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The Non-Adept’s Guide to Gerald Gardner

By Jason Mankey

[Snip] The importance of Gerald Gardner (1884-1964) to Modern Witchcraft and Modern Paganism cannot be overstated. Gardner was one of the first people in the Twentieth Century to publicly self-identify as a Witch, and he either created, revealed, or refined the first long lasting and influential tradition within Modern Paganism. The origins of Gardner’s Craft might be in dispute, but there’s no disputing his passion for it. Once he went public as a Witch in the early 50′s he worked tirelessly to promote the Witch Religion, and we should all be glad that he did. I’m sure Modern Paganism would still exist without Gardner’s contribution, but it would be a different, and most likely smaller movement.

Fifty years after his death Gardner’s shadow still looms large. Anyone who has ever cast a circle, called to the four quarters and invoked the gods has been influenced by Gardner. While many of Gardner’s ideas about the occult (and to some extent Witchcraft in general) are no longer fashionable his influence as a ritualist remains strong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Gardner’s magickal system (even in its myriad of adapted forms) simply works. Even the witchcrafts which may have preceded it were later influenced by it.

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