Saturday, June 13, 2009

Psychic test: history of witch craft part 3

Monique and Campbell Wilson are infamous, rather than famous,as Gardner's heirs who sold off his magical equipment andpossessions after his death, to Ripleys in the USA.Monique was the last of his Priestesses, and many Wiccanstoday still spit when her name is mentioned. Pat Crowther wasrather scathing about her recently in an interview, and in TheRebirth Of Witchcraft, although Doreen tells of the sale of Gardner's magical possessions to Ripleys, she doesn't evermention the Wilsons by name. In effect, the Craft closed ranksagainst them, and they became outcasts.Eventually, in the face of such opposition they had to sellthe Museum in Castletown, and they moved to Torremolinos,where they bought a cafe. Monique died nine years afterselling the Museum. It is rumoured that Campbell Wilson movedto the USA, and met with a car accident there: this is onlyhearsay though - I really do not know for sure what happenedto him.However, Monique was influential in a way that even she couldnot have imagined, when in 1964 or 5 she initiated RayBuckland, who with his wife Rosemary (later divorced), wasvery influential in the development of the Wicca in the USA. Fortunately, Richard and Tamarra James managed to buy the bulkof Gardner's collection back from Ripleys in 1987, for theprincely sum of US$40,000, and it is now back within theCraft, and available for initiates to consult and view.D and C S. are probably completely anonymous, and if it werenot for the fact that C initiated Robert Cochrane (brieflymentioned earlier) they would probably stay that way!Cochrane's origins are obscure, but I have been told that hewas initiated into the Gardnerian tradition by C S, and metDoreen Valiente through a mutual acquaintance in 1964. When hemet Doreen, however, he claimed to be a hereditary witch, froma different tradition to Gardner's, and as Doreen confirms,was contemptuous of what he called "Gardnerian" witches.Indeed, Doreen believes he coined the term, "Gardnerian".Doreen said she was completely taken in by Cochrane and for awhile, worked with him and the "Clan of Tubal-Cain" as hedescribed his tradition, which was also known as "The RoyalWindsor Cuveen", or 1734.The figures "1734" have an interesting history. Doreen gives arather strange account of them in The Rebirth Of Witchcraft,which contradicts what Cochrane himself describes in a letterto Joe Wilson, dated "12th Night 1966", where he says,"...the order of 1734 is not a date of an event but a groupingof numerals that mean something to a witch."One that becomes seven states of wisdom - the Goddess of theCauldron. Three that are the Queens of the Elements - firebelonging alone to Man, and the Blacksmith God. Four that areQueens of the Wind Gods."The Jewish orthodoxy believe that whomever knows the Holy andUnspeakable name of God has absolute power over the world ofform. Very briefly, the name of God spoken as Tetragrammaton... breaks down in Hebrew to the letters YHVH, or the AdamKadmon (The Heavenly Man). Adam Kadmon is a composite of allArchangels - in other words a poetic statement of the names ofthe Elements."So what the Jew and the Witch believe alike, is that the manwho discovers the secret of the Elements controls the physicalworld. 1734 is the witch way of saying YHVH." (Cochrane, 1966)Although Doreen says that Cochrane's group was small, it stillproved to be remarkably influential. As well as Cochrane andhis wife (whom Doreen refers to as "Jean") and Doreen herself,there were others who are well-known today, and a man calledRonald White, who very much wanted to bring about a new age inEngland, with the return of King Arthur.In The Rebirth Of Witchcraft, Doreen elaborates upon thecircumstances surrounding the death of Cochrane: the baldfacts are that he died at the Summer Solstice of 1966 of anoverdose. Craft tradition believes that he became in fact, andof his own choice, the male ritual sacrifice which issometimes symbolically enacted at the height of Summer.The Royal Windsor Cuveen disbanded after Cochrane died, onlyto be re-born from the ashes at Samhain that year under a newname - The Regency. All of its early members were from theRoyal Windsor Cuveen, and they were under the leadership ofRonald White. The Regency proved to be of great importance tothe development of the Wicca, although its existence was kepta fairly close secret, and even today, there are relativelyfew people who have ever heard of it. Psychic test meetings were held in North London, at a place called QueensWood. As well as Ron White and Doreen Valiente, membersincluded "John Math", founder of the Witchcraft ResearchAssociation in 1964, and editor of Pentagram magazine, and thefounder of the Pagan Movement, Tony Kelly. At its height,there were frequently more than 40 in attendance at rites,which tended to be of the dramatic, pagan kind rather than theceremonial associated with high ritual magic. The Regencyoperated fairly consistently for over twelve years, finallydisbanding in 1978. The Membership roll reads like a who's whoof the British Wicca! Some of the rites have been incorporatedinto modern psychic test rituals - in fact, one was used at the PanEuropean Wiccan Conference 1991 with very great success.Moving back over to Rae Bone's line, there are a number ofinfluential people here, mainly through her initiates, Madgeand Arthur, who probably take the award for the most prolificpair in Wiccandom! Rae, although initiated by Gardner, does ofcourse also claim a hereditary status in her own right.Madge and Arthur's initiates include:John and Jean ScoreJohn Score was the partner of Michael Houghton (mentionedearlier), and the founder of the Pagan Federation, which isvery active today.Houghton died under very mysterious circumstances, which isbriefly mentioned in "The Sword of Wisdom" by IthellColquhoun. My Craft source told me that this was actually aritual that went badly wrong, and Houghton ended up on thewrong end of some fairly potent energies.There is an interesting anecdote about Houghton in The RebirthOf Withcraft, which is taken from "Nightside of Eden" byKenneth Grant, and agrees in some respect to a similar storythat I was told some years ago. Doreen suggests in The RebirthOf Witchcraft that the story may relate to a magical workinginvolving Kenneth Grant and his wife, Gardner, Dolores North(Madeline Montalban), and an un-named witch, who was probablyOlive Green.They were all to perform a ritual together, supposedly tocontact an extra-terrestrial being. The material basis for therite, which took place in 1949, was a drawing by AO Spare.Apparently soon after the rite commenced, a nearby bookseller(Michael Houghton) turned up and interrupted proceedings. Onhearing that Kenneth Grant was within, he declined to enter,and wandered off. The rite was disrupted, and the story goesthat everyone just went home.Kenneth Grant claims that as a result of disturbing theirworking, Houghton's marriage broke up, and that Houghton diedin mysterious circumstances. In fact, the Houghton divorce wasa cause celebre, with her suing him for cruelty because heboasted of being a Sagittarian while sneering at her becauseshe was only a dingy old Capricorn!The interrupted ritual could well have taken place. Madelinehad a flat near to Atlantis (Houghton's shop), and wouldcertainly have known both Grant and Houghton. I know for afact that Madeline was acquainted with Gerald, although heropinion of both him and the Wicca was rather poor. One ofMadeline's older students told me that she thought Gardnerrather a fraud, and ritually inept. She also had a very lowopinion of Wiccans, and refused to allow her own students toparticipate in Wiccan rites. The reason for this lies in ananecdote which Doreen doesn't relate: the story goes thatMadeline agreed to participate in a rite with Gerald, whichturned out to involve Madeline being tied up and tickled witha feather duster! The great lady was not amused.Prudence JonesPrudence was for many years the president of the PaganFederation, and editor of its newsletter. She inherited herrole from John Score, after he passed away. With NigelPennick, Prudence also runs the Pagan Anti-Defamation League(PADL), and is an active astrologer and therapist. She hasedited a book on astrology, and with Caitlin Matthews, edited"Voices from the Circle", published by Aquarian Press.Although Prudence took her degree in Philosophy, her maininterests lie in the areas of the Grail and troubadour tales,and she has published privately an excellent essay on theGrail and Wicca. She is also a very highly respectedastrologer, who lectures extensively in Britain.Vivianne and Chris CrowleyVivianne Crowley, is author of "Wicca - The Old Religion inthe New Age", and also secretary of the Pagan Federation. Shehas a PhD in Psychology, and is perhaps the only person tohave been a member of both a Gardnerian Coven and anAlexandrian one simultaneously!Vivianne is very active at the moment, and has initiatedpeople in Germany (having memorised the ritual in German - alanguage she doesn't speak!), Norway, and - on the astral -Brazil. As a result of her book, she receives many lettersfrom people from all around the world, and organised the firstever pan-European Wiccan conference, held in Germany 1990. Thesecond conference was held in Britain at the June solstice,and the third (1992) in Norway. In 1993, the Conference willbe in Scotland.John and Kathy (Caitlin) Matthews, are probably well-known toeveryone, but possibly their Gardnerian initiations are notsuch common knowledge. The story that John Matthews relates in"Voices from the Circle" is essentially the one which he toldthe HPS who initiated him.Pat and Arnold CrowtherI have left Pat and Arnold till last, as it is from their linethat the infamous Alex Sanders derives! It is no secretanymore that Alex, far from being initiated by his grandmotherwhen he was seven, was in fact turned down by Pat Crowther in1961, but was later accepted by one of her ex-coven members,Pat Kopanski, and initiated to 1st Degree.In "The Rebirth of Witchcraft" Doreen says that Alex later metGardner, and was allowed to copy from the Book of Shadows;Craft tradition is somewhat different! It has always been said(even by Alex's supporters!) that he pinched what he couldfrom Pat Kopanski before being chucked out, and that the maindifferences between the Alexandrian and Gardnerian Books ofShadows occur where Alex mis-heard, or mis-copied something!There are certainly significant differences between the twoBooks; some parts of Gardnerian ritual are quite unknownwithin the Alexandrian tradition, and the ritual techniquesare often different. It is usually very easy to spot whethersomeone is an Alexandrian, or Gardnerian initiate.Alex needed a HPS, and as we know, chose Maxine Morris for therole. Maxine is a striking Priestess, and made a very goodvisual 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. Somecame to Australia, and there are still a number of covens inthe UK today whose HP and/or HPS was initiated by Alex orMaxine.Alex and Maxine's most famous initiates are almost certainlyJanet and Stewart Farrar, who left them in 1971 to form theirown coven, first in England, then later, in Ireland. Throughtheir books, they have probably had the most influence overthe direction that the modern Craft has taken. Certainly inAustralia, the publication of "What Witches Do" was anabsolute watershed, and with Janet and Stewart's consistentoutput, their form of Wicca is more likely to become the"standard" than any other type.Since their early days of undiluted Alexandrianism, they havedrifted somewhat towards a more Gardnerian approach, andtoday, tell everyone that there are no differences between thetwo traditions. In fact, despite the merging that has beenoccurring over the last few years, there are very distinctdifferences between the traditions; some merely external,others of a very significant difference of philosophy.Seldiy Bate was originally magically trained by MadelineMontalban, and then took an Alexandrian initiation from Maxineand Alex. Her husband, Nigel, was also initiated by Maxine,and they have been "public" witches for a number of years now,often appearing on TV, radio and in the press. Theirbackground in ritual magic is expressed in the type of coventhat they run; a combination of Wicca and Ceremonial Magic.In 1971, Alex and Maxine went their separate ways. DavidGoddard is a Liberal Catholic Priest, and for many years, heand Maxine worked in the Liberal Catholic faith, and did notrun a coven of any kind. Then in 1984, Maxine gatheredtogether a group again, and started practising a combinationof Wicca, Qabalah and Liberal Catholicism. She and Davidseparated in 1987, and since then her coven has beenexclusively Wiccan. In 1989, she married one of her initiates,Vincent, and they are still running an active coven in Londontoday.Alex's history after the split was a little more sordid, withone girl he married, Jill, filling the gutter press withstories about Alex being homosexual, and defrauding her of allher money to spend on his boyfriends. Sally Taylor wasinitiated by Maxine and David, but then transferred to Alex.She was trained by him, and then started her own group.I'd now like to focus upon the last of the strands which Ibelieve has been influential upon the birth and development ofWicca; that of the literary traditions and sources to whichGardner would have had access. To a certain extent these arecontiguous with the magical traditions described earlier, asnowhere is it ever suggested that Gardner did in fact everwork in a magical Lodge, so we must assume that his knowledgecame from the written form of the rites, not from the actualpractise of them.From reading Gardner's books, it is quite apparent thatMargaret Murray had a tremendous impact upon him. Her book,"The God of the Witches" was published in 1933, and twelveyears previously, "The Witch Cult in Western Europe" hadappeared. "The God of the Witches" has been tremendouslyinfluential on a number of people, and certainly inspiredGardner.In fact, "Witchcraft Today", published by Gardner in 1954contained a foreword by Margaret Murray. At this time,remember, Murray's work was still taken seriously, and sheremained the contributor on the subject of witchcraft for theEncyclopedia Britannica for a number of years.Now of course her work has been largely discredited, althoughshe remains a source of inspiration, if not historicalaccuracy. In Gardner's day, the idea of a continuing worshipof the old pagan gods would have been a staggering theory, andin the second article in my series about Murray (published inThe Cauldron), I made the point that Murray may have had topretend scientific veracity in order to get her work publishedin such times. Don't forget that Dion Fortune had to publishher work privately, as did Gardner with High Magic's Aid.Carlo Ginzburg's excellent book, "Ecstasies", also supportsMurray's basic premise; although of course he regrets herhistorical deceptions.There were of course other sources than Murray. In 1899,"Aradia: Gospel of the Witches" was published. Most ofCrowley's work was available during the pre- and post-waryears, as were the texts written and translated by MacGregorMathers and Waite. Also readily available were works such asThe Magus, and of course the classics, from which Gardner drewmuch inspiration.Of paramount importance would have been "The White Goddess",by Robert Graves, which is still a standard reference book onany British Wiccan's bookshelf. This was published in 1952;three years after High Magic's Aid appeared, and two yearsbefore Gardner's first non-fictional book about witchcraft. Iwould just like to say at this point that Graves has takensome very unfair criticism in respect of this book. The WhiteGoddess was written as a work of poetry, not history, and tocriticise it for being historically innaccurate is to miss thepoint. Unfortunately, I agree that some writers have referredto it as an "authority", and thus led their readers up thegarden path. This is not Graves's fault, nor do I believe itwas his intention.Another book which has had a profound influence on manyWiccans, and would undoubtedly have been well known by Gardneris "The Golden Bough"; although the entire book was writtenbased upon purely secondary research, it is an extensiveexamination of many pagan practices from the Ancient World,and the emphasis of the male sacrifice could certainly havebeen taken from here equally as well as from Murray. Certainof the Gardnerian ritual practices were almost certainlyderived from The Golden Bough, or from Frazer's own sources.In "Witchcraft Today" Gardner mentions a number of authorswhen speculating where the Wiccan rites came from. He saysthat, "The only man I can think of who could have invented therites was the late Aleister Crowley."He continues to say, "The only other man I can think of whocould have done it is Kipling...". He also mentions that,"Hargrave Jennings might have had a hand in them..." and thensuggests that "Barrat (sic) of The Magus, circa 1800, wouldhave had the ability to invent or resurrect the cult."It's possible that these references are something of a damagecontrol operation by Gardner, who, according to Doreen, wasnot too impressed when she kept telling him that sherecognised certain passages in the Witch rites! "WitchcraftToday" was published the year after Doreen's initiation, andperhaps by seeming genuinely interested in where the Ritescame from, Gardner thought he might give the appearance ofinnocence of their construction!As mentioned previously, Gardner also had a large collectionof unpublished MSS, which he used extensively, and one hasonly to read his books to realise that he was a very well-readman, with wide-ranging interests. Exactly the sort of man whowould be able to draw together a set of rituals if required.The extensive bibliography to "The Meaning of Witchcraft"published in 1959, demonstrates this rather well. Gardnerincludes Magick in Theory and Practice and The Equinox of theGods by Crowley; The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune; TheGoetia; The White Goddess (Graves); Lady Charlotte Guest'stranslation of The Mabinogion; English Folklore by ChristinaHole; The Kabbalah Unveiled and the Abramelin by Mathers; bothMargaret Murray's books and Godfrey Leland's Gypsy Sorcery, aswell as a myriad of classic texts, from Plato to Bede!Although this bibliography postdates the creation ofGardnerian Wicca, it certainly indicates from where Gardnerdraws his inspiration from. There are also several bookslisted which are either directly, or indirectly, concernedwith sex magic, Priapic Cults, or Tantra.Hargrave Jenning, mentioned earlier, wrote a book called "TheRosicrucians, their Rites and Mysteries", which Francis Kingdescribes as a book, "concerned almost exclusively withphallicism and phallic images - Jennings saw the peniseverywhere."As I mentioned earlier, Hargrave Jennings, a member of theSRIA, also belonged to a group, described as a coven, whichmet in the Cambridge area in the 1870s, and performed ritualsbased upon the classical traditions - specifically, from TheGolden Ass. There is no evidence to support this, except thatthere are often found references to a "Cambridge Coven" linkedto Jennings' name.Many of the rituals we are familiar with today were of courselater additions by Doreen Valiente, and these have been welldocumented by both her and the Farrars, in a number of books.Doreen admits that she deliberately cut much of the poetry byAleister Crowley, and substituted either her own work, orpoems from other sources, such as the Carmina Gadelica.Of course we can never really know the truth about the originsof the Wicca. Gardner may have been an utter fraud; he mayhave actually received a "Traditional" initiation; or, as anumber of people have suggested, he may have created the Wiccaas a result of a genuine religious experience, drawing uponhis extensive literary and magical knowledge to create, orhelp create, the rites and philosophy.What I think we can be fairly certain about is that he wassincere in his belief. If there had been no more to the wholething than an old man's fantasy, then the Wicca would not havegrown to be the force that it is today, and we would not allbe sitting here in Canberra on a Saturday morning!

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