Valiente rewrote much of the original Wiccan writings which Gardner had taken freely (plagarised) from other sources. Meaning she changed the original documents and had a significant hand in shaping the more modern form of Wicca in the later 50s I believe, although she was a practising witch way before coming into contact with Gardner by way of Cecil Williamson, who is another person whose name should be more known than it is.
Gardner merely obtained scraps of knowledge from the supposed New Forest coven, which may or may not have existed at all, these scraps he fleshed out with the ritual structure adopted by Crowley. To my knowledge, as I have not been through Wiccan initiation, this is no longer the case.
Either way, Gardner and Valiente had some interestings things to say, but I agree, Margaret Murray is best avoided. As for Gadner and Crowley, there are similar ideas, but Gardner moved in a different direction. I like to think Crowley ignited a fire, and since then many people have lit torches and ran in different directions.
I forgot about Dion Fortune, I also adore her and think she is well worth a read particularly "Sane Occultism".
Crowley actually agreed with most of Gardner; but he did object to Gardner revealing too much to the public. Crowley wanted some things to remain secret. After Gardner came back to Britain, the two of them had some ding dong battles in letters to the Press; and radio broadcasts!
You must understand that I was alive in England during the rise of Wicca. I met many of the originals. Heard them speak. Valiente was by no means the first to alter the original Wicca. A lot of it was done by Alex Sanders, who eventually broke away from Gardner. In fact, Sanders did more to promote Wicca than Gardner ever did!
The Press called him King of the Witches, that he hated! His widow, Maxine, is still alive and well, living in Wales. Patricia Crowther is still alive, but is old and frail. These are about the last of the originals. How they all fought to get Wicca accepted as a religion!. Most members on this site cannot remember that when I became a witch I could have gone to prison! And so could they!
Wow,that is cool.Also I'd love to hang with you for a week or so
Real I formation from a man who was there
Can't beat that!!Modern New york is much like old England
I'm viewed as a Nut because of my practices,I'm not flamboyant
But I have a body covered in occult symbols and wear a charm around my neck,plus read Tarot and such for extra money,The occult is out of style in America on the north side of the map
I always recommend Craig's book because I see the results in its readers. They always have a great grasp of what magick is and what it can accomplish and it can be the very first book they ever read concerning magick. To be honest, I've never read the book! But the proof is in the "students".
I've also heard good things from people who read Magick in Theory and Practice. I have read that one, but Crowley is NOT easy or light reading and it can be too much for the teenage newbie which is a good 50% of our community here.
Crowleys book is amazing,I first read it to early had no clue what the Heck he was babbling about,after reading other books I went back to it,Crowley is one of my favorite sources as a writer now
Even Moon child and Drug Fiend