“I Fell in Love with a Witch”: The Vision of Gerald Gardner

Some people argue that Gardnerians cannot claim to have the right to do something merely because Gardner did it. Yes, the historical pattern is that religious founders always have rights and privileges that their followers cannot have. I see this clearly in the three cases I know best, those of Gardner, Joseph Smith, and the Rabbi Joshua (whose Greek name was Jesus).A religious founder cannot be bound by ordinary rules of behavior, else he could not do something so extraordinary as creating … [Read more...]

A Note on the Creating of Religion

I know Philip Heselton hoped to find (but did not assume that he would) evidence that Gerald Gardner's friends were practicing a rudimentary form of Gardnerian Craft in the 1930s. As he shows in Witchfather, he did not find any.He discovered quite a few people in Gardner's circle of occultist friends who may have had a coven of sorts in the late 1930s, and some of whom may have worked with or cooperated with Gerald and Edith in founding the first coven after the war, but what they most … [Read more...]

In the Name of the Goddess, I Say to You . . .

All saints revile her, and all sober men Ruled by the God Apollo's golden mean - In scorn of which I sailed to find her In distant regions likeliest to hold her Whom I desired above all things to know, Sister of the mirage and echo.It was a virtue not to stay, To go my headstrong and heroic way Seeking her out at the volcano's head, Among pack ice, or where the track had faded Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers: Whose broad high brow was white as any leper's, Whose eyes were … [Read more...]

About Writing Witchy History

It ain’t easy. Given that I began saving Green Egg and the other dozen  periodicals we got as exchange subscriptions for The Witches Trine, I began gathering materials for A Tapestry of Witches more than 40 years ago. About ten years later, I began compiling entries about covens and other groups that had announced their existence into a database program on my Apple II that Isaac set up for me; some of those entries still exist in the book now. In the early 90s, when I began the actual writing wo … [Read more...]

A Tapestry of Witches: A History of the Craft in America, Volume I is now available on Amazon

tapestryofwitches

I have released the first volume of the history for which I began gathering data about 30 years ago. It covers from 1893 up to the mid-1970s. There were Witches before Gardnerian Witchcraft was introduced to America by Raymond Buckland, and there still are. The relationship between these two varieties is still a matter for active discussion. The book contains several hundred footnotes, mostly documenting the Wiccan and Pagan periodicals from which I gleaned the data about the existence of … [Read more...]

Goddess Murder, 29: North to Sonoma, 3

XXXI. North to Sonoma, 3 “Dotty sounds like a fascinating character," I said, "but that is one of the most improbable biographies I’ve ever heard.”Andy frowned. “Take any thread in history and it will seem improbable. So many other things could have happened. And perhaps they did. Even physicists believe there could be alternative histories. There may be a universe in which the Nazis won World War Two. There may be one in which the Padres didn’t push north to found Mission Santa Theresa. The … [Read more...]

Goddess Murder, 27: North to Sonoma, Part II

XXIX. North to Sonoma II “That’s enough about me,” I said. “What kind of hereditary Witch are you?”She laughed. “It’s our family tradition. We believe we’ve always followed our own religion, not Christianity, though sometimes we had to pretend in order to survive. It was our enemies who labeled us Witches—that’s not what we called ourselves—but many communities have adopted the name used by their critics: Quakers, Mormons, Cathars, perhaps even the term Christian itself. Our tradition is car … [Read more...]

A Prayer That I Hope Many More Can Say

After I came to AA in September 1976, I began to assemble a litany of morning prayers as a tool for maintaining myself in a fit spiritual condition. I began that litany with the “Lord’s Prayer,” the “Our Father,” the Paternoster, because I know it is a truly Jewish prayer, as taught by that tragic Rabbi. I have found every thought in it stated in other words somewhere in the Talmud.AA is a simple program, simple but not easy. All you need to do is change yourself, change everything you have e … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, VII: A Church for Witches

After the second Pagan Ecumenical Council meeting in June 1974, Gwydion and I continued to discuss the problem of how to organize a "church" for Witches, now that we had a reason not to have to include Pagans in general. In a way, it was like trying to set up an organization for anarchists—so that one could be the Anarch. There were already organizations whose members were individual Witches, but these were not meeting the need.Most Witches at that time clearly believed that one normally b … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, Part V, 1974-1975

Here begins what will become Volume IB or II of the finished book. As I mentioned, many important changes took place in 1973 within at least half a dozen different Traditions. As a result, the period 1974 to 1979, which I will now begin covering for the whole of the USA and parts of Canada, requires a new chapter. I’m starting with events in California in the mid-1970s, not because they were the only developments at that time, but they turned out to have national implications.Focusing first o … [Read more...]


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