In this article, we will take a look at Gerald Gardner (the Father of Wicca), who meets opposition from a woman that he initiated into his group but would later cause the separation of his organization. You will also learn why Gardner felt compelled to write the Wiccan Laws.
1950: Wicca seems more attractive to Gardner at this point, as he begins to move further away from the Ordo Templi Orientis and closer to Wicca. He starts to distance himself from Crowley. Gardner also starts to make accusations about Crowley, writing a letter that stated he had participated in the witch cult but removed himself because he was not pleased with the leadership of the High Priestess and for the use of the nudity.
1951: Gardner establishes the “Northern Coven” in London. May Eve marks the night he held a small rite at his home, which is located close to the British Museum.
1953: Gardner initiates a woman by the name of Doreen Valiente. It doesn’t take long before she becomes High Priestess. Born to Christian parents, Doreen Dominy had always thought (and even from an early age) that she had a power in her possession to harness magic.
A little after Gardner had gone public with his claims of being initiated by a witch cult in 1952 , Valiente found interest and soon joined. The two collaborated with one another to come up with a host of rituals. After she became a High Priestess, she began rewriting an assortment of poems for Wiccans to use, such as a rewritten ‘Charge of the Goddess.’ She also took part in establishing the Wiccan Rede , which basically introduced the ethics surrounding Wicca as a Neo-Pagan religion.
The more Gardner wanted to publicize the happenings of Wicca, Valiente started to bump heads with her former mentor. When she tried to curb his appetite for publicity, he created the Wiccan Laws in 1957. She could not abide by them and decided to break free from Gardner and pursue her own coven. After Gardner’s death, she would eventual join up with a coven led by Robert Cochrane.
1954: When Gardner publishes Witchcraft Today, it is often referred to as the moment that Wicca was founded.
1957: Wicca divides and becomes two factions. One group agrees with Gardner’s decision to create more publicity for the religion, while the other is against the idea. Doreen Valiente leads the second group.
1959: The Meaning of Witchcraft is published with Gardener using the term “Wica” for the first time.
1963 , 1964: Plagued with failing health, Gardener chooses to spend the winter in Lebanon.
1964: Struck by heart failing, Gardner dies while on the SS Scottish Prince in the Mediterranean. His body is buried at the next port of call, which was Tunis.
1989: Valiente publishes The Rebirth of Witchcraft, which was meant to deliver a first-hand account dealing with the history and development of Wicca.
The years to follow would see many different changes regarding the religion, including the publishing of Crafting the Art of Magic, Book I (by Aiden A. Kelly) in 1991, which strived to illustrate how Gardner’s Book of Shadows used a great deal of information that could be linked to earlier sources.