The Wica and the USA          

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  •  The spread of the Craft to the USA.

There were several ways that the initiatory tradition of the Craft of the Wica left the shores of the UK bound for the USA, probably the most fruitful route was via a man called Raymond Buckland.

 

In the early 1960's, Raymond Buckland, after reading Gardner’s books, decided to write to him about the Wica. As a result of this correspondence it was arranged for Ray to be initiated by Monique Wilson following a 10 day intensive course. Resultantly, on the 18th of November 1963, Raymond flew to the UK to begin the program.

 

Upon his return to the USA, Ray, along with his then-wife Rosemary, proceeded to establish the 'Long Island' Coven at Queens. With time, this 'line' (sometimes referred to as the 'Long Island Line'), has become the largest 'Gardnerian' line in the USA.

 

In 1966, Raymond proceeded to set up the USA’s ‘First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic’ in his basement. Just as in the UK, it would seem that the time was right for a resurgence of interest in Witchcraft.

 

Over the ensuing years modern Witchcraft enjoyed a huge increase in popularity and it could be argued that Witchcraft is perhaps the only religion that the UK has given to the world. Its subsequent diversification influenced the creation of many different traditions of modern Witchcraft including Starhawk's Goddess movement.

 

For an excellent analysis of the growth of Pagan paths in the USA, I would recommend Margot Adler's book, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids and Goddess Worship and Chas C. Clifton's book Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Contemporary Paganism in America.

 

In 1966, Saga magazine did a small article entitled 'Space-Age Witches' which mentions the Craft's arrival in the USA. You can download and read it here Saga Magazine, March 1966 (PDF)

 

In 1971, The Palm Beach newspaper (Oct 9th) published an article about the Bucklands. You can download and read it here.

 

In 1972, The Day newspaper (Oct 24th) published an article about the Bucklands. You can download and read it here.

 

Raymond Buckland has his own website with details about his books and writings on: www.raybuckland.com

 

There is a short Youtube interview with Raymond Buckland here.

 

You can hear an online interview (May 17th 2008) with Raymond Buckland here. (Thanks to Lynne)

 

 

A young Raymond and Rosemary Buckland

                     

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