribes at a site near Atlanta, Georgia.


In 1991, Y Tylwyth Teg helped organize the protest of an anti-Witchcraft television series. Y Tylwyth Teg Staff and other Pagan religious freedom activists such as Selena Fox and Margot Adler helped lead a nationwide campaign against an anti-Witchcraft series being developed by ABC television network for broadcast in the Fall season as a weekly prime time drama. Thousands of Wiccans and other Pagans from throughout the USA and elsewhere joined together in Paganism's largest protest action yet. Throughout the Summer, they express their concerns about false stereotyping and the villainizing of Witches, and finally, ABC dropped the series.

Speakers for The 1991 Gathering of the Tribes included Janet & Stewart Farrar, Otter and Morning Glory G'Zell, Isaac Bonewits, and many others. During The Gathering of the Tribes, Y Tylwyth Teg was instrumental in founding the Universal Federation of Pagans (UFP). The purpose of this organization was to provide national and international communications between members of the Pagan Community


In 1992, Dynion Mwyn hosted its first internet web page. Camelot Press re-published A Witches Astrologer - The Thirteen Keys of the Ancient Druids. The first Annual meeting of The Universal Federation of Pagans was held at the twenty-fourth Gathering of the Tribes in Gainesville, Georgia. Many leaders from throughout the U.S and Canada attended. Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr of Y Tylwyth Teg, and Lady Amethyst of Coven of the Royal Oak were elected Co-Facilitators. Y Tylwyth Teg helped found the Southeastern Pagan Alliance (SEPA) to help network Pagans regionally. This was the infamous Gathering which was flooded. Many heroes appeared that night. The 1992 gathering was hereafter known as The Gathering of the Waters."


In 1993 Camelot Press re-published The Triads: The Wisdom of Welsh Witchcraft and The Nine Levels of Welsh Witchcraft. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the twenty-fifth annual gathering of the Tribes, in North Georgia mountains.


In 1994, Y Tylwyth Teg moved its internet homepage to and again expanded its services. Rhuddlwm Gawr graduated with a Ph.D. in Civil and Family Mediation and is certified as a Family Mediator with the state of Georgia. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the twenty-sixth annual gathering of the Tribes held near Blairsville, Georgia, at a secluded nature center. Camelot Press published Earth Energy: The Green Dragon Power of Celtic Witchcraft, by Merridden Gawr.


In 1995, Camelot Press re-published The Thirteen Mystical Treasures of Welsh Witchcraft. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the twenty seventh annual gathering of the Tribes in North Georgia.


In 1996, Camelot Press re-published Taliesin of the Radiant Brow: Secrets of Welsh Witchcraft. The Association of Cymry Wiccae and Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, celebrated the twenty eighth annual gathering of the Tribes in North Georgia.


In April, 1997, Y Tylwyth Teg celebrated the 30th Anniversary of its founding in the United States during twenty ninth Annual Gathering of the Tribes at Fairy Glen Farm at Pendelton, S.C. Speakers included Nigel Bourne and Seldiy Bates of London, England.


In April, 1998, Y Tylwyth Teg presented the third revision of its website and moved to Y Tylwyth Teg sponsored the 30th Gathering of the Tribes at Indian Springs State Park, Georgia. Guests include druid author Ellen Hopman.


In 1999, Y Tylwyth Teg sponsored the 31st annual Gathering of the Tribes at Indian Springs State Park, Georgia. . Guests include Lady Maeve of the Y Tylwyth Tulluan of Ohio, Lord Athos and Lady Caru of Y Tylwyth Teg, Ft Lauderdale FL. and many others. In December, Lady Janet Partin, our Webmistress, died of a heart attack after reading a death threat directed at the Tylwyth Teg web site. The sister of Taliesin enion Vawr died in October, after an extended illness. She will be missed. Lord Athos and Lady Caru transcribe several of Lord Rhuddlwm's books into computer files and they are published on the Y Tylwyth Teg web pages.


In 2000, Taliesin enion Vawr, the last family member of the Wynne tradition of Dynion Mwyn, Welsh Witchcraft, died after many years of struggle with a terminal illness. Taliesin's knowledge and wisdom will be missed. Y Tylwyth Teg sponsored the 32nd annual Gathering of the Tribes at Etowah River Campgrounds, Georgia. . Guests include Lady Maeve of the Y Tylwyth Tulluan of Ohio, Lord Athos and Lady Caru of Y Tylwyth Teg, Ft Lauderdale FL. and many others.


In 2001, Y Tylwyth Teg sponsored the 33rd annual Gathering of the Tribes at Etowah River Campgrounds, Georgia . There are three pagan musical groups and much music. Guests include Lady Maeve of the Y Tylwyth Tulluan of Ohio, Lord Athos and Lady Caru of Y Tylwyth Teg, Ft Lauderdale FL. and many others. Y Tylwyth Teg was still alive and continued to thrive despite continuous interference by the "Religious Right". Robert Martin a teacher who worked with Taliesin enion Vawr contacted YTT in Georgia and offers to help provide missing history of Dynion Mwyn in Wales. YTT representatives sponsored several Study Groups lists on Yahoo. Lord Athos and Lady Caru form a YTTFlorida Study Group List on Yahoo. Cerridwen of Georgia forms a YTTGeorgia Study Group on Yahoo.. Lady Eilonwy forms a second Florida YTT Study Group on Yahoo. Dynion Mwyn forms a second Study Group on Yahoo.


In February 2002, Delyth from Wales visited us at the Kennesaw covenstead. By march of 2002, YTT and Dynion Mwyn together established over fifty YTT or Dynion mwyn online Study Groups.


February 2 Lord Rhuddlwm Retired from active leadership of the Church of Y Tylwyth Teg. Lady Delyth resigned. Lord Rhuddlwm continued to revise and re-publish his books. The 34th Gathering of the Tribes was held at Etowah River Campgrounds in North Georgia.


November 16 Lord Rhuddlwm comes out of retirement and incorporates The Celtic Church of Dynion Mwyn, Inc.; The Association of Cymry Wiccae, Inc.; Camelot Press Group, Inc.; and Gathering of the Tribes, Inc. The 35th Annual Gathering of the Tribes was postponed because of weather til March 2005.


March 17 The Gathering of the Tribes was held at Etowah River Campgrounds, GA.


April 27 The Gathering of the Tribes was held at Elijah Clark State Park, GA. Maxine Sanders and Christopher Pencsak were among the speakers.


The Gathering of the Tribes was held at PanGaia Sanctuary in Georgia - Maxine returns.

There are now over seventy Study Group and currently over three thousand students currently studying with Dynion Mwyn and Y Tylwyth Teg.


The well known Welsh author, Jane Pugh wrote:

" there are strong witch covens in the north...(but) Do not ask questions about them, remembering that Witchcraft is an old (and secret) religion, nearly as old as time itself."


An entire book could be written on different traditions of Wicca and Witchcraft available today and here only a handful are listed to give you some idea of the range and scope available.


Gardnerian Wicca is generally coven based although there are solitaries who have adapted it to suit. There is an oath of secrecy protecting the knowledge of rituals, rites and practices, although nowadays so much is in the public domain that this has become more or less redundant. Gardnerians have an initiatory system of three degrees commonly referred to as "First", "Second", and "Third" degree. Traditionally only another Witch can make a Witch; however, it is possible to self initiate as you will learn in later lessons. Those who have obtained a Third Degree are referred to as either a High Priestess or High Priest and generally Witches of this rank will run a coven. Gardnerians celebrate the Goddess and God, have a program of seasonal celebrations, organize monthly meetings around the Full Moon and practice a range of spell-craft and magic. As we shall see, Gardnerian Wicca has provided the framework for a variety of individuals and groups to create their own distinct traditions.


Perhaps the foremost and most widely recognized of these traditions is Alexandrian Wicca. It was created in the 1960s by Alex Sanders with the help of his wife Maxine. Although Alex claimed he was initiated into Witchcraft by his grandmother, it is now generally agreed that this story isn’t true and that it is more likely that somehow he got a copy of a Gardnerian Book of Shadows and adapted it [14]. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, the tradition is named after the ancient library of Alexandria and not Sander’s first name. Maxine Sanders has said that the name was suggested by famous Witch Stewart Farrar.

Sander’s system shares many similarities to Gardnerian Wicca. Alexandrian practice is also coven based with a system of three initiatory degrees, has as an emphasis on gender polarity, worships the Goddess and God, celebrates the seasons and has monthly meetings around the time of the Full Moon. It differs from Gardnerian Wicca in the use of some magical tools, as well as a number of deity and elemental names. It also incorporates Kabbalah, Ceremonial, and Enochian Magic into its rites. Many Alexandrians and Gardnerians recognize that initiation into one tradition is a qualification for another, so much so in fact that syntheses exist such as the Algard Tradition created by Mary Nesnick in the United States.


It wasn’t long, though, before other traditions were created that moved further away from the Gardnerian model and the new religion began to spread far and wide. Raymond Buckland and his wife Rosemary came to the USA from England in 1962. Disciples of Gardnerian Wicca, they were among the first to introduce this tradition to the States. A number of Raymond’s works have been influential. His Complete Book of Witchcraft aims to provide the student with the means to achieve the knowledge base of a Third Degree Witch [16], whilst at the same time not expounding any one particular tradition. The book has been widely used because of its flexibility, which has allowed the possibility of developing one’s own particular style of Wicca. In the early 1970s, Buckland also wrote The Tree, The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. This has been significant for the development of Seax-Wicca. It differs from the Gardnerian/Alexandrian traditions in a number of important ways. For example, there is no degree structure and no oath of secrecy. The High Priestess and Priest are chosen democratically by the coven members and are elected annually to serve for a year and a day only, after which new leaders can be voted for. The tradition also concentrates on Saxon deities, most notably Woden and Freya, where the God rules the winter and the Goddess the summer.


In the 1960s and early 1970s Wicca began to reflect the rise of feminism within the USA and Europe, most famously in the form of Dianic Wicca. This tradition falls into at least two distinct paths, the most well-known of which was created by Californian Zsuzsanna Budapest, whose type of Wicca is an all female, feminist tradition that emphasizes women's rights. Contrary to popular belief, Dianic covens of this type are not exclusively lesbian and rely on straight females to provide a balance of energies. Another well-known branch, founded in Texas, was brought into the world by Morgan McFarland and Mark Roberts, and is sometimes referred to as "Old Dianic". Here, both women and men primarily participate in worshiping the Goddess, although the God is present as her beloved consort. Despite the emphasis on the feminine, many of the views, beliefs and practices of Dianic Wicca are similar to other more mainstream traditions.


Not all traditions of Witchcraft recognize that they have their roots in Gardner’s system. There are a large number of hereditary Witches who claim lineage completely independently of modern Wicca. These are often strongly family based and their members can staunchly defend the veracity of their historical claims. Others conclude that their traditions are based either on a familial custom of fortune telling, the practice of "cunning", folk magic or forms of shamanism and not Witchcraft. You will have to decide for yourself what claims you are prepared to believe.

Now an Article by Gwenfran Gwernan who talks about Hereditary Witchcraft

The great difference between hereditary groups and others, is that, like an inherited title, the hereditary group is entirely a family affair - you were - and are - born into it. The family used to be very extended, being rather a clan or tribe. There were two ways in which outsiders could come in - by marriage or by blood brotherhood. This last means that any man who had fought on the same side as a member of the clan and been accepted as a blood brother, would be accepted into the clan.

The first thing one learns about it today are the stories of the exploits the of the ancestors, and particularly of the First Father and the First Mother. These parents of the clan are in fact the God and Goddess, however much they may be hidden under legend and fairy story. They are referred to as the Lord and Lady. The Lord was not only a great warrior, but was also identified with an animal or bird, and often known by the name or creature. It was therefore the totem of the clan and considered lucky to it, even today. The Lady was the Goddess in all Her aspects.

During the last century there were, among the Celtic families particularly, several revivals, some of which have kept going, and of late, some members of the old families have started keeping the Festivals again. There are one or two families that claim an unbroken tradition in which the Old Religion and the keeping of the Festivals has never ceased. Some have the tradition of their beliefs going right back to the Druids, and cherish certain of their prophesies, such as, "A light from the East shall come to you from the West. Cherish that light." So that when the eastern Christianity came to Britain from Ireland, it was accepted. They recognised it as their own faith. There was the Father, who was also the Son, and the Mother who yet remained ever virgin, and the two religions ran together with no difficulty in the eyes of those of the Old Religion. That is probably why the Old Faith was left alone and did not disappear among the 'hereditary' families.

The hereditary groups do not use the word 'witch' nor the word 'Craft'. A craft was a skill, as in the craft guilds; goldsmiths, leather workers, masons and the like. In these the learner served as an apprentice and went through varying degrees to journeyman, and finally to Master of his Craft. The one guild that became open to men who were not actually in the Mystery of the Craft was the Guild of the Masons and these retained the degrees through which the actual learner-masons would have to go. When there was a 'witchcraft' revival, much of the material was based on the Masonic rituals, and one thing taken over was the degrees. The hereditary groups who already had their Festival rituals do not have degrees, and their rites, though celebrating the same yearly festivals, are not like the rites of other groups.

The working is not done in a closed circle, but in a 'castle', which is 'raised'; this has four entrances, one at each point of the compass, so there is no difficulty about leaving the working area, as the doors can be opened and the bridges dropped at any one of them. This is also done at Samhain, when all those who have been, are and will be of the family, are invited to come to the yearly Great assembly.

Those who do join the family from outside are adopted into the family by a process of rebirth as the child of the Lady, the first mother, through her representative, the present female head of the clan. This headship did and does not go by birth like a kingship, but is someone chosen as being appropriate, and she may be succeeded by a daughter or by any other woman considered suitable. The Lord is not necessarily her consort, although he does represent the first Father as he has often been as close relative such as her brother or uncle, or even her father. Some Lords and Ladies remain in office into old age; others give up to the one they have been training to take over much earlier on. There is normally a group of elders, an inner circle who meet to determine how things should go, but all assemblies are public, and all are encouraged to speak at them.

Most hereditary groups have stories of treasures that have belonged to them in the past. I will mention two, to explain what sort of things they actually were. Nearly all of them are a bit of a cheat, as they are themselves 'riddles' which these groups were very given to. Many said that they posessed a round table, and that this table had the property that, however many sat around it to confer, it could accommodate any number. This means that they sat in a ring out of doors, and the ring could be made bigger however many turned up! Then there is the magic cauldron that restored the dead to life - only that those restored could not speak. This is quite true - they did have a cauldron in which the women who went with the warbands made in readiness, a certain broth "that was sovereign for all wounds". In fact, the numbers who would normally have died did not, because of something the women knew how to prepare and use on wounds. As to not speaking, it only meant that those healed had given their word not to tell anything of their treatment, or the family posessing the 'magic cauldron' would have lost their supremacy over other war bands!

Apart from these differences, the work and worship of these hereditary families of the Old Religion are much like those of any group. There is the keeping of the Festivals and the working of magic for various intents and healing. Probably because of the Lord and Lady not necessarily being consorts, there are not the sexual undertones that there are in other branches of the Craft - that does not mean that the sexual functions of the God and Goddess were ignored, but rather that they were so much taken for granted that they needed no help other than the normal practice among the clan.

These days hereditary groups do admit outsiders if they are considered suitable. In this case, those admitted completely into the family are adopted into the clan by an adoptive rebirth ritual, as in the old days, while others will be admitted only into the outer circle of the group.

One thing that makes the hereditary group different from others - at least in the ones which I know - is that no oath is ever required of any member. This is because no one whose word could be doubted would be considered fit to belong to the family. As they say,"Take no oaths; do you not speak the truth?"

This article was written by Gwenfran Gwernan as a series in the magazine 'Quest', and subsequently appeared in the booklet 'Introduction to Witchcraft', published by Quest, at BCM-SCL QUEST, London WC1N 3XX .



Robert Cochrane (1931-1966), English Witch, inspiration behind the 1734 tradition, and coiner of the term “Gardnarian.”

Had Cochrane not committed suicide in 1966 it’s possible that Modern Paganism would be vastly different. Cochrane was one of the first English Witches to come forward with a system and cosmology different from that of Gerald Gardner (and his initiates). His rituals were unique and high energy, and when reading about them I get a sense of great joy. Cochrane also took his rituals outside and worked robed, taking Witchcraft out of the parlor and back into nature. His correspondence with American Joe Wilson led to the establishment of the 1734 Tradition. Pick up Doreen Valiente’s The Rebirth of Witchcraft and you get the sense that she absolutely loved Cochrane’s rites, and her book Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed (written with Evan John Jones) is a “how to” guide of Cochrane-style Craft.

Like many founding figures he has made some debatable claims about being part of a hereditary coven asserting that he was initiated into a Warwickshire group in England from the age of five. Some have felt that he further stated that the tradition’s roots went back to 1734 CE [19]. However, it appears this view is based on a misunderstanding, as for Cochranians the date is significant in the sense of being a cryptic reference to the Goddess. His ideas appear in Justine Glass’s Witchcraft, The Sixth Sense [20], although some Cochranians say this work can be misleading. The tradition has a definite emphasis on male mysteries, meditation and vision work.


Of course, all the types of Wicca and Witchcraft so far discussed are coven and group based. However, over the last three decades there has been an ever growing movement of solitary Witches. As the name suggests, these Witches generally practice alone. They are often eclectic in their approach, which means that they take aspects of their practice from a number of sources and combine it into a unique personal synthesis, although others will adapt a particular tradition. Solitaries often see themselves as being highly creative and will write their own rites and rituals, prayers and invocations. Some will go down the route of self-initiation or dedication, whilst others see this as being completely unnecessary. The solitary path is not an easy one and takes a lot of determination and self discipline to be successful.


One type of Witchcraft often practiced alone is that of the Hedge Witch. Hedge Witchcraft is not really Witchcraft in the historical sense. The term has a recent origin and describes someone who tends to work from home focusing on practical aspects of the Craft. These include herbalism, magick, cooking, arts and crafts, Earth mysteries and the elements. The Hedge "Witch" is often something of an eco-warrior and involved with working for the benefit of the planet. Typically, they will have a strict "green" attitude to their religion and life in general. Many Hedge Witches who do not consider themselves as "religious" or Wiccan, preferring instead to see themselves as an expression of deity and emphasizing spontaneity within their practices as opposed to a defined structure.


Wicca and Witchcraft has continued to adapt with the times. The rise of the Internet in the late 1990s has meant an explosion of related information in CyberSpace. This has taken a variety of forms. Many sites provide a focal point in the form of forums, advice, On-line Wiccan shopping, courses and mentoring. Sites that provide these services are frequented by a variety of coven based Witches as well as solitaries. Further, some Witches meet on the Net to carry out a range of activities such as celebrations and the practice of magic. This can be deeply frowned upon by some within the Craft who reckon on it having no legitimacy or effectiveness; others, of course, take the opposite point of view and see it as being very beneficial.

There are also a number of sites that offer fully fledged traditions. Some can be disparaging of these, whilst others are deeply committed to their organization. Supporters would say that if you want to be a Witch you have to learn somewhere, and a good interactive course, with an opportunity to discuss issues and get help from an On-line community, can be far better than just learning from a book at home. However, it is true to say that the Internet can be a mine field for those seeking a magical education, and the student will need to be discriminating about their choice of schooling. There are a number of sites that will confer First, Second and Third Degree status in return for payment. That’s a no no. No real Witchcraft group will initiate for money or on-line.

Some of these sites are little more than outright scams. Whilst others provide training of a high quality, with extensive detailed courses and mentoring, for a reasonable fee. Some, whilst providing these quality services, charge monthly. The monthly payments can be less than a membership at a gym, but still run into several hundred pounds. Many will be happy enough to pay this, particularly if the service is good. As always though, it pays to shop around; most reputable web based Witch sites will give you various try before you buy schemes. Some, like, will even provide you with complete quality courses.


1 Llewellyn Folio 23, Pg. 14, in the private collection of Marrig ap Llewellyn, Cardiff, Wales

2 The names given in the legends, the Nemue and Nephilim, are not spelled this way in Welsh, but the English pronunciation is a close translation.

3 Rhuddlwm gawr's copy of "the Book of Dawn", copied from one written in 1923, and one of the Thirteen Treasures of Y Tylwyth Teg.  This legend, although seemingly far fetched, is also one of the oldest recorded in our documents. It was said by the late Taliesin enion Vawr, our past historian, to be over nine hundred years old.  But, there is no direct evidence as to it age.

4 Included in an obscure handwritten booklet previously published by Gerald Llewellyn Wentworth, 1672

5 Included in Folio 31, pg 17, Marrig ap Llewellyn

6 William Skene, The Four Ancient books of Wales, Edmundston & Douglas, Edinburgh, 1881

7 Hectaeus of Abdera, quoted by Diodorus Siculus, 60-30 B.C.

8 Strabo, Geographica, from B. Tierney), "The Celtic Ethnography of Posidonius", Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 1960

9 Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica xxxi, pp 2-5

10 Julius Caesar, De Bello Gallico (The Gallic Wars)

11 Julius Caesar, The Conquest of Gaul (trs. S.A. Handford) Harmondsworth, 1951

12 Oral tradition and Chronology of Knowledge, dated 1942, Dynion Mwyn Family Copy

13 Rhys, J., Lectures of the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by Celtic Heathondom, "The Hibbert Lectures for 1886", London 1888

14 A History of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian Conquest, London, 3rd edition, 1939

15 John Davies, The History of Wales, Penguin Press, London, 1993 pp 29

16 Carte, History of England

17 Sarah Llewellyn, Collected Writings of the Gwyffed Family,

18 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 13, Page 9

19 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 28, Page 32

20 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 139, Page 14

21 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 141, Page 37

22 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 141, Page 39

23 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 142, Page 23

24 The Welsh Wars of Edward I, Oxford, 1901

25 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 142, Page 27

26 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 143, Page 12

27 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 143, Page 17

28 Llewellyn Family Manuscripts, Folio 144, Page 95

29 Private Journal of Taliesin enion Vawr 1941

30 Letters from Rhuddlwm Gawr to Sarah Llewellyn Wentworth 1966

31 Letters from Rhuddlwm Gawr to Sarah Llewellyn Wentworth 1966

32 Letters from Rhuddlwm Gawr to Sarah Llewellyn Wentworth 1966

33 Letters from Rhuddlwm Gawr to Sarah Llewellyn Wentworth and Taliesin Enion Vawr 1967

34 Organization Documents Church of Y Tylwyth Teg, January 1967

35 Council of the Crystal Dragon Proceedings May 30, 1967

36 Articles of Incorporation Documents, and IRS Exemption Letter September, 1977

37 Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon, 1979

38 Jane Pugh, Welsh Witches, Wales, 1987

39 Rough draft of Pembrokshire Witches and Wizards, Brian John, 2000

40 A paper presented by Julia Phillips of the defunct Pan Pacific Pagan Alliance (Australia); 1995

41 Conversations with Nigel Bourne of the Pagan Federation (UK); 1998

42 E-mail conversation with Raymond Buckland June 2002

43 Documents written by Taliesin Enion Vawr of Dynion Mwyn tradition of Welsh Witchcraft, 1966 - 1999

44 An Annotated Chronology and Bibliography of the Early Gardnerian Craft by Roger Dearnaley at (; 2000

45 Notes on Gardnerian Witchcraft in England by Fred Lamond at:; 2000

46 Doreen Valiente's Bibliography at: (; 2000

47 George Knowles site at ( 2002

48 Don Cardoza's History of Witchcraft at: (; 1999

49 Bill Liddell's documents at ( 1998

50 The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. 1998

Now, let me Introduce Allen Greenfield, an accomplished occultist and author.  He is responsible for the submission: The Legend and the Origin of Wicca:

I was born in 1946, and am also known by his ecclesiastical name Tau Sir Hasirim, and am an American occultist, ceremonial magician, UFOlogist, writer, editor, and Gnostic Bishop of Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis, as a magical egregoric title, rather than as a religious statement.  I reside near Atlanta, Georgia, andhavetravelled the world. My book, The Story of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light is one of the few sources of information on this subject. Another book, The Compleat Rite of Memphis, is a comprehensive history of an Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry, and I edited an authorized, annotated edition of the work Liber Thirty-One by Charles Stansfeld Jones.

I was elected and consecrated a Bishop by the Holy Synod of the Neopythagorean Gnostic Church in 1986. In 1987 I was extended recognition as a Bishop within the Gnostic Catholic Church - Ordo Templi Orientis (cOTO) and was consecrated in New York in November 1988. The episcopal title "Tau" is sometimes abbreviated as "T" and prefixed to my legal name, and thus may also be referred to as T Allen Greenfield. A former editor of the OTO journal LAShTAL,I have more recently become a critic of that Order's upper management. In February 2006, I called for their resignation and stepped down from all managerial duties in protest, issuing a strong criticism of the current Outer Head of that Order, William Breeze.

A past (elected) member of the Society for Psychical Research and the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (from 1960), I have twice been the recipient of the "UFOlogist of the Year Award" of the National UFO Conference (1972 and 1992). I am a Borderland Science Research Associate (BSRA), and have conducted on-site UFO and alien abduction investigations in Brooksville, FL, Pascagoula, MS and Brown Mountain, NC. My book Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts was reviewed by Robert Anton Wilson in his Everything is Under Control. This review discusses how my thinking builds on the principles established in Carl Jung's 1952 book, Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Sky. I am also a past President of the Atlanta Science Fiction Organization (ASFOII), and the editor of the periodical The Paraufologist.

I was consecrated by Tau Silenus, William Gary Keith Breeze in Brooklyn NY on November 19, 1988. I cross consecrated with Tau Apiryon, David Forrest Scriven in Atlanta GA December 10, 1993. I was reconsecrated by Scriven, Lynn Scriven (Soror Helena) assisting at the Scriven home in Riverside, California May 25, 1997.

Allen Greenfield was Elected to the Episcopate by the Holy Synod of the Neopythagorean Gnostic Church August 21, 1986, He was consecrated by Patriarch Bertiaux in Chicago IL USA December 4 1993.

A statement on spiritual legacy by Rt. Rev. T Allen Greenfield

Please note that, as Tau Michael Bertiaux has held, since June 16, 1979, all major independent lines of the traditional apostolic succession through consecration at that time by Bishop Forest Gregory Barber, all such lines flow to me by virtue of my consecrations by Bertiaux. Bertiaux, later reconsecrated by Jorge Rodriguez, then also consecrated me. In line with MY FORMER ASSOCIATES AT “OTO’s” Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, Patriarch Tau Silenus and Primate Tau Apiryon, I hold that there is a distinction between, on the one hand, Spiritual Appointment and Consecration in the lineage of Edward Alexander Crowley (Baphomet 33 * 90* 96* XI° MA&P R MM) and, on the other, the traditional Apostolic Succession. Both have their importance and validity. The issue is passage of egregore and empowerment, not any particular faith or creed.

In my view, and, in having held both, I believe I can render a rather well informed and detached opinion on this. I held the succession of Baphomet as a Bishop “now and forever” through Consecration by both the Absolute Grand Patriarch of the Ordo Templi Orientis Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (November 19, 1988 Brooklyn NY). While I am no longer associated with EGC-OTO, I hold with the Augustinian doctrine “once a bishop-always a bishop” though I claim -and would have -no authority within OTO as of late July, 2006. As Tau Silenus recognized me in writing unconditionally as Bishop in writing prior to my becoming an OTO initiate, I maintain I hold the succession of Baphomet, such as it is. Others are free to disagree; nobody questions my Full Apostolic Succession, which is what counts magically.

The “Baphomet descent” doctrine peculiar to the current OTO management was, in my opinion, a reaction to questions about their own Apostolic Succession, and nothing more, a silly over reaction typical of them.

I also hold the Latter Day Saints succession through Bishop Conway, and the Doinel Succession through various consecrations. The Honorary Title of “Rabbi” was recently also given me by the Fellowship Assembly, which I accept in the sense of being a “teacher of spirituality” in the Reform Jewish tradition.

What Allen Greenfield Really Believes:
It is my own conviction that verifiable spiritual powers are demonstrably attributable to various lineages of spiritual succession, be this the so-called “Succession of the Apostles” (which descends from the ancient Roman State Religion through Roman Christianity), various non-apostolic but similar lines of succession (Latter Day Saints, Doinel Gnostic, New Aeon, et al), or blood lineages as in the hereditary Hindu Brahmins or Hebrew Kohenim, from which I descend. I profess only two fundamental convictions in these endeavors: I advocate Scientific Illuminism, or the method of science employed in pursuit of the aims of religion, and I holds firmly to the conviction that the world as-it-is is
sufficiently unsatisfactory that exploration of almost any ethical “out-of-the-box” alternative, however unconventional, is worth the effort. We consider this Tikkun Olam, the attempt to improve the world as envisioned in our native great Hebraic tradition.

I hold also with Tau Michael Bertiaux that “Apostolic Succession” is of value as a continuation of the most ancient priesthoods of Egypt and Rome through the Christian communion, and that special mystical powers “objectively” are transferred by consecration in these lineages. My particular assertion is that this can be objectively verified through scientific experimentation, similar to that performed in parapsychology with spiritual healers. The legend of Ormus, the Egyptian Priest converted in apostolic times to Christianity, and transforming Egyptian Rites into a mode suitable to the Aeon of Osiris is, at least allegorically, a fair hint of the orderly continuity between ancient Near Eastern religions and the Christian Succession in the Eastern Churches, making it a suitable vehicle for continuity in our times. In the Western Churches, the Apostolic Succession existed in the many currents of the long-enduring state religion of Rome, which can be traced to the early Roman ruler Numa Pompilius, founder of the College of Pontiffs and the office of Pontifex Maximus, hundreds of years before Pauline Christianity; passing through the Roman Imperial State as one with the Emperor as Pontifex Maximus from the time of Julius Caesar until the Christian Emperor Gratian renounced the title in 379 E.V., apparently in favor of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Damasus I. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “The title pontifex was used of Roman Catholic bishops and pontifex maximus of the pope by the end of the 4th century.” The continuity from the most ancient spiritual sources should be obvious here, and its historical value in continuity for the New Aeon equally valid, all other considerations and theories aside. On April 24, 2010. Tau Sir Hasirim, with the assistance of Tau Dositheos and Tau Lamed, reconsecrated sub condione, Tau + Sir Leonis, the Most Rev Joe J. Payyapilly at Kwan Yin Temple, Woodstock GA USA. Tau + Sir Leonis then reconsecrated sub conditione Tau Dositheos, Tau Lamed, Tau Ishaviva, Tau Tula, Tau Roger and Tau Sir Hasirim. This was followed by a reconsecration from each to each in all lineages Gnostic and Apostolic.

He is the father of three sons. His eldest son, Alex Greenfield, is a network television writer and producer.

I was born into traditional and Reform Judaism and remain an adherent of Reform Judaism.



The Legend of Witchcraft and the Origin of Wicca

Copyright © 2010 by T Allen Greenfield All rights reserved.

(Allen made minor editorial changes to this article on 12-14-2010)

By Allen H. Greenfield, Bishop in the Gnosis

"The fact is that the instincts of ignorant people invariably find expression in some form of witchcraft. It matters little what the metaphysician or the moralist may inculcate; the animal sticks to his subconscious ideas ..."
— Aleister Crowley,
The Confessions

"Gather together in the covens as of old, whose number is eleven, that is also my number. Gather together in public, in song and dance and festival. Gather together in secret, be naked and shameless and rejoice in my name."
— Liber 49, The Book of Babalon, Jack Parsons, 1946

"If you are on the Path, and see the Buddha walking towards you, kill him."
— Zen saying, paraphrased slightly

"Previously I never thought of doubting that there were many witches in the world; now, however, when I examine the public record, I find myself believing that there are hardly any..."
— Father Friedrich von Spee, S.J., Cautio Criminalis, 1631

"...Yet as far as Merovingian Gaul is concerned, there is no evidence to suggest that any of the pagan religions persisted beyond the fifth century, and there is no pagan religion with a ‘complex set of beliefs and practices reflecting man's attitude to the supernatural' which can be identified or reconstructed from the information provided by the sources."
— Yitzhak Hen, doctoral thesis, 1995

[This monograph has a long history. The earliest published draft appeared in a small, independent radical journal during my sojourn in Florida in the middle 1980s. I was at that time closely associated with the OTO, but was not then an initiate member. I had been in close contact with Wiccan and other Neopagan groups at that time for over a decade.

I had been a welcome guest in many Neopagan circles, from Northern California to Southern Florida, and was widely, although inaccurately, described as a "Neopagan writer" (as in Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon). I was frequently published in the journal of the Church of All Worlds, Green Egg. Several years later, a revised and updated version appeared in the first issue of LAShTAL, the journal of Eulis Lodge OTO, which by then I had joined.

Since that time, the essay has been repeatedly updated and revised. After I lost my bid for it, the copy of Ye Book of Ye Arte Magical in the Ripley Collection was sold to a private collector with pro Wiccan sympathies (or so I have heard) and has disappeared from view, though I understand each page has been photographed and will likely appear soon in facsimile, for all to judge for themselves. I got a VERY good look at it, and expect no serious surprises.

A bootleg edition of this essay appeared in Canada in 2003, but this version has never before been published, and was prepared especially for this anthology. It was one of the editor's selections—I claim no connection to, or responsibility for any of the other selections published here, any more than I do for the choice of titles of the volume itself. But this essay is a product of some nearly twenty years of research and revision on my part. There are conjectures that might be wrong, and certainly satirical points not intended to be taken at face value, but it is a carefully measured, honest appraisal of the origins of "the old religion" as it has called itself, or Wicca. It is not an attack on a system of beliefs.

My bottom line is that Wicca is not related historically in any way other than literary inspiration to any aboriginal pagan religion. It is, in fact, a product of the 1930s and '40s, hugely influenced by the rituals of Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). It, in fact, is a errant direct descendent of an OTO encampment in London chartered by Aleister Crowley, then the OTO Grand Master General, and under direction of Crowley's student and would-be successor, Gerald Gardner. It is interesting to observe that Crowley's Acting Master of Agape Lodge OTO in America in the same period also wrote extensively a few years later on a "revival of witchcraft".

The present revision includes newer insights into the early claims concerning Gerald Gardner relative to his status in the OTO. Several letters published by Bill Heidrick, International Grand Treasurer General of the OTO, exchanged between Lady Frieda Harris and both Karl Germer and Frederic Mellinger, immediately after Aleister Crowley's death, add new insight. Br. Heidrick was kind enough to provide me with copies of these letters in my preparations for the previous revision of this essay. There is also an important letter by Gerald Gardner to Vernon Symmonds, written during the same period. A copy of the latter was kindly provided by Sabazius X°, the present U.S. Grand Master General of the OTO. I have also carefully examined the correspondence between Crowley and the Gnostic Bishop W.B. Crow, in which Crowley explicitly refers to Gardner's encampment, indicating it had a future as an OTO Lodge and urging Crow to work with it.

I have additionally had occasion to closely examine the aforementioned writings of John Whiteside Parsons on the subject of modern witchcraft, written during and at the end of the same period. It is of more than passing interest that Ye Book of Ye Arte Magical, the OTO Charter granted to Gerald Gardner by Aleister Crowley, the writings by Parsons on witchcraft, the publication of High Magic's Aid and the public emergence of Wicca all date from the same period, circa 1945-1950.]

Origins In Dreamland

Having spent the day musing over the origins of the modern witchcraft, I had a vivid dream. It seemed to be a cold January afternoon, and Aleister Crowley was having Gerald Gardner over to tea. It was 1945, and talk of an early end to the war was in the air. An atmosphere of optimism prevailed in the free world, but the wheezing old Magus was having none of it.

"Nobody is interested in magick any more!" Crowley ejaculated. "My friends on the Continent are dead or in exile, or grown old; the movement in America is in shambles. I've seen my best candidates turn against me ... Achad, Regardie ... even that gentleman out in California, what's - his - name, AMORC, the one that made all the money.."

"O, bosh, Crowley," Gardner waved his hand impatiently, "all things considered, you've done pretty well for yourself. Why, you've been called the 'wickedest man in the world' and by more than a few. And you've not, if you'll pardon the impertinence, done too badly with the ladies."

Crowley coughed, tugged on his pipe reflectively. "You know" he finally ventured, "it's like I've been trying to tell this boy Grant. A restrictive Order is not enough. If I had it all to do over again, I would've built a religion for the unwashed masses instead of just a secret society. Why, the opportunities! The women! Poor dimwit kid; he just doesn't get the point. Believes the mumbo-jumbo, I fear. I believe he reads Lovecraft or Poe or one of those other unsavory American fantasists too much. But you, Brother Gardner, you get what is needed."

Gardner smiled. "Precisely. And that is what I have come to propose to you. Take your Book of the Law, your Gnostic Mass. Add a little razzle-dazzle for the unwashed country folk. Why I know these occultists who call themselves 'witches'. They dance around fires naked, get drunk, have a good time. Rosicrucians, I think. Proper English country squires and dames, mostly. If I could persuade you to draw on your long experience and talents, in no time at all we could invent a popular cult that would have beautiful ladies clamoring to let us strip them naked, tie them up and spank their behinds! If, Mr. Crowley, you'll excuse my explicitness."

For all his infirmity, Aleister Crowley almost sprang to his feet, a little of the old energy flashing through his loins. "By George, Gardner, you've got something there, I should think! I could license you to initiate people into the O.T.O. today, and you could form the nucleus of such a group!"

He paced in agitation. "Yes, yes," he mused, half to Gardner, half to himself. "The Book. The Mass. I could write some rituals. An 'ancient book' of magick. A 'book of shadows'. Priestesses, naked girls. Yes. By Jove, yes!"

Great story, but merely a dream, created out of bits and pieces of rumor, history and imagination. Don't be surprised, though, if a year or five years from now you read it as 'history'. There have been more post mortem sightings of Elvis than the entire New Testament's reports of post mortem sightings of Jesus. In some new learned text on the fabled history of Wicca, you may read about Crowley and Gardner and spankings and naked witches. Such is the way all mythologies come into being.

Please don't misunderstand me here; I use the word 'mythology' in this context in its aboriginal meaning, and with considerable respect. History is, in my experience, more metaphor than factual accounting at best, and there are myths by which we live and others by which we die. Myths are the dreams and visions which parallel objective history. The myth-dream is the base out of which all great movements and ideals seem to emerge. Myths are not facts, but at times they may be more important than facts.

To arrive at some perspective on what the modern mythos called, variously, "Wicca", the "Old Religion", "Witchcraft" and "Neopaganism" is, we must firstly make a solid distinction; "witchcraft" in the popular informally defined sense may have little to do with the modern religion that goes by the same name. It has been argued by defenders of and formal apologists for modern Wicca that it is a direct lineal descendent of an ancient, indeed, prehistoric worldwide folk religion.

Some proponents hedge their claims, calling Wicca a "revival" rather than a continuation of an ancient cult. Oddly enough, there may never have been any such cult! The first time I met someone who thought she was a witch, she started going on about being a "blue of the cloak." I should've been warned right then and there. I merely rolled my eyes.

In fact, as time has passed and the religion has spread, the claims of lineal continuity have tended to be hedged more and more. Thus, we find Dr. Gardner himself, in 1954, stating unambiguously that some witches are descendants "... of a line of priests and priestesses of an old and probably Stone Age religion, who have been initiated in a certain way (received into the circle) and become the recipients of certain ancient learning." (Gardner, Witchcraft Today, pp. 33-34.)

Stated in its most extreme form, Wicca may be defined as an ancient pagan religious system of beliefs and practices, with a form of 'apostolic' succession (that is, with knowledge and ordination handed on linearly from generation to generation), a more or less consistent set of rites and myths, and even a secret holy book of considerable antiquity (The Book of Shadows). Beliefs or convictions, a coherent clergy and a holy text or texts are the characteristics that identify virtually all religious movements. The question of antiquity and lineal continuity is another matter.

More recent writers, as we have noted, have hedged a good deal on these claims where Wicca is concerned. Thus we find Stewart Farrar in 1971 musing on the purported ancient text thusly: "Whether, therefore, the whole of the Book of Shadows is post-1897 is anyone's guess. Mine is that, like the Bible, it is a patchwork of periods and sources, and that since it is copied and re-copied by hand, it includes amendments, additions, and stylistic alterations according to the taste of a succession of copiers...Parts of it I sense to be genuinely old; other parts suggest modern interpolation..." (Farrar, What Witches Do, pp. 34-35) As we shall discover presently, there appear to be no genuinely old copies of the Book of Shadows.

Still, as to the mythos, Farrar informs us that the "two personifications of witchcraft are the Horned God and the Mother Goddess..." (ibid., p 29) and that the "Horned God is not the Devil, and never has been. If today 'Satanist' covens do exist, they are not witches but a sick fringe, delayed-reaction victims of a centuries-old Church propaganda in which even intelligent Christians no longer believe..." (ibid., p 32).

If one is then to protest, 'very well, some case might be made for the Horned God being mistaken for the Christian Devil (or should that be the other way around?), but what record, prior to the advent 50 years ago of modern Wicca via Gerald Gardner, do we have of the intact survival of a mother goddess image from ancient times?

Wiccan apologists frequently refer to the (apparently isolated) tenth century Church document which states that "some wicked women, perverted by the Devil, seduced by the illusions and phantasms of demons, believe and profess themselves in the hours of the night to ride upon certain beasts with Diana, the goddess of pagans, or with Herodias, and an innumerable multitude of women, and in the silence of the dead of night to traverse great spaces of earth, and to obey her commands as of their mistress, and to be summoned to her service on certain nights." (Quoted in Valiente, Witchcraft For Tomorrow, Hale, 1978, p 32. and by Kramer and Sprenger in the Montague Summers' translation of The Hammer Of Witches.) This document dates from early post-Roman Europe. Some form of intact quasi pagan folk beliefs did survive through this period; even as late as the High Middle Ages it survived among the Vikings of Northern Europe. Human Sacrifice was practiced at Old Uppsala well into the High Middle Ages. However, the historical record in Europe and later in the Americas generally suggests that, once Christian missionaries began to proselytize in a given area, conversion was astonishingly rapid and pagan beliefs and even most customs rapidly faded. In more recent times, the total conversion in a single generation documented in Mexico and Peru following the Spanish conquest provides substantial proof of the thoroughness of this process. In earlier times, such works as Yitzhak Hen's Culture And Religion In Merovingian Gaul A.D. 481-751 show the same pattern of rapid conversion, not just in name but in substance, both in the cities and the countryside. Of course some customs and folklore from paleopagan times exist worldwide, but there has never been any evidence of a link to modern Wicca, other than a literary one. In the mystical sense, a Piscean religion best suited a Piscean Aeon, and Christianity offered answers to the questions of death and morality in a spiritual context poorly dealt with in both the State Pagan Religion of Rome and the Celtic, Germanic and other folk beliefs of Europe. Christianity prevailed because it better met the needs of the times in which it grew and prospered. It is characteristic of all ideologies either the rise, prosper, decline and fall, or, alternately, radically mutate. The pagan religions of the pre-Roman world simply did not evolve into something that met the spiritual needs of the imperial and medieval eras in which Christianity and later Islam entered the marketplace of ideas. Morris dancing and maypoles aside, what remained of predecessor cults are largely a grab-bag of mythical early saints and the Easter Bunny. But eggs and bunny rabbits do not a religion make.

Farrar, for his part, explains the lack of references to a goddess in the testimony at the infamous witch trials by asserting that "the judges ignored the Goddess, being preoccupied with the Satan-image of the God ..." (What Witches Do, p 33). Unfortunately for this school of thought, it is the evidence of that reign of terror which lasted from roughly 1484 to 1692 which brings the whole idea of a surviving religious cult into question. Largely discredited authorities such as Dr. Margaret Murray to the contrary, the conventional wisdom on the witch burning mania which swept like a plague over much of Europe during the transition from medieval world to modern is that it was just that; a mania, a delusion in the minds of Christian clergymen and state authorities; that is, there were no witches, only the innocent victims of the witch hunt. Further, this humanist argument goes, the 'witchcraft' of Satanic worship, broomstick riding, of Sabats and Devil-marks, was a rather late invention, borrowing but little from remaining memories of actual pre Christian paganism. We have seen that the infamous inquisitors Kramer and Springer knew full well the early account mentioned above, and classical paganism as a literary knowledge has never been forgotten. We saw a resurrection of this mania in the 1980s flurry over 'Satanic sacrificial' cults, with as little evidence. The story still gets retold in the 21st Century on occasion, in fresh form.

"The concept of the heresy of witchcraft was frankly regarded as a new invention, both by the theologians and by the public," writes Dr. Rossell Hope Robbins in The Encyclopedia Of Witchcraft & Demonology, (Crown, 1959, p.9) "Having to hurdle an early church law, the Canon Episcopi, which said in effect that belief in witchcraft was superstitious and heretical, the inquisitors caviled by arguing that the witchcraft of the Canon Episcopi and the witchcraft of the Inquisition were different..."

The evidence extracted under the most gruesome and repeated tortures resemble the Wiccan religion of today in only the most superficial fashion. Though Wicca may have been framed with the "confessions" extracted by victims of the inquisitors in mind, those "confessions" —which are more than suspect, to begin with, bespeak a cult of devil worshipers dedicated to evil.

One need only read a few of the accounts of the time to realize that, had there been at the time a religion of the Goddess and God, of seasonal circles and The Book of Shadows, such would likely have been blurted out by the victims, and more than once. The agonies of the accused were, almost literally, beyond the imagination of those of us who have been fortunate enough to escape them.

The witch mania went perhaps unequaled in the annals of crimes against humanity en masse until the Hitlerian brutality of the last century. But, no such confessions were forthcoming, though the wretches accused, before the torture was done, would also be compelled to condemn their own parents, spouses, loved ones, even children. They confessed, and to anything the inquisitors wished, anything to stop or reduce the pain.

A Priest, probably at risk to his own life, recorded testimony in the 1600s that reflected the reality underlying the forced "confessions" of "witches". Rev. Michael Stapirius records, for example, this comment from one "confessed witch": "I never dreamed that by means of the torture a person could be brought to the point of telling such lies as I have told. I am not a witch, and I have never seen the devil, and still I had to plead guilty myself and denounce others...." All but one copy of Father Stapirius' book were destroyed, and little wonder.

A letter smuggled from a German burgomaster, Johannes Junius, to his daughter in 1628, is as telling as it is painful even to read. His hands had been virtually destroyed in the torture, and he wrote only with great agony and no hope. "When at last the executioner led me back to the cell, he said to me, 'Sir, I beg you, for God's sake, confess something, whether it be true or not. Invent something, for you cannot endure the torture which you will be put to; and, even if you bear it all, yet you will not escape, not even if you were an earl, but one torture will follow another until you say you are a witch. Not before that,' he said, 'will they let you go, as you may see by all their trials, for one is just like another...'" (ibid., pp. 12-13)

For the graspers at straws, we may find an occasional line in a "confession" which is intriguing, as in the notations on the "confession" of one woman from Germany dated in late 1637. After days of unspeakable torment, wherein the woman confesses under pain, recants when the pain is removed, only to be moved by more pain to confess again, she is asked: "How did she influence the weather? She does not know what to say and can only whisper, Oh, Heavenly Queen, protect me!"

Was the victim calling upon "the Goddess"? It seems far more likely, in my judgment, that she was calling upon that transfiguration of all ancient goddesses in Christian mythology, the Virgin Mary. One more quote from Dr. Robbins, and I will cease to parade late medieval history before you.

It comes from yet another priest, Father Cornelius Loos, who observed, in 1592 that "Wretched creatures are compelled by the severity of the torture to confess things they have never done, and so by cruel butchery innocent lives are taken....." (ibid., p 16). The "evidence" of the witch trials indicates, on the whole, neither the Satanism the church and state would have us believe, nor the pagan survivals now claimed by modern Wicca; rather, they suggest only fear, greed, human brutality carried out to bizarre extremes that have few parallels in all of history. But, the brutality is not that of 'witches' nor even of 'Satanists' but rather that of the Christian Church, and the government.

What, then, are we to make of modern Wicca? It must, of course, be observed as an aside that in a sense witchcraft or "wisecraft" has, indeed, been with us from the dawn of time, not as a coherent religion or set of practices and beliefs, but as the folk magic and medicine that stretches back to early, possibly Paleolithic tribal shamans on to modern China's so-called "barefoot doctors". But this is folklore and folkcraft, not a religion.

In another sense, we can also say that ceremonial magick, as I have previously noted, has had a place in history for a very long time, and both these ancient systems of belief and practice have intermingled in the lore of modern Wicca, as apologists are quick to claim.

But, to an extent, this misses the point and skirts an essential question anyone has the right to ask about modern Wicca—namely, did Wicca exist as a coherent creed, a distinct form of spiritual expression, prior to the 1940s; that is, prior to the meeting of minds between the old magus and venerable prophet of the occult world Aleister Crowley, and the first popularizer, if not outright inventor of modern Wicca, Gerald Brosseau Gardner?

There is certainly no doubt that bits and pieces of ancient paganism survived into modern times in folklore and, for that matter, in the very practices and beliefs of Christianity.

Further, there appears to be some evidence that 'Old George' Pickingill and others were practicing some form of Satanic folk magick as early as the latter part of the 19th century, though even this has recently been brought into question. Wiccan writers have made much of this in the past, but just what 'Old George' was doing is subject to much debate.

Doreen Valiente, an astute Wiccan writer and one-time intimate of the late Dr. Gardner (and, in fact, the author of some rituals now thought by others to be of "ancient origin"), says of Pickingill that so "fierce was 'Old George's dislike of Christianity that he would even collaborate with avowed Satanists..." (Tomorrow, p 20). What George Pickingill was doing is simply not clear. That it was not the religion identified today as "Wicca" is much clearer.

He is said to have had some interaction with a host of figures in the occult revival of the late nineteenth century, including perhaps even Crowley and his teacher Bennett. It seems possible that Gardner, about the time of meeting Crowley, had some involvement with groups stemming from Pickingill's earlier activities, but it is only after Crowley and Gardner meet that we begin to see anything resembling the modern spiritual communion that has become known as Wicca.

"Witches," wrote Gardner in 1954, "are consummate leg-pullers; they are taught it as part of their stock-in-trade." (Witchcraft Today, p 27) Modern apologists both of Aleister Crowley AND Gerald Gardner have taken on such serious tones as well as pretensions that they may be missing places where tongues are firmly jutting against cheeks.

Both men were believers in fleshly fulfillment, not only as an end in itself but, as in the Tantric Yoga of the East, as a means of spiritual attainment. A certain prudishness has crept into the practices of post Gardnerian Wiccans, especially in America since the 1960s, along with a certain pseudo feminist revisionism. This has succeeded to a considerable extent in converting a libertine sex cult into a rather staid Neopuritanism.

The original Gardnerian current is still well enough known and widely enough in vogue (in Britain and Ireland especially) that one can venture to assert that what Gardnerian Wicca is all about is the same thing Crowley was attempting with a more narrow, more intellectual constituency with the magical orders under his direct influence.

These Orders had flourished for some time, but by the time Crowley "officially" met Gardner in the 1940s, much of the former's lifelong efforts had, if not totally disintegrated, were then operating at a diminished and diminishing level.

Through his long and fascinating career as Magus and organizer, there is some reason to believe that Crowley periodically may have wished for, or even attempted to, create a more populist expression of magical religion. The Gnostic Mass, which Crowley wrote fairly early-on, had come since his death to somewhat fill this function through the OTO-connected but (for a time) semi-autonomous Gnostic Catholic Church (EGC, Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica).

As we shall see momentarily, one of Crowley's key followers was publishing manifestos forecasting the revival of witchcraft at the same time Gardner was being chartered by Crowley to organize an OTO encampment. The OTO itself, since Crowley's time, has taken on a more popular image and a considerably larger membership, and is somewhat less elitist and more oriented towards international organizational efforts, thanks largely to the work under the Caliphate of the late Grady McMurtry, an American direct student of Crowley's. This contrasts sharply with the very internalized OTO that barely survived during the McCarthy Era, when the late Karl Germer was in charge, and the OTO turned inward for two decades. (On the other hand, Germer when seen less as an active Grand Master and more as a Conservator of ideas and rites in a "dark age" comes off a good deal better.)

The famous Ancient and Mystic Order of the Rose Cross (AMORC), the highly successful mail-order spiritual fellowship, was an OTO offspring in Crowley's time. It has been claimed that Kenneth Grant and Aleister Crowley were discussing relatively radical changes in the Ordo Templi Orientis at approximately the same time that Gardner and Crowley were interactive. Indeed, Crowley's correspondence and conversations with his eventual successor Grady McMurtry suggest that in his last years the old Magus envisioned the need for a new generation of leaders with new ideas. Gardner was never a designated Crowley successor, but he was certainly on Crowley's 'short list' at the end of World War Two.

Though Wiccan writers give some lip service (and, no doubt, some sincere credence) to the notion that the validity of Wiccan ideas doesn't depend upon its lineage, the suggestion that Wicca is — or, at least, started out to be — essentially a late attempt at popularizing the secrets of ritual and sexual magick Crowley promulgated through the OTO and his writings, seems to evoke nervousness, if not hostility.

One notes gross animosity or a certain culpable nervousness. We hear from Wiccan writer and leader Raymond Buckland that one "of the suggestions made is that Aleister Crowley wrote the rituals ... but no convincing evidence has been presented to back this assertion and, to my mind, it seems extremely unlikely ..." (Gardner, ibid., introduction) The Wiccan rituals I have seen DO have much of Crowley in them. Yet, as we shall see in presently, the explanation that 'Crowley wrote the rituals for Gardner' turns out to be somewhat in error. But it is on the right track.

Doreen Valiente attempts to invoke Crowley's alleged infirmity at the time of his acquaintance with Gardner:

"It has been stated by Francis King in his Ritual Magic In England that Aleister Crowley was paid by Gerald Gardner to write the rituals of Gardner's new witch cult...Now, Gerald Gardner never met Aleister Crowley until the very last years of the latter's life, when he was a feeble old man living at a private hotel in Hastings, being kept alive by injections of drugs... If, therefore, Crowley really invented these rituals in their entirety, they must be about the last thing he ever wrote. Was this enfeebled and practically dying man really capable of such a tour de force? "

The obvious answer, as the late Dr. Israel Regardie's introduction to the posthumously published collection of Crowley's letters, Magick Without Tears, implies, would be yes. Crowley continued to produce extraordinary material almost to the end of his life, and much of what I have seen of the "Wiccan Crowley" is, in any case, of earlier origin. I have read a letter written by Crowley in September of 1947 which is sound, coherent and to the point. From Lady Freida Harris's description, it would seem that Crowley was quite in control until the last few days of his life, at the end of that year. He was elderly, quite ill and passed on. Only a few months earlier he had busily been coaching Gardner on the proposed London OTO body, and writing serious letters to his remaining students.

Gerald Gardner is himself not altogether silent on the subject. In Witchcraft Today (p 47), Gardner asks himself, with what degree of irony one can only guess at, who, in modern times, could have invented the Wiccan rituals. "The only man I can think of who could have invented the rites," he offers, "was the late Aleister Crowley ... possibly he borrowed things from the cult writings, or more likely someone may have borrowed expressions from him ..." A few legs may be being pulled here, and perhaps more than a few.

As a prophet ahead of his time, as a poet and dreamer of daring dreams, Crowley is one of the outstanding figures of the twentieth (or any) century. As an organizer, he was almost as much of a calamity as he was at managing his own finances ... and personal life. As I understand the liberatory nature of the magical path, one would do well to see the difference between Crowley the prophet of Thelema and Crowley the insolvent and awkward administrator.

Crowley very much lacked the common touch; Gardner was above all things a popularizer. Both men have been reviled as lecherous "dirty old men" — Crowley, as a seducer of women and a homosexual, a drug addict and 'Satanist' rolled together.

Gardner was, they would have it, a voyeur, exhibitionist and bondage freak with a 'penchant for ritual' to borrow a line from The Story Of O. Both were, in reality, spiritual libertines with a purpose, ceremonial magicians who did not shy away from the awesome force of human sexuality and its potential for spiritual transformation as well as physical gratification.

I will not say with finality at this point whether Wicca is an outright invention of these two divine mountebanks and magi. If so, more power to them, and to those who truly follow in their path. I do know that, between 1945 and 1947, Crowley met with Gardner, and gave him license to organize an OTO encampment. This was, as it turns out, a serious effort by Crowley to establish a new OTO presence in Britain. As late as May of 1947 we have seen letters from Crowley to one of his key associates urging the latter to send his followers in London to Dr. Gardner so that they might receive proper initiation in OTO through Gardner's OTO Camp, which Crowley anticipated being in operation in a matter of weeks. After Crowley's death his close collaborator, Lady Harris, thought Gardner to be Crowley's successor as head of the OTO in Europe. Gardner claimed as much himself. See below.

Shortly thereafter, the public face of Wicca came into view, and that is what I know of the matter: I presently am the designated curator of Gardner's certificate of license to organize said OTO camp, signed and sealed by Aleister Crowley. The certificate and its import are examined in connection with my personal search for the original Book of Shadows in the next section of this narrative.

For now, though, let us note in the years since Crowley chartered Gardner to organize a magical encampment, Wicca has both grown in popularity and become, to my mind, something far less real than either Gardner or Crowley could have wanted or foreseen. Wherever they came from, the rites and practices which came from or through Gerald Gardner were strong, and tapped into that archetypal reality, that level of consciousness beneath the mask of polite society and conventional wisdom which is the function of True Magick.

At a popular level, this was the "Tantric" Sex Magick of the West. Whether this primordial access has been lost to us will depend on the awareness, the awakening or lack thereof among practitioners of the near to middle-near future. Carried to its end Gardnerian practices, like Crowley's magick, are not merely exotic; they are, in the truest sense, subversive and transformative.

Practices that work are of value, whether they are two years old or two thousand. Practices, myths, institutions and obligations which, on the other hand, may be infinitely ancient are of no value at all unless they work.

The Devil, you say

Before we move on, though, in light of the furor over real and imagined "Satanism" that has overtaken parts of the popular press in recent decades on an on again, off again basis, I would feel a bit remiss in this account if I did not take momentary note of that other strain of left-handed occult mythology, Satanism. Wiccans are correct when they say that modern Wicca is not Satanic, that Satanism is "reverse Christianity" whereas Wicca is a separate, non Christian religion.

Still, it should be noted, so much of our society has been grounded in the repressiveness and authoritarian moralism of what passes for Christianity that a liberal dose of "counter Christianity" is to be expected, if not welcomed. The Pat Robertsons of the world make possible the Anton LeVays. In the long history of repressive religion, a certain fable of Satanism has arisen. It constitutes a mythos of its own. No doubt, misguided 'copycat' fanatics have sometimes misused this mythos, in much the same way that Charles Manson misused the music and culture of the 1960s.

True occult initiates have always regarded the Ultimate Reality as beyond all names and description. Named 'deities' are, therefore, largely symbols. "Isis" is a symbol of the long-denied female component of deity to some occultists. "Pan" or "The Horned God" or "Set" or even "Satan" are symbols of unconscious, repressed sexuality; hot, primal and as raw as the scorch of the desert Sun a midday. To the occultist, there is no Devil, no "god of evil." There is, ultimately, only the Ain Sof Aur of the Qabala; the limitless light of which we are but a frozen spark. Evil, in this system, is the mere absence of light. All else is illusion.

The goal of the occult path of initiation is balance. In Freemasonry and High Magick, the symbols of the White Pillar and Black Pillar represent this balance between conscious and unconscious forces.

In Gardnerian Wicca, the Goddess and Horned God - and the Priestess and Priest, represent that balance. There is nothing, nothing whatever of pacts with the "Devil" or the worship of evil in any of this; that belongs to misguided ex Christians who have been given the absurd fundamentalist Sunday school notion that one must choose the exoteric Christian version of God, or choose the Devil. Judaism, Mormonism, and even Catholicism have at one time or another been thought "Satanic," and occultists have merely played on this bigoted symbolism, not subscribed to it.

As we have seen, Wicca since Gardner's time has been watered down in many of its expressions into a kind of mushy white-light 'New Age' religion, with far less of the strong sexuality characteristic of Gardnerian Wicca, though, also, sometimes with less pretense as well.

In any event, Satanism has popped up now and again through much of the history of the Christian Church. The medieval witches were not likely to have been Satanists, as the Church would have it, but, as we have seen, neither were they likely to have been "witches" in the Wiccan sense, either.

The Hellfire Clubs of the Eighteenth Century were mockingly Satanic, and groups like the Process Church of the Final Judgment do, indeed, have Satanic elements in their (one should remember) essentially low-church fundamentalist Christian theology.

Aleister Crowley, ever theatrical, was prone to use Satanic symbolism in much the same way, tongue jutting in cheek, as he was given to saying that he "sacrificed hundreds of children each year," that is, that he was sexually active. Crowley once called a press conference at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, where he announced that he was burning his British Passport to protest Britain's involvement in World War One or (in another version) Britain's repression of Ireland. He tossed an empty envelope into the water. He was, in fact, probably at that time a part-time British intelligence agent trying to bring the United States into World War One on the British side.

The most popular form of "counter Christianity" to emerge in modern times, though, was the late Anton Szandor LaVey's San Francisco-based Church of Satan, founded April 30, 1966. LaVey's Church enjoyed an initial burst of press interest, grew to a substantial size as a kind of swinger's club with occult trappings, and appeared to maintain itself during the cultural decay of the 1970s. But LaVey's books, The Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, have remained in print for many years, and his ideas seem to enjoy a periodic renewal of interest, especially among younger people, goths and heavy metal fans with a death-wish mostly, beginning in the middle years of the 1980s. By that time the Church of Satan had become more decentralized and was largely succeeded — ideologically if not numerically — by the Temple of Set. The movement has outlived LeVay. But his "Satanism", one should remember, is pure theater or psychodrama; more in the nature of acting-out psychotherapy than religion.

It is interesting to note Francis King's observation that before the Church of Satan began LaVey was involved in an occult group which included, among others, underground film maker Kenneth Anger, a person well known in Crowley circles. Of the rites of the Church of Satan, King states that "...most of its teachings and magical techniques were somewhat vulgarized versions of those of Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis." (Man Myth And Magic, p 3204.) To which we might add that, as with the OTO, the rites of the Church of Satan and Temple of Set are manifestly potent in their primal energy, but hardly criminal or murderous. At their worst, they are merely silly.

LaVey, like Gardner and unlike Crowley, appears to have had "the common touch" — perhaps rather more so than Gardner. This attraction was, however, caught up in the hedonism of the 1970s, and has little to say by the end of the 20th Century.

I determined to trace the Wiccan rumor to its source. As we shall see, in the very year I "fell" into being a Gnostic Bishop, I also fell into the original charters, rituals and paraphernalia of Wicca.

The Charter And The Book

Being A Radical Revisionist History of the Origins of the Modern Witch Cult and The Book of Shadows.

"G. B. Gardner . . . is head of the O.T.O. in Europe." Lady Frieda Harris, letter to Karl Germer, January 2, 1948

"It was one of the secret doctrines of paganism that the Sun was the source, not only of light, but of life. The invasion of classical beliefs by the religions of Syria and Egypt which were principally solar, gradually affected the conception of Apollo, and there is a certain later identification of him with the suffering God of Christianity, Freemasonry and similar cults"
— Aleister Crowley in Astrology, 1974

"if GBG and Crowley only knew each other for a short year or two, do you think that would be long enough for them to become such good friends that gifts of personal value would be exchanged several times, and that GBG would have been able to acquire the vast majority of Crowley's effects after his death?"
— Merlin the Enchanter, personal letter, 1986

"...On the floor before the altar, he remembers a sword with a flat cruciform brass hilt, and a well-worn manuscript book of rituals - the hereditary Book of Shadows, which he will have to copy out for himself in the days to come..."
— Stewart Farrar in What Witches Do, 1971

"...the Gardnerian Book of Shadows is one of the key factors in what has become a far bigger and more significant movement than Gardner can have envisaged; so historical interest alone would be enough reason for defining it while first-hand evidence is still available..."

Janet and Stewart Farrar in The Witches' Way, 1984

"It has been alleged that a Book of Shadows in Crowley's hand-writing was formerly exhibited in Gerald's Museum of Witchcraft on the Isle of Man. I can only say I never saw this on either of the two occasions when I stayed with Gerald and Donna Gardner on the island. The large, handwritten book depicted in Witchcraft Today is not in Crowley's handwriting, but Gerald's..." Doreen Valiente in Witchcraft for Tomorrow, 1978

"Aidan Kelly. . . labels the entire Wiccan revival 'Gardnerian Witchcraft . . . ' The reasoning and speculation in Aidan's book are intricate. Briefly, his main argument depends on his discovery of one of Gardner's working notebooks, Ye Book of Ye Art Magical, which is in possession of Ripley International, Ltd......" Margot Adler in Drawing Down the Moon, 1979

Waiting For The Man From Canada

I was, for the third time in four years, waiting a bit nervously for the Canadian executive with the original Book of Shadows in the ramshackle office of Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum.

"They're at the jail," a smiling secretary-type explained, "but we've called them and they should be back over here to see you in just a few minutes."

The jail? Ah, St. Augustine, Florida. "The Old Jail," was the 'nation's oldest city's' second most tasteless tourist trap, complete with cage-type cells and a mock gallows. For a moment I allowed myself to play in my head with the vision of Norm Deska, Ripley Operations Vice President and John Turner, the General Manager of Ripley's local operation and the guy who'd bought the Gerald Gardner collection from Gardner's niece, Monique Wilson, sitting in the slammer. But no, Turner apparently had just been showing Deska the town. I straightened my ice cream suit for the fiftieth time, and suppressed the comment. We were talking BIG history here, and big bucks, too. I gulped. The original Book of Shadows. Maybe.

It had started years before. One of the last people in America to be a fan of carnival sideshows, I was anxious to take another opportunity to go through the almost archetypally seedy old home that housed the original Ripley's Museum.

I had known that Ripley had, in the nineteen seventies, acquired the Gardner stuff, but as far as I knew it was all located at their Tennessee resort museum. I think I'd heard they'd closed it down. By then, the social liberalism of the early seventies was over, and witchcraft and sorcery were no longer in keeping with a 'family style' museum. It featured a man with a candle in his head, a Tantric skull drinking cup and freak show stuff like that, but, that, apparently, was deemed suitable family fun.

I was a bit surprised, then, when I discovered some of the Gardner stuff - including an important historical document, for sale in the gift shop, in a case just opposite the little alligators that have "St. Augustine, Florida - America's Oldest City" stickered on their plastic bellies for the folks back home to use as a paper-weight. The price tags on the occult stuff, however, were way out of my range.

Back again, three years later, and I decided, what the hell, so I asked the cashier about the stuff still gathering dust in the glass case, and it was like I'd pushed some kind of button.

Out comes Mr. Turner, the manager, who whisks us off to a store room which is filled, filled I tell you, with parts of the Gardner collection, much of it, if not "for sale" as such, at least available for negotiation. Mr. Turner told us about acquiring the collection when he was manager of Ripley's Blackpool operation, how it had gone over well in the U.S. at first, but had lost popularity and was now relegated for the most part to storage status.

Visions of sugarplums danced in my head. There were many treasures here, but the biggest plum of all, I thought, was not surprisingly, not to be seen.

I'd heard all kinds of rumors about the Book of Shadows over the years, many of them conflicting, all of them intriguing. Rumor #1, of course, is that which accompanied the birth (or, depending on how one looked at it, the revival) of modern Wicca, the contemporary successor of ancient fertility cults.

It revolved around elemental rituals, secret rites of passage and a mythos of goddess and god that seemed attractive to me as a psychologically valid alternative to the austere, antisexual moralism of fundamentalist Christianity. The Book of Shadows, in this context, was the 'holy book' of Wicca, copied out by hand by new initiates of the cult with a history stretching back at least to the era of witch burnings.

Rumor #2, which I had tended to credit, had it that Gerald Gardner, the 'father of modern Wicca' had paid Aleister Crowley in his final years to write the Book of Shadows, perhaps whole cloth. The rumor's chief exponent was the respected historian of the occult, Francis King.

Rumor #3 had it that Gardner had written the Book himself, which others had since copied and/or stolen.

To the contrary, said rumor #4, Gardner's Museum had contained an old, even ancient copy of the Book of Shadows, proving its antiquity.

In more recent years modern Wiccans have tended to put some distance between themselves and Gardner, just as Gardner, for complex reasons, tended to distance himself in the early years of Wicca (circa 1944-1954) from the blatant sexual magick of Aleister Crowley, "the wickedest man in the world" by some accounts, and from Crowley's organization, the Ordo Templi Orientis . Why Gardner chose to do this is speculative, but I've got some idea. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

While Turner showed me a blasphemous cross shaped from the body of two nude women (created for the 18th century infamous "Hellfire Clubs" in England and depicted in the Man Myth and Magic encyclopedia; I bought it, of course) and a statue of Beelzebub from the dusty Garderian archives, a thought occurred to me. "You know," I suggested, "if you ever, in all this stuff, happen across a copy of The Book of Shadows in the handwriting of Aleister Crowley, it would be of considerable historical value."

I understated the case. It would be like finding The Book of Mormon in Joseph Smith's hand, or finding the original Ten Commandments written not by God Himself, but by Moses, pure and simple. (Better still, eleven commandments, with a margin note, "first draft.") I didn't really expect anything to come of it, and in the months ahead, it didn't.

In the meantime, I had managed to acquire the interesting document I first mistook for Gerald Gardner's (long acknowledged) initiation certificate into Crowley's Thelemic magical Ordo Templi Orientis. To my eventual surprise, I discovered that, not only was this not a simple initiation certificate for the Minerval (probationary-lowest) degree, but, to the contrary, was a Charter for Gardner to begin his own encampment of the O.T.O., and to initiate members into the O.T.O.

In the document, furthermore, Gardner is referred to as "Prince of Jerusalem"—that is, he is acknowledged to be a Fourth Degree Perfect Initiate in the Order. This, needless to say, would usually imply years of dedicated training. Though Gardner had claimed Fourth Degree O.T.O. status as early as publication of High Magic's Aid, (and claimed even higher status in one edition* ) this runs somewhat contrary to both generally held Wiccan and (then) contemporary O.T.O. orthodox understandings that the O.T.O. was then fallow in England.

At the time the document was written, most maintained, Gardner could have known Crowley for only a brief period, and was not himself deeply involved in the O.T.O. The document is undated but probably was drawn up around 1946 or '47.

As I said, it was once understood that no viable chartered body of the O.T.O. was supposed to exist in England at that time; the only active Lodge was in California, and is the direct antecedent of the contemporary authentic Ordo Templi Orientis. Karl Germer, Crowley's immediate successor, had been imprisoned in a Concentration Camp during the War, his mere association with Crowley being deemed 'criminal freemasonry'. But Crowley himself clearly expected Gardner to establish an OTO Camp, and was referring followers to Gardner for initiation as late as May of 1947.

The German OTO had been largely destroyed by the Nazis, along with other Freemasonry-related organizations, and Crowley himself was in declining health and power, the English OTO virtually dead. A provincial Swiss branch existed, but was highly insular and tending towards schism. The Charter also displayed other irregularities of a revealing nature. Though the signature and seals are certainly those of Crowley, the text is in the decorative hand of Gerald Gardner! The complete text reads as follows:

Do what thou wilt shall be the law. We Baphomet X°Ordo Templi Orientis Sovereign Grand Master General of All English speaking countries of the Earth do hereby authorise our Beloved Son Scire (Dr. G, B, Gardner,) Prince of Jerusalem to constitute a camp of the Ordo Templi Orientis, in the degree Minerval. Love is the Law, Love under will. Witness my hand and seal Baphomet X°

Leaving aside the misquotation from The Book of the Law ("Do what thou wilt shall be the Law" instead of "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law"), which got by me for some months and probably got by Crowley when it was presented to him for signature, the document is definitely authentic. It hung for some time in Gardner's museum, possibly giving rise, as we shall see, to the rumor that Crowley wrote the Book of Shadows for Gardner. According to Doreen Valiente, and to Col. Lawrence as well, the museum's descriptive pamphlet says of this document:

"The collection includes a Charter granted by Aleister Crowley to G.B. Gardner (the Director of this Museum) to operate a Lodge of Crowley's fraternity, the Ordo Templi Orientis. (The Director would like to point out, however, that he has never used this Charter and has no intention of doing so, although to the best of his belief he is the only person in Britain possessing such a Charter from Crowley himself; Crowley was a personal friend of his, and gave him the Charter because he liked him.") This was probably written well after Wicca was developed in the form it is today identified with, at least in Britain. As I point out elsewhere, Crowley clearly took the Charter seriously, even openly envisioning it extending to a Lodge to do the entire "Man of Earth Series" of OTO initiations eventually. Gardner, for his part, places a different connotation on the Charter at an earlier time, giving out the impression that it makes him the Grand Master of the OTO in Europe.

Col. Lawrence ("Merlin the Enchanter"), in a letter to me dated 6 December, 1986, adds that this appeared in Gardner's booklet, The Museum of Magic and Witchcraft. The explanation for the curious wording of the text, taking, as Dr. Gardner does, great pains to distance himself from Crowley and the OTO, may be hinted at in that the booklet suggests that this display in the "new upper gallery" (page 24) was put out at a relatively late date when, as we shall discover, Gardner was making himself answerable to the demands of the new witch cult and not the long-dead Crowley and (then) relatively moribund OTO.

Now, the "my friend Aleister" ploy might explain the whole thing. Perhaps, as some including Ms. Valiente believed, Aleister Crowley was desperate in his last years to hand on what he saw as his legacy to someone. He recklessly handed out his literary estate,the story goes, perhaps gave contradictory instruction to various of his remaining few devotees (e.g. Kenneth Grant, Grady McMurtry, Karl Germer), and may have given Gardner an "accelerated advancement" in his order. The latter might be true; it was common practice for Master Masons to be inducted into OTO at a rather high level at one time.

There is, however, certainly reason to dispute this. I have read Crowley's letters to Jack Parsons and to Karl Germer, and others, including the more famous letters published as Magick Without Tears and his now celebrated authorizations to Grady McMurtry — all very late writings indeed, as well as his Last Will and Testament dated June 19, 1947, only six months prior to his death, and Crowley seems intent upon an orderly process of transition of his minor financial estate and, more importantly, his substantial literary estate, to the OTO leadership which, he leaves no doubt in his Will, falls to Germer, then Grand Treasurer General of the OTO. To the end he continues to critique what he sees as unsound thinking (letters to Parsons and Germer in 1946), and to speak of moving to California to be with Agape Lodge, by then the remaining centerpiece of the OTO, but also referring to Gardner's Camp in London as a virtual accomplished fact.

Ms. Valiente, a devoted Wiccan who nevertheless was also a dedicated seeker after the historical truth, mentions also the claim made by the late Gerald Yorke to her that Gardner had paid Crowley a substantial sum for the document. In a letter to me dated 28th August, 1986, Ms. Valiente tells of a meeting with Yorke " London many years ago and mentioned Gerald's O.T.O. Charter to him, whereon he told me, 'Well, you know, Gerald Gardner paid old Crowley about ($1500) or so for that...' This may or may not be correct..." Money or friendship do not explain the Charter. Again, Crowley privately sent students to Gardner as an OTO bodymaster, and Gardner claimed both OTO membership and even leadership, the later rather more wishfully than authorized.

I can tell you of my own knowledge that becoming a Companion of the Royal Arch of Enoch, Perfect Initiate, Prince of Jerusalem and Chartered Initiator is, ordinarily, a long and arduous task in the OTO. If Gardner held said position, and a charter to initiate and an encampment charter, he was, at the least, a Crowley student and confidant.

Gardner was in the habit, after the public career of Wicca emerged in the 1950s, of downgrading any Crowley associations out of his past, and, as Janet and Stewart Farrar reveal in The Witches' Way (1984, p3) there are three distinct versions of the Book of Shadows in Gerald Gardner's handwriting which incorporate successively less material from Crowley's writings, though the last (termed "Text C" and co written with Doreen Valiente after 1953) is still heavily influenced by Crowley and the OTO.

Ms. Valiente has recently uncovered a copy of an old occult magazine contemporary with High Magic's Aid and from the same publisher, which discusses an ancient Indian document called "The Book of Shadows" but apparently totally unrelated to the Wiccan book of the same name. Valiente acknowledges that the earliest text by Gardner known to her was untitled, though she refers to it as a "Book of Shadows."

It seems suspicious timing; did Gardner take over the title from his publisher's magazine? Ms. Valiente observed to me that the "...eastern Book of Shadows does not seem to have anything to do with witchcraft at all ... is this where old Gerald first found the expression "The Book of Shadows" and adopted it as a more poetical name for a magical manuscript than, say 'The Grimoire' or 'The Black Book'... I don't profess to know the answer; but I doubt if this is mere coincidence ..."

The claim is frequently made by those who wish to 'salvage' a pre-Gardnerian source of Wiccan materials that there is a 'core' of 'authentic' materials. But, as the Farrars' recently asserted, the portions of the Book of Shadows "..which changed least between Texts A, B and C were naturally the three initiation rituals; because these, above all, would be the traditional elements which would have been carefully preserved, probably for centuries...."

But what does one mean by "traditional materials?" The three initiation rites, now much-described in print, all smack heavily of the crypto-Freemasonic ritual of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the OTO, and the various esoteric NeoRosicrucian groups that abounded in Britain from about 1885 on, and which were, it is widely known, the fountainhead of much that is associated with Gardner's friend Crowley.

The Third Degree ritual, perhaps Wicca's ultimate rite, is, essentially, a "non symbolic Gnostic Mass", that beautiful, evocative, erotic and esoteric ritual written and published by Crowley in the Equinox, after attending a Russian Orthodox Mass in the early part of the twentieth century. The Gnostic Mass has had far-reaching influence, and it would appear that the Wiccan Third Degree is one of the most blatant examples of that influence.

Take, for example, this excerpt from what is perhaps the most intimate, most secret and most sublime moment in the entire repertoire of Wicca rituals, the nonsymbolic (that is, overtly sexual) Great Rite of the Third Degree initiation, as related by Janet and Stewart Farrarn nnin The Witches' Way (p.34):

The Priest continues: 'O Secret of Secrets, That art hidden in the being of all lives, Not thee do we adore, For that which adoreth is also thou. Thou art That, and That am I. [Kiss I am the flame that burns in the heart of every man, And in the core of every star. I am life, and the giver of life. Yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death. I am alone, the Lord within ourselves, Whose name is Mystery of Mysteries.'

Let us be unambiguous as to the importance in Wicca of this ritual; as the Farrars' put it (p.31) "Third degree initiation elevates a witch to the highest of the three grades of the Craft. In a sense, a third-degree witch is fully independent, answerable only to the Gods and his or her own conscience..." In short, in a manner of speaking this is all that Wicca can offer a devotee.

With this in mind, observe the following, from Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass (Liber XV), first published in The Equinox about 90 years ago and routinely performed (albeit in the symbolic form) by me and by many other Bishops, Priests, Priestesses and Deacons in the OTO and Ecclesia Gnostica (EGC) today. The following is excerpted from Gems From the Equinox, p. 372, but is widely available in published form: The Priest:

O secret of secrets that art hidden in the being of all that lives, not Thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also Thou. Thou art That, and That am I. I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life; yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death. I am alone; there is no God where I am.

So, then, where, apart from Freemasonry and the Thelemic tradition of Crowley and the OTO, is the "traditional material" some Wiccan writers seem to seek with near desperation? I am not trying to be sarcastic in the least, but even commonplace self - references used among Wiccans today, such as "the Craft" or the refrain "so mote it be" are lifted straight out of Freemasonry (see, for example, Duncan's Ritual of Freemasonry). As Doreen Valiente notes in her letter to me mentioned before, "...of course old Gerald was also a member of the Co-Masons, and an ordinary Freemason..." as well as an OTO member.


We must dismiss with some respect the assertion, put forth by Margot Adler and others, that "Wicca no longer adheres to the orthodox mythos of the Book of Shadows."

Many, if not most of those who have been drawn to Wicca in the last three decades came to it under the spell (if I may so term it) of the legend of ancient Wicca. If that legend is false, then while reformists and revisionist apologists (particularly the peculiar hybrid spawned in the late sixties (under the name "feminist Wicca") may –as is their right- seek other valid grounds for their practices, we at least owe it to those who have operated under a misapprehension to explain the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.

I believe there is a core of valid experience falling under the Wiccan-Neopagan heading, but that that core is the same essential nucleus that lies in the truths exposed by the dreaded bogey-man Aleister Crowley and the 'wicked' pansexuality of Crowley's Law of Thelema. That such roots would be not just uncomfortable, but intolerable to the orthodox traditionalists among the Wiccans, but even more so among the hybrid feminist "Wiccans" may indeed be an understatement.

Neopaganism, in a now archaic "hippie" misreading of ecology, mistakes responsible stewardship of nature for nature worship. Ancient pagans did not 'worship' nature; to a large extent they were afraid of it, as has been pointed out to me by genuine folk practitioners. Their "nature rites" were to propitiate the caprice of the imagined gods, not necessarily to honor them. The first Neopagan revivalists, Gardner, Crowley and Dr. Murray, well understood this. Neopagan Wiccans often, perhaps usually, do not.

In introducing a "goddess element" into their theology, Crowley and Gardner both understood the yin/yang, male/female fundamental polarity of the universe. Radical feminist Neopagans have taken this balance and altered it, however unintentionally, into a political feminist agenda, centered around a near-monotheistic worship of the female principle, in a bizarre caricature of patriarchal Christianity.

I do not say these things lightly; I have seen it happen in my own time. If this be truth, let truth name its own price. I was not sure, until Norm and John got back from the Old Jail.

A couple of months earlier, scant days after hearing that I was to become a Gnostic Bishop and thus an heir to a corner of Crowley's legacy, I had punched on my answering machine, and there was the unexpected voice of John Turner saying that he had located what seemed to be the original Book of Shadows in an inventory list, locating it at Ripley's office in Toronto.

He said he didn't think they would sell it as an individual item, but he gave me the name of a top official in the Ripley organization, who I promptly contacted. I eventually made a substantial offer for the book, sight unseen, figuring there was (at the least) a likelihood I'd be able to turn the story into a book and get my money back out of it, to say nothing of the historical import.

But, as I researched the matter, I became more wary, and confused; Gardner's texts "A" "B" and "C" all seemed to be accounted for. Possibly, I began to suspect, this was either a duplicate of the "de-Thelemicised" post-1954 version with segments written by Gardner and Valiente and copied and recopied (as well as distorted) from hand to hand since by Wiccans the world over.

Maybe, I mused, Valiente had one copy and Gardner another, the latter sold to Ripley with the Collection. Or, perhaps it was the curious notebook discovered by Aidan Kelly in the Ripley files called Ye Book of Ye Art Magical, the meaning of which was unclear.

While chatting with Ms. Deska, Norm returned from his mission, we introduced in businesslike fashion, and he told me he'd get the book, whatever it might be, from the vault.

The vault?! I sat there thinking God knows what. Recently, I'd gotten a call from Toronto, and it seems the Ripley folks wanted me to take a look at what they had. I had made a considerable offer, and at that point I figured I'd had at least a nibble. As it so happened Norm would be visiting on a routine inspection visit, so it was arranged he would bring the manuscript with him to the St. Augustine Ripley offices.

Almost from the minute he placed it in front of me, things began to make some kind of sense. Clearly, this was Ye Book of Ye Art Magical. Just as clearly, it was an unusual piece, written largely in the same hand as the Charter I had obtained earlier — that is, in the hand of Gerald Gardner. Of this I became certain, because I had handwriting samples of Gardner, Valiente and Crowley in my possession. Ms. Valiente had been mindful of this when she wrote me, on August 8th, 1986:

I have deliberately chosen to write you in longhand, rather than send a typewritten reply, so that you will have something by which to judge the validity of the claim you tell me is being made by the Ripley organisation to have a copy of a "Book of Shadows" in Gerald Gardner's handwriting and mine. If this is ... "Ye Book of Ye Art Magical," ... this is definitely in Gerald Gardner's handwriting. Old Gerald, however, had several styles of handwriting ... I think it is probable that the whole MS. was in fact written by Gerald, and no other person was involved; but of course I may be wrong ...

At first glance it appeared to be a very old book, and it suggested to me where the rumors that a very old, possibly medieval Book of Shadows had once been on display in Gardner's Museum had emerged from.

Any casual onlooker might see Ye Book in this light, for the cover was indeed that of an old volume, with the original title scratched out crudely on the side and a new title tooled into the leather cover. The original was some mundane volume, on Asian knives or something (an interest of Gardner's), but the inside pages had been removed, and a kind of notebook—almost a journal—had been substituted.

As far as I could see, no dates appear anywhere in the book. It is written in several different handwriting styles, although, as noted above, Doreen Valiente assured me that Gardner was apt to use several styles. I had the distinct impression this "note-book" had been written over a considerable period of time, perhaps years, perhaps even decades. It may, indeed, date from his days in the 1930s when he linked up with a NeoRosicrucian performance theatrical troupe, that could have included among its members the legendary Dorothy Clutterbuck, who set Gardner on the path which led to Wicca.

Thinking on it, what emerges from Ye Book of Ye Art Magical is a developmental set of ideas. Much of it is straight out of Crowley, but it is clearly the published Crowley, the old Magus of the OTO and A A.

Somewhere along the line it hit me that I was not exactly looking at the "original Book of Shadows" but, perhaps, the outline Gardner prepared over a long period of time, apparently in secret (since Valiente, a relatively early initiate of Gardner's, never heard of it nor saw it, according to her own account, until recent years, about the time Aidan Kelly unearthed it in the Ripley collection long after Gardner's death).

Dr. Gardner kept many odd notebooks and scrapbooks that perhaps would reveal much about his character and motivations. Turner showed me a Gardner scrapbook in Ripley's store room which was mostly cheesecake magazine photographs and articles about actresses. Probably none are so evocative as Ye Book of Ye Art Magical, suspiciously and suggestively discovered hidden away in the back of an old sofa.

I have the impression it was essentially unknown in and after Gardner's lifetime, and that by the Summer of 1986 few had seen inside it; I knew of only Kelly's and my own party. Perhaps the cover had been seen by some along the line, accounting for the rumor of a "very old Book of Shadows" in Gardner's Museum.

If someone had seen the charter unquestionably signed by Crowley ("Baphomet") but written by Gerald Gardner, and had gotten a look, as well, at Ye Book, they might well have concluded that Crowley had written both, an honest error, but maybe the source of that long-standing accusation. There is even a notation in the Ripley catalog attributing the manuscript to Crowley on someone's say-so, but I have no indication Ripley has any other such book. Finally, if the notebook is a source book of any religious system, it is not that of medieval witchcraft, but the Twentieth Century shining sanity of the famous Magus Aleister Crowley and the Thelemic/Gnostic creed of The Book of the Law.

As I sat there I read aloud familiar quotations or paraphrases from published material in the Crowley-Thelemic canon. This is not the "ancient religion of the Wise" but the modern sayings of "the Beast 666" as Crowley was wont to style himself.

But, does any of this invalidate Wicca as an expression of human spirituality? It depends on where one is coming from. Certainly, the foundations of Feminist Wicca and the modern cult of the goddess are challenged with the fact that the goddess in question is Nuit, her manifestation the sworn whore, Our Lady Babalon, the Scarlet Woman. Transform what you will shall be the whole of history, but this makes what Marx did to Hegel look like slavish devotion.

What Crowley himself said of this kind of witchcraft is not merely instructive, but an affront to the conceits of an era.

"The belief in witchcraft," he observed, "was not all superstition; its psychological roots were sound. Women who are thwarted in their natural instincts turn inevitably to all kinds of malignant mischief, from slander to domestic destruction..."

For those who neither worship nor are disdainful of the man who "made sexuality a god" or, at least, acknowledged it as godlike and holy, experience must be its own teacher. If Wicca is a sort of errant Minerval encampment of the OTO, gone far astray and far afield since the days Crowley gave Gardner a charter he "didn't use" but seemed to value, and a whole range of rituals and imagery that assault the senses at their most literally fundamental level; if this is true or sort of true, Mythos has its place and role, but so, too, does reality.


It is of more than passing interest that the late Jack Parsons, one time (Acting) Master of Agape Lodge OTO in California, began writing extensively of a revival of witchcraft from 1946 on; that is, at about the time of Crowley and Gardner's acknowledged association. Crowley referred to Dr. Gardner and his OTO encampment in private correspondence almost to the time of his death, and spoke of it with optimism and enthusiasm.

When Lady Harris wrote Karl Germer that she believed Gardner was the head of the OTO in Europe after Crowley's death, Germer didn't refute her; he simply indicated he hoped to see Gardner during his U.S. visit, which he did. Furthermore, as alluded to in the previous section, Gardner himself claimed in a letter written shortly after Crowley's death that he was, in fact, the head of the OTO in Europe.

The letter to Vernon Symonds, sent from Memphis, Tennessee where Gardner was then resident, and dated December 24, 1947, asserts that " ... Aleister gave me a charter making me head of the O.T.O. in Europe. Now I want to get any papers about this that Aleister had; he had some typescript Rituals, I know. I have them, too, but I don't want his to fall into other people's hands ..." I am editing Gardner's spelling with great kindness. This claim should be viewed with a grain of salt, but Lady Harris and Gardner were both intimate Crowley associates, and this should be kept in mind. The Charter in question referred to by Gardner is probably the one now under my stewardship for OTO, the owner and originator of the document. He almost certainly had no other. It is also noteworthy that Gardner, a ranking O.T.O. member, was resident in the U.S. at the same time that both he and Parsons began to discuss 'modern witchcraft'. Both had extensive correspondence with Crowley and contact with Germer during this period.

The question of intent looms large in the background of this inquiry. If I had to guess, I would venture that Gerald Gardner did, in fact, invent Wicca more or less whole cloth, to be a popularized version of the OTO. Crowley, and his immediate successor Karl Germer, who also knew Dr. Gardner, likely set "old Gerald" on what they intended to be a Thelemic path, aimed at reestablishing at least a basic OTO encampment in England.

It is also possible, but yet unproved, that, upon expelling Kenneth Grant from the OTO in England, Germer, in the early 1950s, summoned Gardner back to America to interview him as a candidate for leading the British OTO. Gardner, it is confirmed, came to America, but by then Wicca, and Dr. Gardner had begun to take their own, watered-down course.

Let me close this section by quoting two interesting tidbits for your consideration.

First consider Doreen Valiente's observation to me concerning "the Parsons connection". I quote from her letter above mentioned, one of several she was kind enough to send me in 1986 in connection with my research into this matter.

...I did know about the existence of the O.T.O. Chapter in California at the time of Crowley's death, because I believe his ashes were sent over to them. He was cremated here in Brighton, you know, much to the scandal of the local authorities, who objected to the 'pagan funeral service.' If you are referring to the group of which Jack Parsons was a member (along with the egregious Mr. L. Ron Hubbard), then there is another curious little point to which I must draw your attention. I have a remarkable little book by Jack Parsons called Magick, Gnosticism And The Witchcraft. It is unfortunately undated, but Parsons died in 1952. The section on witchcraft is particularly interesting because it looks forward to a revival of witchcraft as the Old Religion....

I find this very thought provoking. Did Parsons write this around the time that Crowley was getting together with Gardner and perhaps communicated with the California group to tell them about it? Parsons began forecasting the "revival of Witchcraft" in the notorious "Liber 49 - The Book of Babalon" written in 1946. The timing of the genesis of "The Book of Babalon"—which forecast a 'revival' of witchcraft in covens based on the number eleven (the Thelemic number of magick) rather than the traditional thirteen, seems to coincide with Crowley's OTO Charter to Gardner, Gardner's U.S. visit, and also coincides rather closely with the writing of High Magic's Aid by Gardner.

We must remember that Ms. Valiente was a close associate of Gardner and a dedicated and active Wiccan. She, of course, had her own interpretation of these matters.

The other matter of note is the question of the length of Gardner's association with the OTO and with Crowley personally. My informant Col. Lawrence, tells me that he has in his possession a cigarette case which once belonged to Aleister Crowley. Inside "is a note in Crowley's hand that says simply: 'gift of GBG, 1936, A. Crowley'." (Personal letter, 6 December, 1986)

The inscription could be a mistake, it could mean 1946, the period of the Charter. It could be a gift to Crowley from the Order GBG ("Great Brotherhood of God") of Crowley's alienated student C.F. Russell, but the GBG closed its doors in 1938, and well before this Crowley and Russell had gone their separate ways. It seems odd, as well, that Crowley would attribute the gift to "GBG" rather than "CFR" if it was from Russell rather than Gardner. But, as Ms. Valiente put it in a letter to me of 8th December, 1986:

If your friend is right, then it would mean that old Gerald actually went through a charade of pretending to Arnold Crowther that Arnold was introducing him to Crowley for the first time - a charade which Crowley for some reason was willing to go along with. Why? I can't see the point of such a pretense; but then occultists sometimes do devious things...

Gnosticism and Wicca, the subjects of Jack Parsons' essays, republished by the OTO and Falcon Press in 1990, are the two most successful expressions to date of Crowley's dream of a popular solar-phallic religion. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Aleister and Gerald may have cooked Wicca up. The issues for Thelemites AND Wiccans here are, as I see it, two - fold:

If Wicca is the OTO's prodigal daughter in fact, authorized directly by Crowley, how should they now relate to this?

Then too, what are we to make of and infer about all this business of a popular Thelemic-Gnostic religion? Were Crowley, Parsons, Gardner and others trying to do something of note with regard to actualizing a New Aeon here which bears scrutiny? Or is this mere speculation, and of little significance for the Great Work today?

If the Charter Crowley issued Gardner is, indeed, the authority upon which Wicca has been built for more than half a century, then it is perhaps no coincidence that I acquired that Charter in the same year I was consecrated a Bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church. Further, it was literally only days after my long search for the original of Gardner's Book of Shadows ended in success that the Holy Synod of T Michael Bertiaux's branch of the Gnostic Church unanimously elected me a Missionary Bishop, on August 29, 1986.

Sometimes, I muse, the Inner Order revoked Wicca's charter in 1986, placing it, so to speak, in my hands. Since I hold it in Trust for the OTO, perhaps Wicca has, in symbolic form, in its "declaration of independence" returned home at last. It remains for the Wiccans, literally (since the charter hangs in my temple space), to read the handwriting on the wall.

For some years the Charter was in my hands. I unwisely donated it to the Caliphate Ordo Templi Orientis, was its caretaker for some years, and then, prior to departing that rather cultic body, turned it over to OTO for whatever use they had of it. The Charter shows the Crowley of 1947 and the Gardner of 1947 to have a very different view both of OTO and proto-Wicca than has developed since. It would seem that Gardnerian Wicca in its original form comes closer to what Crowley was trying to shape than does the present caliphate OTO.  I have moved on from both. May they rest in pieces.

Personal letters referenced in this essay

Aleister Crowley to W.B.C., May 30, 1947
Frieda Harris to Frederic Mellinger, December 7, 1947
Gerald Gardner to Vernon Symonds, December 24, 1947
Frieda Harris to Karl Germer, January 2, 1948
Karl Germer to Freida Harris, January 19, 1948
Doreen Valiente to Allen Greenfield, August 8, 1986
Doreen Valiente to Allen Greenfield, August 28, 1986
Doreen Valiente to Allen Greenfield, December 8, 1986

Suggestions for furthering reading are found throughout this essay.

I am indebted to Frater Y.V. for a rare, autographed copy of the 1949 Michael Houghton Edition of High Magic's Aid by "Scire" (that is, Gardner) identified as "O.T.O. 4 = 7" on the title page. This is likely a confusion of A.'. A .'. and OTO titles; it is doubtful that Gardner was a VII° in the OTO. He was, however, at least a P.I. in OTO, and may have been a VII° as Crowley may have implied in a late letter that he anticipated the "Gardner Lodge" of OTO in London could be expected to initiate as high as the P.I. Degree. This would require the presence of an S.G.I.G., or VII° member.


By Jack (John) Parsons (Frater 210, O.T.O.)   1947

(Excerpted from booklet "Freedom is a Two Edged Sword")  This is a short essay by John Parsons who met Gerald Gardner soon after Gerald read the below.  John was one of the founders of JPL Labs and the inventor of the solid fuel for the booster rockets used in the Apollo Moon missions by NASA.  he died in a laboratory explosion in 1951

WE ARE THE WITCHCRAFT. We are the oldest organization in the world. When man was born, we were. We sang the first cradle song. We healed the first wound, we comforted the first terror. We were the Guardians against the Darkness, the Helpers on the Left Hand Side. Rock drawings in the Pyrenees remember us, and little clay images, made for an old purpose when the world was new. Our hand was on the old stone circles, the monolith, the dolmen, and the druid oak. We sang the first hunting songs, we made the first crops to grow; when man stood naked before the Powers that made him, we sang the first chant of terror and wonder. We wooed among the Pyramids, watched Egypt rise and fall, ruled for a space in Chaldea and Babylon, the Magian Kings. We sat among the secret assemblies of Israel, and danced the wild and stately dances in the sacred groves of Greece.

In China and Yucatan, in Kansas and Kurdistan we are one. All organizations have known us, no organization is of us; when there is too much organization we depart. We are on the side of man, of life, and of the individual. Therefore we are against religion, morality and government. Therefore our name is Lucifer. We are on the side of freedom, of love, of joy and laughter and divine drunkenness. Therefore our name is Babalon.

Sometimes we move openly, sometimes in silence and in secret. Night and day are one to us, calm and storm, seasons and the cycles of man, all these things are one, for we are at the roots. Supplicant we stand before the Powers of Life and Death, and are heard of these Powers, and avail. Our way is the secret way, the unknown direction. Our way is the way of the serpent in the underbrush, our knowledge is in the eyes of goats and of women.

Merlin was of us, and Gawain and Arthur, Rabelais and Catullus, Gilles de Retz and Jehanne d'Arc, De Molensis, Johannes Dee, Cagliostro, Francis Hepburn and Gellis Duncan, Swinburne and Eliphas Levi, and many another bard, Magus, poet, martyr known and unknown that carried our banners against the enemy multiform and ubiquitous, the Church and the State. And when that vermin of Hell that is called the Christian Church held all the West in a slavery of sin and death and terror, we, and we alone, brought hope to the heart of man, despite the dungeon and the stake.

We are the Witchcraft, and although one may not know another, yet we are united by an indissoluble bond. And when the high wild cry of the eagle sounds in your mind, know that you are not alone in your desire for freedom. And when the howl of the wolf echoes in the forests of your night, know that there are those who also prowl. And when the ways of your fellows about you seem the ways of idiocy and madness, know that there are also others who have seen and judged - and acted.

Now know that the power that we serve lies in the heart of every man and woman as the tree lives in the seed. And to be with us, you have but to call upon that Power, and you are as one of us. And when our Power and Joy have come upon you, you may go forth and do your will among men, and none shall say you nay. And if it be your will, you shall do your will secretly, and if it be your will, you will do your will openly, as your will



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