(Thanks to Tof)
(Thanks to Francis)
If you're not sure exactly what Gardnerian
you could perhaps start off by reading this
which I wrote as a handout for the 2005 conference of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British
Psychological Association. It introduces the main characters involved in the
early, Modern Witchcraft movement, and gives a brief history with regards to
the Crafts subsequent propagation and diversification.
Essentially, Gardnerian Witchcraft is the name given to
the spiritual path
that initiates of Gerald Gardner follow. Gardner's book 'Witchcraft Today'
was integral to this movement and other influences included the work of Dr Margaret Murray,
Charles Leland, Aleister Crowley, and various other writers and occultists
are also known to have influenced both Gardner and the development of the
'Book of Shadows', an online version of which can be found
particular version draws heavily on the Weschcke Documents, the name
commonly given to a set of documents, typed up by Gardner, which were sent
to Carl Weschcke, CEO of Llewellyn, by Charles
Clark in 1969. In actuality, there were several different versions of the
Book of Shadows around in the 1950s and 60s. This is because the Book of
Shadows was a work in progress and some people received pieces that others
did not; there are also some commonly shared sections which help to define
them as 'Gardnerian'.
You can find a nice little article about Witches, featuring a picture of Dr
Margaret Murray, taken from Everywoman (November 1963) here:
Part 1, Part 2,
Part 3, Part 4.
can also check out my Gerald Gardner
page, Gardnerian History as well as my
Links page for other sites with information about modern Witchcraft.
In his books, Gerald Gardner used the one 'c' form, Wica,
to describe the people involved in the tradition of Witchcraft that he was initiated into.
If you check out the
newspaper articles on my Gerald Gardner
page, you will see him continuing to use the one 'c' spelling in
interviews that he gave throughout the 1950s.
Charles Clark insisted on using Wica and considered the two 'c'
form Wicca to be connected with the members of another tradition,
associated with the magician and conjurer Charles
Cardell, who was linked to hostilities against Gardner.
The term 'Gardnerian' was originally coined in the
Witchcraft Research Association's newsletter, Pentagram, in an attempt to derogatorily
describe the people that were coming into the Craft via Gerald Gardner. 'Gardnerian' was a
never a term used by Gardner himself.
Consequently, I prefer to use the term 'the Wica' when talking about Gardnerian
Gardner's Usage of Wica versus Wicca
looked at the usage of 'Wica'
and 'Wicca' in Gardner's
writings and it is clear that Gardner
mainly used one 'c' Wica.
Here is a list of the various occurrences
of 'Wica' and 'Wicca' in Gardner's own
High Magics Aid (1949) - Wica = 0 Wicca = 0
Witchcraft Today (1954) - Wica = 3 Wicca = 0
The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959) - Wica = 17
Wicca = 5 (all instances being used in a section where Gardner is talking
specifically about etymology.)
Gerald Gardner -Witch (1960), Gardner's biography written by Idries
Shah, but attributed to Jack Bracelin. Wica = 21 Wicca = 0.
Gardner's preference for Wica seems clear and it is
interesting to see its increasing usage by him, over time.
Additionally, I have an
assortment of newspaper cuttings, some of
which go back to the 1950's. Whilst this collection is not complete there is
not one single incident of Gardner using 'Wicca'.
Usually, he refers to himself as a witch
and there are a couple of instances where he clarifies this further; in one
article he says 'there are men and women witches, each is called a
Wica.' (see the
article under 'Gerald
Gardner'). The same is also true of Gardner's personal correspondence, he never used 'Wicca' and tends to refer
to the Craft as the 'Witch Cult'. A title almost certainly inspired by the
title of Margaret Murray's book, The Witch Cult In Western Europe.
Read my article which takes a look at how Wica
came to be more popularly spelt as Wicca.
is a useful word document compiled by 'Season' which provides a good guide
to things that Gardner actually said about various Craft matters, in his
published books. It starts off with some examples of Gardner's usage of Wica.
(Season used to have a website but it appears to be
currently offline or it has moved, if anyone knows where it has gone, please
let me know.)
'Gardnerian' Witchcraft is an initiatory tradition and as such there are
I have attempted to make a
family tree depicting many of the early 'lines'.
beaufort.bravepages.com/ - Website about the various
traditions and lineages
focusing mainly on the USA and Canada. There is now far
more diversity amongst the Witchcraft groups of North America, something that has almost certainly been
the result of having a much greater
population than the U.K.