WICCA...THE OLD RELIGION???By David Wright Tillman
IS WICCA REALLY OLDER THAN CHRISTIANITY...OR WAS CREATED IN 1954???
(NOTE: Wicca isn't Satanism and Wiccans don't believe in Satan. Since I know this, thanks for not emailing me and telling me what I already know. I'm also an Agnostic now, if not Atheist, so spare me calling me a “xtian” as though misspelling it out of hate helped you win your argument anyway. )
The True Origins of Wicca
"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 , Cautio Crimiinalis 1631
"The most authentic and hallowed Wiccan tradition is stealing from any source that didn't run away too fast"
-- Margot Adler, Wiccan author
At first blush, you would think Wiccans have no qualms about the origin of their religion. This statement was issued by a group calling itself The American Council of Witches in 1974 as part of a "Statement of Belief".
"11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the origins of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future."
However, I find just the opposite to be true! Because of this web-page and the ones relating to it, I have been called every name in the book, accused of being a fraud, called "narcissistic", "liar", "ignorant", "hateful", "bigot", and many words not fit to print. I've also been "hexed" a few times for good measure...NONE OF WHICH HAVE EVER WORKED.
It's a good thing Wiccans aren't threatened by debates on the origins of Wicca, in that case. Imagine what they'd be like otherwise!I present this information not in the spirit of hate, but in the interest of agnostic skepticism. A curiosity to be debated. Oh by “debate”, I don't mean send me emails and letters. If you disagree with any of this, consider my response to be “Cool story Bro”. Seriously, I don't exchange emails over it, and your email will go unread.
In my teens, I was a solitary Wiccan. Now, the debate on whether solitary Wiccans are "real Wiccans" is something Wiccans can't agree on...that's another story. Eventually when I got old enough to enter college and study comparative religions (among other things), I was shocked to find out the Wicca of my youth wasn't the ancient religion I was lead to believe. Eventually, (many, many years later) I returned to the Christianity of my youth after a long detour through many occult religions, and I think that's the part that really irks Wiccans. Now I simply reject the claims of all religions, although I can still see the value of some organized religions.
Well, if you haven't rolled your eyes and clicked to another page yet, you might as well keep reading.
WICCAN AUTHORS HAVE SPREAD MISINFORMATION
During the 1950's until the present, a steadily growing number of books on Wicca were released claiming Wicca was an ancient Celtic Pagan religion thousands of years old. It wasn't until around the 1990's that this idea was proven false. Prior to this, the original thesis was that Wicca was a Stoneage religion that went underground due to Christians, called "witchcraft" and it's followers "witches" and resurfaced in the later 20th century when it was safe. I wasn't alone in thinking this. It was the idea that was peddled, and still is to some degree. Here's an example of what I mean:
“A witch is a practitioner of a witchcraft - the ancient pre-Christian occult religion which in Europe was called wicca...The word ‘witch’ has some very bad connotations due to some remarkably bad reporting of history” (Diary of a Witch pgs 1-2 by Sybil Leek quite an ironic statement, considering it is the Wiccans like Leek that were doing the history revision!)
“The Gardnerians stem from Dr.[?] Gerald B. Gardner who was initiated by a hereditary witch named “Daffo” in the New Forrest area...Gardner was attacked by the old witches for...courting publicity which the old witches avoided like the plague. (Stewart Farrar, What Witches Do pg 6 It doesn’t go into details as to who these “old witches” that attacked Gardner were. That’s because there weren’t any. Gardner had simply made the whole thing up, along with his two non-existent Doctorates!)
“The renaissance of the Old Religion...is both evolutionary and revolutionary in these troubled times. It’s emergence after centuries of existence as an underground spring coincides with movements all over the world fighting for self-determination.” [Leo Martello Witchcraft:The Old Religion, pg 31. Martello was a self styled social activist, and saw Wicca as yet another liberation movement. Martello shaped Wicca into what it best suited him - -a peaceful but very angry revolutionary movement in his case-- as do all Wiccans. ]
“As a religion, and as such an earth religion, Witta was viewed as a threat to the new religion, and subjected to harsh persecutions and purging by the patriarchal Church of Europe.” (Edian Gray Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition, pg xi Gray invented the term “Witta” which even most Wiccans admit as bogus. What they need to realize is that everything about Wicca is spun from whole cloth. )
“In the time of the matriarchies [i.e., the Stone-age], the craft of wimmin [sic] was common knowledge...the remnants of that knowledge are what we call ‘witchcraft’ today”. (Z.Budapest, The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, pg 11 The matriarchy theory, which has since been proven wrong, is part of Wiccan lore - - inaccurate data paired with a hoax ! )
“Witchcraft reemerged in the 1950's and has been gaining in popularity ever since” (Amereth, The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Wicca, pg 27 It couldn’t “reemerge” if it hadn’t previously existed, implying it is thousands of years old. This book was written in 2000, showing the myth of Wicca’s ancient roots is alive and well)
“In my previous books on the subject, I have repeatedly stressed that Witchcraft is a religion. It is the present day form of the old, pre-Christian, pagan religion of the common people” (Raymond Buckland, Scottish Witchcraft, pg 19 Early Wiccan writers considered the word “witchcraft” to be synonymous with their religion, and wrote it with a capitalized “W”. )
“[O]ur ancestors found it reasonable to assume that the divine power behind creation was female. Monica Sjoo and Barbra Mor have said it very succinctly: ‘God was female for at least the first 200,000 years of human life on earth’. For Witches, God is still female. The Old Religion, with its strong matrifocal[?] perspective, was a religion of ecstasy” (Laurie Cabot, The Power of The Witch, pgs 23-24. The implication is that Wicca is 200,000 years old!)
“Witches are not Satanists...The Craft was in existence long eons before the name of Satan was inscribed in Christian writings.” (Gavin and Yvonne Frost, The Magic Power of Witchcraft pg 6 Notice the phrase Wicca was in existence “long eons” before. The Frosts ignore the fact Pagan religions - - including the Celtic ones from which they claim their religion comes from - - also had concepts of devils and evil spirits).
“In 1951 the last English witchcraft act was repealed...Three years later an anthropologist, Gerald Gardner, [!] published a work, Witchcraft Today, admitting for the first time in history to the existence of a definite witch cult similar to the one suspected by Margaret Murray...who did not cloak their operations...but preferred to simply practice their arts in the old manner that they had inherited from the past, under the banner of the old gods” (Paul Huson, Mastering Witchcraft, pg 19.Gardner was no more an anthropologist than Britney Spears is an astronaut. He never had a day of formal schooling, in fact. The reason the cult was similar to Murray’s description was because that’s where Gardner got the idea, hence it was a sort of self fulfilling prophecy. Murray even eventually joined Gardner’s coven!)
“Despite the sudden interest in witchcraft, the practice has existed longer than Christianity and was called the Old Religion. Indeed one can trace certain elements of the craft (such as fertility rites and devotions to the elements) as far back as Neolithic Man. Its modern title of witchcraft is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Wicca... (Peter Haining, The Anatomy of Witchcraft pg 18. Clearly the implication is Wicca is a Stone Age religion that made it into modern times. The fact Pagan religions existed before Christianity is the “proof” many Wiccans offer as to it’s antiquity. Yes, there were Pagan religions in ancient times, but Wicca was not among them.)
“Burning Times: You will hear this often. It is in reference to a historical time from about 1000 [A.D.] through the 17th century when it is said that over nine million people were tortured and burned by church and public officials on the assumption that they were the Christian version of Witches [sic]...” (Silver Ravenwolf,page 19 Teen Witch. The implication here is that Wiccans were the ones executed during the witch hunt era, when in fact none were, and almost all of the people killed were actually Christians. Also, the figure is closer to 40,000 over a 500 year period. This book was published in 2001, showing many prominent Wiccans still don’t accept the fact their religion is a modern invention. )
So either the Wiccan authors quoted really believed their religion was one that had existed in some form in the ancient past...being deceived themselves as many others had been, or they were simply lying. There are really only two choices here; a victim of a lie, or a liar. If they believed the claim not knowing any better, then they were victims of fraud, having been deceived into thinking Wicca was thousands of years old as I and others had. If they knew better and were lying too, then they were willing participants in the hoax. Therefore they were not participants of a reconstruction, but participants in a hoax, either as victim or perpetrator!!
I certainly thought Wicca was more ancient than Christianity when I became one as a teen, and I’m sure there were other people that drew the same conclusion. I drew that conclusion from reading books written by Wiccans, such as the ones I mentioned.. Obviously, that was the intention of the writers I cited! I could have filled this whole website alone with similar quotes from Wiccan writers.
This was the original thesis of what Wicca was from circa 1950 until around 1980; Wicca was a Stoneage religion that went underground for a few hundred years and then resurfaced.
But this idea - - promoted by Wiccan writers and leaders - - was far from the truth.
AND NOW THE TRUTH...
In 1897 Godfrey Leland wrote "Aradia Gospel of The Witches". The book was plagiarized partly from two of his other books, Etruscan Remains and Gypsie Sorcery. Leland claimed he was given an ancient manuscript, which is the same story he used about one of his other books. This is the same era when was finding “gold plates”, so maybe it sounded possible. The manuscript was never produced for examination, like Smith’s plates.
Even though the book doesn't mention "wicca", it was the inspiration of what was to come. "Aradia" deals with Diana and her brother Lucifer, a being "banished from paradise for his pride" and was obviously the Christian devil. Diana and Lucifer have a daughter named Aradia, who was supposedly a witch avatar who lived in Sicily in the 14th century. No witch cult like Leland's was ever found, and the document is obviously a fraud. No scholar, historian, anthropologist, or sociologist has ever taken the document seriously. One obvious giveaway that the book is fake is the Italian is in 19th century Italian, and has grammatical errors common to English speakers. Imagine if someone was trying to pass off a version of the King James Bible that sounded as though it were written by a valley girl, and you get the idea.
Next came Margaret Murray. A quack anthropologist, Murray hatched her own witch theory inspired by Leland's hoax. Murray invented the idea that witches of medieval witch-hunts were actual part of a Pagan cult that survived into 1600's or so. Murray wasn't above lying as her writings about Joan of Arc bear out. If she had actually read the trial transcripts from St. Joan's trial as she claimed, there is no way she could have drawn the conclusions she did about the devout Catholic Joan being a witch. Murray tests the limits of the reader's patience with ideas like an poor accused witch being tortured crying "Queen of Heaven help me!" as an incantation to a Pagan goddess, rather than the obvious St. Mary.
But Murray's books inspired (and continues to inspire) others. The problems with Murray's thesis are, 1)there was no evidence of a witch cult like the one Murray describes, 2)she relied on the confessions of accused witches that were extracted under torture, and 3)scholars realized her data came from things she took things out of context, rewriting and twisting information, and ignoring information that didn't fit her thesis. Murray stopped reading criticism about her books altogether and stubbornly refused to change her mind.
Then in the 1950's, Gerald Gardner comes along and seems to have discovered a prehistoric religion that coincides with Leland and Murray...practically in his own backyard. The religion also coincidentally has Gardner's fetishes for nudity, sadomasochism, feminism, his fascination with knives, rituals based on his friend Aleister Crowley, and Freemasonry to which he belonged! Murray joined Gardner's coven, and felt validated...not realizing Wicca was her own self fulfilling prophecy.
THE TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT OF
THE ORIGINS OF WICCA
There are basically two ideas on how Wicca got started, even though a lot of Wiccans may not think of it this way. The original idea (fabricated by Gerald Gardner and others) was that Wicca was a Stone Age religion that had survived since the caveman days. Some Wiccans claimed Wicca was 10,000, 20,000 even 50,000 years old (which would mean it was the religion of the Neanderthals!), depending on which author you consult. Then there is another school of thought that says Wicca is a "reconstructionist" movement, rebuilding an ancient religion. Actually, neither of these ideas is correct, as we shall read.
Wicca has never been an "underground religion". It was certainly never underground for hundreds of years the way the early books on Wicca claim it was. From it’s inception, circa 1950, Wiccans have always sought the spotlight. Gardner published 3 books and gave interviews to newspapers and British television. Alex Sanders went on a tour of nightclubs with an act billed as "Alex Sanders and his Topless Witches". He gave lectures and made frequent television appearances.
Louise Hubner became Salem’s official witch, officiating at public events. Raymond Buckland made sure everybody new of his arrival in America with an announcement in Fate magazine. He quickly opened a mail order school of Wicca and published several books. Herman Slater opened a Wiccan bookstore in New York City and had a weekly cable access T.V. show. Carl Llewllelyn Weshchek started to mass produce books on Wicca, launching the writing career of so-called "Fluffy Bunny" Wiccan writers like Scott Cunningham and Silver Ravenwolf. Sybil Leek toured the U.K. and America giving lectures and writing about a dozen books, even claiming she had become part of "the jet set". The Frosts published several books, and started a mail order school, as did their rival Leo Martello.
These folks were quite militant, even forming "public awareness groups" which is the opposite of what you want if you’re part of a secret underground movement. Wiccans have their own "legal defense fund" and an "anti-defamation league" that handles such things as Wiccan claims of discrimination. One such incident in the 1990's, involved a coven of Wiccans denied the right to be in a small Texas town’s Christmas parade....nude. These super secret sorcerers could not understand why the townsfolk didn’t want to look at naked men and women claiming to be witches (during a Christmas parade no less) while everybody...even children...except for reason: discrimination! If all these Wiccans were trying to be secretive, I can’t help but wonder what they would do if they were completely out in the open?
All the while oddly enough while all this was going on, all these same Wiccans chanted a familiar refrain of "Wiccans don’t recruit followers"! If Wicca was ever forced to REALLY go underground (say for instance, radical Islamic regimes took over North America and Europe), the movement would fade away in about 1-2 years because, as a general rule, Wiccans can’t stand to be out of the spotlight for very long. Wiccans have heavily tried to recruit followers through lectures, public appearances, media interviews, the books they write and publish as well as mail order courses and internet websites. They also get free advertising from movies like The Craft and The DaVinci Code. It’s because of this recruiting that the movement has grown so rapidly in such a small space of time. Without it, it would be yet another occult group with just a few hundred followers like the Rosicrucians, Thelemites, Ohaspe, or Urantia. Or perhaps it would have just simply faded away the way many such cults do, like the Shakers, the Process, or Herb Sloane’s Cultus Satanus.
CIRCA 1954 A.D. - - -Wicca Is Born
The exact date Wicca was created isn’t known. Wicca seems to have been an ongoing project for a while (between 1939-1954)...evolving in stages, being shaped by different people...over a period of years. The person who is credited with actually creating Wicca is a Brit named Gerald Gardner, a feminist, nudist and retired rubber plantation manager. After retiring Gardner , moved from Malaysia, back to England and settled in the New Forest area. While there he became involved with the esoteric groups there, mainly a group calling itself "The Rosicrucian Theater", which was said to have consisted of Theosophists and the usual occult types. Alice Bailey, the successor to Helena Blavatsky as head of the Theosophical Society was said to have been connected to the group.
Also connected to the group were men who had been members of a "New Age alternative to the Boy Scouts", called the Order of Woodcutters. They were originally Quakers who became Neopagans, practiced nude rituals in the woods, borrowed rituals from Crowley, including the "Hymn to Pan" and calling the quarters inside a circle drawn on the ground. If not, then that would mean there were two occult groups, both in the same small area, both invoking a horned god and a moon goddess, and both using Aleister Crowley's rituals, entirely independent of each other. Obviously, this isn’t very likely. England is a small place and it’s hard to hide anything for long. Besides, nothing occultic stays secret for too long anyway. Just to go a Barnes and Noble or go online if you doubt this. Gardner didn't find a coven of Stone Age witches, he found Thelemites, Rosicrucians, and Theosophists who could have easily concocted the Wiccan rituals...and that's exactly what happened.
Gardner claimed it was one of the people he met at this Rosicrucian Theater, a Dorothy Clutterbuck, that Gardner claimed initiated him into an ancient Wicca coven. Its possible Clutterbuck initiated him into something she claimed was an ancient coven, but since Gardner's story about being initiated in 1939 didn't come out until 1949, the entire incident could very well be bogus. Conveniently the claim doesn't come out until years after Clutterbuck is dead, and no way to confirm it, either. We will begin to see this as a pattern in Wicca, with claims being of ancient witch lineage made and conveniently the key witnesses long dead. The diary of Dorothy Clutterbuck was read by the author of the book Wiccan Roots. The author was disappointed to discover Clutterbuck seems to have been a Rosicrucian (a blend of Freemasonry, Alchemy, and Hermeticism, with some heretical Christianity thrown in), but she never mentioned Wicca or Witchcraft, and apparently never was one.
Adian Kelly came to the conclusion there was no prehistoric coven when he set out to trace the roots of Wicca. He too, came to the conclusion that the "prehistoric" religion called Wicca actually goes back to around 1939. Kelly was a pioneer, because he published a book debunking the real origins of Wicca, forcing the Neopagan community to take notice. If such a book had first come out by a "xtian", it would have been easy for them to dismiss. But to have not only a Wiccan, but a Tradition head, claim Wicca wasn’t ancient was a bombshell.
"As long as I thought there might be some sort of older tradition behind Gardner, I had been looking back to the 1920's, after Murray's Witch Cult book came out, wondering why no one had tried to base a coven on Murray's description. If someone had, I thought, there would have to be traces; it is inherently implausible that either the English, with their tolerance for eccentricity, or Americans, would keep this sort of...religious activity a secret for more than a few months...So it was startling when I finally realized that obviously someone had based a coven on Murray's description: that was precisely what Gerald Gardner, Dorothy Clutterbuck, and company did in September 1939. But why did it take that long? Because it is actually not obvious what must be done to transform Murray's description into a viable movement. That takes some creative genius and Gardner and his friends were the first to have it." [ SOURCE: Crafting the Art of Magic by Llewellyn Publications, pages xix-xxi]
Of course, what some people call "creative genius", others might call "ability to tell really incredibly huge lies". Kelly published the book Crafting The Art of Magic in 1991. It was published by Carl Weschek Llewellyn, someone who had up until then been very respected in the Neopagan community. Weschek had even given Kelly access to many documents and manuscripts he personally owned that had been written by Gardner himself, including copies of Gardner’s Book of Shadows in different stages of development. Now Wiccans did have a problem. They Wiccan community quickly put the pressure on Wiccan publisher Llewellyn to stop the book, and quickly went out of print, practically as soon as it was advertised in their mail order catalog in 1991.
From this point on, we hear Wiccans begin to say things like, "Oh, Wicca’s really a re-construction movement. I’ve been saying this all along!". Yet even if you read books and web-pages written years later, you can still sometimes catch where the author slips up and calls Wicca an ancient religion, or how it predates Christianity. Talking about "the Burning Times" is pointless, since Wicca didn’t really exist that long ago, but every Wiccan web-page out there and every book has some kind of mention about it. And of course, there are those that will never admit the whole things a hoax, still claiming Wicca is somehow thousands of years old. BUT IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN CREATED CIRCA 1950 AND YET BE THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD AT THE SAME TIME!
In a nutshell, Gerald Gardner drew on Margret Murray’s work, as well as Leland’s and Ivanhoe’s history...all of these works were flawed and erroneous. To these myths, he combined the rituals of the Ordo Templi Orientis and the Golden dawn. The use of the magick circle, the invoking of the four cardinal points, use of invoking and banishing pentagrams, water and incense, "hoodwinked’ initiations, clearly belong to those groups rather than any ancient Pagan religion, be it Celtic, welsh, Irish or Martian. The sadomasochistic aspects of Wicca are in line with Gardner’s peculiar bent rather than being part of an ancient religious tradition. There was no tradition of Wicca "older than Gardner" as Kelly puts it. Of course, immediately after his death there were dozens of pretenders to the throne. Now there are hundreds.
The Not Very Ancient Book of Shadows
As already mentioned, the primary book of Wicca is called the Book of Shadows (a few Wiccans call it The Book of Light to make it sound less sinister). It may not even be this old. There has never been a Book of Shadows found older than circa 1950, and if Wicca was as old as it claimed, there would certainly be mountains of evidence for it. If the Wiccans were as old and as numerous as they say, why didn't the Romans note their existence along with the Druids? Why was there never a Book of Shadows found in any witch trials? The founder of Wicca was really a man named Gerald Gardner. In the 1990's, Adian Kelly published a book called Crafting The Art of Magic that blew the lid of the cauldron, and exposed Gerald Gardner as a fraud. Adian Kelly was not a fundamentalist Christian but a Wiccan, which made his book a watershed. Wiccans quickly put pressure on Llewellyn Publications to stop the book, and it quickly went out of print. It's hard to find a copy of the book, as Wiccans quickly snatch up a copy when one turns up.
Whether or not you believe people evolved from apes, evolution was in play in the Wiccan Book of Shadows. Adian Kelly detailed the transformation of this book in Crafting the Art of Magic as having gone through several revisions into the present Book of Shadows. While doing research into the origins of Wicca, he came to this conclusion [PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS AND YOU WILL PROBABLY SAVE YOURSELF AN EMAIL TO ME]:
" [M]any of the Book of Shadows rituals did not exist in 1954 (when Witchcraft Today was published) but instead were still being written. [T]he major sources from which the rituals had been constructed included: (a) Mather's edition of the Greater Key of Solomon; (b) Aleister Crowley's Magic in Theory and Practice; (c) Leland's Aradia (d) some Masonic rituals akin to those described by Duncan and those of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (aside from those transmitted by Crowley; and (e) Margaret Murray's The Witch Cult in Western Europe. There were also bits and pieces from other works by Leland, Jane E. Harrison, Gilbert Murray, James Frazier, and other great classicists from the 19th century. That accounted for EVERYTHING in the rituals! There was nothing left that differed in any important way from what you can find in those sources- - but that is NOT at all what Gardner had claimed!" (SOURCE: Crafting The Art of Magic by Adian Kelly, Page xvii)
Of course, some Wiccans claim that Wicca is a "reconstructionist" movement, and the rituals are where Gardner did most of his "reconstructing". But in reality, there never was a Wicca or a Celtic religion like it. Wicca is not a "reconstructed" religion because you can’t reconstruct something that never existed in the first place! Celts did not have a god/goddess duality in their theology, but had a triune god as their main deity. They were true polytheists, believing each of their gods and goddesses were separate beings. They also did not believe in Reincarnation, but in an afterlife of pleasure for the good, and misery for the bad. Reincarnation was not a universal belief in ancient religions, but became part of Wicca because of Gardner’s exposure to Eastern religions (Jainism in particular seems to have been a big source of borrowing of ideas for Wicca).
Nor was theirs a society based on a matriarchy, but one of paternalism like the rest of the world. The men did the hunting, trading and fighting and the women stayed home and raised the babies. So Wicca is not a "reconstructionist" movement at all, because you can reconstruct something that never existed! Wicca is a modern day made up occult religion...period!
Far from being ancient, the material Gardner presented in the Book of Shadows was actually quite new! Gardner plagiarized from the writings of Aleister Crowley to write the "Book of Shadows" (a.k.a., Ye Booke of Magickal Arte). In the earliest days of it’s creation, Wiccans used to vehemently deny that Crowley had anything to do with Wicca. But it was obvious that Crowley's influence was in Wicca, so Wiccan then admitted he had influenced Wicca to a degree. They contended Gardner had used Crowley's rituals, but only after Crowley died, and Crowley had no real input. It's hard to say if Crowley helped Gardner invent Wicca, but I think it is unlikely. Some Wiccans even began to claim to be Crowley’s successor, as damage control.
Raymond Buckland claims an apocryphal story that A Book of Shadows was in Crowley's own handwriting at Gardner's witchcraft museum on the Isle of Mann. I think that this Crowley BoS is about as real as most of the claims of Wicca...it’s baloney. I can see why Wiccans would invent the story of a Crowley BoS. A BoS in Crowley's handwriting could mean Crowley stole his material from Wicca, rather than the other way around. However, what Wiccans don't realize that a Book of Shadows in Crowley's handwriting could also be interpreted that Crowley wrote the BoS, making him a co-founder of Wicca. The same Aleister Crowley who was a student of Satanism and black magic! So in some people’s minds, the real debate is whether Aleister Crowley really invented Wicca as a way to spread Thelema, ordering his O.T.O. underling Gerald Gardner to help him. There are apparently some modern day followers of Crowley’s teachings that think this was the case. I think it is possible Wicca could have been created by Crowley with the help of Gardner. But more than likely Gardner invented Wicca-probably nothing more than as a way to sadomasochist sex!
Colin Wilson knew Aleister Crowley and wrote of his relation with Gerald Gardner in his book Aleister Crowley: the Nature of the Beast,
"The law that made witchcraft illegal in England was repealed in 1951, and three years later, a 'witch' called Gerald Gardner published Witchcraft Today, alleging that there are still dozens of covens -- groups of witches -- practicing all over England. He explained that they were followers of a nature-religion called Wicca. Gardner was a friend of Crowley's, and an initiate of the OTO, and Crowley authorized him to set up his own magical group. Gardner liked being flagellated, and his own version of Wicca laid heavy emphasis on sex rites in which everyone was nude. Understandably, it quickly gained hordes of disciples. Crowley's version of 'magick' was, naturally, much in evidence in these covens. Many members of such groups lost interest as they got older; others developed a wider interest in magic, and studied seriously the Enochian system of John Dee, the magic of the Golden Dawn, and Crowley's own sex-oriented system."[p. 162]
Sources That Were Plagiarized To Create Wicca
The Golden Dawn
During the 19th century the quasi-masonic English based group known as The Golden Dawn attracted some of the most influential occult writers of in the world. The group is classified as "Fringe Masonry" by bodies such as the "Official" Scottish Rite and York Rite Masons.
The ritual of First Degree initiation of Wicca is identical in structure to the initiation Ritual in Israel Regardie's book The Golden Dawn.
1. An officer purifies the temple, East, South, West, North, by sprinkling water.
2. Another officer censers the temple in the same pattern as the first officer.
3. All the Officers circumambulate the temple three times.
4. The Candidate is led in with a threefold cord about his waist, blindfolded (or "hoodwinked")
5. The Candidate is given a new name.
6. The Candidate is then purified by being sprinkled, and then consecrated by being censed.
7.The candidate is then made to repeat an oath of secrecy. The phrases in these oaths bear a similarity: "...in the presence of...do of my own free will...most solemnly promise to keep secret...Furthermore, if I break this, my Magickal Obligation, I submit myself..." never to reveal the secrets...save in" and " if I fail...may...my power in Magic cease".
8. The candidate is led "sunwise" around the circle one and a half times North to South where he is stopped, challenged, and sprinkled and censed again. He is then led sunwise 1 and a quarter times to the west, stopped, threatened with a sword, made to give a password supplied by his guide. He is then led one and a quarter times to the north, one and a quarter times to the east, and the two procedures are repeated again, but in the East the threat is with a scepter. He is then led tot eh altar at the center.
9. Everyone kneels, and the Hierophant invokes the "Mighty One".
10. Candidate's blindfold is removed, and is formally accepted into membership.
11. The Candidate is shown various secrets.
12. The Candidate is sprinkled and censed yet again, has his threefold cord removed, and is given is badge of degree.
13. The Candidate is then proclaimed a new member to all present.
14. The temple is then closed by a counterclockwise walk around the circle.
Aleister "The Beast, 666" Crowley
Even though Gerald Gardner originally claimed the rituals in the Book of Shadows were the original rituals used by British Wiccans for centuries, it becomes quite obvious when reading it that the material comes from several sources. The writings of Aleister Crowley were a major source of material, without question. The Third Degree initiation rite when compared to Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass has far too many similarities be a mere coincidence. The Book of Shadows and Crowley’s writings even share one invocation word for word (as pointed out on page 52, footnote 1, of "The Witches' Bible" by Janet and Stewart Farrar.)The rituals of Crowley and Wicca have many similarities; such as the enthronement of the priestess upon the altar, and the consecration of cakes and wine. This invocation can be found in Crowley's "Magick in Theory and Practice", Liber VX, section III: "The Ceremony of the Opening of the Veil". Interestingly, this invocation in the Wiccan Great Rite involves the removal of a white veil from the body of the priestess, who lays in the center of the circle. The invocation (in both Gnostic Mass and Great Rite) is spoken aloud by the priest: (The words which read word for word in both rites, or almost, are italicized.)
THIRD DEGREE INITIATION FROM THE GARDNERIAN BOOK OF SHADOWS
O Circle of Stars
Whereof our father is but the younger brother
Marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space,
Before whom time is bewildered and understanding dark,
Not unto thee may we attain unless thine image be love.
Therefore by seed and root, by stem and bud,
by leaf and flower and fruit, Do we invoke thee,
O Queen of Space, O dew of light,
Continuous one of the heavens
Let it be ever thus, that men speak not of thee as one, but as none;
And let them not speak of thee at all, since thou art continuous.
Crowley's Gnostic Mass:
O circle of Stars whereof our Father is but the younger brother, marvel
beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom Time is Ashamed,
the mind bewildered and the understanding dark, not unto Thee may we
attain, unless Thine image be Love. Therefore by seed and root and stem
and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke Thee.
Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her
lovely brows, & the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-
smelling perfume of sweat; O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be
ever thus; that men speak not of thee as One but as None; and let them
speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous!
It's blatantly obvious that the Wiccan Third Degree ritual is lifted out of Crowley's Gnostic Mass. It practically reads word for word. Honestly, who could believe peasant farmers living in rural England could write things like "...soul of infinite space, Before whom time is bewildered and understanding dark,..."? Apparently a lot of Wiccans do! Of course, not many people outside of the occult at the time Gardner wrote his forgery had read Crowley's occult writings, even if they might have heard of him. During Crowley’s lifetime his books were self-published for the most part, and limited to a few hundred copies at the very most.
So Gardner's deception was safe from most people figuring it out, save for a handful of occultists, at least for a while. And the ones that figured it out were too happy running around naked and playing witch to reveal the truth. The public at large certainly knew nothing of what the Book of Shadows contained at the time, and likely didn’t read Crowley’s rare books either. Knowing that his plagiarism would doubtlessly be discovered eventually, Gardner attempted to create a cover story in his book Witchcraft Today:
"The only man I can think of who could have invented the rites was the late Aleister Crowley. When I met him he was most interested to hear that I was a member, and said he had been inside when he was very young, but would not say whether he had rewritten anything or not. But the witch practices are entirely different in method from any kind of magic he wrote about, and he described very many kinds. There are indeed certain expressions and certain words used which smack of Crowley; possibly he borrowed things from the cult writings, or more likely someone may have borrowed expressions from him."
Gardner was obviously lying through his teeth when he made this statement. He tries to make it sound like he had at best a passing friendship with Crowley, and fails to mention he was in Crowley's O.:T.:O.:! Gardner was a member of Crowley's organization, not the other way around. Since Gerald Gardner was not only a member, but apparently a high ranking member of Crowley's organization (he was asked by the O.T.O. To start an chapter in America at one point, or so the story goes), which means he was certainly well aware of Crowley's writings.
In the "Minerval Initiation" of the O.:T.:O.:, Gardner would have stood bound hand and foot, blindfolded,, and then heard the words, 'I give unimaginable joys upon earth: certainty, not faith, etc, etc,...all this while standing at sword point, just like in Wicca!. At the end of the ritual, the initiate is given a copy of Crowley’s Book of the Law, much like how a newly initiated Wiccan is given a copy of the Book of Shadows after they go through a similar sword point initiation.
Here we see two occult organizations with exactly the same words and similar initiation ritual. It is absolutely impossible this is a coincidence. Wicca is compiled from many sources Aleister Crowley would have certainly been familiar with, so why would Wicca be "unlike any from of magick Crowley had ever seen", as Gardner claims? Nor was it likely that Crowley ever was initiated into Wicca, because he wrote down every detail of his occult studies and practices. He never mentions Wicca in any of his voluminous writings, not even once. If Crowley was so dog gone interested in Wicca as Gardner claims, why did he not make some kind of mention of it? His diaries from the time he knew Gardner only mention him dropping by for visits, but no mention about Wicca. He also doesn’t mention knowing Sybil Leek or her family, "babysitting" Alex Sanders or knowing his family, or ever knowing or meeting "Old George Pickingill", and learning Wicca from him. All these fabrications came out decades after Crowley's death to try to explain away the obvious plagiarism from Crowley.
WAS CROWLEY A CO-CREATOR OF WICCA?
Nevertheless, Gardner tries to fool us into thinking that Crowley had been a Wiccan while he was young. Since Crowley wrote the Gnostic Mass when he was in his forties, this would hardly be considered a writing from his "youth". Of course he waited until Crowley was dead for a while before he ever mentions any of it, but why? There are some that think had Crowley found out Gardner created a witch religion plagiarized from ideas and writings from his Thelema, he would have been furious. He would have kicked Gardner out of the O.:T.:O.: at least. Members of the O.:T.:O.: swear the usual oaths to be put to death if they betray the secrets as many such quasi-Masonic organizations do, and there was a possibility Crowley could have carried it out.
Crowley, strapped for cash in his twilight years, might have sued Gardner for plagiarism. Or at best, had Crowley heard about it and liked the idea, he would have tried to co-opt Wicca for himself and become the first "witch King". He certainly tried to become the head of every other occult origination he joined, such as the Universal Gnostic Church and the O.:T.:O.: When he couldn’t become the head of the Golden Dawn, he simply started his own version, called the Argentinum Astrium. When the AMORC became a commercial success, Crowley wanted to be made the head of that order. When Spencer Lewis basically told Crowley to get lost, Crowley started out to America to challenge him, but was broke by that time --and since he didn’t really have magic powers-- he couldn’t raise the funds by any means. Crowley’s ego would have never allowed him to sit idly by while someone else got all the glory.
Or could it be that Crowley asked Gardner to create a Wicca-like religion which was really Thelema in disguise? An American disciple named Jack Parr (see Famous Occultists section of this website) wrote a book titled Liber 49 that claimed a new Aeon of Babylon would be ushered in by the spread of witches. He wrote a letter to Crowley about his idea of a witch religion with covens of 19 members using Thelemic rituals. Perhaps Crowley took his idea to heart. Or perhaps Gardner and Parr worked to create this Thelemic witch religion without Crowley's knowledge. In either case, it seems hard to think Gardner and Parr got the same idea at the same time without at least knowledge of each others doings!
There is a story that Gardner had a Book of Shadows on display at his witchcraft museum in the handwriting of Aleister Crowley himself. However, the only people to have claimed to have actually seen it are a few Wiccans like Raymond Buckland. No one outside of the "Wiccan faith" seems to have really seen it. I once saw a list of items for sale from Gardner's Witchcraft Museum after his death (anyone could order a copy from an ad in FATE magazine), and there was no Book of Shadows by Aleister Crowley mentioned in it (no doubt because it never existed in the first place). No one seems to know the whereabouts of the Crowley BoS, or who the owner now is, so it seems the whole thing is a lie.
It's obvious why Wiccans would invent a story about a Crowley BoS, because this would mean Crowley was a Wiccan, and therefore would mean Crowley stole his writings from Wicca, instead of the other way around. If such a BoS handwritten by Crowley really existed, it seems like whoever owned it would a) probably be Wicccan and b) would want to make it public so that it would end the controversy. To date the Crowley BoS has yet to make a public appearance. Since a version of the Book of Shadows is even on the internet, it wouldn't be giving away any secrets. Obviously Wicca came after Crowley, patched together by Gardner from Crowley's writings, and other sources. There never was a copy of the BoS written by Crowley...period!
JACK PARSONS AND "LIBER 49"
(Pictured above: Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons, and Parson's friend & fellow O.T.O. member L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Dianetics & Scientology.)
As stated, while Gardner was working on his own witch cult, meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic, another Crowley disciple, Jack Parsons, seemed to be working on a Thelemic witch cult too. It's hard to say how far he got, and it may have never gotten past the "drawing board" stage. What we know of Parson's idea for a witch cult survives in the document called "Liber 49 The Book of Babalon"[sic]. Parsons seemed to envision a "second coming of Babalon", so to speak, and envision the followers of "Babalon" as "witches". Note that in this sense, "Babalon" refers not to the ruined city in Iraq, but to "the spirit of Babylon", i.e., the force behind Babylon (a demon, in other words). This idea is taken from Dee's Enochian magic. Here are a few quotes from Liber 49:
"19. The perfume is sandal, and the cloth green and gold. There is my cup, our book, and thy dagger."
"66. Work your spells by the mode of my book, practicing secretly, inducing the supreme spell."
[Most Wiccan rituals feature a cup (chalice) a book (of Shadows) and a dagger (athame). Sandalwood incense used to figure prominently in Wiccan rituals back in the early days]
"21. The sigil of devotion. Be it consecrated, be it true, be it daily affirmed. I am not scorned. Thy love is to me. Procure a disk of copper, in diameter three inches paint thereon the field blue the star gold of me, BABALON."
"22. It shall be my talisman. Consecrate with the supreme rituals of the word and the cup."
[The witch cult would use a star necklace as it's symbol. Sound familiar?]
"28. The Astarte working, with music and feasting, with wine and all arts of love."
"29. Let her be dedicated, consecrated, blood to blood, heart to heart, mind to mind, single in will, none without the circle, all to me."
"30. And she shall wander in the witchwood under the Night of Pan, and know the mysteries of the Goat and the Serpent, and of the children that are hidden away."
["none without the circle", meaning the rituals would take place inside a circle, as do Wiccan rituals]
"51. Stand thou fast, and I shall pass the second veil, while God and Jesus be smitten with the sword of HORUS."
"52. Stand thou fast, and I shall pass the third veil, and the shapes of hell shall be turned again to loveliness."
[Anti-Christian sentiment, typical of Thelemic writings. ]
"54. Let me behold thee naked and lusting after me, calling upon my name."
"55. Let me receive all thy manhood within my Cup, climax upon climax, joy upon joy."
[Nudity and sex rituals were to take place in the witch cult just as the "Great Rite" does in Wicca.]
"59. Yea it is even I BABALON and I SHALL BE FREE. Thou fool, be thou also free of sentimentality. Am I thy village queen and thou a sophomore, that thou shouldst have thy nose in my buttocks?"
[The reference to having a nose in her buttocks harkens back to the "oscularum infame", or "the kiss of shame". In the witch hunt era, superstitious people thought witch's kissed the devil's backside. This may have been Parr's equivalent to Gardner's "Five Fold Kiss"...it too stolen from Thelemic rituals.]
"65. 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."
[In Parson's witch cult, covens would consist of 11 members, rather than Gardner's idea for 13 members. Nude rituals were to be part of Parr's witch cult, as they were in Gardner's and it's offshoots.]
"73. Yea, my Father has made a house for you, and my Mother has prepared a Bridal Bed. My Brother has confounded your enemies."
"74. I am the Bride appointed. Come ye to the nuptials--come ye now!"
In Liber 49 there's plenty of talk about Babalon returning as a "bride", a parody of Christ returning for His church, which is referred to in the Bible as His bride.
What are the odds that two of Crowley's followers would both be working on a witch cult at the same time, independent of each other, without knowledge of what the other members were doing? I'd say pretty slim. While Crowley may not have known what his disciples were up to, there must have been talk going on among them. I think they knew Crowley wouldn't be around much longer, and seemed to have been planning the next step. Thelemites often say how Wicca is "the child of Thelema". They may know more than they're admitting!
Gardner’s Strange Personality
Gardner had some peculiar personal idiosyncrasies which became part of Wicca. One peculiar trait was his love for obsolete English words, such as "thee," "thou," "'tis," , which are used throughout the Book of Shadows, originally titled "Ye Bok of ye Art Magickal.", the Wiccan ops manual. Another was nudism, having been raised in a nudist family. Gardner had belonged to a nudist colony in the 1930s, and he prescribed that many Wiccan rituals be carried out "skyclad." This was a certainly a rarity even among occultists of the day. No ancient pagan religion is known, or at least was thought in Gardner's time, to have regularly called for its rites to be conducted buck naked!. Certainly in cold climates like Northern Europe and the British Isles, a religion where the participants prance around naked outdoors was very unlikely. Even in the summer months, England can get quite cool at night.
In addition to nudity, there is an element of sadomasochism in Garnderian Wicca and the early versions which parroted Gardner. In no other occult order, Pagan religion, or grimorie do we find anything mentioning being tied up naked and beaten. Wicca was the first and only occult system to introduce this. The rite is known as "scourging", and it is euphemistically called a "purification rite". While it true medieval Monks would sometimes scourge themselves as an act of penance, it certainly never took on the S and M trappings of Wicca. Besides, this practice developed in the Dark Ages and was not a practice of Pagans in the past.
Masochist derive sexual pleasure by being beaten then when they have reached a state of arousal, they find release with whatever partner is available. It’s no coincidence that as soon as the High Priest is beaten, the "Great Rite" sex ritual immediately takes place.
Some Gardnerian innovations have sexual and even bondage-and-discipline overtones. Ritual sex, which Gardner called "The Great Rite," and which was also largely unknown in antiquity, was part of the liturgy for Beltane and other feasts (although most participants simulated the act with a dagger -- another of Gardner's penchants -- and a chalice). Other rituals called for the binding and scourging of initiates and for administering "the fivefold kiss" to the feet, knees, "womb" (a spot above the pubic bone), breasts, and lips.
Knives play a part in Wicca, and this was said to be yet another area where Gardner had a fascination, according to people who knew him. Gardner is said to have owned quite a large collection of daggers. He often showed up at that folklore society he belonged to with a large dagger in hand. The other members of the group were very intimidated by this. Two knives are used in Wicca, a black handled knife called an athame, and a white handled boleen. Swords are also used in some covens.
Both Freemasonry and Wicca are known as "The Craft". Both Gardner and Crowley were Freemasons. Crowley was made a 33rd degree mason in Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, and Gardner was in a branch of Freemasonry known as "Co-Masonry". Unlike most other branches of Freemasonry (Scottish Rite, York Rite, etc.) Co-Masonry allowed women to become Freemasons. This probably appealed to Gardner, who was a feminist. In all the different branches of Freemasonry, the first three degrees are the same. The three degrees, known as the Blue Lodge", have identical rituals and titles. Some Masons consider the Blue Lodge to be the heart of Masonry. It is believed by most authorities on Freemasonry that the original Freemasonry which existed in the centuries before 1717 A.D. had just three degrees. Like the Blue Lodge, Wicca has three degrees, or "grades". There are also, not surprisingly, exact correspondences of both Wiccan and Masonic rituals. Duncan's Ritual and Masonic Monitor pages 29-34 reads
"The Senior Deacon...presents one point of the compasses to the candidates naked left breast...The Deacon...puts a rope called a cable tow, once around his neck letting it drag behind...Senior Deacon asks the candidate is "duly and truly prepared, and properly vouched for"...The Candidate having been brought in is conducted once around the lodge in the order east south west [and ending in the north]...The candidate takes an oath containing these words, "...of my own free will...in the presence of [God and saints] most solemnly...swear that I will always conceal and never reveal, any of the arts...of the hidden mysteries...except to a true and lawful brother... in a regularly constituted lodge".
Along with the swords, blindfolding, and such of Masonry incorporated into Wicca, there also minor things as well. The Wiccan chant "Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again" is lifted from a Masonic Hymn, for minstance.
Some might wonder why Gardner would choose Masonry to steal rituals and ideas from. This is because most people have the idea of Freemasonry of what it is today, basically a social club used for networking and busines connections that has parties and does some charitable work. Freemasonry is also a Fraternity dripping with occultism...even though its occult symbols are lost on the average Mason today.
There was a time that this secret society wielded immense power. The American and French Revolutions probably would have never happened had it not been for the work of Freemasons. Freemasonry once had the ability to topple kingdoms, and was feared by many monarchs, who became Freemasons themselves to ensure they could remain on the throne. Freemasonry supposedly has its roots in the Knights Templar, an order of knights who may have became Gnostics or Muslims (but the connection is unlikely and more likely wishful thinking).
Even though I would say the average Mason is completely unaware of it nowadays Freemasonry is crammed with elements from the Cabala, Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Gnosticism, the Templars (at least legends of the Templars), and astrology. Albert Pike says the goal of the Freemason is to become " student of the Cabala" ( Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike) The Cabala is a form of Gnosticsm that was adopted by Jewish mystics in 12th century Europe, and is found in practically any occult book. In the otherwords, the goal of the Freemason is to become an occultist! Feemasonry then, is the most obvious choice to copy from if you are stating an occult order. So many occult groups base their rites, rituals, terminology and style from Freemasonry that Masons refer to groups like the Rosicrucians and the O.:T.:O as "fringe Masonry". Even though Masonry in Gardner’s day was pretty much harmless like it is today, there were still many occultists that knew what Masonry was about, and they eagerly joined.
Yes, there is much Biblical symbolism in Freemasonry. There’s all kinds of talk about King Solomon, and the building of the Temple, but this is handed down to you from The Knights Templar In fact, Freemasonry is nothing more than a continuation of the Templars. In the 17th Grade, Freemasons become "Rosicrucians". The Rosicrucians are occultists that practice an Egyptian form of occult called Hermeticism and Alchemy. Masons are always "searching for the light" which is taken from Gnosticism. This is the Manichean legacy of the Templars. Manicheans rejected the grace of Christ for salvation, and instead sought "enlightenment". Freemasonry has some very gruesome rituals which might be described as witchcraft-like. In the book The Deadly Deception, a former Freemason describes his initiation into the 33rd and highest level of Scottish Rite Masonry. The 10th degree of York Rite masonry has a similar degree. The candidate drinks a series of libations. Finally he is presented with a human skull and told to drink from it! The intensity of this ritual is lost on people nowadays. It would certainly be at least, scary or disgusting today, but it must have had an almost traumatizing effect in ancient times. These types of rituals would have insured total loyalty to the order from anyone who under went them. (CDJ)
Freemasonry was a fraternal organization that had it's roots in sect of heretic Roman Catholic monks called "The Templars". The Templars recaptured the site of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. At first, they were an extremely pious sect. The order was so poor at first, they rode two men to a horse. But over the years the sect grew extremely wealthy, with so much money they made loans to not only kings, but the very countries they ruled. The sect apparently defected to Gnosticism while in the Middle East. For years, Masons have claimed a connection to the Templars, which has been scoffed at by some. But in the 1980's, an archeological dig of the Templar cemetery in Jerusalem revealed the traditional Masonic symbols of the square, compass, and plumb line on all graves except the two oldest ones. This seems to indicate a strong link indeed to Freemasonry.
The rituals and rites of Freemasonry are rich in occult symbolism. Most of the rituals are "psychodramas", plays acted out to instill dogma. The first three degrees of Masonry involve an acting out of the murder of Hiram Abiff and King Solomon resurrecting him. With all the talk about Biblical figures, Freemasonry fools a lot of people into thinking it's a Christian organization. But Freemasonry clearly shows it's Gnostic roots, and every level of Masonry talsk about "seeking the light", just as the Gnostics of old sought "enlightenment". There is some Biblical inversion in Masonry, as with Gnosticism. In one degree, Masons are told the secret name of God is Abbadon. In reality, this is the name of a god...but only if you're a Satanist, because Abbadon is the name of the Devil! Masonry also teaches the direction of North is the direction of darkness. The Bible says God's thrown is located in the North, so it would only be the place of darkness, if you were a Gnostic or a Satanist.
At Freemasons's funerals, Masons are told someday they will stand before "The Great White Throne of Judgement". This is not the place you want to be when after you die, because this is the judgment of the damned! Why are things so turned around about the Bible in Freemasonry? Because Gnostics believed the God of the Bible was really evil, and the Devil was the Ophite serpent of wisdom, or Lucifer. So the heroes of the Bible were often the villains, and vice-versa. Freemasons become "Knights of The Rose Cross" in the 17th degree. The "Rose Cross" is the symbol of the Rosicrucians, a sect of occutlists interested in Alchemy, Theosophy, Hermeticism and all types of occultism!
Freemasonry would become the template from which many occult organizations would pattern themselves, including Wicca. Tom McKenney an ex-Freemason in the Scottish Rite (Knight Commander in the Court of Honor, Past Worshipful Master Blue Lodge, Past Worshipful Master of all Scottish Rite bodies)who left the lodge after being born again gave this account of his initiation ritual into the highest of all levels, the 33rd and final Degree of the Scottish Rite.
"When it was time for the final obligation we all stood and repeated the oath with the representative candidate, administered by the Sovereign Grand Inspector General. We then swore true allegiance to the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree, above all other allegiances, and swore never to recognize any other brother as being the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry unless he also recognizes the supreme authority of ‘this Supreme Council’. One of the ‘Conductors’ then handed the ‘candidate’ a human skull, upside down, with wine in it. With all of us candidates repeating after him, he sealed the oath, ‘May this wine I drink become a deadly poison to me, as the hemlock juice drunk by Socrates, should I ever knowingly or willfully violate the same (the oath)’. "
"He then drank the wine. A skeleton (one of the brothers dressed like one- - he looked very convincing )then stepped out of the shadows and threw his arms around the ‘candidate’. Then he (and we) continued the sealing of the obligation by saying ‘And may these cold arms forever encircle me should I ever knowingly or willfully violate the same.’ The Sovereign Grand Commander closed the meeting of the Supreme Council ‘with the mystic number’ striking with his sword five, three, one, and then two times. After the closing prayer we all said ‘amen, amen, amen’ and it was over.
(SOURCE: The Deadly Deception by Jim Shaw and Tom McKenney Page 104)
So, if nothing else should convince the reader, then the above ritual should serve to show Freemasonry is occultic to it's very core. There is no way anyone can not call oaths swearing allegiance involving skeleton costumes and drinking wine from actual human skulls Satanic!
The Legend of Wicca Continued to Be Written
After Gardner, people still continued to build on the fantasies Gardner had created. There were a number of people we have read about in Chapter 2. All of these different traditions have their start with Gardner. Alex Sanders was the first to break with Gardner’s coven, and other followed suit. After Gardner had died people started coming forward and claiming they too, were really Wiccans, but that they were part of a line of Wicca that was independent from Gardner.
Furthermore, these Family Traditions or "Fam Trads" for short, were the "real" source of Wcca Gardner had stolen from. There were even books published in the 1970's claiming the "real" coven of Wiccans in New Forrest was furious Gardner had made their rituals public with out their permission. We are never told the names of these people, and there is no way to verify if the group was real, so now doubt the stories were the invention of Wiccan writers. Sybil Leek claimed to be from a long line of witches...after Gardner had come forward and all her family memebrs were dead. Gavin and Yvonne Frost would claim to be Wiccans from two different traditions...none of which is true. The Frost Wicca doesn’t seem to ahve anything in it that can’t be traced to other available sources. Paul Huson wrote Mastering Witchcraft and The Devil’s Picture Book, claiming he too was from yet another long line of Wiccans. But there is nothing original or new in Huson’s tradition. His system of Wicca seems to be taken mostly from the Goetia, the Lesser Key of Solomon, a book written by Crowley, and yet another connection to Wicca and the "Great Beast" of Thelema.
Lugh's History Revision
There was an attempt to legitimize Wicca by a an anonymous person calling himself Lugh in a newsletter called The Wiccan in 1974. "Lugh", who claimed to be a hereditary witch, described Pickingill as "the world's greatest living authority on Witchcraft, Satanism, and Black Magic" (quoted by Doreen Valiente in Rebirth of Witchcraft). Pickingill supposedly initiated Gardner and Crowley and even helped them write the Golden Dawn rituals. As Lugh contibuted more stories, they began to get so ridiculous even The Wicca refused to publish them.
Aidan Kelly, who does not believe Pickingill contributed anything to Wicca, describes Pickingill as "a garden-variety folk-magic witch and a home-grown Satanist." Pickinggill was a farm laborer, and probably couldn't even read or write. If he had any education, it was probably not past a 2nd grade level, even if that. It's extremely unlikely he wrote the complicated rituals of Crowley and the Golden Dawn, which draw on religions and mythologies of many different lands, and many different complicated occult systems. Pickigill was said to have the local country folk terrorized. When he wanted something from a store, he simply went in and took it without paying. The shopkeepers were too afraid to stop him...or at least that's the story.
The reason "Lugh" wanted to link Gardner and Crowley to Pickingill was probably to portray the Wicca, Golden Dawn rituals and Crowley as having a common source, which would legitimize it.
In Reality, there is no evidence whatsoever that George Pickingill was anything more than an illiterate farm hand. There is a record that Pickingill was christened as an infant, which would indicate he wasn't a Wiccan. This isn't surprising since Wicca did not yet exist. It's unlikely a snob like Crowley would have consulted an unschooled drunk like Pickingill on occult matters. The coven Gardner contacted was the Woodcutter's coven, not a Pickingill coven. In fact...there's no evidence Pickingill had even one coven, let alone a network of them all over England as Lugh claims.
The rituals of the Golden Dawn are eclectic and draw from sources from many cultures, including Greco-Roman, Egyptian, European grimories, Hinduism, spiritism, and Freemasonry, among others. Writing these rituals would have been quite an achievement for an illiterate farm hand indeed! Pickingill most definitely did not write the elaborate rituals of the Golden Dawn. These rituals are the product of educated (albeit gullible) minds.
Do Wiccans still buy the "Caveman Theory"?
The few Wiccans I have ( at this writing) talked to about the not-so-ancient origins of Wicca criticize me and tell me no one really believes the "Caveman religion" idea of Wicca anymore. However, I don't really believe this is so. Even Wiccan who admit their religion is relatively new, they still seem to have a hard time accepting the fact. I still see books and websites on Wicca displaying the 25,000 year old "Venus" statue. If they know their religion is fake, why do they still make this pretentious connection? I still see the "never again the burning times" rant on almost every webpage on Wicca. What burning times? For crying out loud, Wicca didn't even exist until 1939 the earliest! The only "burning times" a Wiccan has experienced is when they bent over too close to a candle while skyclad (and I can tell you from experience it’s an "owwie").
Yet Wiccans still want to whip themselves into a frenzy over these Christians killed by other misguided Christians, and the handful of Satanists who also got killed. By the end of the 1990s, with the appearance of Davis's book and then of Hutton's, many Wiccans had begun referring to their story as a "myth of origin", not a history of survival. "We don't do what Witches did a hundred years ago, or five hundred years ago, or five thousand years ago," according to a Wiccan calling herself Starhawk. "We're not an unbroken tradition like the Native Americans." In fact, many Wiccans now describe those who take certain elements of the movement's narrative literally as "Wiccan fundamentalists."
Some Wiccans seem to have developed a compartmentalized view of the witch hunt era, believing it happened to Wiccans and yet somehow didn't happen to them at the same time. Any Wiccan can spout statistics (almost always wrong) about the number of witches killed, the King James edict, Reginald Scott, etc. but might admit Wicca is only about 60 years old if you asked them point blank. Then the next breath, they refer to Wicca as "The Old Religion", and speak of centuries of persecution at the hands of Christians, which is why it had to underground. Oi vey!
Author Ashleen O'Gaea has written several books on Wicca, including Raising Witches, a book giving advice on how Wiccans should raise their kids. In the book, she does acknowledge new evidence that Wicca isn't ancient and says this evidence should not be ignored. She even says no Wiccans were killed in the witch hunt era. But then on page 179, the book she reverses herself 180 degrees and says if Wiccan children ask their parents why some people confuse Wiccans with Satanists and why can't they talk about Wicca, the following explanation should be given:
" Once upon a time, when Christian armies were expanding their empires, they found that their native Pagan people didn't want to be concurred. The only way to replace Pagan religions with Christianity was to lie about Paganism and kill the Pagans who resisted. There are fewer swords drawn against us these days, but the people believe the same lies. People won't believe the lies forever, but not everyone is willing to hear the truth yet."
Indeed, not everyone is willing to hear the truth yet! When Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 A.D.(she's apparently referring to Rome) in the Roman Empire, the Romans already ruled all of Europe. It didn't need Christianity to expand it's Empire. O'Gaea spreads the same lie other Wiccan authors have, and just a few pages from where she said such things weren't true. This is a prime example of compartmentalized thinking.
In 1999 Ronald Hutton, a well-known historian of Pagan British religion who teaches at the University of Bristol in England, published the book, The Triumph of the Moon. Hutton, like Adian Kelly, could find no conclusive evidence of the coven from which Gardner said he had learned the Craft, and also concluded that the so-called "ancient" Witchcraft Gardner claimed to have been initiated into was just a hodge-podge of material from relatively modern sources. Like Kelly, Hutton had access to Gardner's unpublished manuscripts, and also interviewed many of Gardner's surviving contemporaries. Being a historian, he had conducted detailed research into the known pagan practices of prehistory of the British Isles, which bore little, if any, resemblance to Wicca.
According to Hutton, Gardner seems to have drawn on the work of two people: Charles Godfrey Leland, a nineteenth-century amateur American folklorist who professed to have found a surviving cult of the goddess Diana in Tuscany, Italy and Margaret Alice Murray, a quack British Egyptologist who drew on Leland's ideas and, in the 1920s, fabricated a ridiculous mythology of Witches being a prehistoric Pagan religion. From his own experience with Aleister Crowley's O.:T.:O.: and Co-Masonry, Gardner lifted things such as blindfolding, initiation, secrecy, and "degrees" of priesthood, and many terms from Freemasonry.
Aside from Wiccans, what about non-Wiccans who believe what I call the “Caveman Theory” of Wicca's origins? Back around 2003 I attended a Hospice workshop where the Chaplain, who was also a Baptist minister, claimed before a group of Hospice workers that Wicca was thousands of years old and had been persecuted by Christians. Even when I tried to correct him later, he still clung to the idea of Wicca being thousands of years old and persecuted by Christians! A few years later I met someone else ( a Fundamentalist Christian) who thought Wicca was 10,000 years old was surprised to hear it had been created in 1954. My brother-in-law (a Roman Catholic who lives in Manchester, UK) was relieved to hear Wicca wasn't thousands of years old, and no Wiccans had been killed in The Burning Times. Now, that's just 3 people I personally came across in my day to day life. Imagine how many thousands more people are still holding on to the “Caveman Theory”!
The Two Crafts
The creator of Wicca as we know it was a man named Gerald B.Gardner. He was born in 1884, and spent most of his working adult life in Malaya, and the far east. Whe he retired he returned to the UK in 1936. He joined the Folklore Society, and in June 1938, also joined the newly opened Rosicrucian Theater at Christchurch where it is said he met a woman named Dorothy Clutterbuck. The origins of Gardnerian Wicca - or at least, the story Gardner told of them - are well known. He was supposed to have made contact with a coven of genuine witches in the New Forest, and was initiated by them into the Wicca 'cult', as he referred to it. Among these were the old witch Dorothy Clutterbuck, and the young Dafo, who was Gardner's own High Priestess. It was Dafo who wrote to Gardner late in his life to rebuke him for seeking publicity - a statement taken by many to mean Gardner's decision to open the Craft up to a wider audience. In the pages ahead, you will read how Gardner created Wicca out of medieval grimories, like the Lesser Key of Solomon, The Greater Key of Solomon, the writings of Aleister Crowley (mostly from his book, Magic in Theory and Practice), Freemasonry.
Since then, many people have endeavored to find out the truth behind Gardner's account, most recently Philip Heselton in his book 'Wiccan Roots'. Heselton seems to take the view that Gardner was telling the absolute truth, and that he really was initiated into a surviving coven; Wiccan Roots is a brave attempt to find facts to fit the theory, and certainly goes much further than any other attempt, though it is somewhat disappointing to find that the diaries of Dorothy Clutterbuck reveal her to have been a perfectly ordinary if nature-loving Christian.
Why Did Gardner Create Wicca?
The first theory is, Wicca was created about sex. No real news in that statement. At first glance, Wiccans running around naked and having sex as part of the "Great Rite" with an hedonistic lifestyle, this would appear to be the case. But some occultists think that Gardner created Wicca due to an adulterous love affair, rather than just an excuse to have orgies. They give reasons to support this idea, but it really falls flat when you think about it. At any rate, here it is:
A friend asked Gardner where he learned about Wicca from. Gardner stated he fell in love with a witch who taught him Wicca (among other things, it would seem).The thing is, Gardner was married to another woman at the time he claims he was initiated.
Gerald Gardner met a woman named Eidth Grimes, who some people think was the Wiccan called "Dafo" Gardner mentions. They met in 1939 while she and Gardner were both members of a British civilian corps that watched for enemy planes. They were also both members of the very same nudist club in the New Forest area. The fell in love with each other and began an adulterous affair. Gardner was married to a wife of several years, and Edith, oddly enough, was married to a parson, although they were estranged. Edith was living apart from her husband, working for a living, supporting herself and a 16 year old daughter. As time went on, Gardner and Edith decided they had been lovers in a past life together. Before I was saved, I used to use that same line on women...maybe Gardner was the first one to think of it. Gardner was apparently referring to this when he wrote the novel A Goddess Arrives.
The novel contains themes of two characters, patterned after Gardner and Grimes, being lovers and parents of children in a past life. Edith believed herself to be a reincarnated Witch, and Gardner was only to happy to indulge her in this delusion. Like Gardner, she was an occultist, and a member of the Crotona Fellowship. No doubt they were both well versed in the Margret Murray's books about the legendary "Pagans transformed into a Witch cult" baloney. So the theory goes, Gardner and Grimes needed some sort of a justification, or if you will, a "sacred pretext", to carry on their affair, and thus Wicca was born. By making their tryst sacred, it was redeemed from being mere adultery. Another clue to this is Gardner's statement in Witchcraft Today,"'Witches have for hundreds of years held their meetings in private; they are people who want release from this world into a world of fantasy. To certain kinds of person the relief gained has been of enormous benefit and these occasional nights of release are something to live for." Predictably like all extramarital trysts, theirs ended, although it's said they remained close for the rest of their lives. Edith's daughter refused to have anything to do with Wicca, claiming that her minister father had taught her Witchcraft was wrong.
The thing is, Gardner and Grimes were both nudists. Most nudists...consider my opinion a stereotype if you want to...are usually swingers (and that's based on having known several nudists, all swingers). Gardner was a Thelemite, with it's view that every sex act is sacred, and rituals involving phallus worship. Someone who is into all this isn't going need an excuse for adultery! Thelemites only restraint in sex is...well there is none in Thelema, actually.
So considering Gardner was living a lifestyle that included nudism and Thelema, Gardner probably had an "open marriage" with his wife. Grimes was so estranged from her husband that it was Gerald Gardner who gave their daughter away at her wedding. It doesn't sound like they tried to hide their affair at all. I don't really buy the idea that they used Wicca as some kind of a "justification" for their affair. I doubt seriously that Grimes and Gardner needed to justify their affair in their own heads..."Do What Thou Will" would also include adultery. Who then, were they trying to justify it to...other nudists and Thelemites??? And think about it, what kind of justification is this anyway: "Edith and Gerald had to become lovers because they were Witches" Is being a Witch somehow supposed to take the stigma away from being an adulterer??? Did Gardner create Wicca to make his affair more kinky somehow? Well, possibly. There was nudity, voyeurism, flagellation, and bondage, and all these things appealed to Gardner, and it would have spiced up his affair with Edith
Yes, Gardner created Wicca for sex, but not to justify or hide an affair.
Another theory is...Gardner Created Wicca for sex! Adian Kelly, as mentioned, published an expose of Gardner and the early years of Wicca called "Crafting the Art of Magic". Kelly discovered, as he probed the history of Wicca that it seemed to be little more than a not-so-sacred pretext so that Gardner could have sex with strong willed women after having been tied up and beaten! Well, I guess that's one way to spend a Friday night...I'll stick to bingo.
Gardner had lived most of his life in the far East. He spent a good deal of time living in Malaysia. As a child he was raised by a strict nanny, and this is where he is said to have developed a taste for flagellation and feminism.
The most puzzling aspect about Wicca, is that there is no known ancient European Pagan sect that worshiped nude, tied up it's followers, beat them with whips, had sexual initiations, and worshiped a horned god and goddess. A cult that practiced naked nocturnal nature nostrums in a nippy Northern climate as cold as Europe (especially England of all places) just doesn't sound very likely of being a reality. Being tied up and beaten probably wouldn't appeal to a whole lot of followers either. Life was hard enough in ancient times already without running the risk of freezing to death after getting the stuffing whipped out of you while naked as a jaybird.
There is also no mention of ligature and flagellation in any Ancient Grimories, and in occult practices it seems to only seem to occur in Wicca and Thelema. So is it a mere coincidence then, that Gardner, a nudist and sadomasochist just happened to stumble onto Wicca-somehow underground for centuries-and that Wicca had exactly the same practices he was into??? With odds like this, Gardner could have made a successful living as a poker player!
In America, most Wiccans are trying to build their PR by flatly denying Gardner was a sadomasochism. In England on the other hand, Gardner's masochistic fetishes are commonly known and accepted. Likewise his mentor Aleister Crowley also claimed to be a masochist, although he certainly seem to exhibit mostly sadistic tendencies.
Commenting on Gardner's fetish, Kelly observes:
"A craft Priestess I know who has worked as a professional "dominatrix" has shared with me some of her insights into Gardner's personality, based on her professional experiences and Gardner's own writings. She says that the instructions in his rituals for exactly how a person is to be bound and scourged show what he himself needed to be done. Furthermore, she says, he was clearly the sort of man called a 'SAM, smart-[BLEEP!]-masochist,' in her trade because, rather than obeying the orders of a "Mistress", he wanted to tell her exactly what to do to him." [SOURCE page 28]
Adian Kelly noted that the goddess wanted "at least 40" blows from the whip on the Wiccan's bottom to be made happy. Whip someone 39 times, and I guess you'll be in trouble with Diana (tithing doesn't sound so bad by comparison, now does it?) Kelly interprets this to mean Gardner had to be beaten at least 40 times to achieve sexual arousal. On initiation, the initiate receives 40 blows, and then has to give the High Priest 120 blows. Then immediately afterward he is untied for sex.
In 1939 Gerald Gardner, a feminist, nudist and retired rubber plantation manager, moves to New Forest and gets involved with the esoteric groups there, mainly the Rosicrucian Theater, which was said to have consisted of Theosphists and the usual occult types. Remember the nudie Quaker boys I mentioned? Seems they were involved too. There can be little doubt that the pre-historic coven of Gardner's, if it exited at all, is nothing more than the OWC group. If not, then that would mean there were two "Witches covens", both in the same area, both invoking a horned god and a moon goddess, and both using Aleister Crowley's rituals, entirely independent of each other.
The diary of Dorthy Clutterbuck was discovered decades later by Wiccans trying to prove the ancientness of Wicca. Her diary reveals she was merely a Rosicrucian, with no mention of anything like Wicca. So Gardner's claim of being initiated by Clutterbuck seems like a fabrication. Since Gardner's story about being initiated in 1939 didn't come out until 1949, it may very well be bogus as well. Conveniently the claim doesn't come out until years after Clutterbuck is dead, and no way to confirm it. We will begin to see this as a pattern in Wicca, with claims being of ancient Witch lineage made and the key witnesses long dead. Adian Kelly came to the conclusion there was no prehistoric coven when he set out to trace the roots of Wicca.
"As long as I thought there might be some sort of older tradition behind Gardner, I had been looking back to the 1920's, after Murray's Witch Cult came out, wondering why no one had tried to base a coven on Murray's description. If someone had, I thought, there would have to be traces; it is inherently implausible that either the English, with their tolerance for eccentricity, or Americans, would keep this sort of...religious activity a secret for more than a few months...So it was startling when I finally realized that obviously someone had based a coven on Murray's description: that was precisely what Gerald Gardner, Dorothy Clutterbuck, and company did in September 1939. But why did it take that long? Because it is actually not obvious what must be done to transform Murray's description into a viable movement. That takes some creative genius and Gardner and his friends were the first to have it." [ SOURCE: Crafting the Art of Magic by Llewlyn Publications, pages xix-xxi]
[NOTE TO THE CRAFTIING THE ART MATERIAL: I do not necessarily agree with the author's claim that Gerald Gardner was dyslexic, however I have not had privilege to the documents he had access too (and never will, since they are in Wiccan hands), so I'm not in a position to judge 100% one way or the other. Gardner had a fondness for using archaic English even in his everyday speech, not when just writing about Wicca.
Old English didn't have the rules of spelling and grammar the English of today has, which might explain how someone could mistake Gardner for a dyslexic from his writings. The creation of Wicca involved a lot of research and reading which would have been virtually impossible for someone who was dyslexic. I think the idea of Gardner being a dyslexic and needing several other people to help him is a case of witch-ful thinking. I can see in the minds of many Wiccans that the idea of Gardner and several other people creating Wicca together as a group effort would somehow give it more credibility than if it was just created so Gardner could fulfill a sexual fetish.
Wicca was created as a hoax. So either the Wiccan authors quoted really believed their religion was one that had existed in some form in the ancient past...being deceived themselves as many others had been, or they were simply lying. There are really only two choices here; a victim of a lie, or a liar. If they believed the claim not knowing any better, then they were victims of fraud, having been deceived into thinking Wicca was thousands of years old as myself and others had. If they knew better and were lying too, then they were willing participants in the hoax. Therefore they were not participants of a reconstruction, but participants in a hoax, either as victim or perpetrator!!
I certainly thought Wicca was more ancient than Christianity when I became one as a teen, and I’m sure there were other people that drew the same conclusion. I drew that conclusion from reading books written by Wiccans, such as the ones I mentioned.. Obviously, that was the intention of the writers I cited! I could have filled this web-page alone with similar quotes from Wiccan writers.
CAN A HOAX BE THE BASIS FOR A RELIGION? Well, all religions had a beginning point. But to castigate Christians into the role of predators by history revision is just plain wrong.
Crafting The Art of Magic by Adian Kelly (Kelly was a Wiccan "Tradition head". He started the NROOGD strain of Wicca)
Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike
Duncan's Ritual and Masonic Monitor
Triumph of the Moon, Stations of the Sun, The Druids, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy all by Ronald Hutton(Ronald Hutton is a university professor who has taught at Oxford and Bristol. He is considered the leading authority on British Pagan religions. Despite what Wiccan apologists tell you, he is VERY qualified to write about Wicca.)
The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by Rossel Hope Robbins (Robbins was a scholar and a pioneer Wicca debunker. He read literally thousands of documents from the witch hunt era and concluded no Goddess worshiping cult of witches exited in the middle ages.)
Goddess Unmaksed The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality by Philip G. Davis (a Canadian university Professor of Religion)
The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future by Cynthia Eller (a college professor and feminist)
Oh, and don't forget:
"11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the origins of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future."
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