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Here he grew particularly interested in a temple containing statues to both the male deity of Judeo-Christian theology and the pagan goddess Ashtoreth. He eventually reached England, but soon went on a visit to Denmark to attend a conference on weaponry at the Christiansborg Palace , Copenhagen , during which he gave a talk on the kris.

Returning to Britain, he found that the climate made him sick, leading him to register with a doctor, Edward A. Gregg, who recommended that he try nudism. Hesitant at first, Gardner first attended an in-door nudist club, the Lotus League in Finchley , North London, where he made several new friends and felt that the nudity cured his ailment.

When summer came, he decided to visit an outdoor nudist club, that of Fouracres near the town of Bricket Wood in Hertfordshire , which he soon began to frequent. Fearing the cold of the English winter, Gardner decided to sail to Cyprus in late , remaining there into the following year.

He would subsequently style himself as "Dr.

Gardner", despite the fact that academic institutions would not recognise his qualifications. Planning to return to the Palestinian excavations the following winter, he was prevented from doing so when Starkey was murdered. Instead he decided to return to Cyprus.

Gerald Gardner

A believer in reincarnation , Gardner came to believe that he had lived on the island once before, in a previous life, subsequently buying a plot of land in Famagusta , planning to build a house on it, although this never came about. Revolving around an Englishman living in s London named Robert Denvers who has recollections of a previous life as a Bronze Age Cypriot — an allusion to Gardner himself — the primary plot of A Goddess Arrives is set in ancient Cyprus and featured a queen, Dayonis, who practices sorcery in an attempt to help her people defend themselves from invading Egyptians.

Published in late , biographer Philip Heselton noted that the book was "a very competent first work of fiction", with strong allusions to the build-up which proceeded World War II. Here, they purchased a house built in named Southridge, situated on the corner of Highland Avenue and Elphinstone Road. An amateur thespian, she hated the performance, thinking the quality of both actors and script terrible, and she refused to go again.

Founded in by George Alexander Sullivan, the Fellowship had been based upon a blend of Rosicrucianism, Theosophy , Freemasonry and his own personal innovation, and had moved to Christchurch in As time went by, Gardner became critical of many of the Rosicrucian Order's practices; Sullivan's followers claimed that he was immortal, having formerly been the famous historical figures Pythagoras , Cornelius Agrippa and Francis Bacon. Gardner facetiously asked if he was also the Wandering Jew , much to the annoyance of Sullivan himself.

Another belief held by the group that Gardner found amusing was that a lamp hanging from one of the ceilings was the disguised holy grail of Arthurian legend. The very next day, Britain declared war on Germany , greatly unimpressing the increasingly cynical Gardner. Alongside Rosicrucianism, Gardner had also been pursuing other interests. In , Gardner joined the Folk-Lore Society ; his first contribution to its journal Folk-Lore , appeared in the June issue and described a box of witchcraft relics that he believed had belonged to the 17th century "Witch-Finder General", Matthew Hopkins.

Subsequently, in he would go on to become a member of the society's governing council, although most other members of the society were wary of him and his academic credentials. He managed to circumvent this restriction by joining his local Home Guard in the capacity as armourer, which was officially classified as technical staff. Although sceptical of the Rosicrucian Order, Gardner got on well with a group of individuals inside the group who were "rather brow-beaten by the others, kept themselves to themselves.

Gardner became "really very fond of them", remarking that he "would have gone through hell and high water even then for any of them. Gardner would subsequently give her the nickname "Dafo", for which she would become better known. According to Gardner's later account, one night in September they took him to a large house owned by "Old Dorothy" Clutterbuck , a wealthy local woman, where he was made to strip naked and taken through an initiation ceremony.

Halfway through the ceremony, he heard the word "Wica", and he recognised it as an Old English word for "witch". He was already acquainted with Margaret Murray 's theory of the Witch-cult , and that "I then knew then that which I had thought burnt out hundreds of years ago still survived. Subsequent research by the likes of Hutton and Heselton has shown that in fact the New Forest coven was probably only formed in the mids, based upon such sources as folk magic and the theories of Margaret Murray.

Gardner only ever described one of their rituals in depth, and this was an event that he termed "Operation Cone of Power". According to his own account, it took place in in a part of the New Forest and was designed to ward off the Nazis from invading Britain by magical means. Gardner claimed that a "Great Circle" was erected at night, with a "great cone of power" — a form of magical energy — being raised and sent to Berlin with the command of "you cannot cross the sea, you cannot cross the sea, you cannot come, you cannot come".

Throughout his time in the New Forest, Gardner had regularly travelled to London, keeping his flat at Buckingham Palace Mansions until mid and regularly visiting the Spielplatz nudist club there. As a result, he would become one of the major shareholders at the club, exercising a significant level of power over any administrative decisions and was involved in a recruitment drive to obtain more members.

Between and , Gardner befriended the Christian mystic J. Ward , proprietor of the Abbey Folk Park, Britain's oldest open-air museum. One of the exhibits was a 16th-century cottage that Ward had found near to Ledbury , Herefordshire and had transported to his park, where he exhibited it as a "witch's cottage". Gardner made a deal with Ward exchanging the cottage for Gardner's piece of land near to Famagusta in Cyprus. The witch's cottage was dismantled and the parts transported to Bricket Wood, where they were reassembled on Gardner's land at Five Acres. In Midsummer he held a ceremony in the cottage as a form of house-warming, which Heselton speculated was probably based upon the ceremonial magic rites featured in The Key of Solomon grimoire.

Furthering his interest in esoteric Christianity, in August Gardner was ordained as a priest in the Ancient British Church , a fellowship open to anyone who considered themselves a monotheist. Nevertheless, many fellows — including Katherine Briggs — were dismissive of Gardner's ideas and his fraudulent academic credentials. On May Day , Gardner's friend Arnold Crowther introduced him to Aleister Crowley , the ceremonial magician who had founded the religion of Thelema in The charter itself was written in Gardner's handwriting and only signed by Crowley.

Gardner hoped to spread Wicca, and described some of its practices in a fictional form as High Magic's Aid. Set in the twelfth-century, Gardner included scenes of ceremonial magic based on The Key of Solomon. Published by the Atlantis Bookshop in July , Gardner's manuscript had been edited into a publishable form by astrologer Madeline Montalban.

This would prove to be the prototype for what he later termed a Book of Shadows. Gardner also came into contact with Cecil Williamson , who was intent on opening his own museum devoted to witchcraft; the result would be the Folk-lore Centre of Superstition and Witchcraft , opened in Castletown on the Isle of Man in Gardner and his wife moved to the island, where he took up the position of "resident witch". And I get great fun out of it. In , Gardner bought the museum from Williamson, who returned to England to found the rival Museum of Witchcraft , eventually settling it in Boscastle , Cornwall.

Gardner renamed his exhibition the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft and continued running it up until his death. In , Gardner had begun to correspond with a young woman named Doreen Valiente. She eventually requested initiation into the Craft, and though Gardner was hesitant at first, he agreed that they could meet during the winter at the home of Edith Woodford-Grimes. Valiente got on well with both Gardner and Woodford-Grimes, and having no objections to either ritual nudity or scourging which she had read about in a copy of Gardner's novel High Magic's Aid that he had given to her , she was initiated by Gardner into Wicca on Midsummer Valiente went on to join the Bricket Wood Coven.

She soon rose to become the High Priestess of the coven, and helped Gardner to revise his Book of Shadows , and attempting to cut out most of Crowley's influence. In his book, Gardner not only espoused the survival of the Witch-Cult, but also his theory that a belief in faeries in Europe was due to a secretive pygmy race that lived alongside other communities, and that the Knights Templar had been initiates of the Craft. Many of these turned out very negatively for the cult; one declared "Witches Devil-Worship in London! Gardner continued courting publicity, despite the negative articles that many tabloids were producing, and believed that only through publicity could more people become interested in witchcraft, so preventing the "Old Religion", as he called it, from dying out.

In , Gardner's official biography, entitled Gerald Gardner: Witch , was published. Bracelin , because Shah was wary about being associated with Witchcraft. Soon after his trip, Gardner's wife Donna died, and Gardner himself once again began to suffer badly from asthma. The following year he, along with Shah and Lois Bourne, travelled to the island of Majorca to holiday with the poet Robert Graves , whose The White Goddess would play a significant part in the burgeoning Wiccan religion.


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In , Gardner decided to go to Lebanon over the winter. Whilst returning home on the ship, The Scottish Prince on 12 February , he suffered a fatal heart attack at the breakfast table.

Pagan Paths

He was buried in Tunisia , the ship's next port of call, and his funeral was attended only by the ship's captain. Though having bequeathed the museum, all his artifacts, and the copyright to his books in his will to one of his High Priestesses, Monique Wilson, she and her husband sold off the artefact collection to the American Ripley's Believe It or Not! Ripley's took the collection to America, where it was displayed in two museums before being sold off during the s.

She discovered that the cemetery he was interred in was to be redeveloped, and so she raised enough money for his body to be moved to another cemetery in Tunis , [] where it currently remains. In , a new plaque was attached to his grave, describing him as being "Father of Modern Wicca. Beloved of the Great Goddess". Gardner only married once, to Donna, and several who knew him made the claim that he was devoted to her. Indeed, after her death in , he began to again suffer serious asthma attacks. Despite this, as many coven members slept over at his cottage due to living too far away to travel home safely, he was known to cuddle up to his young High Priestess, Dayonis , after rituals.

According to Bricket Wood coven member Frederic Lamond , Gardner also used to comb his beard into a narrow barbiche and his hair into two horn like peaks, giving him "a somewhat demonic appearance". Gardner was a supporter of the right wing Conservative Party , and for several years had been a member of the Highcliffe Conservative Association, as well as being an avid reader of the pro-Conservative newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.

In a interview with a journalist from the Sunday Pictorial newspaper, Gardner said he was a doctor of philosophy from Singapore and also to have a doctorate in literature from Toulouse. The University of Singapore did not exist at that time and the University of Toulouse had no record of his receiving a doctorate. Valiente suggests that these claims may have been a form of compensation for his lack of formal education. Valiente further criticises Gardner for his publicity-seeking — or at least his indiscretion. Valiente reports that Gardner responded with a set of Wiccan laws of his own, which he claimed were original but others suspected he had made up on the spot.

This led to a split in the coven, with Valiente and others leaving.

Commenting on Gardner, Pagan studies scholar Ethan Doyle White commented that "There are few figures in esoteric history who can rival him for his dominating place in the pantheon of Pagan pioneers. In , Philip Heselton published a two-volume biography of Gardner, titled Witchfather. The biography was reviewed by Pagan studies scholar Ethan Doyle White in The Pomegranate journal, where he commented that it was "more exhaustive with greater detail" than Heselton's prior tomes and was "excellent in most respects".

First Name:. Last Name:. Gerald Gardner. This article is about the English Wiccan. For other notable figures with the same name, see Gerald Gardner. Blundellsands , Lancashire , England. Main article: Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship. Main article: New Forest coven. Sunday Pictorial. News of the World.

ostara night death of a coven Manual

Other beneficiaries of his estate were Patricia C. Crowther and Jack L. Bracelin, who authored an authoritative biography of Gardner, Gerald Gardner: Witch It's believed that when the goddess wakes from a long winter's sleep in March, she thaws the Earth and starts its life cycle anew.

This rebirth, so to speak, is what sets the stage for the Pagan holiday Beltane , a fertility festival that occurs one month later. As Lance puts it, during the vernal equinox, "the bounty we're used to associating with spring is not quite there yet — the trees are still bare, the ground is just beginning to thaw. Plants bloom, baby birds hatch, and, as legend has it, you just might be able to balance an egg that night. As for Lance, she plans Ravenous Craft's equinox dinner , which takes on a spring theme — specifically, the concept of a return from scarcity.

The meal depends heavily on what nature can provide so that the guests can grasp how gradual and rewarding the process of rebirth can be. She says she'll be serving "different foraged ingredients, depending on the abundance of the season. This meal, Lance says, "will have an immersive component which seeks to reconnect us with our wild, carnal natures," as it emulates a time when people depended solely upon nature for food.

As is the case with any seasonal change, the vernal equinox is a great time to reflect upon the year and what's to come. Not only does the day carry symbolic weight for many people, but it's also one of the two days in the whole year where nighttime and daytime are equal in length. Lance recommends journaling and engaging with yourself quietly after any group celebration you may have. Since the day is mostly about the appreciation of nature, Lance explains that taking advantage of this unique time during the shift in the seasons can be personally fulfilling, no matter what spiritual traditions you follow.

No matter how you choose to celebrate it if it all , Sunday's equinox means that spring's bounty is on its way, which is certainly something everyone can appreciate. This summer's cult horror film, Midsommar, will make your wildest group vacations or music festival plans look tame. The movie, which is made by the same. We're settling into Cancer season this week, helping each other discover our creative sides and embracing the comforts of home.

Action planet Mars also. As of sunrise this morning, summer has officially arrived. Today is known as the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year if you're curious, you. In astrology, Cancer season begins today! The fourth sign of the zodiac is in tune with their emotions, loves the comforts of home, and is an intensely.

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On Friday 21st June the northern hemisphere will officially welcome the first day of summer, which is known as the summer solstice or Litha in. Another retrograde is coming.