British founder of modern Wicca
Born Friday, 13, 1884 in Liverpool England. Gardner definitely has Witchcraft
roots that are traceable to one Grissell Gardner who was burned as a Witch in
1610 in Newburgh, Scotland. Essentially Gardner grew up with a silver spoon in
his mouth. His family was rich and well established.
Growing up Gerald has asthma as a child. His then nurse suggested that he
(Gardner) travel with her to help remove him from what was causing it. Due to the
nurses travels Gerald was well learned and well traveled by the time he reached
age of consent. He studied in the Far East with some of the best regarded
spiritual leaders of the time. In an interview he stated that, "It made more of an
impact on him than did Christianity".
From 1923 to 1936 Gardner worked for the British on a rubber plantation as an
inspector of rubber and opium establishments. Needless to say he made a LOT
of money off the rubber trade. This money allowed Gerald to study and practice
the trade of archaeologist.
His first book was on Far Eastern blades called, "Kris and Other Malay
Weapons", and is to this day considered to be a source on the blades of the Far
East and was reprinted in 1973. It is said that Gardner had a fondness for
Gerald married a woman by the name "Donna" in 1927. The two returned to
England upon his retirement in 1936. His pastimes then included traveling the
world on archaeological expeditions. On a trip to Cypress, upon seeing places
he remembered from a dream, he became convinced that he had had previous
The trip gave Gardner the idea for another book. His second book, "A Goddess
Arrives" , is a novel set in Cypress dealing with Aphrodite of 1450 B.C.E. The
book was written in 1938 and later published in 1939.
1939 was a "red letter" year for Gardner. During the writing of his second book he
became acquainted with a group practicing "magick". This was a small group in
Hampshire in an area called "The New Forest". The name of this group was
"The Fellowship Of Crotona". It was a collection of CO-Masons, a Masonic order
established by Besant Scott. The group started "The First Rosicrucian Theater"
in England, which produced plays with occult themes.
Within this group was another group. The members claimed to be hereditary
Witches who practiced the "Craft" passed down to them in an unbroken line
through the centuries. Gerald was initiated into this circle by Dorothy Clutterbuck
the Covens High Priestess days before the outbreak or WWII.
July 31st ,1940 was the day before Hitler was to invade England. Everyone who
was involved in Witchcraft was asked to come to the Glastonbury Plain to
perform a ritual that would keep Hitler's invading armada for reaching the
shores. To name all those involved would take several pages. To name but a
few. Dion Fortune, Margaret Murry, Alestar Crowley, All the members of The
Golden Dawn, all the members of The O.T.O. Several of the Crown Princes, Gerald Gardner and the Coven he
belonged to. It has been recorded that Drakes Drum was used to create a
tempest. The cone was raised and it is said that so much energy was released
that five people died that night. Needless to say, the Germans were turned back
and lost a good portion of their fleet. This is also known as the Battle For Britain.
In 1946 Crowley gave Gardner an honorary
membership into the O.T.O. ( Ordo Templi Orientus). Crowley is alleged to have
some connections with several covens in the area and was also an influence on
Gardner. Gardner was always after Crowley for rituals but according to Patricia,
Crolwey never gave him any.
Gardner wanted to write about the "Craft" and and it's survival but the laws
regarding Witchcraft were still on the books in England. He then published a
"fiction" called "High Magick's Aid" published in 1949 under the pen name Scire.
In 1951 the laws against Witchcraft were repealed. Gardner broke away from The
New Forest Coven and started his own.
The rituals he incorporated into his coven were identical to those in High
Magick's Aid. The other material he incorporated for The New Forest Coven was
sketchy at best. Other rituals came from Crowley and the Masonic lodges he
belonged to in the past. In 1953 Gardner initiated Dorine Valentine. Together they
flushed out some of the Crowley rituals as being too modern.
From 1954 to 1957 Gardner and Valentine collaborated on material which later
became known as The Gardinarian Book Of Shadows. Gardeners first
non-fiction book was published in 1954. Witchcraft Today. The immediate
success of this book was directly responsible for Covens sprouting up all over
England. Gerald appeared in the media on various occasions and was dubbed
Britain's Chief Witch. In 1959 he published The Meaning Of Witchcraft.
In 1960 he was invited to a party at Buckingham Palace and was awarded for his
work in the Far East. His wife soon died there after and his asthma returned. He
was wintering in Lebanon to relieve the symptoms when he met Raymond
Buckland. As most of you know Ray Buckland was responsible for bring
Gardnerian Witchcraft to the U.S. Monique Wilson a.k.a., Lady Owen initiated
Buckland into the Craft.
Upon his trip home from Lebanon Gerald Gardner died at the breakfast table on
board ship February 12, 1964.