Who was Gerald Gardner?       

Gerald Gardner is often referred to as the 'Father of Modern Witchcraft'. Following the repeal of the last of the Witchcraft Laws in the early 1950's, he published his classic book Witchcraft Today, which really brought the 'Witch Cult', as he often called it, into the public domain.

In 1952, along with his wife Donna, he moved to the Isle of Man to become the 'resident Witch' at Cecil Williamson's Museum of Witchcraft. Ultimately, the museum became Gardner's after he purchased it from Cecil in 1954.

Articles about Gerald Gardner

 

◉ 'Calling All Covens' - an article about Gardner which appeared in The Sunday Pictorial, (29th July 1951).

◉ The Illustrated (September 27th 1952) printed a report on 'Witchcraft in Britain'. As a result of this article, Doreen Valiente wrote to Cecil Williamson, who was at that time, the owner of the Isle of Man Witchcraft museum. Cecil subsequently introduced Doreen to Gerald Gardner. Illustrated 1952 (pdf)  Illustrated 1952 transcription (doc)

◉ The Daily Dispatch (5th August 1954) newspaper printed this interview with Gerald Gardner.

◉ Gardner gave a talk at the Marylebone Spiritualist Association in London. An article about this appeared in Psychic News (9th April 1955). Read it here.

◉ Gardner gave an interview to The Windsor Daily Star (April 18th 1955) about what the Witches did to defy Adolf Hitler here.

◉ A more negative opinion on Gardner and Witchcraft was voiced by the Sunday Pictorial (June 17th 1955). Read this ignorant example of a press article here.

◉ Weekend magazine (June 24th-26th 1957) printed this interview with Gerald Gardner. View it here

◉ Read an article entitled 'Witchcrafts Inner Sanctum' from True magazine (1959/60) here.

◉ Read a 1961 article by a Scottish reporter entitled 'The day I met a Witch' here.

◉ Read a 1961 article entitled 'Scots Witches Still Casting Spells' here.

◉ An interview with Gardner about Witchcraft appeared in The Montreal Gazete (October 27th 1962). Read it here

◉ Read an article from February 1963 by Rev. Stephan A. Hoeller entitled 'Occultism Through the Eyes of Religion' here.

 

◉ In February 1964, Gardner passed away onboard the ship 'The Scottish Prince' whilst returning from over-wintering in sunnier climes. Read a News of the World article about his passing.

◉ Following his passing there was some conflict amongst various people over Gardner's Will, which he had changed shortly before his death. Read some news articles about the scuffle: the Daily Mail October 1st 1964

 

See some photographs of Gardner's final resting place in a Tunis cemetery. 

​◉ Following his death, FATE magazine ran a fairly negative article on Witchcraft in September 1965, which mentions Gardner. Read it here. Doreen Valiente responded and her thoughts were published in the December 1965 edition of FATE. Read her response here.

◉ Mike Howard, the editor and owner of the UK magazine The Cauldron, wrote a series of four articles about Gerald Gardner. These were first published in 1997, and you can now read them here: Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4.

◉ www.geraldgardner.com is where, among other things, you can find the excellent essaFrom Man to Witch, Gerald Gardner 1946 - 1949 

◉ Here is an old article that once appeared on a website called 'Hecates' Cauldron' . It's entitled 'D. Valiente on Gardner' and has been compiled from extracts taken from Doreen Valiente's once-quite-hard-to-find book The Rebirth of Witchcraft.

Video & Audio Clips
 

◉ An old 1957 TV clip featuring Gerald Gardner.

◉ A 1959 Pathe TV clip featuring Gerald Gardner in glorious technicolour! (it's near the end).

◉ An Interview With Gerald Gardner from an early 1960s BBC recording.

◉ Gerald Gardner radio recordings from the 1950s/60s?

◉ The Man Who Changed Witchcraft - a documentary about Gardner

◉ Britains Wicca Man - another documentary

Other sources of information about Gerald Gardner

◉ www.geraldgardner.com is a website dedicated to all things Gardner.

◉ You can find some audio MP3's of Charles speaking about Gardner in my Charles Clark section.

◉ A list of books that were in Gerald Gardner's library can be found here. This helps to give you an overview into the sort of topics that Gerald was interested in.

◉ For insight into the life and times of Gerald Gardner, I urge you to read Philip Heselton's excellent books Witchfather: A life of Gerald Gardner Volume 1 and Volume 2  

◉ Additionally, be sure to take a look at Gerald Gardner's own biography, Gerald Gardner: Witch by Jack Bracelin, although it was actually ghost-written by Idries Shah who was a close friend of Gardner's.

Gardner's Museum of Magic and Witchcraft

◉ View the original Witches Mill booklet here (Hosted on www.geraldgardner.com)

◉ See pictures of many items that were once housed in Gardner's Witchcraft Museum collection here (in French)

◉ Some of the remaining Items from Gardner's museum collection, used to be available online to buy from  here: archived version of the 'unique and precious' website. I have managed to save some snippets from its Gardner Sales catalogue here.

 
 

The Witches Mill through time

witches mill.jpg
Gardner's books and articles

Gerald Gardner wrote several books on Witchcraft and Magic. In 1939, his first magical book A Goddess Arrives was published, this was followed in 1949 by High Magics Aid. Both of these books were works of fiction.  Gardner is probably best known for his non-fiction books; Witchcraft Today, first published in 1954 shortly after the repeal of the Witchcraft Laws, and the The Meaning of Witchcraft, published in 1959.

 

Aside from his interest in magic, Gardner was a leading expert on the Malay Kris and wrote a respected book about them called The Kris and other Malay Weapons.

 

 

Gardner's Writings
Books (readable online)

 

◉ Witchcraft Today   - Gardner's classic book.

 

◉ The Meaning of Witchcraft - Gardner's second non-fiction book on Witchcraft.

 

◉ High Magics Aid - A 'fictional' book on Magic.

 

◉ Gerald Gardner: Witch - Gardner biography attributed to Jack Bracelin but actually written by Idries Shah

 

 God of the Witches  - by Dr Margaret Murray, a friend of Gardner's.

 

◉ The Witch Cult in Western Europe  - Another book by Dr Margaret Murray.

 

◉ Aradia, Gospel of the Witches  - A book by Charles Leland that is known to have influenced Gardner's writings.  

 

◉ The Kris and other Malay Weapons  Available from http://lawica.free.fr/ . This website also has a small article for French readers, written by Gardner, about the Cyprian knife here and you  can read a review of The Kris and Other Weapons here.

 

Articles

 

◉ British Charms, Amulets and Talismans - An early article of Gardner's taken from Folklore June 1942

 

◉ Witchcraft and Matthew Hopkins - An article by Gardner from Folklore June 1939.

 

◉ The Hazel as a weapon - a question and reply from Folklore Dec 1944 and Mar 1945.

 

(Many thanks to Melissa and Rufus Harrington, whose collection of Doreen Valiente's scrapbooks, serve as the source for some of the articles and images on this site.)