Witches A - M

Merry meet and welcome to the Witchography. Here we will include Witches throughout history, past and present. Updates and new information being added so please 'bear' with us.

 

ALEX SANDERS

Alex Sanders (6 June 1926 - 30 April, 1988), born Orrell Alexander Carter, was an English occultist and High Priest in the Neopagan religion of Wicca, responsible for founding the tradition of Alexandrian Wicca during the 1960s. He was a figure who often appeared in tabloid newspapers. Being raised in a working class family, he was introduced to esoteric ideas by his mother and grandmother from a young age, and as a young man began working as a medium in the local Spiritualist Churches before going on to study and practice ceremonial magic.

In 1963, he was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca before founding his own coven, through which he merged many aspects of ceremonial magic into Gardnerianism, falsely then trying to pass off this tradition, Alexandrianism, as a hereditary tradition that had been handed down to him by his grandmother. Throughout the 1960s, he would court publicity in the press, appearing in a number of documentaries, marrying the far younger Maxine Sanders, and being declared to be the ‘King of the Witches’ by his followers, something that led to other prominent Gardnerian Witches, such as Patricia Crowther and Eleanor Bone, attacking him in the press. In the late 1970s and 1980s, he went on to work with a ceremonial magical group known as the Ordine Della Luna, prior to his death.

(Information from Wikipedia)

 

DOREEN VALIENTE

Doreen Edith Dominy, daughter of Harry and Edith, was born in Mitcham, South London on 4th January 1922. Finding herself growing up in the West of England, the young Doreen acquired the local accent that she never lost. The West country (as it is known in Britain) is an area noted for its rural beauty and strong attachment to the land. Even today it is not unusual to find folk dances at midsummer, fertility stones and healing wells that have been used continuously for centuries. It is in these surroundings that the young Doreen grew up.

As a young girl, she began to play a solitary game to amuse herself - running up and down the street riding a broomstick. Why she did this at such a young age she never knew, but her parents feared she would become a witch - something they found quite disconcerting (her parents were very religious and were ardently opposed to witchcraft). It must be said that Doreen was in fact brought up as a Christian and sent to a convent school where she walked out at the age of fifteen and refused to return.

Doreen´s first marriage was to Joanis Vlachopoulos, a thirty-two-year-old able Seaman serving with the Merchant Navy. The marriage took place in South Wales on 31/1/1941 where the couple were living at the time; Doreen in Barry and Joanis in Cardiff. An interesting fact is that the nineteen-year-old Doreen is named as Rachael Dominy on the marriage certificate, information kindly supplied by long-standing friend of Doreen´s, Patricia Crowther. It also appears that Joanis was unable to sign his name (illiteracy was not all that uncommon during the war) Tragically, less than six months later, Joanis went missing, presumed dead. As the War progressed, Doreen continued to work as a secretary in Wales. On 29/5/1944 Doreen wed Casimiro Valiente - the name which would stay with her for the rest of her life. They were married at St Pancras Registry Office, and now Doreen´s name and nationality were amended by virtue of marriage. She was now a Spanish national.

Doreen Valiente was a poet and many of her poems can be found in her published books - ABC of Witchcraft, Witchcraft for Tomorrow, Natural Magic and Rebirth of Witchcraft. On her death in 1999 she gave John Belham-Payne the opportunity to publish her so far unpublished works which have been compiled elegantly in the Book, The Charge of the Goddess.

 

DOROTHY MORRISON

Born on May 6, 1955. While some of you may know me as the author of Lucinda's Web, Everyday Magic, The Craft, Utterly Wicked and many other books, you probably don't know much else about me. And a good number of you probably have no earthly idea who I am at all. So, why not read a little further and let me introduce myself!

A native Texan, I now live in Virginia with my husband, Mark. I'm a Third Degree Wiccan High Priestess of the Georgian Tradition, founded the Coven of the Crystal Garden in 1986, and spent many years teaching the Craft to students in eight states and in Australia. But that's just the stuff pertinent to the Craft. Outside of my religious practices and spiritual beliefs, I'm a pretty well-rounded person as well. I've worked as an accounts payable clerk, a legal secretary, an administrative assistant, an office manager, a commissioned sales person, a personnel consultant, and in the City of Houston's Civil Service and Housing Code & Dangerous Buildings departments. I've also held positions as a hospital ward clerk, an animal shelter administrator and am a licensed nail tech. So, the truth of the matter is that I really am a jack of all trades - although whether I'm a master of any is still up for debate. Chuckle!

 

GERALD GARDNER

Gerald Brousseau Gardner was born at The Glen, near Liverpool, England on June 13 1884 and passed from this incarnation on February 12 1964. He was one of four brothers. He was an English civil servant, amateur anthropologist and archaeologist, writer, weaponry expert and occultist, he was also known to many as the father of Wicca or Modern Witchcraft and certainly brought it to public attention with his writings along with radio broadcasts.  Born into an upper-middle-class family in Blundellsands, Lancashire, Gardner spent much of his childhood abroad in Maderia. In 1900, he moved to colonial Ceylon, and then in 1911 to Malaya, where he worked as a civil servant, independently developing an interest in the native peoples and writing papers and a book about their magical practices. After his retirement in 1936, he travelled to Cyprus, penning the novel A Goddess Arrives before returning to England. Settling down near the New Forest, he joined an occult group, the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship, through which he claimed to have encountered the New Forest Coven into which he was initiated in 1939. Believing the coven to be a survival of the pre-Christian Witch-Cult discussed in the works of Margaret Murray, he decided to revive the faith, supplementing the coven's rituals with ideas borrowed from Freemasonary, ceremonial magic  and the writings of Aleister Crowley to form the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca.

Moving to London in 1945, following the repeal of the Witchcraft Act of 1736 he became intent on propagating this religion, attracting media attention and writing about it in High Magic's Aid (1949), Witchcraft Today (1954) and The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959). Founding a Wiccan group known as the Bricket Wood Coven, he introduced a string of High Priestesses into the religion, including Doreen Valiente, Lois Bourne, Patricia Crowther and Eleanor Bone through which the Gardnerian community spread throughout Britain and subsequently into Australia and the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Involved for a time with Cecil Williamson, Gardner also became director of the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft on the Isle of Man which in 1953 Gerald bought the Museum from Cecil and he ran it until his death.

Gardner is internationally recognised as the "Father of Wicca" among the Pagan and occult communities. His claims regarding the New Forest coven have been widely scrutinised, with Gardner being the subject of investigation for historians and biographers such as Aidan Kelly, Ronald Hutton and Philip Heselton.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Gardner_(Wiccan)

 

JANET FARRAR

Janet Farrar born Janet Owen on 24 June 1950 is a British teacher and author of books on Wicca and Neopaganism. Along with her two husbands, Stewart Farrar and then Gavin Bone she has published some of the most influential books on modern Witchcraft to date. Janet Farrar has been one of the most public faces of Wicca, having appeared as a model for book covers and illustrations in several of the best-read books on the subject. She is a frequent guest lecturer on the subjects of Wicca, Neopaganism and witchcraft in North America and Europe. Her family were members of the Church of England. She attended the Leyton Manor School and the Royal Wanstead girls' school. After high school, Janet worked as a model and receptionist.

She was initiated into Alexandrian Wicca by the tradition's founders, Alex and Maxine Sanders. She had met the Sanders in 1970 through a friend who had become interested in exploring Wicca. Janet accompanied her friend to keep the friend ‘out of this weird cult’, but she instead joined the Sanders Coven and would go on to become one of England's most eminent and respected modern day witches. It was in this coven she met her future husband and co-author, Stewart Farrar. (28 June 1916 – 7 February 2000) Janet and Stewart Farrar were both elevated to the second degree in an unoccupied house in Sydenham, UK by the Sanders on the 17th October 1970, and they received the third, and final, degree of initiation in their flat on 24 April 1971. Both events are well-recorded by Stewart Farrar down to the smallest detail in his diaries.  

The Farrars began running their own coven in 1971, before their third degree initiation ceremony. They were Handfasted in 1972 and legally married in 1975. Janet Farrar left the coven in 1972 to explore the Kabbalah with a Ceremonial Lodge but returned the same year. In 1976 the Farrars moved to Ireland to get away from the busy life of London and they lived in County Mayo and County Wexford before finally settling in ‘Herne Cottage’ in Kells, County Meath. Both Stewart and Janet went on to publish a number of books on the Wiccan religion and on coven practises. Farrar continued to model and appeared in the illustrations to multiple early books about Wicca, including the cover of the paperback version of Margot Adler’s 1979, ‘Drawing down the Moon.’

In 1993 the Farrar’s were joined by Gavin Bone with whom they entered a polyfidelitous group marriage. Gavin Bone is an author and lecturer in the fields of magic, witchcraft, Wicca and Neo-Paganism, and an organizer in the Neo-Pagan community. He was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire in England, January 19th 1964. The three of them co-authored two more books. Stewart passed away in 2000 after a brief illness and Janet married Gavin a year later. Janet and Gavin continue to author books and give lectures.