The Gardnerians, 1963-1972

Raymond Buckland was one of the very first people to foresee how important the Gardnerian Witchcraft movement would be and who therefore imported it into the US. I am personally very grateful to Ray, not only for the nice things he said about me in his Witchcraft from the Inside, but also because it was his strong recommendation that persuaded Carl Weschcke to publish my Crafting the Art of Magick: A History of Witchcraft in England, 1939-1964. That was the popularized version of my doctoral … [Read more...]

To Remember Thomas DeLong, Who Wrote as Gwydion Pendderwen, On the Second (Now the Thirtieth) Anniversary Of His Going into Eternal Life

I remember the night I first met you On Bernal Heights, before we knewThe Craft would cross our paths.The strident horn of your flaming carDrew me to the street: beforeThe doors of Hightower, whereLord Randall ruled his madCourt of science-fictioneers,Van the Dagda read an Anglican wakeOver your still-smoking engine.I remember you, and I begin to let you go.  I remember how you sang to me and AltaWhen you first visited us in … [Read more...]

Yet Another Three Pagan Poems

Alchemical Sonnets  Four worldly indivisibles divide the sphere,Plus three unworldly to define the here:Fire, spirit, water, after, air,Before, and earth: of these six will pair;Three pairs, and spirit, again give fourThat mark the now, a sevenfold metaphorMuch like the week: we could name the daysAfter seven other gods, or in other waysKeep track of when we are or will be, yetWe have them, and they're good enough to getUs from play to work and … [Read more...]

Joe Wilson, Part IV

In 1972Wilson’s life became extremely difficult because of both political and health problems. He was transferred to Athens, Greece, and after a long hospitalization was allowed to retire from the Air Force, on February 2nd, 1973. Susan Roberts reported:  Shortly after I had finished writing about him . . . he was transferred to England. Some months later he was identified in a story in the New York Times as being an undercover agent for the Air Force when he testified at the court-martial tr … [Read more...]

Joe Wilson, Part III: England

Wilson wanted to go to England to contact the many people he knew through his magazine who claimed to have knowledge of the Old Religion. In September 1969 he was assigned to RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England.  On the way I stopped in New York to visit Susan Roberts and look at the galley proofs of her book. Also at that meeting were Ed Fitch, Ray Buckland, John Hansen, and Joe Luchak. We agreed that her book was as accurate as possible, and knew that after publication it would generate a … [Read more...]

Joe Wilson, Part II

In October 1965 Pentagram sponsored a dinner at which Doreen Valiente was the keynote speaker. Her topic was essentially, "Now that `Old Gerald' has passed over, what do we do next?" She stressed the need for cooperation among covens and for searching out forgotten groups of Witches throughout the world. The dinner was attended by a significant fraction of the Witches in Britain at that time. It established a network of friendships among coven and Craft leaders who had not known each other very … [Read more...]

Joe Wilson, the Pagan Way, and 1734

I’ve had to decide whether to write about Raymond Buckland next or Joe Wilson. Ray is the man who brought Gardnerian Craft to the New World, and I certainly will relate what I know about him, but looking at all the details, I think it’s more useful to tell Joe’s story first. The history of the Craft is not linear. During the late 1960s, at least a dozen threads popped into existence at almost the same time; logically, they should all be described simultaneously. In practice, only one tale can be … [Read more...]

Before the Gardnerians: CAW, RDNA, and DTG

Just to be through, I'm concluding this prefatory series with three groups that have been very important in Craft and Pagan history and that, at last technically, did predate the arrival of Gardnerian Craft in America. The Church of All Worlds  I have puzzled over where to fit the Church of All Worlds into the stories I am telling, because they were not at first part of the Craft or Pagan movements and did not intersect with the Craft until about 1970. However, I think CAW provides an example … [Read more...]

Before the Gardnerians: Four More Precursors

The Hollywood Coven  The Hollywood Coven was founded in 1967 by E. Tanssan of Hollywood, Florida. However, according to a letter by Kitty Lessing in an issue of Green Egg in 1972, Tanssan had been a member of the “Gundella” coven in Birmingham, MI, that was headed by a T. Milligan and had been established early in this century. Tanssan had succeeded Milligan as leader of the coven in the mid-1960s, shortly before the coven was disbanded because of police harassment, at which time Tanssan and som … [Read more...]

The Antinomian Nature of the Craft Movement

I had been planning to post next or soon a blog about Ozark Witchcraft, but I’ve decided against doing so, for several reasons, one being that I’ve had no direct contact with any Ozark Witches—except, I guess, for Cora Anderson, but we never talked about that—unlike the other flavors of the Craft that I’ve experienced or had friends who had and so on. What I know about the Ozarks is from reading; so I cannot discuss that in terms of my own life experience. Another reason is that several bloggers … [Read more...]