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                             PERSECUTION: ANCIENT AND MODERN  

          This is the  text of a talk entitled  PERSECUTION: ANCIENT AND MODERN.
          Written  by  Julia Phillips,  it was  presented  by Julia  and Matthew
          Sandow at  the Wiccan  Conference, Canberra,  September 1992,  and was
          illustrated with slides of medieval woodcuts, paintings and documents.

          To begin, an example of religious persecution:

          I  am told  that,  moved by  some foolish  urge,  they consecrate  and
          worship the head of a donkey, that  most abject of all animals.   This
          is a cult worthy of the customs from which it sprang! Others say  that
          they reverence the genitals of the presiding priest himself, and adore
          them as  though they were their  father's... As for  the initiation of
          new  members, the details are as disgusting  as they are well-known. A
          child,  covered in  dough to  deceive the  unwary, is  set before  the
          would-be  novice. The novice stabs  the child to  death with invisible
          blows;  indeed, he himself, deceived  by the coating  of dough, thinks
          his  stabs harmless. Then -  it's horrible! -  they hungrily drink the
          child's blood, and  compete with one another as they divide his limbs.
          Through this  victim they are bound  together; and the fact  that they
          all share the knowledge of the crime pledges them all to silence. Such
          holy rites are more  disgraceful than sacrilege. It is  well-known too
          what happens at their feasts.... On the feast day they forgather  with
          all their children,  sisters, mothers,  people of either  sex and  all
          ages. When the company is all aglow from feasting, and impure lust has
          been set  afire by  drunkenness, pieces  of meat are  thrown to  a dog
          fastened to  a  lamp. The  lamp,  which would  have been  a  betraying
          witness, is overturned and goes out. Now, in the dark so favourable to
          shameless behaviour,  they twine the  bonds of unnameable  passion, as
          chance  decides. And  so all  alike are  incestuous, if not  always in
          deed, at least by complicity; for  everything that is performed by one
          of them corresponds to the wishes of them all... Precisely the secrecy
          of this evil  religion proves  that all these  things, or  practically
          all, are true. (Minucius Felix: Octavius) 

          Although  the language is not modern, the description of the practices
          could have come straight from last week's "Picture" magazine! And this
          is the point  that I wish to  make; the facts of  persecution have not
          changed in almost 2,000 years,  for that piece was written in  the 2nd
          century AD. Moreover,  the religion it  condemns is Christianity,  not
          Paganism, for Paganism at  that time was the dominant  state religion.
          In fact  the author  is a  Christian apologist,  and is  attempting to
          rebuke what he  sees as  unfair criticism, by  parodying the  offences
          which Pagans accuse Christians of perpetrating.

          Persecution  of religious  minorities  is  quite  simply that;  it  is
          persecution by a large  body of people - generally those who represent
          "society"  - against a smaller  one; generally comprised  of those who
          have  either rejected, or  for one reason or  another, fall outside of
          the social "norm".


          Let us look at the medieval picture of the  witch; society's scapegoat
          par excellence: here we see her - for it is most often "her" - an old,
          ugly woman,  most likely poor,  and most likely  on the fringe  of the
          society in  which she lives. This  is the stereotype of  the witch. We
          know it is false; we know it has no basis in fact;  however, it became
          an integral part of the mindset of medieval  Europe, and through fairy
          tales,  drama and literature, and more latterly, cinema, the media and
          television, it has remained  an integral image in modern  society. One
          has only to look to Roald Dahl's "Witches", or Frank Baum's "Wizard of
          Oz", for  proof of this.   It came as a  surprise to me  to learn that
          "The  Wizard  of Oz"  was in  fact  a deliberate  propaganda exercise,
          released just at  the beginning of World War II.  If you remember, the
          magic words are: "There's no place like home"; and where was "home"?
          Kansas! that epitome of the WASP culture.

          When looking at medieval persecution of heresy, the waters are muddied
          by  the many  different causes  and effects  which permeate  the whole
          matter. There was no single cause, and no single victim.  It is a fact
          that far  more women than men  were persecuted; there are  a number of
          reasons  for this, not least  that throughout this  period, Europe was
          engaged in one war after another - most notably The Crusades - and men
          were in rather short supply.  There were also several epidemics of the
          plague, not to mention  other diseases such as dysentery  and cholera,
          which in  the Middle  Ages were sure  killers. Another  reason is  the
          rampant  misogyny  which,  begun  with the  earliest  Christians,  has
          permeated their theology ever since:
                    "What else  is woman but  a foe to  friendship, an
                    inescapable  punishment, a necessary  evil, a nat-
                    ural  temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic
                    danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature,
                    painted in fair colours...  The word woman is used
                    to mean  the lust of the  flesh, as it is  said: I
                    have  found a woman more bitter  than death, and a
                    good woman more subject to  carnal lust... [Women]
                    are more credulous; and since the chief aim of the
                    devil is  to  corrupt faith,  therefore he  rather
                    attacks them  [than  men]... Women  are  naturally
                    more impressionable... They have slippery tongues,
                    and are unable to  conceal from their fellow-women
                    those  things  which by  evil  arts they  know....
                    Women are intellectually  like children... She  is
                    more  carnal than a man, as is clear from her many
                    carnal abominations... She is an imperfect animal,
                    she always deceives....  Therefore a wicked  woman
                    is by  her nature quicker  to waver in  her faith,
                    and  consequently  quicker  to  abjure  the faith,
                    which is  the root  of witchcraft.... Just  as th-
                    rough the first defect in  their intelligence they
                    are  more prone  to abjure  the faith;  so through
                    their second defect of inordinate affections and
                    passions they search for,  brood over, and inflict
                    various vengeances,  either  by witchcraft  or  by
                    some  other means....  Women also  have weak  mem-
                    ories; and it is a natural vice in them not to be
                    disciplined,  but  to  follow  their  own impulses
                    without  any sense of what is due... She is a liar
                    by nature... (Malleus Maleficarum, edited by
                    Jeffrey Russell).


          It  is easy to  comprehend the persecution  of women when  one is con-
          fronted with such obvious hatred and fear of the sex.  But perhaps the
          most powerful impetus of the witch trials era is one which is subtly -
          and  sometimes not so subtly!  - present in all the  trials; that of a
          pursuit of power  or wealth. For an  example we can look  to Gilles de
          Rais, who  as the wealthiest man in  Europe (as well as  Joan of Arc's
          military Captain), was  a prime victim  for a charge of  heresy. Found
          guilty,  his  lands, properties  and  wealth were  confiscated  by his
          accusers.  Curiously though he was buried on consecrated ground in the
          Churchyard; normally forbidden to heretics.  In  "The Encyclopaedia of
          Witchcraft and Demonology", Russell Hope Robbins says:

                    "At  first, Gilles dismissed  their accusations as
                    "frivolous  and  lacking credit",  but  so certain
                    were the principals of  finding him guilty that on
                    September 3, fifteen days  before the trial began,
                    the Duke disposed of  his anticipated share of the
                    Rais  lands.   Under  these  circumstances, it  is
                    difficult  to place  any credence in  the evidence
                    against him, among the most fantastic and obscene
                    presented in this Encyclopaedia."

          Charges included the now obligatory conjurations  of devils and demons
          - Satan, Beelzebub,  Orion and Belial are mentioned by  name - and the
          practice of that  dreadful art:  geomancy! And of  course the  charges
          included human sacrifice and paedophilia; no self-respecting Christian
          could exclude these crimes from charges against a confirmed heretic!

          There were not many who had the wealth of Gilles de Rais, but in
          a small parish, even the meanest property was eagerly seized, and
          the  witch hunts became a  profitable business. The  victims were even
          required to pay for the fuel upon which they were burnt.  But the laws
          were  not  consistent throughout  Europe, and  in  some areas,  if the
          victim confessed, then his  or her property could not  be confiscated,
          but  was inherited by the next of  kin. However, many of these victims
          were  in fact  devout Christians,  who would  be  loath to  confess to
          heresy  just so that their family could  inherit their land! Of course
          many were  tortured to the point  were they would admit  to being any-
          thing demanded of them,  although technically, they were only  allowed
          to be tortured once. This is why you will read in trials  records that
          the  torture was "continued", which, of course, gets round the problem
          of the poor torturer missing out on his lunch and dinner.

          Although most heretics were  women, a great many men were  also taken,
          tortured,  and put to death. This is a  letter from one such victim at
          the notorious Bamberg in  Germany; a poignant  epitaph to one of  Eur-
          ope's most hideous crimes:

                    Many hundred thousand good-nights,  dearly beloved
                    daughter Veronica. Innocent have I come into pris-
                    on, innocent have I been tortured, innocent must I
                    die. For whoever comes  into the witch prison must
                    become  a witch  or be  tortured until  he invents
                    something out of  his head  - and God  pity him  -
                    bethinks him of something.

                    I  said: "I  have  never renounced  God, and  will
                    never do it - God graciously keep me from it. I'll
                    rather bear whatever I must."


                    And then  came also -  God in highest  heaven have
                    mercy  - the executioner,  and put the thumbscrews
                    on  me, both  hands  bound together,  so that  the
                    blood spurted from the nails and everywhere,
                    so that for four  weeks I could not use  my hands,
                    as you  can see  from my writing.  Thereafter they
                    stripped me, bound my hands behind me, and drew me
                    up  on the ladder. Then I thought heaven and earth
                    were  at an end. Eight  times did they  draw me up
                    and let me fall again, so that I suffered terrible

                    All  this happened  on Friday  June 30th  and with
                    God's help I had to bear the torture. When at last
                    the executioner led me back into the cell, he said
                    to me: "Sir, I beg you, for God's sake, confess
                    something, whether it be true or not. Invent some-
                    thing, for  you cannot bear the  torture which you
                    will be put to; and, even if you bear it  all, yet
                    you will not escape, not even if you were an earl,
                    but one torture will  follow another until you say
                    you are a witch."

          The  author of  this letter,  Johannes Junius,  did indeed  confess to
          being a  witch, and in  August of 1628, was  burned at the  stake.  He
          managed  to send  his final  letter to  his  daughter, which  ended by

                    Dear child, keep this  letter secret, so that peo-
                    ple  do not find it, else I shall be tortured most
                    piteously and  the jailers  will be beheaded.   So
                    strictly is  it forbidden... Dear  child, pay this
                    man a thaler... I have taken several days to write
                    this - my hands are both  crippled.  I am in a sad
                    plight. Good night, for your  father Johannes Jun-
                    ius will never see you more.

          This  letter describes  more accurately  than any  historical treatise
          just how uncompromising the ecclesiastical courts were in their
          hunt for heretics. Witches, of course, were only one kind of heretic.

          I mentioned earlier that  there are many causes, and  many effects, to
          the period which  is commonly referred to  as "The Burning  Times", or
          the Great  Witch Hunt. It is  often assumed by many  people today that
          Christianity  has been the dominant  western religion for 2,000 years.
          This is  not so. The death  of Christ, which probably  occurred in the
          year AD  30, may have heralded  the new religion, but  there was cert-
          ainly  not an immediate conversion of the world to Christianity. Parts
          of Scandinavia remained wholly  Pagan until as late  as the 12th  cen-
          tury. The British Isles  and mainland Europe were converted  to Chris-
          tianity  over a lengthy  period covering  mainly the  4th to  9th cen-
          turies.  Some  parts have  never truly  been  converted, and  with the
          opening  up of the Eastern bloc countries, we are now re-discovering a
          wealth  of Pagan  tradition  and folklore  that  has been  hidden  for
          hundreds of  years:   initially from  the invading  Christian mission-
          aries, and then later from the various communist regimes.


          As the new religion of Christianity began to spread, many different
          sects and  cults appeared within its  ranks. The Pope in  Rome was the
          nominal head, but rarely was the Pope a person of spiritual purity and
          ascetic tastes; the political scene in Rome has always been cut-throat
          and devious. A truly spiritual person  would have lasted approximately
          two seconds  amongst the clever  and calculating  politicians who  in-
          fested the Papal See! The enormous wealth and power controlled  by the
          Pope was an incentive to the most grasping  and corrupt of men at that
          time to aspire to the Papacy. Pope Alexander VI (1492) is a superb ex-
          ample of the type who  made it to Europe's foremost political  seat of
          power:  otherwise known as Rodrigo Borgia; father (yes, we all know
          Catholics practise celibacy!) of Cesare, Juan, Lucrezia and Jofre,
          and supreme commander  of a private army of  which any modern dictator
          would be proud.

          Because of their sumptuous lifestyle, their obvious disregard and
          contempt for vows of poverty and chastity, and their abuse of the
          spiritual authority invested in them, many spiritually inclined
          Christians rejected the Catholic Church, and instead followed
          leaders who lived simple, ascetic lives in accordance with the
          teachings of Christ. Some of these sects became very popular,
          and were soon perceived by the Pope as a threat to his status and
          power. It has been suggested that the witch trials were a direct
          result from the persecution of these sects. Rather than incorporate a
          discussion of the different sects within this talk, handouts are
          available which very briefly describe the main ones.

          The main thrust was against the Cathars or Albigensians, and the
          Waldensians (Vaudois), and it was their persecution which gave rise to
          the legal  machinery which  developed into  the  Inquisition, and  the
          so-called witch hunts.  It began with Pope Lucius III and the emperor,
          Frederick I  Barbarossa; they met  at Verona  in 1184, and  issued the
          decree "Ad abolendam", which excommunicated sects like the Cathars and
          Waldensians, and  laid down  the procedures for  ecclesiastical trial,
          after which the accused  would be handed  over to the secular  author-
          ities  for  punishment. The  punishment  decreed  was confiscation  of
          property,  exile, or death.  By the  12th century, burning had already
          become  the established means of  execution for heretics,  and so this
          became enshrined in law.

          At  the beginning of the  13th century, the  Dominican Order of Friars
          was  established, and  its  members were  instructed  by the  Pope  to
          investigate  and prosecute heresy. From this simple beginning grew the
          awesome  machinery  of the  Inquisition,  which  although never  aimed
          particularly  at witches,  became  a byword  for  terror in  parts  of

          As you  can see, the motives  for the heresy persecutions  were not to
          stamp out Paganism - although that was certainly a by-product - but
          to remove the threat of any competition to the power of the Church
          (and thus to the Pope), in Rome. And the greatest threat came from
          other "Christian" sects, not the Pagans. The change from an accusatory
          to an inquisitorial  process became established,  and the legal  mach-
          inery which allowed  - indeed encouraged -  individual psychopaths and
          religious maniacs to persecute at will, was in place.


          Have you  got a neighbour  who annoys  you? plays loud  music, or  who
          keeps their smelly refuse next to your garden fence? Now your recourse
          is to the local council or the police; in  the Middle Ages, you simply
          denounced the  offender as a witch or heretic, and let the Church deal
          with them  for you.  Not only  did it  cost you  nothing, if  you were
          lucky, you might also inherit their property!

          For once you  were taken  as a witch  or a heretic,  there was  little
          chance of escape.  Certainly some victims were  pardoned and released,
          but the vast majority were  not so lucky. When you consider  the style
          of questioning, this is not surprising:

          1     How long have you been a witch?

          2     Why did you become a witch?

          3     How did you become a witch and what happened on that occasion?

          4     Who is the one you chose to be your incubus? What was his name?

          5     What was the name of your master among the evil demons?

          6     What was the oath you were forced to render to him?

          21    What animals have you bewitched to sickness and death, and
                why did you commit such acts?

          22    Who are your accomplices in evil...?

          24    What is the ointment with which you rub your broomstick
                made of...?

          This  set of questions came  from Lorraine, and  was used consistently
          throughout the three centuries  of the main persecutions.   Bearing in
          mind that  the accused HAD to answer - no  answer at all, or a denial,
          was tantamount to guilt - you can see how easily the composite picture
          of the witch evolved.  As Rossell Hope Robbins says:  "The confessions
          of witches authenticated the experts, and the denunciations ensured  a
          continuing  supply  of victims.  Throughout  France  and Germany  this
          procedure became  standardised; repeated year  after year, in  time it
          built  up a  huge mass  of "evidence", all  duly authorised,  from the
          mouths of the accused. On these confessions, later demonologists based
          their compendiums and so formulated the classic conceptions of witchc-
          raft, which never existed save in their own minds."

          As the new religion of Christianity began to spread, many different
          sects and  cults appeared within its  ranks. The Pope in  Rome was the
          nominal head, but rarely was the Pope a person of spiritual purity and
          ascetic tastes; the political scene in Rome has always been cut-throat
          and devious. A truly spiritual person  would have lasted approximately
          two seconds  amongst the clever  and calculating  politicians who  in-
          fested  the Papal See! The enormous wealth and power controlled by the
          Pope was an incentive to the most grasping and corrupt of men  at that
          time to aspire to the Papacy. Pope Alexander VI (1492) is a superb ex-
          ample of the type who  made it to Europe's foremost political  seat of
          power:  otherwise known as Rodrigo Borgia; father (yes, we all know
          Catholics practise celibacy!) of Cesare, Juan, Lucrezia and Jofre,
          and supreme commander of a  private army of which any  modern dictator
          would be proud.


          It is also rather disturbing to discover just how important individual
          religious maniacs appear to have been in the persecutions. Rather like
          today, where  a crusading  tele-journalist, or evangelical  vicar, can
          cause untold  harm to innocent people. Without exception, these accus-
          ations  are  by those  with an  unhealthy  mania against  anyone whose
          theology  or practices  differ from  their own.  In the  words of  one
          modern evangelist:  "if you're not  fighting and winning,  you're los-

          Conrad of Marburg, described by Norman Cohn as, "a blind fanatic", was
          a  severe  and formidable  persecutor. As  confessor  to the  young 21
          year-old  Countess of Thuringia, he would trick her into "some trivial
          and unwitting disobedience, and then have her and her maids flogged so
          severely  that the  scars were  visible weeks  later". (Cohn).  Conrad
          became Germany's first official Inquisitor, and his zeal in denouncing
          heretics was  unsurpassed. Another Conrad, a  lay-Dominican Friar, and
          his sidekick Johannes,  were also vigorous in denouncing  heretics. As
          they  moved from village to village, they  claimed to be able to iden-
          tify a  heretic by his or  her appearance, based on  nothing but their
          own  intuition. They were responsible for the burnings of many people,
          and said, "we would gladly burn a hundred if just one among them were
          guilty". (Annales Wormantiensis).

          Their comment about appearance is an important one; as we saw earlier,
          the stereotype of the witch hasn't changed much in hundreds of  years.
          We know it is false; we know that it exists only in the imagination of
          the persecutors, and yet how powerful and enduring this stereotype has
          proven to be.

          If we think about this stereotype,  what images do we conjure up?   An
          old woman -  occasionally an old man; or perhaps  a young and alluring
          temptress?  Flying through  the  air on  a  broomstick; worshipping  a
          devil, often in the form of a goat; trampling upon  the sacred symbols
          of Christianity; and  of course our  old friend  the Sabbat, with  its
          practices  of  sexual  license,  debauchery,  drunkenness  and  ritual
          murder; the latter often of children.

          But persecution does not restrict itself to witches; the similarities
          between this stereotype and that of the Jew are obvious: Jews have
          been persecuted throughout their history, but it is interesting to
          compare some aspects of their persecution with that of witches.

          In the 12th century, the word  "Synagogue" was used for the first time
          to  describe the  meeting place  of  heretics. Professor  Russell says
          that:  "This usage, obviously designed  to spite the  Jews, was common
          throughout the Middle Ages, being replaced only towards the end of the
          15th century by the equally anti-Jewish term 'sabbat'.

          The Encyclopaedia Britannica says on the subject of Jewish persecution
          that: "To  reinforce racial and religious  prejudice, the preposterous
          ritual murder accusation  became common  from the  12th century."  The
          third and fourth Lateran Councils had already prohibited gentiles from
          entering  Jewish  service, or  being  employed  by  Jews, and  further
          ordered that Jews  should wear a distinctive  badge, and live  only in
          Jewish  settlement  areas. This  of course  was  the beginning  of the


          As we have seen though, the ritual murder accusation  was already over
          a thousand  years old, before it  was used against either  the Jews or
          the heretics  and witches. Most people  know of the  expulsion of Jews
          from Spain in the 15th  century, but perhaps not so commonly  known is
          that for about  200 years prior  to the expulsion,  the Jews had  been
          massacred and persecuted.  Indeed, it  was against the  Jews that  the
          infamous Spanish  Inquisition of  the 15th century  was directed.  The
          persecution  of Jews  in  20th century  Europe  is too  well-known  to
          require further comment  here, but  perhaps a few  comments about  its
          encouragement would be useful.

          We are discussing  persecution in  this talk, and  how persecution  is
          manifested. Throughout  history, the written word  has been invaluable
          as a  means of  spreading  propaganda. Even  in  the Middle  Ages  the
          "crimes"  of the heretic were  publicised by records  of trials, where
          the  "confessions" were made known to the general public. The infamous
          "Malleus  Maleficarum"  became  highly  influential  in  Europe mainly
          because  its  publication  coincided  with the  introduction  of  mass
          printing.  It had little effect in England because no English transla-
          tion  was available until 1928. This fact alone demonstrates the power
          of the written word.

          In  medieval Europe, a pamphlet  describing the crimes  of a convicted
          heretic  would be pinned to a  post in the town  square, and those who
          could not  read had it read to them. In 20th century Europe, pamphlets
          were  still used  by one  group to  spread lies  about another.  As we
          approach  the 21st  century, this  technique is  still used  with very
          great success; for the persecutor needs to make only a glancing nod to
          the truth, and the lies which are published (or more frequently broad-
          cast) are far more scandalous than the reality!

          An example: soon after the launch  of the Pagan Alliance, Sydney radio
          2MMM broadcasted a  news story about the  sexual abuse of children  by
          occultists and witches.  Matthew responded  immediately, and  provided
          the  station  with copy  documents  and news  clippings  from Britain,
          proving the story to be without foundation, and a scheme by the Chris-
          tian  fundamentalists to discredit  Pagans. The news  editor and chief
          journalist  were impressed by the  material, and agreed  that they had
          been used by the fundies. However, they refused to broadcast a retrac-
          tion because it  would be "old news".   So, the damage had  been done,
          and the fundamentalists achieved their objective.

          This technique was used with very great effect in the early part of
          the 20th century, with the circulation of a pamphlet called, "The
          Protocols of the Elders of Zion". This purported to be, "an account
          of  the World Congress  of Jewry held  in Basel, Switzerland  in 1897,
          during which  a conspiracy  was  planned by  the international  Jewish
          movement and the Freemasons to achieve world domination." (M Howard).

          German nationalists made very great use of the Protocols, which it
          was  claimed were "smuggled out of Switzerland by a Russian journalist
          who  had placed the  documents in the  safe keeping of  the Rising Sun
          Masonic Lodge in Frankfurt." (ibid) They were widely disseminated, and
          writing in  "Mein Kampf", Hitler "denounced  the Jews as agents  of an
          international conspiracy devoted  to world  domination...". (ibid)  We
          all know what happened next.  


          The point  is that although the Protocols were confirmed as a fraud in
          1921, they continued to have an effect, and once published, could  not
          effectively be  retracted. This is  the aim of  today's fundamentalist
          Christian, who  believes that if he or she throws enough dirt at their
          opponents (basically anyone who  does not agree with  their uncomprom-
          ising version of Christianity),  then some will stick, and  the battle
          will be won. This is the strategy which has been used for thousands of
          years  to persecute minorities, and  has always been  successful.  The
          formula  is  simple: discover  what most  people  fear most,  and then
          accuse your enemies of practising it.  It is an interesting comment on
          humanity that those things which occur time and time again are consis-
          tent: conspiracy, buggery,  paedophilia, sacrifice (human  and animal)
          sexual  license,  drunkenness and  feasting.    More specific  charges
          relating to  a pact  with a  devil or desecrating  sacred objects  are
          additions to these core accusations.

          A further interesting aspect is that many of the accusations were
          made by children; interesting parallels can be drawn to modern accusa-
          tions by  children "encouraged" to reveal  information about occultism
          and  witches. It has been  widely recorded that  Hitler's "Youth Army"
          required  children to spy upon their parents, and report any indiscre-
          tions; modern social workers use  an identical process for identifying
          Pagan parents  - children are  asked about what their  parents do, and
          leading questions are commonly used.  And of course there have  always
          been children  who, for one reason or another, tell the most fantastic
          tales. It is unlikely  today that the victims of these child fantasies
          will be burned at the stake,  but there have been families torn apart,
          children  placed in detention  centres, and untold  misery for parents
          and children alike,  based upon no  more than the  verbal report of  a

          Commentators on this  aspect of  persecution have  suggested that  the
          children wish to be the centre of attention; or to direct punishment
          for their own misdeeds elsewhere; or are simply reacting in a hyperac-
          tive manner to  the onset of puberty. Whatever  the cause, the effects
          are  dramatic, and  have caused  severe suffering,  and in  the middle
          ages, loss of life, on many occasions.

          In medieval England, there were many occasions where children's "evid-
          ence" (sic) was  used to  convict witches. "The  Leicester Boy",  "The
          Burton  Boy" and "The Bilson Boy" were a few of many who claimed to be
          bewitched by witches.  Eventually proven to be  a fraud, at  least ten
          women died  as a result of  the accusations of The  Leicester Boy, and
          the Burton Boy  caused the death of at least one  of the women whom he
          accused. In  the 17th century a  number of women were  executed on the
          allegations  of  hysterical  children,  even though  fraud  was  often
          discovered  during the  course of  the trial.  It is  a fact  that the
          delusions  of delinquent  or  disturbed children  were  often used  by
          judges  to confirm their own prejudices; how little things have chang-


          Salem (1692)  is probably the best known of all the cases where child-
          ren were the  chief accusers.  Although in fact,  the "children"  were
          more like young adults, with only  one under the age of ten,  and most
          in their late teens or  early twenties. However, as the panic  grew, a
          great  many more were sucked into the  web of lies, and Martha Carrier
          was hanged on the "evidence" (sic)  of her 7 year-old daughter. At the
          height of  the hysteria  almost 150 people  were arrested;  thirty-one
          were convicted, and nineteen hung.  Some died in jail, and others were
          reprieved. As was common in Europe,  the accused were required to  pay
          their  expenses whilst in jail,  even if they  were subsequently found
          innocent. Sarah Osborne and Ann Foster both died in jail, and costs of
          .1 3s  5d and .2 16s  0d respectively were demanded  before the bodies
          would be released for burial.

          The  chief of the accusers, Ann Putnam, confessed fourteen years later
          that  the whole thing  was a fraud.  In 1697 the  jurors publicly con-
          fessed they  had made an error  of judgement, and ten  years after the
          executions, Judge  Samuel Sewall  "confessed the  guilt of  the court,
          desiring  to take the blame and shame of  it...". By then of course it
          was too late  for those who were  dead, or whose lives had  been dest-
          royed by the accusations.

          But we  are getting ahead of ourselves here,  for Salem is the last of
          the great witch trials, coming as it does towards the end of the 17th

          We mentioned earlier that in Continental Europe, the heresy trials
          appeared to arise from the persecution of the Christian sects of the
          Bogomils, Cathars, Albigensians, and others such as the Jews,  Walden-
          sians,  and even the Knights Templars. The stereotype of the witch was
          compounded  from  many different  sources,  and  gradually became  the
          composite figure of the  shape-shifting hag, who flew through  the air
          on a broom, and flung her curses at all and sundry.

          The concept of the pact with the devil existed as early as the 8th
          century, and as we have seen, sexual license, buggery and ritual
          sacrifice have long been seen as activities supposed to be practised
          by those outside of society's norm, whether they be Christian or
          Pagan. During the 9th century, shape-shifting, maleficia and the
          incubus/succubus became more  commonly reported, and by  the 10th cen-
          tury, the idea of nocturnal flight was established.  Published in 906,
          the Canon Episcopi described how some women were deluded in the belief
          that at  night they could  fly behind  their Goddess, Diana  (Holda or

                    "Some wicked women are  perverted by the Devil and
                    led astray by  illusions and fantasies  induced by
                    demons,  so that  they  believe they  ride out  at
                    night on beasts with Diana, the pagan goddess, and
                    a horde of women.  They believe that in  the night
                    they cross huge distances. They say that they obey
                    Diana's commands and on certain nights are  called
                    out in her service..."


          Echoes here to Maddalena's story recounted by Leland in Aradia: Gospel
          of the Witches:

                      "Oncein the month, and when the moon is full, ye
                    shall assemble in some desert place,  or in a for-
                    est all  together join to adore  the potent spirit
                    of your Queen, my mother, great Diana". 

          Carlo Ginzburg has also published a remarkable book about the Witches'
          Sabbath, and  the night flight,  where he  suggests that these  are in
          fact  based on  genuinely ancient shamanic  practices; nothing  new in
          this  concept to modern Witches, but  a novel observation in the acad-
          emic circles in which Ginzburg moves.

          In  1012, Burchard's Collectarium was published:  the first attempt to
          assemble a  book of Canonical Law. Book number 19 of this vast collec-
          tion was called  the Corrector,  and chapter five  deals with  various
          sins, and their respective penances. As we might suppose, Maleficia is
          prominent in  this chapter! It  enshrines in law  the notion of  night
          flight,  together with  murder, and  the cooking  and eating  of human
          flesh. Although both the  Canon Episcopi and Burchard's Corrector  are
          specific in attributing  the powers of  flight to  Witches, it is  not
          until  1280 that  the first  picture of  a witch  riding upon  a broom
          appears. This is found in Schleswig Cathedral.

          In 1022, the first burning occurred: at Orleans, the victims were
          accused of, "holding sex orgies at night in a secret place, either
          underground  or in  an abandoned  building. The  members of  the group
          appeared bearing torches. Holding the torches, they chanted the  names
          of  demons until an evil  spirit appeared. Now  the lights were extin-
          guished, and  everyone seized  the person closest  to him in  a sexual
          embrace,  whether mother, sister or nun. The children conceived at the
          orgies  were burned  eight  days after  birth,  and their  ashes  were
          confected in a substance that was then used in a blasphemous parody of
          holy communion."

          Strange how  these charges appear to have changed so little in so many
          years!  Compared with our first  example, and indeed  with the accusa-
          tions of modern day fundamentalists, one would be forgiven for believ-
          ing that time is a  figment of our imagination, and that  nothing ever
          really changes; certainly not human nature.

          The 14th  century saw a steady growth in the number of accusations and
          trials, and by the 15th century, the idea of the  Devil's (or Witch's)
          mark had become established. So too was the idea of a flying ointment,
          and  a consistent image  of The Devil  became common in  trials liter-

          The Papal Bull of  1484, Summis Desiderantes Affectibus, and  then two
          years later, publication of the Malleus Maleficarum, further establis-
          hed the "crime" of witchcraft as a heresy, and confirmed Papal support
          for its  eradication. This infamous work - The Hammer of the Witches -
          was incredibly influential in establishing a code of practice by which
          witches were to be denounced, tried, convicted and executed. There was
          no escape  from this dreadful fate.  The third part of  the book desc-
          ribes how to deal with one who will not confess to the charges:

                    "But if the accused, after  a year or other longer
                    period which has been deemed sufficient, continues


                    to maintain his denials,  and the legitimate  wit-
                    nesses abide by their evidence, the Bishop and
                    Judges shall prepare to abandon him to the secular
                    Court; sending  to him certain  honest men zealous
                    for the  faith, especially religious, to  tell him
                    that he cannot escape temporal death while he thus
                    persists in  his denial, but will  be delivered up
                    as  an impenitent heretic to the power of the sec-
                    ular Court.

          It is also in this section that our friendly Dominican monks refer to,
          "witch  midwives, who surpass all other witches in their crimes... And
          the number of them is so great that, as has been found from their con-
          fessions, it  is thought  that there is  scarcely any  tiny hamlet  in
          which at least one is not to be found."

          Despite its  incredible influence  in Europe, the  Malleus had  little
          effect in England, Wales or Ireland, where witchcraft accusations
          and trials were very different to those of the continent and Scotland.
          In fact Wales and Ireland seemed to escape from the witch persecutions
          almost entirely, with very few trials, and even fewer executions.

          Although many  laws have been  enacted in England  against witchcraft,
          there has never been  anything like the hysteria about  witches common
          in  mainland Europe. The earliest  known person accused  of sorcery in
          England was Agnes, wife of  Odo, who in 1209 was freed  after choosing
          trial by ordeal of grasping a red-hot iron.

          Until 1563, commoners accused  of witchcraft in England met  light (if
          any) punishment. Those of noble birth were treated rather more severe-
          ly,  as the crime could easily be one of treason, and any action which
          implied a threat  to the  monarch was treated  very seriously  indeed.
          This resulted in the charge of  witchcraft being used to remove polit-
          ical  opponents  with  great  expediency. There  were  certainly  laws
          against  the  practice of  witchcraft  or  sorcery:  Alfred the  Great
          (849-899  AD), King  of Wessex  and overlord  of England,  decreed the
          death penalty  for Wiccans (that was  the word he  actually used), and
          Aethelstan - perhaps  one of  the most compassionate  of Saxon  Kings,
          ordered  those who practised Wiccecraeft  to be executed,  but only if
          their activities resulted in murder.

          Under Henry VIII's Act of 1546, the penalty for conjuration of evil
          spirits was death, and the property of the accused was confiscated
          by the King. However, this was in effect for only one year, being
          repealed by Edward VI in 1547, and only one conviction under this
          Act is  recorded. In 1563,  the statute of  Queen Elizabeth I  was es-
          tablished, which also made death the penalty for invoking or conjuring
          an evil spirit, but those who practised divination, or who caused harm
          (other  than death)  by their  sorceries, were  sentenced to  a year's
          imprisonment for a first offence. Subsequent offences could be punish-
          able  by death, and  in some  cases, the  confiscation of  property as


          However, even though laws against the practice of witchcraft had
          been established for hundreds of years, the first major trial was not
          until 1566, at Chelmsford, and was typical of the English style of
          witchcraft: no pact with the devil, no gathering at Sabbats, but
          simple and direct acts of maleficia, and the introduction of witches'
          familiars. It was an important trial, for it set the precedent in
          English law for accepting unsupported, and highly imaginative, stories
          from  children as evidence. It  also accepted spectral evidence (sic),
          witch's marks, and the confession of the accused.

          There are  some very distinctive aspects to  English witchcraft, which
          set it apart from its Continental and Scottish counterparts, and which
          are worth  noting. There was a relative lack of torture, and, this may
          come as  a surprise to some  people, but witches were  never burned in
          England. Traitors  and murderers were  burned; witches  were hung.  Of
          course, a traitor or a  murderer could also be  a witch, but this  was
          actually quite rare. The torture used in England - when it was used at
          all - was typically swimming, pricking, enforced waking, and a diet of
          bread  and water.  Unpleasant, but when compared to squassation, being
          skinned  alive,  the strappado,  the rack,  and  such delights  as the
          thumbscrews and the  iron maiden, hardly in the same  class. The focus
          of  English witchcraft  was  more towards  simple,  personal, acts  of
          maleficia  than a perceived conspiracy against the power of the Chris-
          tian Church.  As one of  Britain's foremost  folklorists says:  "Trad-
          itions  of an organised, pagan witch-cult were never very plentiful in
          England, although they did exist occasionally, especially in the later
          years of  the witch belief. They  were never really strong,  and after
          the end of the persecution in the early 18th century, they disappeared
          altogether."   (Christina  Hole) This is  interesting, because  it has
          been suggested that the witch trials phenomena was largely inspired by
          the heretical Christian sects; this  would seem to be born out  by the
          type  of  accusations made  in England,  which were  largely neighbour
          against neighbour  rather than Church  and State against  an organised
          conspiracy of heretics.

          What is also interesting is  that it was commonly believed  in England
          that if the  bewitched victim  could draw blood  from the witch,  then
          they  would be  cured, and  the witch's  power made  ineffective. This
          belief has persisted in folk  traditions to modern times. In 1875,  at
          Long Compton,  the body of an  old woman, one Ann  Turner, was discov-
          ered. She had  been pinned to  the ground by  a pitchfork through  her
          throat, and across her face  and chest had been  carved the sign of  a
          crucifix. James Heywood, a  local farmer, had once claimed:  "It's she
          who  brings the floods and drought.   Her spells withered the crops in
          the field.  Her curse drove  my father  to an  early grave!".  Heywood
          maintained  that the only  way to destroy  her power was  to spill her
          blood, and so after her murder, he was  taken and tried for the crime.
          He was convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Long Compton has
          always been associated with the practice of witchcraft, and is located
          only a short distance from  the magical Rollright Stones, and near  to
          the aptly  named Wychwood Forest. The derivation  of this name is from
          the curiously named tribe of THE HWICCE,  who lived in the area at the
          time of King Penda of Mercia, and who seemed always to be ruled by two
          brothers. But back to Long Compton:              


          In 1945, Charles Walton, a  local labourer, set out one morning  to do
          some hedging on nearby Meon Hill. That evening, his mutilated body was
          found in a field -  pinned to the ground  by his pitchfork, which  had
          been stuck through his throat.  There were cuts to his arms  and legs,
          and local police were baffled as to  the motive for the crime, and who
          the likely culprit might have been. But gradually locals began to talk
          about Mr Walton; they said  he was a solitary and vindictive  old man,
          who was concerned more  with searching out the secrets  of nature than
          in taking company  with his  neighbours. They said  that he  harnessed
          toads, using reeds and pieces of ram's horn, and then sent them across
          fields  to  blight the  crops.  They also  remembered that  he  kept a
          witch's mirror - a piece of  black stone polished in a mountain stream
          - concealed in his pocket-watch, which he used for weaving spells  and
          seeing into the future.  The police never discovered the  culprit, but
          it was accepted locally that Mr Walton was murdered because he was a
          witch. His wounds were a result of the belief that a victim could be
          freed from enchantment if he or she were able to draw the blood of
          the witch.

          We could not leave English witchcraft without mention of that infamous
          gentleman, Matthew Hopkins; self-styled  Witchfinder General. For  all
          his fame, his activities  were restricted to a relatively  small area,
          and a relatively short period of time.  However, his boundless energy,
          and boundless enthusiasm for the collection of large amounts of money,
          ensured that his name has not been forgotten.

          Matthew Hopkins  used the  unrest of  the Civil War  to prey  upon the
          fears of  the common people. Little is known of his early life, except
          that he became a lawyer "of little note", and failing to make a living
          at Ipswich  in Suffolk,  moved to  Manningtree in Essex  - an  area of
          Civil War tension.

          With virtually no knowledge of witchcraft, but  armed with a couple of
          contemporary documents (including James I's "Demonology"), Hopkins set
          himself up in business  as a witchfinder.  And a very profitable  bus-
          iness  it was  too. At  a time  when the  average daily  wage  was 6d,
          Hopkins received  .23 for a single  visit to Stowmarket, and  .6 for a
          visit to Aldeburgh.

          His  approach  was consistent:  James  I  mentioned that  witches  had
          familiars, and suckled imps; therefore, anyone who kept a familiar
          spirit or imp must be a  witch! Bearing in mind the English partiality
          to keeping  pets, and you begin  to see just how  very successful this
          technique  could be.  For example,  Bridget Mayers  was  condemned for
          entertaining an  evil spirit in  the likeness  of a  mouse, which  she
          called "Prickears"; another (unnamed) woman was rescued  by her neigh-
          bours from  a ducking,  where she  confessed to having  an imp  called
          "Nan". When  she recovered she said:  "she knew not what  she had con-
          fessed,  and she  had nothing  she called  Nan but  a pullet  that she
          sometimes called by that name...".

          Hopkins  moved from Essex to Norfolk and Suffolk, and by the following
          year, had  operations in  Cambridge, Northampton, Huntingdon  and Bed-
          ford, with a team of six  witch finders under his control. "In Suffolk
          alone it is estimated  that he was responsible for arresting  at least
          124 persons  for witchcraft, of  whom at least 68  were hanged." (RHR)
          However, Hopkins moved too  far too quickly, and public  opinion began
          to go against him. In 1646, a clergyman in Huntingdon preached against
          him, and judges began  to question both his  methods of locating  wit-


          ches, and  the fees that he  charged for the service.  In 1647 Hopkins
          published a pamphlet called  "Discovery of Witches", in which  he sup-
          ported his methods in sanctimonious and pseudo legal language.  Howev-
          er, it  was to no  avail, for later that  year he died,  "in some dis-
          grace" according to most authorities. Witchcraft legend has it that he
          was drowned  by irate villagers in  one of his own  ducking ponds, but
          this has no recorded evidence to support it. However, it would be a
          fitting end to such an evil man, and I hope it was true.

          Moving away from England; Scottish and Continental witchcraft shared a
          great many similarities;  Mary Queen of Scots, and her  son, James VI,
          were  both educated  in  France,  and  this ensured  that  continental
          attitudes  towards  witches  were enshrined  in  Scottish  law  at the
          highest level. In fact the concepts of witchcraft were introduced into
          Scotland by Mary in about 1563. Before then, trials for witchcraft had
          been few,  and there  were no  recorded burnings  of witches. In  "The
          Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology" Rossell Hope Robbins says:

                    "Scotland is  second only  to Germany in  the bar-
                    barity of its witch trials. The Presbyterian cler-
                    gy acted like inquisitors, and the Church sessions
                    often shared the prosecution with the secular law
                    courts. The Scottish laws were, if  anything, more
                    heavily loaded against  the accused. Finally,  the
                    devilishness of  the torture was  limited only  by
                    Scotland's backward technology in the construction
                    of mechanical devices."

          It is  well known that James  VI was an ardent  prosecutor of witches,
          and  it  was under  his  authority that  the  Bible was  translated to
          include the word "witch"  (Exodus 22:18) to provide Biblical  sanction
          for the death  penalty for witches. The original Hebrew word - kashaph
          - meant either a magician, diviner or sorcerer, but was definitely not
          a witch. In  the Latin Vulgate (4th century version  of the Bible) the
          word had been translated as "maleficos", which could mean  any kind of
          criminal, although in practice often referred to malevolent sorcerers.
          Similarly, the  so-called Witch of  Endor, consulted by  King Solomon:
          the  original Hebrew was "ba'alath  ob": "mistress of  a talisman". In
          the Latin Vulgate she  became a "mulierem habentem pythonem":  a women
          possessing an oracular spirit. It was only in the version of the Bible
          authorised by King James that she became a witch.

          By the time that James acceded to the English throne in 1603, his
          attitude towards witches had undergone a subtle transformation. In
          fact,  he was  directly  responsible for  the  release and  pardon  of
          several accused "witches", and personally interfered in trials where
          he believed that fraud or deception was being practised.  However,
          Lynn Linton writing in 1861 says of him:

                    "Whatever of blood-stained folly belonged special-
                    ly to the Scottish trials of this time - and here-
                    after -  owed its  original impulse to  him; every
                    groan  of the  tortured  wretches driven  to their
                    fearful doom, and every tear of the survivors left
                    blighted and desolate to drag out their weary days
                    in  mingled grief  and terror,  lie on  his memory
                    with shame and  condemnation ineffaceable for  all


          But it was under Charles II that perhaps the most famous -  and endur-
          ing  - of  Scottish  witches was  tried,  and most  probably  executed
          (although records  of her punishment have not survived). Isobel Gowdie
          of Auldearne,  on four separate  occasions during 1662  testified that
          she  was a witch, and gave what  Russell Hope Robbins describes as: "a
          resum. of popular beliefs about witchcraft in Scotland.". He says that
          Gowdie "appeared clearly demented", but that "it is plain she believed
          what she confessed, no matter how impossible...".

          From Gowdie are  derived some of the concepts of  today's Wicca, incl-
          uding the idea of a coven, comprised of 13 people.  Gowdie said that a
          coven was  ruled by a  "Man in Black",  often called "Black  John". He
          would often beat the witches severely, and it seemed their main  tasks
          were  to raise storms, change  themselves into animals,  and shoot elf
          arrows  to injure or kill people. Coming  as she does right at the end
          of  the witchcraft persecutions, it is difficult to establish how much
          of Gowdie's confession  is based upon real, traditional folk practices
          of  Auldearne, and  how  much she  is  simply repeating  the  standard
          accusations against witches.   The Coven of 13 is  probably the single
          aspect of her confessions  which does not appear elsewhere  in records
          of witchcraft trials, and my own feelings are that she was probably as
          genuine a witch as was ever taken and tried.

          We have already commented how terrifying it is to consider the  impact
          that a single person  can have upon  the lives of  so many people.  We
          have looked  at a number of  these - King James,  Kramer and Sprenger,
          Matthew Hopkins, Conrad of  Marburg - and their latter  day successors
          are no  less  dangerous. Let  us  consider some  of the  20th  century
          persecutors.  We  have  already  mentioned Adolf  Hitler;  what  about
          Stalin?  his great purge in  the period following  1936 saw charges of
          treason, espionage and terrorism brought against anyone who showed the
          least inclination to oppose him. Using techniques which would not have
          been  out of  place during  the great  witch hunts,  Stalin's henchmen
          enforced "confessions", and effectively exterminated any threat to his
          political power.

          We could look  too at  McCarthy, whose fame  for persecution was  such
          that his name is now used to describe "the use  of unsupported accusa-
          tions  for any purpose".  It is no  accident that  his activities were
          referred to as a "witch hunt", nor that Arthur Miller's play about the
          Salem  witch trials, "The Crucible",  was more a  comment about McCar-
          thyism than a comment about 17th century American life.

          In 20th century Australia we are heirs to a European history, which
          maintains  that witches  are  servants of  the  devil, and  should  be
          prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. In some States these
          laws actually remain upon the Statute Books; in others, the legal
          machinery has been removed, but often public opinion hovers around the
          middle ages, believing that the only good witch is a dead witch.

          Our latter-day inquisitors play upon these fears, in much the same
          way as  Matthew Hopkins played upon the fears of the people during the
          Civil War. Christian Fundamentalists have no hesitation in using every
          dirty trick in the book to  ensure that public opinion remains opposed
          to witchcraft. If this means  that some of them  have to stand up  and
          say: "Yes, I  was a witch:  I sacrificed my  babies to the  devil, and
          copulated with  a goat; I took  part in drunken orgies,  and drank the
          blood of the sacrifice"; but  then I found Jesus, and was  born again,


          and now I'm  a really nice person; well so be  it. Some of them are so
          psychiatrically unbalanced they may even believe it themselves.

          Listen to a  sample of the claims made by  Audrey Harper, who achieved
          notoriety in Britain as an  ex-HPS of a Witches' Coven.   This extract
          is from an article by Aries, which appeared in Web of Wyrd #5:

                    Sent to  a Dr  Barnado's home by  her mother,  she
                    grew up  with  deprivation and  social stigma.  In
                    time she becomes a WRAF, falls in love, gets preg-
                    nant, boyfriend dies, she turns to booze, gives up
                    her baby  and becomes homeless. Wandering  to Pic-
                    cadilly Circus she meets some Flower Children with
                    the  killer weed,  and  her descent  into Hell  is
                    assured. By day she gets stoned and eats junk
                    food; by night she  sleeps in squats and doorways.
                    Along  comes Molly; the whore with a heart of gold
                    who teaches  Audrey the art  of streetwalking. She
                    flirts with shoplifting, gets into pills, and then
                    gets talent spotted and  invited to a Chelsea par-
                    ty,  where  wealth, power  and tasteful  decor are
                    dangled as bait. At  the next party she is  hooked
                    by the  "group", which meets "every  month in Vir-
                    ginia Water". She agrees to go to the next meeting
                    which is to be held at Hallowe'en.

                    Inside the  dark Temple  lit by black  candles and
                    full of "A heady,  sickly sweet smell from burning
                    incense", she  is  "initiated" by  the  "warlock",
                    whose "face was deathly pale and skeletal... his
                    eyes ...  were dark and sunken"  and whose "breath
                    and body seemed to exude a strange smell, a little
                    like  stale alcohol."  She signs  herself over  to
                    Satan with her own blood on a parchment scroll,
                    whereupon a baby is  produced, its throat cut, and
                    the blood  drank.  Following this  she gets dumped
                    on the  "altar" and  screwed as the  "sacrifice of
                    the White Virgin". The meeting finishes with a
                    little  ritual cursing  and  she's left  to wander
                    "home" in the dark.

                    Her life  falls into a steady  routine of meetings
                    in Virginia  Water, getting  screwed by the  "war-
                    lock", drug  abuse,  petty crime,  and  recruiting
                    runaways for parties, where  the drinks are spiked
                    -"probably with  LSD" - and  candles injected with
                    heroin  release "stupefying  fumes into  the air";
                    the  object being  sex kicks and  pornography. She
                    falls pregnant again, gets committed to a psychia-
                    tric hospital, has the baby, and gives it away
                    convinced that the "warlock" would sacrifice it.
                    Things then become a  confusion of Church desecra-
                    tion,  drug  addiction, ritual  abuse, psychiatric
                    hospital, and  falling in with Christian  folk who
                    try vainly to save her soul. For rather vague
                    reasons the  "coven" decide  to drop her  from the
                    team, and she dedicates herself to a true junkie's
                    lifestyle with a steady round of overdosing, jaun-
                    dice, and detoxification units. The "warlock"


                    drops by  to threaten her,  and she makes  her way
                    north  via some psychiatric  hospitals to a Chris-
                    tian Rehabilitation farm. She  gets married, has a
                    child which she keeps, and becomes a regular chur-
                    chgoer.  But  beneath  the  surface  are recurring
                    nightmares,  insane  anger and  murderous feelings
                    towards her brethren.  At the Emmanual Pentecostal
                    Church  in Stourport  she asks  the  Minister, Roy
                    Davies, for help. He prays, and God tells him that
                    she was involved with  witchcraft. An exorcism has
                    her born again, cleansed of her sin. She gets bap-
                    tised and has no  more nightmares, becoming a gen-
                    erally nicer person.  She becomes the  "occult ex-
                    pert" of the  Reachout Trust  and Evangelical  Al-
                    liance, and makes a career out  of telling an edi-
                    ted version of her tale.

                    Geoffrey Dickens  MP persuades her to  tell all on
                    live TV; "Audrey, to your knowledge is child sacr-
                    ifice still going on?" To this she replies, "To my
                    knowledge, yes." After  this the whole thing  ram-
                    bles into an untidy conclusion of self-congratula-
                    tion, self-promotion,  and self-justification; and
                    for a grand finale pulls out  a list of horrendous
                    child abuse, which is shamelessly exploited in
                    typically  journalistic fashion, and  by the usual
                    fallacious  arguments which  links it  to anything
                    "occult"; help-lines, astro  predictions in  news-
                    papers, and even New Age festivals.

          And so we are left with a horrifying vision of hordes of Satanists
          swarming the country, buggering  kids, sacrificing babies, and feeding
          their own faeces to the flock."

          Whilst all this  seems incredible to any rational  person, unfortunat-
          ely, in the age old tradition, it confirms the worst fears of the  man
          and woman in the street, and so they swallow  it whole.  After all, it
          was on telly, so it MUST be true!

          As a direct result of people like Audrey Harper publicising their lies
          and fantasy,  children in England  and Scotland were  forcibly removed
          from their homes, and subjected to the type of questioning that we had
          previously believed had died out at the end of the Middle Ages.

          A consultant  clinical psychologist  scrutinised the  interview trans-
          cripts and audio records of the recent Orkney child abuse case,
          and in her summing  up said: "[the  Social Workers] told the  children
          they knew things had happened  to them and were generally  leading all
          the  way. When  the children  denied things,  the questions  were con-
          tinually put until  the children got hungry and gave  them the answers
          they wanted."

          Who says that torture is no longer legal in the British Isles?  

          The father of four of the children who were taken into care said:
          "At first I thought the allegations were laughable, but I found out
          how serious the police were...". Just to remind you of the words of
          Gilles de Rais some 500 years ago: [the accusations] are frivolous
          and lack credit...".


          One 11 year-old described being asked to  draw a circle of ritualistic
          dancers. He said: "They got me to draw by  saying, 'I am not a drawer.
          Can you draw that?' It was meant to be a ring with children around and
          a  minister in the  middle wearing  a black robe  and a crook  to pull
          children in."

          The boy said  he had been promised  treats such as  a lesson on how  a
          helicopter worked if he co-operated, and was told that he could
          go if he gave one name. How remarkably similar to medieval witch
          trials,  where the victims were  always pressed to  name their accomp-
          lices - for is it not said, "thou canst not be a witch alone?"!

          In 1990,  journalist Rosie  Waterhouse commenting upon  the Manchester
          child  abuse  case said:  "After three  months  of questioning  by the
          NSPCC,  strange  stories began  to come  out  and other  children were
          named. The way the children began telling "Satanic" tales in this case
          is  remarkably similar  to  the way  such  stories first  surfaced  in
          Nottingham. As "The  Independent on Sunday" revealed last week (23/9/-
          90), the  Nottingham children  began talking about  witches, monsters,
          babies  and blood  only after  they had been  encouraged, by  an NSPCC
          social  worker, to  play with toys  which included  witches' costumes,
          monsters, toy babies, and a syringe for extracting blood."

          Believe it or not, the parents of these children had no access to
          them whatsoever. Why? Because our modern, scientifically trained,
          20th century social workers believed that, "[the parents] would try
          to  silence  the children,  using  secret Satanic  symbols  or trigger

          By  March 1991,  senior Police spokesmen  were publicly  claiming that
          "police have no evidence of ritual or satanic abuse inflicted on
          children anywhere in England or Wales". Scotland has a different
          legal system, which is why it was not included in the statement -
          not because the police have evidence there, for they do not.

          When the Rochdale case finally came to court, after the children
          had been in care (sic!) for about 16 months, the judge delivered a
          damning indictment upon those  who were responsible for it,  and said:
          "the way  the children had  been removed  from their parents  was par-
          ticularly upsetting." He  saw a video of the removal  of one girl from
          her home during a dawn  raid, and commented that, "It is  obvious from
          the  video tape  that the  girl is not  merely frightened  but greatly
          distressed at being removed from home. The sobbing and distraught girl
          can be seen. It is one of my most abiding memories of this case."

          Let us  return briefly to  Salem, where, in 1710,  William Good petit-
          ioned for  damages in respect of  the trial and execution  of his wife
          Sarah, and the imprisonment of his daughter, Dorothy, "a child of four
          or five  years old, [who] being  chained in the dungeon  was so hardly
          used  and terrified  that she  hath ever  since been  very chargeable,
          having little or no reason to govern herself.".


          Today's Christian Fundamentalist, like his vicious  and self-righteous
          predecessors, will use anything in his or her power-including innocent
          children -  to destroy the evils of Paganism and the occult. Sometimes
          I wonder if we are becoming paranoid, or the subjects of a persecution
          complex, but  in writing this lecture  it was brought home  to me more
          strongly than ever before: the witch trials of the Middle Ages are not
          a bloody stain  on the history  of Christianity; they  are the  source
          from where today's fundamentalists  draw their power, and are  just as
          terrifying  today  as they  were hundreds  of  years ago.  Bigotry and
          persecution have changed in only one respect: 20th century mankind has
          far  more efficient and effective  means of spreading  lies and propa-
          ganda than was available to our ancestors.

          Appendix A

          The  subject of the  European Witch Trials  has been  written about ad
          infinitum  (and nauseam!),  and there  are a  great many  useful books
          which  the student will find  of interest. There  follows a short bib-
          liography of those to which I referred when writing this lecture.

          Select Bibliography

          Bradford, Sarah                 Cesare Borgia (1981)
          Cohn, Norman                    Europe's Inner Demons (1975)
          Ginzburg, Carlo                 Ecstasies: Deciphering The
                                          Witches' Sabbath (1990)
          Hole, Christina                 Witchcraft in England (1977)
          Howard, Michael                 The Occult Conspiracy (1989)
          Kieckheffer, Richard            European Witch Trials (1976)
          Larner, Christina               Enemies of God: The Witch Hunt in     
                                         Scotland (1981)
          Larner, Christina               Witchcraft and Religion (1985)
          Maple, Eric                     The Complete Book of Witchcraft and   
          Radford, Kenneth                Fire Burn (1989)
          Ravensdale & Morgan             The Psychology of Witchcraft
          Robbins, Rossell Hope           The Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and   
                                         Demonology (1984)
          Russell, Jeffrey                A History of Witchcraft (1980)
          Scarre, Geoffrey                Witchcraft and Magic in 16th and 17th 
                                        century Europe (1987)
          Stenton, Sir Frank              Anglo-Saxon England (1971)
          Summers, Montague (Trans)       Malleus Maleficarum (1986)
          Thomas, Keith                   Religion and the Decline of Magic     
          Trevor-Roper, H R               The European Witch-Craze of the 16th  
                                         and 17th Centuries (1988)
          Walsh, Michael                  Roots of Christianity (1986)
          Worden, Blair (Ed)              Stuart England (1986)

          Encyclopaedia Britannica (1969 edition)
          Collins Dictionary of the English Language (1980)
          Newspapers: The Times, The Guardian, The Independent (Britain)



          Appendix B - Historical Periods

          Anglo-Saxon:       broadly 550 AD to 1066 AD (the Norman invasion).

          Middle Ages:       broadly the period from the end of classical       
                                              antiquity                                                      (476                                                         AD)                                                           tothe                                                               Italian                                                                     Renaissance                                                                               (or                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            fall                                               of                                                Constantinople                                                             in                                                              1453).                                                                   More                                                                      specifically                                                                                                                                                                 
                           the period from 1000 AD to the 15th century.

          Medieval:          of, or relating to, the Middle Ages.

          Tudor:             the Royal House, descended from Welsh Squire Owen  
                                              Tudor                                                  (d.1461),                                                         which                                                             ruled                                                                 in                                                                  England                                                                       between                                                                             1485                                                                                
                            AD - 1603 AD

          Stuart:            the Royal House which ruled in Scotland between    
                                              1371                                                 ADand                                                     1714,and                                                            inEngland                                                                    between1603                                                                              AD-                                                                                
                           1714 AD.

          Jacobean:          relating to the period of James I's rule of England

          Reformation:       a 16th century religious and political movement    
                                              which                                                  beganas                                                        anattempt                                                                toreform                                                                       theCatholic                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            Church,                                                  but                                                    actually                                                           resulted                                                                  inthe                                                                      establishment                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                          of the Protestant Church.

          Renaissance:       usually considered as beginning in Italy in the    
                                              14th                                                 century,this                                                            isthe                                                                period                                                                     whichmarked                                                                               the                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            transitionfromtheMiddleAges                                                                      tothemodern                                                                                
                                          world.Itis                                                   characterisedbyclassicalscholar                                                                                                                                                                 
                                        ship,scientific                                                      andgeographicaldiscovery,and                                                                                                                                                                 
                        the exploration of individual human potential.

          Civil War:         1640-1649, between the Royalists under Charles I,  
                                              and                                                the                                                  Parliamentarians                                                                 ledby                                                                     Oliver                                                                          Cromwell.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                           Charles I was executed in 1649.

          Crusades:          a series of wars undertaken by the Christians of   
                                              western                                                    Europe                                                        with                                                           the                                                             authorisation                                                                         of                                                                         the                                                                           Papacy                                                                                
                                              from1095untilthe                                                             mid-15thcenturyforthe                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            purpose                                                  of                                                   recoveringthe                                                               HolySepulchre                                                                           atJerus                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          alemfrom                                                 theMuslimsand                                                             defendingpossessionof                                                                                                                                                                 
                         it. (Enc. Britannica)

          Thirty Years' War: a major conflict involving Austria, Denmark,       
                                              France,                                                    Holland,Germany,                                                                   Spain                                                                       andSweden                                                                               that                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                            devastated                                                     central                                                           Europe,                                                                 but                                                                  especially                                                                           Germany.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                          It                                           beganas                                                 awarbetween                                                           Protestantsand                                                                        Catholics                                                                                
                                          but                                            developedintoa                                                         generalpowerstruggle                                                                            (1618                                                                                

          Lateran Councils:  Five ecumenical councils held at the Lateran Palace
                                              (the                                                 official                                                        residence                                                                ofthe                                                                    Pope)                                                                        between                                                                              1123                                                                                                                                                                 
                           AD and 1512 AD.



          Appendix C - Gnostic and Christian sects

          Manichaeism:       a dualistic Gnostic religion first preached by Mani
                                              (q.v.)in                                                     the                                                       3rdcentury                                                                AD.                                                                  Itsearly                                                                         centrewas                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          Babylonia,then                                                       partofthePersianempireanda                                                                                
                         meeting place of faiths. (EB)

               The  basic  theology of  Manichaeism is  that  good and  evil are
          separate  and opposed principles, which have become mixed in the world
          through  the  action of  the evil  principle.  There is  a complicated
          mythology  which describes the creation of the world and the elements,
          and a set of complex correspondences by which the seeker can return to
          a state of salvation. Manichaeism spread across a huge area, including
          the Roman  Empire. However, by the  6th century it had  virtually been
          eradicated  from Spain, France and  Italy, although was  strong in the
          eastern Mediterranean until the 9th century, when it was absorbed into
          the neo-Manichean sects of the Bogomils, Cathars, etc.

          Bogomils:          a religious sect which flourished in the Balkans   
                            between the 10th and 15th centuries. 

               Their central teaching was  strictly dualistic; that the visible,
          material world was created by the Devil, and that everything within it
          was therefore evil.   They  rejected many of  the trappings of  Chris-
          tianity, and  their condemnation of  anything to  do with the  flesh -
          including eating and drinking! - has rightly earned them the nickname,
          "the greatest puritans of the middle ages".

          Cathars:           a heretical Christian sect that flourished in      
                            western Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries. 

               They believed that  goodness existed only in the  spiritual world
          created  by God, and  that the material  world, created by  Satan, was
          evil. Their theology bore  a great resemblance to that  of Manichaeism
          and the Bogomils, and they were closely connected with the latter.

          Waldensians:       also known as Valdenses or Vaudois. The sect was   
                                              founded                                                    in                                                     southern                                                            France                                                                 in                                                                  the                                                                    12th                                                                       century,                                                                              and                                                                                
                                              emphasised                                                      poverty,                                                            abstinence                                                                     from                                                                       physical                                                                              labou                                                                                                                                                                 
                           r, and a life devoted to prayer.

               They  were influenced by other  "heretical" sects, and rejected a
          number of  the basic tenets  of the Catholic  faith.  They  were stern
          opponents  to the acquisition of  wealth and power  within the Church,
          and  thus came into direct  opposition to the  Papacy,which thrived on
          both.   They  were fiercely  persecuted, and  by the  end of  the 15th
          century, confined mainly to the French and Italian
          valleys  of the Cottian Alps. During the 16th century, the Waldensians
          were transformed into a Protestant church, but suffered heavy persecu-
          tion throughout the 17th century from the Dukes of Savoy.  This ceased
          only after Oliver  Cromwell intervened personally on their behalf with
          the duke, Charles Emmanuel II. In  the latter part of the 17th century
          the Waldensians returned to their original homeland, and in 1848 the
          Waldensians  were given  civil rights,  and are  today members  of the
          World Presbyterian Alliance.



          Appendix D - A  calendar of events  connected with the persecution  of

          640 AD             Eorcenberht succeeds Eadbald as King of Kent, and  
                                              becomes                                                    the                                                      firstEnglish                                                                 king                                                                    toorder                                                                          the                                                                            destr                                                                                
                           uction of pagan idols throughout his kingdom;

          663 AD             Council of Whitby determines the date of Easter to 
                                            be                                             inaccordance                                                        withRomanpractice,                                                                         andso                                                                             ends                                                                                
                          Celtic Christianity in Northumberland;

          668-690 AD         Liber Poenitentialis by Theodore, Archbishop of    
                            Canterbury.  Probably the first legislation against
                                                witches.                                                       Itadvised                                                               penances                                                                      (eg,                                                                         fasting)for                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
                                              those                                                  who"sacrificedto                                                                 devils,foretold                                                                               the                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          offeredin                                                  sacrifice,orburnedgrainafter                                                                             aman                                                                                
                                        was deadforthewell-beingofthelivingandof
                         the house."

          735-766 AD         the Confessional of Ecgberht, Archbishop of
                             York, which prescribed a 7-year fast for a woman
                             convicted of "slaying by incantation";

          871-899 AD         reign of King Aelfred (brother of Aethelred), who  
                                              declared                                                     the                                                       death                                                           penaltyfor                                                                    those                                                                        who                                                                          practise                                                                                                                                                                 

          925-939 AD         reign of King Aethelstan, where murder - including 
                                            murderbywitchcraft                                                             -waspunishablewith                                                                              the                                                                                
                          death penalty;

          936 AD             Otto elected King of the Germans, whereupon he     
                                              declaredit                                                       hisintention                                                                  to                                                                   drivethe                                                                          pagans                                                                               out                                                                                                                                                                 
                           of his land;

          951                Otto crowned King of Lombardy;

          955                Otto defeated the Magyars and proclaimed himself   
                            "Protector of Europe";

          962                Otto crowned Holy Roman Emperor;

          1022               the first burning (at Orleans) for heresy;

          1066-1087 AD       reign of William the Conqueror in England; he      
                                              reduced                                                    Aethelstan'ssentence                                                                       ofdeath                                                                             forcon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                           victed murderers to banishment;

          1118               King Baldwin II of Jerusalem suggested to Sir Hugh 
                                            dePayensthat                                                       heorganiseachivalric                                                                          orderof                                                                                
                                          knightsto                                                  defendtravellersto                                                                   theHolyLand,                                                                              and                                                                                
                                        grantedpartofhispalace,which                                                                   stoodonthesite                                                                                
                                        ofSolomon'soriginaltemple,                                                                 fortheirheadquar                                                                                
                                      ters.Asaresultof thisgesture,HughdePayens 


                                    changedthisto KnightsoftheTempleofSolomonin 

          1162               Pope Alexander III issued a special papal bull     
                                              releasing                                                      Templars                                                            from                                                               spiritual                                                                       obedience                                                                               to                                                                               any                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            butthe                                                 Popehimself,gavethemexemption                                                                             from                                                                                
                                          paying                                               tithes,                                                     andallowed                                                              themtheir                                                                      own                                                                        chaplains                                                                                
                          and burial grounds;

          12/13th cent       the Cathar heresies: introduction of the obscene   
                            kiss and ritual adoration of the devil;

          1243-44            Siege of Montsegur;

          1244               225 Cathars burned at the stake at Montsegur;

          1259               relationships between the Knights Templars and the 
                                            Hospitallers                                                       ofKnights                                                               ofStJohn                                                                      deteriorated                                                                                                                                                                 
                          into open warfare;

          1291               the Saracens took Jerusalem, and the Knights       
                                              Templars                                                    were                                                       expelled,                                                              and                                                                lost                                                                  their                                                                     headquarters                                                                                
                            on the site of Solomon's Temple;

          1301               Walter Langton, bishop of Coventry, tried by       
                            ecclesiastical court for diabolism and acquitted;

          1302               trial in Exeter for defamation of a man who called 
                           a woman a "wicked witch and thief";

          1307               King Philip of France ordered the arrest of every  
                                              member                                                   ofthe                                                       KnightsTemplar                                                                    in                                                                     France:this                                                                               was                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            followed                                                   bya                                                     papalbull                                                             toall                                                                 rulersin                                                                        Christian                                                                                
                           Europe that all Templars were to be arrested;

          1311               investigation in London by episcopal authority into
                            sorcery, enchantment, magic, divination and

          1312               the Pope officially disbanded the Knights Templars;

          1314               Jaques de Molay (last Grand Master of the Knights  
                            Templars) burned as a relapsed heretic;

          1321               last Cathar burned at the stake;

          1324               Alice Kyteler tried in Kilkenny by secular and     
                                              ecclesiastical                                                           authorities                                                                    for                                                                      diabolism,                                                                               invoca                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                           tion and sorcery;

          1347               the Plague spreads over the whole of Italy, and    
                            arrives in France by the end of the year;

          1348               the Plague reaches Paris, then the Low Countries,  
                            and then via the Channel to southern England;

          1349               Britain ravaged by the Plague, which passes into   
                            Germany, Austria and Scandinavia;


          1360               the Plague, complicated by influenza reappears in  
                            Europe, continuing in waves until 1441, and finally
                             ending around 1510;

          1390               woman tried in Milan for attending an assembly led 
                           by "Diana", "Erodiade" or "Oriente";

          1408               the Plague, still rampant in Europe is complicated 
                           by an epidemic of Typhus and Whooping Cough;

          1409               trial of Pope Benedict XIII at Pisa for divination,
                            invocation, sorcery and other offences;

          1428-47            Dauphine: 110 women and 57 men executed by secular 
                           court for witchcraft, especially diabolism;

          1431               Joan of Arc tried for heresy and burnt at the      
                                              stake:                                                   the                                                     trial                                                         decision                                                                was                                                                  annulled                                                                         in                                                                          1456,                                                                              and                                                                                
                                              in                                               1920                                                  shewas                                                       canonised                                                               byPope                                                                    Benedict                                                                           XVwith                                                                                
                           the date of her execution (May 30) becoming a
                             national holiday in France;

          1440               Gilles de Rais tried on 47 charges including con   
                                              juration                                                     of                                                      demons                                                           and                                                             sexual                                                                  perversions                                                                            against                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                            children:                                                    nearlyall                                                            evidence                                                                   washearsay,                                                                             none                                                                                of                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          his                                            servantswascalled                                                            totestify,and                                                                        theprocee                                                                                
                                        dingswerehighlyirregular:                                                                hewasstrangledand                                                                                
                                      thensenttothe pyre,buthisfamilyweregiven  
                                    permissionto removehisbodybefore theflames  
                      reached it for burial at a nearby Carmelite Church;

          1441               Margery Jourdain ("the Witch of Eye") convicted of 
                                            plottingtokillKingHenry                                                                  VI,andburnedasa                                                                                

          1458               first recorded use of the word "sabbat" (Nicholas  
                                              Jacquier).                                                                                                             "Synagogue"                                                                was                                                                  the                                                                    word                                                                       commonly                                                                              used                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            todescribethemeeting                                                               placesofhereticsand                                                                                                                                                                 

          1470               trial before Royal Court in England for defamation 
                           - man had accused the Duchess of Bedford of image

          1479               Earl of Mar executed for employing witches
                             to kill James III of Scotland;

          1484               Papal Bull of Pope Innocent VIII officially
                             declaring witchcraft a heresy;

          1486               first publication of the Malleus Maleficarum;

          1488               Metz: 31 women and 4 men tried by secular court for
                            weather magic: 29 burned;

          1492               expulsion of Jews from Spain;

          1521               Martin Luther excommunicated by Pope Leo X, and so 
                           begins the Reformation;


          1532               the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina: the criminal  
                                              code                                                 for                                                   the                                                     HolyRoman                                                             Empire                                                                  which                                                                      specified                                                                              how                                                                                
                                            witches,                                                   fortunetellers,                                                                 etc                                                                   wereto                                                                        be                                                                         tried,and                                                                                                                                                                 

          1542               first statute against witchcraft in England passed 
                           by Parliament (revoked 1547);

          1557               first list of prohibited books issued by the Roman 

          1562               statute enacted in Scotland under Mary Queen of    
                                              Scots                                                  declaring                                                          the                                                            death                                                                penalty                                                                      for                                                                        witchcraft,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                            sorceryand                                                     necromancy:theAct                                                                     wasconfirmed                                                                                in                                                                                                                                                                 
                          1649 and repealed in 1736;

          1563               statute against witchcraft by Elizabeth I in       
                                              Englandordering                                                            the                                                              deathpenalty                                                                         for                                                                           witches,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                            enchantersand                                                        sorcerers(undercivil,                                                                            notecc                                                                                                                                                                 
                          lesiastical law);

          1566               first major trial under statute of 1563: Elizabeth 
                                            Francis,                                                   Agnes                                                       Waterhouseand                                                                   JoanWaterhouse                                                                                at                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          Chelmsford:                                                    Agneshanged,Elizabethreceived                                                                                a                                                                                
                        light sentence and Joan was found not guilty;

          1584               "Discoverie of Witchcraft" by Reginald Scot
                             published - a Protestant argument against belief in

          1590-92            North Berwick trials by James VI;

          1595               Nicholas Remy publishes "Demonolatreiae" where he  
                            boasted on the title page that he had condemned 900
                             witches in 15 years;

          1596               John Dee as Warden of a Manchester College acts as 
                           an advisor for cases of witchcraft and demonology;

          1597               "Daemonologie" by King James VI published;

          1600               Giordano Bruno burnt at the stake in Rome
                             as an "impenitent heretic";

          1603               ascension of James VI to the English throne as     
                            James I;

          1604               new statute against witchcraft by James I
                                                which                                                    established                                                             pact,                                                                 devil-worship                                                                             and                                                                               other                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
                            continental ideas in English law;

          1611               King James authorises a new translation of
                             the Bible to include the word "witch";

          1612               twenty witches tried together at Lancashire
                             (the Pendle witches);

          1628               in Massachusetts, an English lawyer, Thomas
                                                Mortonordered                                                            amaypoleto                                                                     beerectedin                                                                               the                                                                                                                                                                 
                                              colony                                                   which                                                      he                                                       founded                                                             (Merrymount),                                                                         and                                                                          celebrat                                                                                                                                                                 


                                            ed                                             MaywithlocalIndians                                                               andrefugeesfromthe                                                                                
                                          Puritans,withstag                                                          antlers,bellsandbrightly                                                                                                                                                                 
                         coloured clothes, under an elected "Lord and Lady"
                                                to                                                 ruleover                                                        thecelebrations;                                                                       He                                                                        wasarrested                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                              under                                                  charges                                                        ofpractising                                                                   witchcraft,but                                                                                was                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

          1633               the public exorcisms of the nuns of Loudun as part 
                                            ofa                                              plotby                                                   CardinalRichelieu                                                                   to                                                                    revengehimself                                                                                                                                                                 
                         upon Urban Grandier: Grandier arrested and tried by
                             investigating committee;

          1634               Grandier tortured then burned alive;

          1644               maypoles made illegal in England;

          1644-5             Matthew Hopkins active in Chelmsford;

          1646               Matthew Hopkins retired - he died the following

          1647               first witch hung in the USA, in Connecticut;

          1649               first newspaper astrology column by Lilly;

          1662               at Bury St Edmunds women were accused and convicted
                                              ofwitchcrafton                                                           thetestimonyof                                                                        hysterical                                                                                                                                                                 

          1662               the trial of Isobel Gowdie in Auldearne, Scotland: 
                           Gowdie introduces the idea of a coven of thirteen;

          1663               the Licensing Act determined that books could not  
                                              be                                               published                                                       without                                                             priorconsultation                                                                             with                                                                                the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                           Church or State;

          1679-82            the Chambre Ardente affair: a star chamber court   
                                              admittingof                                                        noappealarraigned                                                                        totry                                                                            Madame                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            Bosse,                                                 her                                                   daughter                                                          and                                                            sons;                                                                Madame                                                                     Montvoisin                                                                              (La                                                                                
                                            Voisin)and                                                     La                                                      DameVigoreux.                                                                  Duringthe                                                                          courseof                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          the                                            trial,severalhundredsofthehighestcour                                                                                
                                        tiersofKing LouisXIVwereimplicatedinthe 
                                  CatholicPriestsDavot, Gerard,Deshayes,Cotton, 
                                Tournet,Guibourg andMariettewere alsodrawnin,   
                              accused ofperforming theBlackMass. Evidencewas    
                            collectedto showthat Madamede Montespan(Louis'      
                          former mistress)attempted to poisonLouis andhis       
                        new mistress, andwas the leader ofthe Satanic           
                      cult. In all, 319 peoplewere arrested and 104             
                    sentenced: 36 to death,4 to slavery in the gal              
                  leys, 34 to banishmentand 30 acquitted. In 1709               
                Louis attempted to destroy the records of the                   
            affair, but failed;

          1684               Alice Molland was the last person executed as a    
                            witch in England (at Exeter);


          1689               Cotton Mather (New England) publishes "Memorable   
                                              Providences                                                       Relating                                                             to                                                             Witchcraft                                                                     and                                                                      Possessions"                                                                                
                            supporting belief in witchcraft;

          1692               Salem witch trials: 19 hung and more than 100      
                                              jailed;                                                    thelast                                                          personexecutedin                                                                         theUSA                                                                              for                                                                                

          1727               last execution in Scotland for witchcraft;

          1731               last trial for witchcraft in England: Jane Wenham, 
                           who was convicted, then pardoned and released;

          1736               the repeal of the statutes against witchcraft of   
                                              Mary                                                 Queen                                                     of                                                      Scots(1562),                                                                 Elizabeth                                                                         I                                                                         (1563)                                                                              and                                                                                
                                            JamesI                                                 &VI(1604):                                                          replacedwith                                                                     astatutewhich                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          statedthat,"no                                                       prosecution,suitor                                                                        proceeding                                                                                                                                                                 
                                        shallbe commencedorcarriedoutagainstany 
                                      personorpersonsforwitchcraft,                                                                  sorcery,inchant                                                                                
                                    ment (sic),orconjuration."Itprovided forthe 
                                  prosecutionof thosepretendingtopossessmagical 
                     powers, but it denied reality to those powers;

          1745               last execution in France for witchcraft;

          1775               last execution in Germany for witchcraft;

          1829               Lamothe-Langan fabricated and published documents  
                                              represented                                                        to                                                         berecords                                                                 of                                                                  trialsof                                                                         witches                                                                               in                                                                                
                                            Toulouse                                                   andCarcassonne,                                                                 probably                                                                        in                                                                         an                                                                          attempt                                                                                to                                                                                                                                                                 
                                            provethe                                                   continuingexistenceof                                                                       theworship                                                                                of                                                                                                                                                                 
                          the old religion;

          1830               in "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft" Sir      
                                              Walter                                                   Scott                                                       argues                                                            thatalleged                                                                      witches                                                                            had                                                                              been                                                                                                                                                                 
                           misunderstood and mistreated;

          1862               Jules Michelet argues in his book "La Sorcerie"    
                                              that                                                 witchcraftwas                                                             aprotest                                                                    bymedieval                                                                             serfs                                                                                                                                                                 
                           against a crushing social order;

          1865               Pope Pius X again attacked secret societies,claim  
                                              ing                                                that                                                  Freemasonry                                                            was                                                              anti-Christian,                                                                            satanic,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                           and derived from paganism;

          1899               publication of Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by    

          1928               first English translation of the Malleus Malefic   
                            arum (tr Summers);

          1951               repeal of the 1736 Witchcraft Act with the Fraud   
                            ulent Mediums Act;

          1963               demand made for reinstatement of the Witchcraft    
                                              Laws                                                 in                                                  England                                                        following                                                                desecration                                                                          of                                                                           churches                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                           and graveyards;


          1966               the Index (of prohibited books) abolished;

          1991               Anti-occult amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill 
                           had its third reading in Parliament. Presented by
                                                Geoffrey                                                     Dickens,                                                           this                                                             prescribed                                                                     imprisonment                                                                               for                                                                                
                                            not                                              morethan                                                     five                                                        yearsagainst                                                                   one                                                                     who,"permits,                                                                                                                                                                 
                                          entices                                                orencourages                                                           aminorto                                                                  participatein,                                                                               or                                                                                
                                  sectionappliesare thoseof,orassociated with,  
                                Satanism andotherdevilworshipping, blackmagic,  
                              witchcraft, oranyactivity towhich Section1 of     
                   the Fraudulent Mediums Act (1951) applies.

                                                The                                                  Bill                                                     was                                                       rejected                                                              for                                                                a                                                                number                                                                     of                                                                      reasons,                                                                             not
          least because it made newspaper/magazine editors culpable if
          minors should read the astrology column!


                      HISTORY OF WICCA IN ENGLAND: 1939 - present day 

          This talk  was given  by Julia Phillips  at the  Wiccan Conference  in
          Canberra, 1991.  It is  mainly about  the early days  of the  Wicca in
          England;  specifically what  we  now call  Gardnerian and  Alexandrian
          traditions. The text remains  "as given", so please remember  when you
          read  it that  it was  never intended  to be  "read", but  "heard" and

          Text begins:

          There are three main strands I intend to examine: one, Gardner's claim
          of  traditional  initiation,  and  its  subsequent  development;  two,
          magical  traditions to which Gardner would have had access; and three,
          literary sources.

          As  we look at  these three main  threads, it is important  to bear in
          mind  that Gardner was 55 years old at the time of his claimed initia-
          tion; that  he had  spent many  years in Malaya,  and had  an enormous
          interest in magic, Folklore  and Mythology.  By the  time he published
          High  Magic's Aid, he was 65, and  75 when "The Meaning of Witchcraft"
          appeared. He died in 1964, at the age of 80.

          Gardner was born in 1884,  and spent most of his working adult life in
          Malaya. He  retired, and  returned to  the UK in  1936. He  joined the
          Folklore  Society,  and in  June 1938,  also  joined the  newly opened
          Rosicrucian  Theatre at  Christchurch  where it  is  said he  met  Old
          Dorothy Clutterbuck.

          I chose 1939 as my arbitrary starting point as  that was the year that
          Gerald  Gardner claims he was initiated by Old Dorothy into a practis-
          ing coven  of the  Old Religion, that  met in the  New Forest  area of
          Britain. In his own words,

          "I realised that I had stumbled upon something interesting;  but I was
          half-initiated before the  word, "Wica" which they used  hit me like a
          thunderbolt, and I  knew where I was, and that  the Old Religion still
          existed. And so I found myself in the Circle, and there took the usual
          oath of  secrecy, which bound me  not to reveal certain  things." This
          quote is taken from The Meaning of Witchcraft,  which was published in

          It is interesting that in this  quote, Gardner spells Wicca with  only
          one  "c"; in the earlier  "Witchcraft Today" (1954)  and "High Magic's
          Aid"  (1949), the word Wicca is not  even used. His own derivation for
          the word, given in "The Meaning of Witchcraft", is as follows:

          "As they  (the Dane and Saxon  invaders of England) had  no witches of
          their own they had no special name for them; however, they made one up
          from "wig" an idol,  and "laer", learning, "wiglaer" which  they shor-
          tened into "Wicca".

          "It  is a curious fact  that when the  witches became English-speaking
          they adopted their Saxon name, "Wica"."


          In  "An ABC of Witchcraft Past  and Present", Doreen Valiente does not
          have  an entry for Wicca, but when discussing Witchcraft, does mention
          the Saxon derivation from the word Wicca or Wicce. In the more recent-
          ly  published The  Rebirth Of  Witchcraft, however,  she rejects  this
          Saxon  theory in favour of  Prof. Russell's derivation  from the Indo-
          European root "Weik", which relates to things connected with magic and

          Doreen  Valiente  strongly  supports Gardner's  claim  of  traditional
          initiation,  and published the  results of  her successful  attempt to
          prove  the existence  of Dorothy  Clutterbuck in  an appendix  to "The
          Witches' Way" by Janet and Stewart Farrar. It is a marvellous piece of
          investigation, but  proving that Old  Dorothy existed does  nothing to
          support Gardner's claims that she initiated him.

          In  his book, "Ritual Magic  in England", occultist  Francis King does
          offer some anecdotal evidence in support of Gardner's claims. However,
          it is  only fair  to point  out that  in the  same book,  he virtually
          accuses  Moina Mathers of murder,  based upon a  misunderstanding of a
          story told by Dion Fortune! With that caveat, I'll recount the tale in

          King  relates that in 1953, he became acquainted with Louis Wilkinson,
          who  wrote under  the pen-name  of Louis  Marlow, and  had contributed
          essays to Crowley's Equinox. He later became one of Crowley's literary
          executors. King  says that  in conversation,  Wilkinson told him  that
          Crowley  had  claimed to  have been  offered  initiation into  a witch
          coven, but that he refused, as he didn't want to be bossed around by a
          bunch of women. (This story is well-known, and could have been picked
          up anywhere.)

          Wilkinson  then  proceeded to  tell King  that  he had  himself become
          friendly with members of a coven operating in the New Forest area, and
          he  thought that whilst it was  possible that they derived their exis-
          tence from Murray's "Witch Cult in Western Europe", he felt that  they
          were rather older.  

          King  draws the obvious conclusion;  that these witches  were the very
          same as those who initiated Gardner. King claims that the conversation
          with  Wilkinson took place in 1953, although "Ritual Magic in England"
          was  not published - or  presumably written -  until 1970. However, on
          September 27 1952, "Illustrated" magazine published a feature by Allen
          Andrews, which included details  of a working by, "the  Southern Coven
          of British Witches", where 17 men and women met in the New Forest
          to  repel an  invasion  by Hitler.  Wilkinson  had told  King of  this
          working  during their conversation,  which King  believes to  be proof
          that  such a  coven existed;  there are  some  differences in  the two
          stories, and so it is possible that two sources are reporting the same
          event,  but  as Wilkinson's  conversation  with  King came  after  the
          magazine article, we shall never know.

          In the recently  published "Crafting  the Art of  Magic", Aidan  Kelly
          uses this  same source to "prove" (and I use  the word advisedly - the
          book "proves" nothing") that Gardner, Dorothy, et al created Wicca one
          night following a social get together!  Of one thing we can be certain
          though: whatever its origin, modern Wicca derives from Gardner.  There
          may  of course be other  traditional, hereditary witches,  but even if
          they are genuine, then it  is unlikely that they would have  been able
          to "go public" had it not been for Gardner.


          There have been many  claims of "hereditary" origin (other  than Gard-
          ner's  own!) One of the most famous post-Gardner claimants to "heredi-
          tary" status  was actress Ruth Wynn-Owen, who fooled many people for a
          very  long time before being exposed. Roy  Bowers, who used the pseud-
          onym  Robert  Cochrane, was  another:  Doreen  Valiente describes  her
          association  with him in "The Rebirth of Witchcraft", and The Roebuck,
          which is still  active in the  USA today, derives directly  from Coch-
          rane, via Joe Wilson.  "Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed" by  Evan John
          Jones with Doreen Valiente describes a tradition derived from Robert
          Cochrane.  Alex Sanders, of  course is another  who claimed hereditary
          lineage,  and like Cochrane, deserves  his own place  in this history,
          and we'll get to both of them later.

          Many people have been suspicious of Gardner's claims, and have accused
          him of making the  whole thing up. They  suggest that the Wicca is  no
          more than  the fantasy of an  old man coloured by  a romantic imagina-
          tion. One particularly  virulent attack upon Gardner came from Charles
          Cardell, writing under the pseudonym of Rex Nemorensis.

          One of Gardner's initiates who is still active in the  Wicca today has
          an interesting tale to tell about Cardell, whom he knew:

          "Cardell claimed  to be a  Witch, but  from a  different tradition  to
          Gardner's.  Cardell was  a  psychopathic rat,  with malevolent  intent
          toward all  and sundry. He managed  to get a woman  called Olive Green
          (Florannis) into Gardner's coven, and told her to copy out the Book of
          Shadows so  that Cardell could  publish it,  and destroy Gardner.   He
          also contacted  a London paper, and told them when and where the coven
          meetings were held, and of course the paper got quite a scoop. Cardell
          led people in the coven to believe that it was Doreen Valiente who had
          informed on them.

          Doreen had just  left Gardner in a bit of a huff after a disagreement;
          another coven member, Ned Grove,  left with her.  Anyway, the  day the
          paper printed the  exposure, Cardell sent  Gardner a telegram  saying,
          "Remember  Ameth tonight". (Ameth was  Doreen's Craft name,  and as it
          has now been published, I see no reason not to use it here)."

          My  informant also said that  Olive Green was  associated with Michael
          Houghton, owner of  Atlantis book shop  in Museum Street, who  was the
          publisher  of  High Magic's  Aid. Through  this association,  she also
          encountered  Kenneth Grant of the OTO,  although their association was
          not friendly.

          Cecil Williamson, the original  owner of the witchcraft museum  on the
          Isle of Man, and present owner of the Witchcraft Museum in  Boscastle,
          has also published a number of articles where he states quite categor-
          ically that Gardner was  an utter fraud; but, he offers only anecdotes
          to support these allegations.

          Although Gardner  claimed his initiation  occurred in  1939, we  don't
          really hear anything about him until 1949, when "High Magic's Aid" was
          published by Michael Houghton.


          This book has very  strong Solomonic leanings, but like  Gardner's own
          religious  beliefs, combined the more natural forms of magic with high
          ceremonial. In his introduction  to the book, Gardner says  that: "The
          Magical rituals are authentic, party from the Key of Solomon (MacGreg-
          or Mathers' translation)  and partly  from magical MSS  in my  posses-
          sion)." Gardner did indeed have a large collection of MSS, which
          passed with  the rest of  his goods  to Ripleys in  Toronto after  his

          Scire (pseudonym) was  the name Gardner took as a  member of Crowley's
          branch of the OTO; although it is generally agreed that his membership
          was  purely  nominal, he  was certainly  in  contact with  people like
          Kenneth  Grant and  Madeline Montalban  (founder of  the Order  of the
          Morning Star).

          Gardner was given  his OTO degree and Charter by  Aleister Crowley, to
          whom he was introduced in 1946 by Arnold Crowther.  As Crowley died in
          1947, their association was not long-lived, but Crowther confirms that
          the two men enjoyed each other's company.

          So, after that brief introduction  we can have a look at  the first of
          the strands I mentioned.

          In 1888, the  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn  was born, beginning a
          renaissance  of interest  in  the occult  that  has continued  to  the
          present day. It is impossible to overstate the importance of the GD to
          modern occultists; not only in its  rituals, but also in its personal-
          ities; and of course, through making available a  large body of occult
          lore  that would otherwise have remained unknown, or hidden in obscur-

          I  will be  looking at this  body of  occult lore  with other literary
          influences  later, and will here  concentrate on the  rituals and per-
          sonalities that have influenced Wicca.

          We cannot  look at the  GD in isolation  from its  own origins. It  is
          descended from a myriad  of esoteric traditions including Rosicrucian-
          ism, Theosophy, and Freemasonry. The latter  in its own right, as well
          as via  the  SRIA -  a scholarly  and ceremonial  association open  to
          Master Masons only.

          Whether  the German Lodge or  Fraulein Sprengel actually  existed is a
          matter still  under debate; but either  in fact or in  spirit, this is
          the source for the  "Cypher Manuscripts" which were used to  found the
          Isis-Urania Lodge in 1888.

          As I'm sure everyone  knows, Isis-Urania was founded by  Dr Wynn-West-
          cott,  Dr  Woodman, and  MacGregor Mathers.  Not  only were  all three
          Master  Masons; Wynn-Westcott  and Mathers  were also  members of  the
          Theosophical  Society. The most important thing though is the fact the
          these three men were a ruling triumvirate that managed the  affairs of
          the SRIA. This is  important, for the SRIA included  Hargrave Jennings
          in its membership, and Jennings is reputed to have been involved with
          a  Pagan group at the end of  the 19th century, which drew its inspir-
          ation from Apuleius - The Golden Ass.


          But back to the GD - whether the Cypher  Manuscripts actually existed,
          or  Wynn-Westcott manufactured  them  is now  irrelevant; Mathers  was
          commissioned to write-up the  rituals into a workable shape,  and thus
          the Golden Dawn was born.  

          Members  of the Isis-Urania Lodge at various times also included Allan
          Bennett, Moina  Mathers, Aleister Crowley, Florence  Farr, Maud Gonne,
          Annie Horniman, Arthur  Machen, "Fiona Macleod",  Arthur Waite and  WB
          Yeats.  Also associated  were Lady  Gregory, and  G W Russell,  or AE,
          whose "The Candle of Vision" was  included in the bibliography of "The
          Meaning of Witchcraft". The literary and Celtic influences within  the
          GD were immense.

          From  the  Isis-Urania  Lodge sprang  all  the  others, including  the
          so-called Dissident  Orders derived through  Crowley. It is  this line
          that some  commentators trace to modern  Wicca, so it is  the one upon
          which we will concentrate.

          Aleister  Crowley  was  initiated  into the  Isis-Urania  Lodge  on 18
          November  1898. As  you most probably  know, Crowley  later quarrelled
          with MacGregor Mathers, and in 1903 began to create his own Order, the
          Argenteum  Astrum, or Silver Star. In 1912, Crowley was initiated into
          the OTO, and in 1921, succeeded Theodor Reuss as its Chief.

          According to  Arnold Crowther's account, it was in 1946, a year before
          Crowley's  death, that  Crowley gave  Gardner an  OTO  Charter. Ithell
          Colquhoun says only that it occurred  in the 1940s, and further states
          that  Gardner introduced material from the OTO, and less directly from
          the GD, into "...the lore of his covens".

          As  Doreen Valiente also admits, "Indeed, the influence of Crowley was
          very  apparent throughout  the (Wiccan)  rituals.". This,  Gardner ex-
          plained to her, was because the rituals he received from Old Dorothy's
          coven were  very fragmentary, and  in order to make  them workable, he
          had to supplement them with other material.

          To  give an example of some  of the lines by  Crowley which are rather
          familiar to modern Wiccans:

          I  give unimaginable  joys on  earth; certainty,  not faith,  while in
          life,  upon death; peace unutterable,  rest, ecstasy; nor  do I demand
          aught in sacrifice.

          I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me
          the knowledge of death.

          And of course, the Gnostic Mass has been immensely influential.

          Not only poetry, but also magical practices in Wicca are often derived
          from GD sources. For example:

          the way  of casting  the circle:  that  is, the  visualisation of  the
          circle, and the  pentagrams at the quarters,  are both based  upon the
          standard GD Pentagram Ritual;


          both the  concept and word  "Watchtowers" are of course  from the Eno-
          chian system  of Magic, passed to  Wicca via the GD  (although I would
          like  to make  it very  clear  that their  use within  Wicca bears  no
          relation  to the use  within Enochia -  the only similarity  is in the

          the  Elements and  colours generally  attributed  to the  Quarters are
          those of the GD; 

          the  weapons and their attributions  are a combination  of GD, Crowley
          and Key of Solomon.

          In "Witchcraft Today",  Gardner says, "The people  who certainly would
          have had the knowledge and  ability to invent (the Wiccan  rites) were
          the people who formed the Order of the Golden Dawn about seventy years

          The GD is  not the only influence upon Gardner;  Freemasonry has had a
          tremendous  impact upon the Wicca. Not only were the three founders of
          Isis-Urania  Temple Masons, so too were Crowley and Waite; Gardner and
          at least  one member of the  first coven (Daffo) were  both Co-Masons.
          Gardner was also  a friend of JSM Ward, who had  published a number of
          books about Masonry.

          Doreen describes Ward as a "leading Mason", but Francis King says only
          that Ward was, "a bogus Bishop... who had written some  quite good but
          far-fetched books on masonry, and who ran a peculiar religious-cum-oc-
          cult  community called The  Abbey of Christ the  King..."  Whether the
          books were far-fetched  or not, we  can assume that  some of the  many
          similarities  between Wicca and Masonry are in some ways due to Ward's

          Some of these include:

          The Three Degrees
          The Craft
          So Mote It Be
          The Challenge
          Properly Prepared
          The 1st Degree Oath (in part)
          Presentation of the Working Tools at 1st degree

          and so on.

          It seems to me quite clear that even if Gardner received a traditional
          set  of  rituals from  his coven,  they  must have  been exceptionally
          sparse,  as the  concepts that  we know  of  as Wicca  today certainly
          derive from ceremonial magic  and Freemasonry to a very  great extent.
          Indeed, Gardner always claimed that they were sparse.

          It could  be argued  that all  derive from a  common source.  That the
          appearance  of a phrase, or technique in one tradition does not autom-
          atically  suggest that its appearance elsewhere means that the one was
          taken  from the  other. However,  Gardner admits  his sources  in many
          cases, and Doreen confirms them  in others, so I  think it is safe  to
          presume  that the rituals and  philosophy used by  Wicca descends from
          the traditions of Freemasonry and Ceremonial magic, rather than from a
          single  common source.  However,  as Hudson  Frew  points out  in  his
          commentary upon Aidan  Kelly's book, the  phenomena of the  techniques


          and practices  of ceremonial  magic influencing  folk magic  and trad-
          itions is widely recognised by anthropologists, and certainly does not
          indicate plagiarism.  And of course there are  many traditional witch-
          craft aspects in the Wicca.

          We have looked at the development of the magical orders which resulted
          from  the British occult  revival of the 19th  and 20th centuries, and
          now we can see where this  ties in with Wicca, and Gardner's claim  of
          traditional initiation.

          I have here a "family  tree" of the main branches of British Wicca. It
          is by no means exhaustive, and is intended to provide  an outline, not
          a definitive history! I have included my own coven  lines and develop-
          ment as an  indication of the kind of  "cross-over" of tradition which
          often occurs,  not to suggest that  these are the  only active groups!
          Also,  it would  not be  ethical for  me to  include details  of other

          We have  two possible  "hereditary" sources  to the  Gardnerian Craft:
          one, the Horsa Coven of Old Dorothy, and two, the Cumbrian Group which
          Rae  Bone claims to have  been initiated into  before meeting Gardner.
          (NB: Doreen Valiente  says that the Horsa Coven is  not connected with
          Old Dorothy, but is  another group entirely.) There is  also sometimes
          mention of a St Alban's  group that pre-dates Gardner, but as far as I
          know, this is mistaken. The St Albans group was Gardner's own group,
          which as far as research confirms, did not pre-date him.

          To return  to Rae Bone: she was one of  Gardner's HPSs, and her "line"
          has been immensely important to the modern Wicca;  she was featured in
          the  magazine series,  "Man Myth and  Magic" if  anyone has  a copy of

          In her heyday  she ran two  covens: one in  Cumbria, and one in  South
          London. Rae is  still alive, and lives  in Cumbria, although her  last
          coven  moved  to New  Zealand many  years ago,  and  she is  no longer
          active. No-one has ever been able to trace the coven in New Zealand.

          At  this point, I will just mention  George Pickingill, although he is
          not shown on the tree, as I think it extremely dubious that he had any
          connection with Gardner, or any other modern Wiccan.

          Pickingill died  in 1909, whilst  Gardner was still  in Malaya.   Eric
          Maple  is largely  responsible  for the  beginnings of  the Pickingill
          myth,  which  were expanded  by Bill  Liddell  (Lugh) writing  in "The
          Wiccan" and "The Cauldron" throughout the 1970s. Mike Howard still has
          some of  Liddell's material which  he has never published,  and I have
          yet to  meet anyone  within the British  Craft who  gives credence  to
          Liddell's claims.

          In the  book, "The Dark  World of  Witches", published in  1962, Maple
          tells of a number of village wise  women and cunning men, one of  whom
          is George Pickingill.  There is a  photograph included of  an old  man
          with a stick, holding a hat, which Maple describes as Pickingill. This
          photograph has subsequently been re-used many times in  books about
          witchcraft and Wicca.


          Issue number 31  of "Insight"  Magazine, dated July  1984, contains  a
          very interesting letter from John Pope:

          "The photograph purporting to  be Old George Pickingill  is in fact  a
          photo of Alf Cavill, a station porter at Ellstree, taken  in the early
          1960s.  Alf is  now dead, but  he was  no witch, and  laughed over the
          photograph when he saw it."

          A  very respected  Craft authority  has told  me that he  believes the
          photo, which  is in his possession,  to be of Pickingill,  but like so
          much  to do with Craft history, there  is no definitive answer to this

          Many claims were  made by  Liddell; some  obviously from  cloud-cuckoo
          land, others  which could,  by a  stretch of  the imagination, be  ac-
          cepted.  The very  idea of  Pickingill,  an illiterate  farm labourer,
          co-ordinating and supervising nine covens across the breadth of the UK
          is staggering. To accept - as Liddell avers - that he had the likes of
          Alan Bennett and Aleister  Crowley as his pupils bends  credulity even

          The infamous  photograph which  Liddell claims shows  Crowley, Bennett
          and  Pickingill  together  has conveniently  disappeared,  and  no-one
          admits to ever having seen it. Like most of Liddell's claims,  nothing
          has ever been  substantiated, and  when pushed, he  retreats into  the
          time  honoured favourite  of, "I  can't reveal  that -  you're  not an

          But to  return to the family  tree: the names of  Doreen Valiente, Pat
          and Arnold Crowther, Lois Bourne (Hemmings), Jack Bracelin and Monique
          Wilson will probably be the most familiar to you.

          Jack  Bracelin is the author of  Gardner's biography, "Gerald Gardner,
          Witch",  (published 1960) now  out of print,  although still available
          2nd  hand, and  in libraries.  (In  Crafting the  Art of  Magic, Kelly
          claims that  this book was actually written by Idries Shah, and simply
          published under  Bracelin's  name. As  with every  other claim,  Kelly
          offers no evidence of this)

          I have seen a copy of Bracelin's Book of Shadows, which it  is claimed
          dates  from 1949, although in  The Rebirth Of  Witchcraft, Doreen says
          that Bracelin was  a "relative newcomer" in the mid-1950s. I have also
          been  told by two different sources that Bracelin helped Gardner write
          "The Laws". In The  Rebirth Of Witchcraft, Doreen states that  she did
          not see The  Laws until the  mid 1950s, when  she and her partner  Ned
          Grove accused Gardner of concocting them in order to re-assert control
          over the coven. As Bracelin was in the Gardner camp during the breakup
          of the group, it seems reasonable that he did in fact help with  their
          composition.  (NB:  Alex Sanders  increased the number  of "The  Laws"
          much  later -  these appeared in  June Johns'  book, "The  King of the


          Although Doreen claims that the reason for the coven  break-up was the
          fact that Gardner and Bracelin were publicity crazy, there was another
          reason, which  was the  instatement  of a  new  lady into  the  coven,
          effectively replacing Doreen as  HPS. This is also the main reason for
          Gerald's  Law which states that the HPS will, "...gracefully retire in
          favour  of a younger  woman, should the  coven so  decide in council."
          Needless to  say, Doreen was not  impressed, and she and  Ned left the
          coven under  very acrimonious  circumstances. It  was quite some  time
          before Doreen had contact with Gardner again, and they never quite
          regained the degree of friendship that had previously existed.

          Monique  and Campbell  Wilson  are infamous,  rather  than famous,  as
          Gardner's heirs  who sold  off his  magical equipment  and possessions
          after his death, to Ripleys in the USA.

          Monique was the last of his  Priestesses, and many Wiccans today still
          spit  when her  name is  mentioned. Pat  Crowther was  rather scathing
          about her recently in an interview, and in The Rebirth  Of Witchcraft,
          although  Doreen tells of the sale of Gardner's magical possessions to
          Ripleys, she doesn't  ever mention the Wilsons by name. In effect, the
          Craft closed ranks against them, and they became outcasts.

          Eventually, in the face of such opposition they had to sell the Museum
          in Castletown, and  they moved  to Torremolinos, where  they bought  a
          cafe. Monique died nine years after selling the Museum. It is rumoured
          that Campbell Wilson  moved to the  USA, and met  with a car  accident
          there:  this is only  hearsay though -  I really do  not know for sure
          what happened to him.

          However, Monique was influential in a way that even she could not have
          imagined, when in 1964 or  5 she initiated Ray Buckland, who  with his
          wife Rosemary (later divorced),  was very influential in  the develop-
          ment of the Wicca in the USA.

          Fortunately,  Richard and  Tamarra James  managed to  buy the  bulk of
          Gardner's collection back from  Ripleys in 1987, for the  princely sum
          of US$40,000, and it is  now back within the Craft, and  available for
          initiates to consult and view.

          D and  C S. are probably completely anonymous, and  if it were not for
          the fact that C initiated Robert  Cochrane (briefly mentioned earlier)
          they would probably stay that way!

          Cochrane's  origins  are obscure,  but I  have been  told that  he was
          initiated into the Gardnerian tradition by C S, and met Doreen Valien-
          te through a mutual acquaintance in 1964. When he met Doreen, however,
          he  claimed to  be a hereditary  witch, from a  different tradition to
          Gardner's,  and as Doreen confirms, was contemptuous of what he called
          "Gardnerian" witches.   Indeed,  Doreen believes  he coined  the term,

          Doreen said she was completely  taken in by Cochrane and for  a while,
          worked with  him and  the "Clan  of Tubal-Cain"  as  he described  his
          tradition,  which was  also known  as "The  Royal Windsor  Cuveen", or

          The  figures "1734" have an interesting history. Doreen gives a rather
          strange  account of them in  The Rebirth Of  Witchcraft, which contra-


          dicts what Cochrane himself describes in a letter to Joe Wilson, dated
          "12th Night 1966", where he says,

          "...the  order of  1734 is not  a date of  an event but  a grouping of
          numerals that mean something to a witch.

          "One that becomes  seven states of wisdom - the  Goddess of the Cauld-
          ron. Three  that are the Queens of the Elements - fire belonging alone
          to Man, and the Blacksmith God. Four that are Queens of the Wind Gods.

          "The Jewish orthodoxy  believe that  whomever knows the  Holy and  Un-
          speakable name of God has absolute power over the world  of form. Very
          briefly,  the name of God spoken  as Tetragrammaton ... breaks down in
          Hebrew  to the letters  YHVH, or the  Adam Kadmon (The  Heavenly Man).
          Adam Kadmon is a composite of all Archangels - in other words a poetic
          statement of the names of the Elements.

          "So  what the Jew  and the  Witch believe alike,  is that  the man who
          discovers the secret of the Elements controls the physical world. 1734
          is the witch way of saying YHVH." (Cochrane, 1966)

          Although  Doreen says that Cochrane's group was small, it still proved
          to be remarkably influential.  As well as Cochrane and his  wife (whom
          Doreen refers to as "Jean") and Doreen herself, there  were others who
          are  well-known today, and  a man called  Ronald White, who  very much
          wanted to  bring about a new  age in England, with the  return of King

          In The Rebirth Of Witchcraft, Doreen elaborates upon the circumstances
          surrounding the death of Cochrane: the bald facts are that  he died at
          the Summer Solstice of  1966 of an overdose. Craft  tradition believes
          that he became in fact, and of  his own choice, the male ritual sacri-
          fice which is sometimes symbolically enacted at the height of Summer.

          The Royal Windsor  Cuveen disbanded  after Cochrane died,  only to  be
          re-born from  the ashes at  Samhain that year  under a new  name - The
          Regency. All  of its early members were from the Royal Windsor Cuveen,
          and they were under the leadership of Ronald White. The Regency proved
          to be  of great importance to  the development of the  Wicca, although
          its  existence was kept  a fairly close secret,  and even today, there
          are relatively few people who have ever heard of it.

          Meetings were held in North London,  at a place called Queens Wood. As
          well as Ron White  and Doreen Valiente, members included  "John Math",
          founder  of the Witchcraft Research Association in 1964, and editor of
          Pentagram magazine, and the founder of the Pagan Movement, Tony Kelly.
          At  its height, there  were frequently more  than 40 in  attendance at
          rites, which tended to be of the dramatic, pagan kind rather than the
          ceremonial  associated with  high ritual  magic. The  Regency operated
          fairly consistently for over twelve years, finally disbanding in 1978.
          The Membership roll reads like a who's who of the  British Wicca! Some
          of the rites  have been incorporated  into modern Wiccan rituals  - in
          fact, one  was used at  the Pan European  Wiccan Conference 1991  with
          very great success.

          Moving back over to Rae Bone's line, there are a number of influential
          people  here,  mainly through  her  initiates, Madge  and  Arthur, who
          probably take the award for the most prolific pair in Wiccandom!  Rae,
          although  initiated by Gardner, does of course also claim a hereditary
          status in her own right.


          Madge and Arthur's initiates include:

          John and Jean Score

          John Score  was the partner  of Michael Houghton  (mentioned earlier),
          and the founder of the Pagan Federation, which is very active today.

          Houghton died  under very  mysterious circumstances, which  is briefly
          mentioned  in  "The Sword  of Wisdom"  by  Ithell Colquhoun.  My Craft
          source told me that this was  actually a ritual that went badly wrong,
          and Houghton ended up on the wrong end of some fairly potent energies.

          There  is an  interesting anecdote  about Houghton  in The  Rebirth Of
          Withcraft, which is taken  from "Nightside of Eden" by  Kenneth Grant,
          and  agrees in some  respect to a  similar story that  I was told some
          years ago. Doreen suggests in The Rebirth Of Witchcraft that the story
          may relate to a magical working  involving Kenneth Grant and his wife,
          Gardner, Dolores  North (Madeline  Montalban), and an  un-named witch,
          who was probably Olive Green.

          They were all to perform a  ritual together, supposedly to contact  an
          extra-terrestrial being. The material  basis for the rite, which  took
          place in 1949, was a drawing by AO Spare.

          Apparently soon after the rite commenced, a nearby bookseller (Michael
          Houghton)  turned  up and  interrupted  proceedings.  On hearing  that
          Kenneth Grant was within,  he declined to enter, and wandered off. The
          rite was disrupted, and the story goes that everyone just went home.

          Kenneth Grant claims  that as  a result of  disturbing their  working,
          Houghton's  marriage broke  up, and  that Houghton died  in mysterious
          circumstances. In fact, the Houghton divorce was a cause celebre, with
          her suing  him for cruelty because  he boasted of being  a Sagittarian
          while sneering at her because she was only a dingy old Capricorn!

          The interrupted ritual  could well  have taken place.  Madeline had  a
          flat  near to  Atlantis (Houghton's  shop), and  would certainly  have
          known  both Grant and  Houghton. I know  for a fact  that Madeline was
          acquainted with Gerald, although her opinion of both him and the Wicca
          was  rather poor. One  of Madeline's older  students told  me that she
          thought Gardner rather  a fraud, and  ritually inept. She  also had  a
          very low opinion of Wiccans, and refused to allow her own students to
          participate in Wiccan rites. The reason  for this lies in an  anecdote
          which  Doreen doesn't relate: the  story goes that  Madeline agreed to
          participate in a rite  with Gerald, which turned out to  involve Made-
          line being tied  up and tickled with a feather  duster! The great lady
          was not amused.

          Prudence Jones

          Prudence was for many years the president of the Pagan Federation, and
          editor  of its  newsletter. She  inherited her  role from  John Score,
          after he passed away. With Nigel Pennick, Prudence also runs the Pagan
          Anti-Defamation League (PADL), and is an active astrologer and therap-
          ist. She  has edited a book  on astrology, and with  Caitlin Matthews,
          edited "Voices from  the Circle",  published by Aquarian  Press.   Al-
          though  Prudence took her degree in Philosophy, her main interests lie
          in the areas of the Grail  and troubadour tales, and she has published
          privately  an excellent essay  on the Grail  and Wicca. She  is also a
          very highly respected astrologer, who lectures extensively in Britain.


          Vivianne and Chris Crowley

          Vivianne Crowley,  is author of "Wicca  - The Old Religion  in the New
          Age", and  also secretary of  the Pagan Federation.  She has a  PhD in
          Psychology, and  is perhaps the only  person to have been  a member of
          both a Gardnerian Coven and an Alexandrian one simultaneously!

          Vivianne is very  active at the  moment, and has  initiated people  in
          Germany  (having memorised  the  ritual in  German  - a  language  she
          doesn't speak!), Norway, and - on the astral - Brazil. As a result  of
          her book,  she receives many letters  from people from all  around the
          world, and  organised the  first ever pan-European  Wiccan conference,
          held in Germany 1990. The second conference was held in Britain at the
          June solstice, and the third (1992) in Norway. In 1993, the Conference
          will be in Scotland.

          John and Kathy  (Caitlin) Matthews, are probably well-known  to every-
          one, but  possibly their  Gardnerian initiations  are not such  common
          knowledge.  The story that John  Matthews relates in  "Voices from the
          Circle" is  essentially the one  which he told  the HPS who  initiated

          Pat and Arnold Crowther

          I have left  Pat and Arnold till last,  as it is from their  line that
          the infamous  Alex Sanders derives! It is no secret anymore that Alex,
          far from being initiated by his grandmother when he was  seven, was in
          fact turned  down by Pat Crowther  in 1961, but was  later accepted by
          one  of her  ex-coven  members, Pat  Kopanski,  and initiated  to  1st

          In "The Rebirth of Witchcraft" Doreen  says that Alex later met  Gard-
          ner, and was allowed to copy from the Book of Shadows; Craft tradition
          is somewhat different!  It has always been  said (even by Alex's  sup-
          porters!) that he pinched what he could from Pat Kopanski before being
          chucked out, and that the main differences between the Alexandrian and
          Gardnerian Books of Shadows occur  where Alex mis-heard, or mis-copied
          something!   There are  certainly significant differences  between the
          two  Books; some parts of  Gardnerian ritual are  quite unknown within
          the Alexandrian  tradition, and the  ritual techniques are  often dif-
          ferent. It is usually very easy to spot whether someone is an Alexand-
          rian, or Gardnerian initiate.

          Alex needed a HPS,  and as we know, chose Maxine Morris  for the role.
          Maxine is a striking Priestess, and made a very good  visual focus for
          the movement which grew in leaps and bounds.

          In  the late  1960s, Alex and  Maxine were prolific  initiators, and a
          number of their initiates have become well known. Some came to Austra-
          lia, and  there are still a number of covens  in the UK today whose HP
          and/or HPS was initiated by Alex or Maxine.

          Alex and Maxine's most famous initiates are almost certainly Janet and
          Stewart  Farrar, who left them in 1971  to form their own coven, first
          in England, then  later, in  Ireland. Through their  books, they  have
          probably had the  most influence  over the direction  that the  modern
          Craft has  taken. Certainly  in  Australia, the  publication of  "What
          Witches  Do" was an absolute  watershed, and with  Janet and Stewart's
          consistent output, their form of Wicca is more likely to become the
          "standard" than any other type.


          Since their early days of  undiluted Alexandrianism, they have drifted
          somewhat towards a more Gardnerian approach, and  today, tell everyone
          that there are  no differences  between the two  traditions. In  fact,
          despite the merging that has  been occurring over the last  few years,
          there  are  very distinct  differences  between  the traditions;  some
          merely external, others  of a very  significant difference of  philos-

          Seldiy Bate  was originally  magically trained by  Madeline Montalban,
          and  then took  an Alexandrian  initiation from  Maxine and  Alex. Her
          husband,  Nigel,  was also  initiated by  Maxine,  and they  have been
          "public" witches for  a number of  years now,  often appearing on  TV,
          radio and in the press. Their background in ritual  magic is expressed
          in the type of coven that they  run; a combination of Wicca and Cerem-
          onial Magic.

          In 1971,  Alex and Maxine went their separate ways. David Goddard is a
          Liberal Catholic Priest, and for  many years, he and Maxine worked  in
          the Liberal Catholic faith, and did not  run a coven of any kind. Then
          in  1984, Maxine gathered together  a group again,  and started pract-
          ising a combination of Wicca, Qabalah and Liberal Catholicism. She and
          David separated in 1987, and since then her coven has been exclusively
          Wiccan. In 1989, she  married one of her initiates, Vincent,  and they
          are still running an active coven in London today.

          Alex's history after the split was a little more sordid, with one girl
          he married, Jill,  filling the  gutter press with  stories about  Alex
          being homosexual, and defrauding her of  all her money to spend on his
          boyfriends. Sally Taylor was  initiated by Maxine and David,  but then
          transferred to Alex.  She was trained by him, and then started her own

          I'd now like to focus upon the last of the strands which I believe has
          been influential upon the birth and development  of Wicca; that of the
          literary  traditions  and sources  to  which  Gardner  would have  had
          access.  To a  certain extent  these are  contiguous with  the magical
          traditions described  earlier, as  nowhere is  it ever  suggested that
          Gardner  did in fact ever work  in a magical Lodge,  so we must assume
          that  his knowledge came from the written  form of the rites, not from
          the actual practise of them.

          From  reading  Gardner's books,  it  is quite  apparent  that Margaret
          Murray had  a tremendous impact  upon him. Her  book, "The God  of the
          Witches"  was published  in 1933,  and  twelve years  previously, "The
          Witch Cult in Western  Europe" had appeared. "The God of  the Witches"
          has been tremendously influential on a number of people, and certainly
          inspired Gardner.

          In  fact, "Witchcraft Today", published by Gardner in 1954 contained a
          foreword by Margaret Murray. At this time, remember, Murray's work was
          still taken seriously, and she remained the contributor on the subject
          of witchcraft for the Encyclopedia Britannica for a number of years.


          Now  of course  her work  has been  largely discredited,  although she
          remains  a source  of  inspiration,  if  not historical  accuracy.  In
          Gardner's day, the idea of a  continuing worship of the old pagan gods
          would have been a staggering  theory, and in the second article  in my
          series about Murray (published in The Cauldron), I made the point that
          Murray may have had to pretend scientific veracity in order to get her
          work published in  such times. Don't  forget that Dion Fortune  had to
          publish her work privately, as did Gardner with High Magic's Aid.
          Carlo Ginzburg's  excellent book, "Ecstasies", also  supports Murray's
          basic  premise; although of  course he  regrets her  historical decep-

          There  were of  course other  sources than  Murray. In  1899, "Aradia:
          Gospel  of  the Witches"  was published.  Most  of Crowley's  work was
          available  during the  pre-  and post-war  years,  as were  the  texts
          written  and translated by  MacGregor Mathers and  Waite. Also readily
          available  were works such  as The Magus, and  of course the classics,
          from which Gardner drew much inspiration.

          Of paramount importance would have been "The White Goddess", by Robert
          Graves,  which is  still  a standard  reference  book on  any  British
          Wiccan's bookshelf. This was published in 1952; three years after High
          Magic's Aid appeared, and  two years before Gardner's  first non-fict-
          ional book  about witchcraft. I would  just like to say  at this point
          that Graves  has taken some very  unfair criticism in  respect of this
          book. The White Goddess was written as a work of  poetry, not history,
          and to criticise it for being historically innaccurate is to miss the
          point. Unfortunately, I agree that some writers have referred to it as
          an "authority", and thus led their readers up the garden path. This is
          not Graves's fault, nor do I believe it was his intention.

          Another book which  has had a profound influence on  many Wiccans, and
          would  undoubtedly  have been  well known  by  Gardner is  "The Golden
          Bough";  although the entire book was written based upon purely secon-
          dary  research, it is an extensive examination of many pagan practices
          from the Ancient World, and  the emphasis of the male  sacrifice could
          certainly have been taken  from here equally as  well as from  Murray.
          Certain of the Gardnerian ritual practices were almost certainly
          derived from The Golden Bough, or from Frazer's own sources.

          In  "Witchcraft  Today"  Gardner mentions  a  number  of authors  when
          speculating where the  Wiccan rites came from. He says that, "The only
          man  I can think  of who  could have invented  the rites  was the late
          Aleister Crowley."

          He continues to say, "The only other man I can think of who
          could have done it is Kipling...". He also mentions that,
          "Hargrave Jennings might have had a hand in them..." and then
          suggests that "Barrat (sic) of The Magus, circa 1800, would
          have had the ability to invent or resurrect the cult."

          It's  possible that these references are something of a damage control
          operation  by Gardner, who, according to Doreen, was not too impressed
          when she kept telling him that  she recognised certain passages in the
          Witch rites! "Witchcraft Today" was published the  year after Doreen's
          initiation, and  perhaps by seeming genuinely interested  in where the
          Rites came from, Gardner thought he might give the appearance of
          innocence of their construction!


          As  mentioned  previously, Gardner  also  had  a large  collection  of
          unpublished  MSS, which he used extensively,  and one has only to read
          his books to realise that he was a very well-read man, with wide-rang-
          ing  interests. Exactly  the sort  of man  who would  be able  to draw
          together a set of rituals if required.  

          The extensive bibliography to "The Meaning of Witchcraft" published in
          1959, demonstrates this rather well. Gardner includes Magick in Theory
          and  Practice and  The Equinox  of the Gods  by Crowley;  The Mystical
          Qabalah  by Dion Fortune; The Goetia; The White Goddess (Graves); Lady
          Charlotte Guest's  translation of The Mabinogion;  English Folklore by
          Christina Hole; The  Kabbalah Unveiled and  the Abramelin by  Mathers;
          both Margaret Murray's books and Godfrey Leland's Gypsy Sorcery, as
          well as a myriad of classic texts, from Plato to Bede!

          Although this bibliography postdates the creation of Gardnerian Wicca,
          it  certainly indicates from where Gardner draws his inspiration from.
          There  are also  several books  listed which  are either  directly, or
          indirectly, concerned with sex magic, Priapic Cults, or Tantra.

          Hargrave Jenning, mentioned  earlier, wrote a  book called "The  Rosi-
          crucians, their  Rites and Mysteries", which Francis King describes as
          a  book, "concerned  almost  exclusively with  phallicism and  phallic
          images - Jennings saw the penis everywhere."

          As I  mentioned earlier, Hargrave Jennings, a member of the SRIA, also
          belonged to a group, described as a coven, which met  in the Cambridge
          area  in the  1870s, and  performed rituals  based upon  the classical
          traditions - specifically, from  The Golden Ass. There is  no evidence
          to support this,  except that there  are often found  references to  a
          "Cambridge  Coven" linked to Jennings'  name.  Many  of the rituals we
          are  familiar  with today  were of  course  later additions  by Doreen
          Valiente, and  these have  been well  documented by  both her  and the
          Farrars, in a  number of books.   Doreen admits that she  deliberately
          cut much of the poetry by Aleister Crowley, and substituted either her
          own work, or poems from other sources, such as the Carmina Gadelica.

          Of course we can never really know the truth about  the origins of the
          Wicca. Gardner  may have  been an  utter fraud;  he may  have actually
          received  a "Traditional" initiation; or,  as a number  of people have
          suggested, he  may have created  the Wicca  as a result  of a  genuine
          religious experience, drawing upon  his extensive literary and magical
          knowledge to create, or help create, the rites and philosophy.

          What I think we can be fairly certain about is that he was  sincere in
          his belief. If there had been no  more to the whole thing than an  old
          man's  fantasy, then the  Wicca would not  have grown to  be the force
          that it is today, and we would not all be sitting  here in Canberra on
          a Saturday morning!


Next: Wheel of The Year (Julia Phillips/Matthew Sandow)