Wiccan Religion Started by a Freemason!
Gerald Brosseau Gardner (June 13, 1884 - February 12, 1964) was a Freemason, an English hereditary Witch and largely responsible for reviving Witchcraft in the modern Western world. Gardner claimed to trace his roots to a Witch named Grissell Gardner who had been burned at the stake in 1610 at Newburgh.
Gardner suffered severely with asthma from an early age and required a nurse to attend to his needs. Nurse Josephine "Com" McCombie brought along young Gardner on her various trips to Europe and Ceylon, where he worked on a tea plantation. Gerald later worked and traveled to Borneo and Malaysia. In Ceylon between 1905 - 1908, Gardner became a Freemason, Sphinx Lodge 113, I.C., Colombo.
Between 1920 and 1923 Gardner studies native lore, magic, and weaponry in Malaysia. In 1926 through to 1932 Gardner takes up amateur Archaeology; proves the existence of a Malaysian civilization predating the coming of the Portuguese in 1687; returns to England and marries Donna Rosedale, a nurse; frequents the British Museum to research Welsh and Basque folklore; encounters a whole host of Spiritualist mediums; and visits an archaeological dig at Gaza in Egypt, prehistoric caves in France, and England.
In England before the Second World War, Gerald was involved with the Fellowship of Crotona - an occult group of Co-Masons - and met people who introduced him into Witchcraft. The Fellowship of Crotona was a secret society within a secret society; the inner circle claimed to be hereditary Witches. In 1939, Gardner was initiated into the New Forest coven by high priestess Old Dorothy Clutterbuck.
It was in 1940 at a large gathering of many covens that a legendary event was to take place:
“In June 1940 when England faced invasion from the Nazis, Gardner claims that the high priestess of his coven called a huge gathering of witches in the New Forest where the Great Circle was erected. This was a magical ritual only performed in cases of extreme emergency. Previously it had only been raised twice, in 1588 to combat the Spanish Armada, which was defeated not only by Drake and his ships but with the help of a great storm, and in the 1800s when it looked as if Napoleon would cross the Channel. The ritual in the forest involved raising a cone of psychic power and directing it towards the French coast with the command, ‘You cannot cross the sea. You cannot cross the sea. You cannot come.’ According to Gardner this ritual involved the use of the life force of the gathered covens and as a result several elderly witches died. The ritual was repeated four times and then the Elders said ‘We must stop. We must not kill too many of our people.’”
By 1951 the last of the English laws against witchcraft were repealed and throughout the 50s into the 60s Gardner published some widely read books on the rituals and traditions of the New Forest covens. This laid out the seeds of what would eventually be known as "Gardnerian Wicca." The resurgence of the "Old Religion" spread like wildfire and continues unabated.
Gardnerian Wicca borrows very heavily from Freemasonry, Tantric Hinduism and a touch of ceremonial magick. Gardnerian covens are always headed by a High Priestess and have three degrees of initiation closely paralleling the Masonic degrees. Worship is centered on The Goddess and The Horned God. Eight seasonal Sabbats are observed, and the Wiccan Rede is the guiding principle.
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