30 August 2013

Dangerous Minds | The Father Of Modern Wicca

Gerald Gardner, a contemporary of Aleister Crowley, is credited with being the father of modern Wicca. Although his influence on modern paganism can’t be overstated, he hasn’t received the same level of attention over the years as the darker and more charismatic Crowley.

Gerald Gardner was supposedly initiated into the already established New Forest, England coven of witches in 1939 at age 55 after retiring to Highcliffe in Dorset. Anthropology and folklore professor Sabina Magliocco wrote in her book, Witching Culture: Folklore and Neo-Paganism in America, that the “New Forest coven” Gardner described in his autobiography and other books may have actually been members of George Alexander Sullivan’s Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship/Order of Twelve.

Gardner created the rituals and beliefs that we now associate with Gardnerian Wicca, although he is said to have borrowed some language and ideas from Crowley and Freemasonry. Of course, it was illegal to publicly identify as a witch in the U.K. until 1951, when the Witchcraft Act was finally repealed. After that, Gardner was quite public about his religion, publishing Witchcraft Today and The Meaning of Witchcraft under his own name (his novel High Magic’s Aid had been published in 1949 under a pseudonym) and granting print and television interviews ...


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