Did Gerald Gardner make it all up as some suggest or is he passing on teachings of Wicca that he learned in the New Forest Coven?
The history behind Wicca can be traced back through the centuries. If you are like me and want to know more about it, I would recommend getting any one or all of the following books:
The Triumph of the Moon by Professor Ronald Hutton
Wicca Roots or Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration by Philip Heselton
Wicca Magickal Beginnings by Soria d’Este and David Rankine
Thorough research will bring you many answers to the origins of Wicca. Keep in mind, to truly understand the history behind our beliefs, you do not have to be a historian, you just need to know how and what to research. There are many good sources of information from the beginning of our beliefs to researching family history out there.
For the past 60 years or so, Gerald Gardner along with several others like Doreen Valiente, Patricia Crowther, Alex Sanders, Maxine Sanders and Stewart Farrar have been instrumental in bringing Wicca to an open understanding in today’s world. They have shown it as an initiatory tradition, but not with the overtones of Satanic worship that so many believe to be true about those who choose to follow the path.
The Three Common Magicks
While these people brought Wicca out so to speak, there are many who continue to share information about the beliefs and traditions today. Through this continued sharing we raise awareness and break down the stumbling blocks of misinformation and miscommunication.
Books like The Witches Bible by Stewart and Janet Farrar help to make it clear that a lot of the rituals and beliefs were heavily influenced by three older traditions of magick.
One being the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which Wikipedia defines as a magical order that was active in Great Britian during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The participants practiced Theurgy and spiritual development.
The second is the Ordo Templi Orientis, which is defined as an international fraternal and religious organization around the beginning of the 20th century. It is largely based on the law of Thelema or “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law and Love is the law, love under will.”
Thirdly, but certanly not small is the Grimoire Tradition. The grimoire or book of magic date back to somewhere around the 14th and 15th centuries. With books like, The Key of Solomon, it is easy to see that the beliefs and traditions have been around for a long time.
Historical Wicca Influences
Not only is it apparent that the magick of the previous three have been a huge influence, but when you delve deep into the history you will see definite influences of ancient Greek & Roman religions and magick, Celtic and British folk customs and magick, Egyptian religion and magick, as well as Hermetic, Alchemical and Qabalistic thought. Through experience all have passed on traditions and practices of their workings to help others gain insight and knowledge.
Lastly…After you have completed your research, take some time to reflect upon what brought you to learning more about the history and origins of Wicca.
In your notebook, write down your thoughts under the heading of your choice. As you learn more, add these new thoughts to your notebook. These pages that we are creating are the beginnings of your grimoire or Book of Shadows. Take time to really reflect on your thoughts here as it is a personal journal to your new life path that you have chosen. Decorate the notebook to make it uniquely your own.
Until next time, Blessed be!