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Forums -> Wicca -> Gerald Gardner

Gerald Gardner
By:
Post # 1

Am I right that Gerald Gardner also "founded" Wicca along with Aleister Crowley? I'm not sure

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Re: Gerald Gardner
By:
Post # 2
Gerald Gardner founded Wicca along with Doreen Valiente. Aleister Crowley was before their time and was not associated with Wicca, though it does take some of its base from his ideas.
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Re: Gerald Gardner
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 3

BlueCrow is correct. Aleister Crowley had nothing whatsoever to do with Wicca. Gardner initially used some of the Golden Dawn material, but that was dropped after Doreen Valiente became Gardner's first High Priestess.

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Re: Gerald Gardner
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 4
In fact, quite often, Gardner and Crowley fought like cats and dogs! Each trying to prove who was the most powerful.I remember it well! The Press took great delight in their squabbles. But both did work hard to make witchcraft legal.
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Re: Gerald Gardner
By:
Post # 5
Gardner was a member of Crowleys OTO, I believe he was 6th degree, but could be wrong. There are some people who state the initiation ceremonies gardner used are loosley based on oto ceremonies- not being part of that order I cannot confirm that.

Crowley wanted the OTO to survive so he was handong out 6th degrees to a lot of people, as far as I know, Crowley and gardner only met a few times and that was at the very end of crowleys life.

Gardner did however use quite a bit of crowleys writing in his book of shadows, some would say plagarised, I prefer the term borrowed. I have read some lines which are taken straight from Crowley's book of the law.

You read all sorts of conspiracy theories, such as wicca being a veiled form of thelema and practices of the oto etc......thelema and wicca have their similarities at times, but are still quite different.

I believe wicca was the extension of gardners secret coven, I believe there was some controversy over whether that coven existed or not.

There are some good documentaries on youtube, I think one which went into some detail was "a very british witchcraft" it was filmed by channel 4 quite recently.
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Re: Gerald Gardner
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 6
True,Gardner and Crowley didn't meet very often, but each wrote letters to the Press,criticising each other. Alex Sanders then, sort of, broke away from Gardner, and he didn't like Crowley's influence very much. Sanders was the real, great publicist for Wicca. Much of modern day Wicca is from Sanders. He preferred the Egyptian forms of beliefs, and described his ideas of Wicca as Alexandrian. ( from the city,not his name.)
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Re: Gerald Gardner
By:
Post # 7
They were both human, I know little about Gardner from a personality perspective, but I know Crowley could be egotistical and petty, and old age didn't seem to clear that up!

I'll have to google and see if I can find what they were saying about each other, it will probably be an entertaining read!
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Re: Gerald Gardner
By: / Novice
Post # 8
I'm on my phone so sorry for spelling and I can't provide any links.

If memory serves, Gardner claimed he was in a secret Wiccan coven but they didn't want to go public. He founded a Wiccan coven [can't remember the name] with many influencial people like Sanders and Valiente, later training Buckland and I think the Farrar's but don't quote me. He did not work with Crowley however. He admired him and made claims they were buddies or in the same secret society and knew each other, but Crowley basically shook his fist and denied it. I read somewhere they met once, but it wasn't to work on Wicca. Anyway, answering your question, Gardner admired Crowley but they didn't work together or establish Wicca. Crowley did open the doors to the Occult discussion, so despite being a bit of an egotist, he did do a lot of good.
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Re: Gerald Gardner
By: Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 9

There is very little doubt that Gardner was trained in a coven. We even know the names of some of the others who were a part of it. That coven was not Wiccan as we know it as they refused to let Gardner use their materials when he went public with Wicca, which is why Gardner had to borrow from other sources. According to Fred Lamond, who was one of Gardner's first initiates, the New Forest Coven into which Gardner was initiated, was the off-shoot of a magical lodge and dated back no further than the early 1900's.

As I mentioned earlier, when Doreen Valiente became his High Priestess she recommended that the material borrowed from Crowley be removed from the BOS as Crowley by that point had a less than stellar reputation. Gardner agreed and Valiente wrote much of the subsequently used contents of the BOS.

Although it is true that Gardner was a member of the OTO he and Crowley had very little actual contact othern that a few pieces of correspondence. Gardner was headed in an entirely different direction with Wicca than Crowley was headed with the OTO.

There are some excellent books on the history of Wicca and the life of Gerald Gardner. I would suggest the following:

"Triumph of the Moon " by Professor Ronald Hutton

" Witchfather: A life of Gerald Gardner " (2 volumes) by Philip Heselton

" Wiccan Roots: Gerald Gardner and the Modern Witchcraft Revival " by Philip Heselton

" Gerald Gardner And the Cauldron of Inspiration: An Investigation into the Sources of Gardnerian Witchcraft " by Philip Heselton

" Fifty Years Of Wicca " by Frederic Lamond

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