About Us: Pieces of Interest
Our Wiccan Origins
Janet and Stewart Farrar
Janet and Stewart Farrar were initiated by Alex and Maxine Sanders in 1970 while they were still resident in London, England.
Janet was introduced to Alex and Maxine by a friend who was interested in Wicca. Janet actually went along to get her friend 'out of this weird cult' but stayed! The same friend had also previously introduced Janet to Eleanour (Rae) Bone, one of Gerald Gardners High Priestess', who had offered both of them initiation.
Stewart met Alex and Maxine while working for The Reveille newspaper in 1970. He went along to interview 'The King of the Witches'. Alex was so impressed with the article he asked Stewart to write an 'informative' book on the subject of Wicca - What Witches Do!
(We have decided to make the following very clear regarding Janet and Stewart's initiations due to recent 'revisionism' by some Alexandrians.)
All the photos within the Book (What Witches Do), including that of the original BOS were taken by Stewart and the numbered negatives remain in our collection.
Janet and Stewart were initiated to Second Degree by Alex and Maxine 'in an unoccupied house in Sydenham' (from coven records). There were 14 witnesses. This took place on the 17th October 1970 (documented history).
They received Third Degree by Alex and Maxine in on the 24th April 1971 in their flat. There were two other witnesses present (Don and Barbara). Janet and Stewart had already hived off to form their own coven in Leyton, East London, with Alex's Coven BOS and other 'books' (documented history).
Over a dozen initiates passed through their hands in the first year.
In 1972 Janet left Wicca leaving the Coven in Stewarts hands, and became part of a Cabbalist Lodge . She returned to Wicca within the year. Janet and Stewart were handfasted in 1972 and subsequently became legally married in 1975.
In 1976 they moved to Ireland and set up their first coven. After researching Eight Sabbats for Witches they stopped working Wicca in an Alexandrian fashion and developed their own style of Wicca (they also at this point stopped referring to themselves as 'Alexandrian').
The Rites of Handfasting, Wiccaning and Requiem as found in our books were ALL created by Janet and Stewart after leaving the Sanders' Coven.
Gavin Bone was initiated into Seax-Wicca in 1986 after working for a brief period with an eclectic ceremonial magic group consisting of both pagan and new-age elements, based in his home town of Portsmouth.
This was followed by an initiation into a 'Celtic Wiccan' coven after being informed that Seax-Wicca was invalid as a tradition! The Celtic-Wiccan Coven broke up within a year, and he started to work solitary with his partner at the time. He developed his skills in Shamanism, Runes and in healing techniques, as well as a cynical viewpoint regarding the origins of Wicca!
In 1989 he attended the Pagan-Link Groby Festival and became a Pagan Link and then a Pagan Federation contact.
In 1992 he escorted Janet Farrar to Salem, Massachussetts, USA to attend to the rememberance of the Salem Witch Trials. He moved to Ireland in 1993 and was initiated to Third Degree by Janet and Stewart Farrar.
How We Work Now!
W continue to call ourselves Wiccan, but we do not label ourselves ANY specific tradition, regardless of our Alexandrian/Seax-Wiccan roots. We would like to counter the rumour(s) (perpetuated by a now withdrawn book on the subject) that we are 'Fairy Faith', 'Fairy Trad.' or 'Fairy Wiccan' - we have NEVER used these terms for ourselves and are the creation of a very 'imaginative' mind!
It does confuse some Wiccans that we don't label ourselves with a 'Trad' - if you really need to label us feel free to call us 'Progressive Wiccan' but remember that the first rule of this trad is that there are no such things as traditions as we all intrinsically follow our own 'tradition' or path! It is important that we point out that we are honourary members of several traditions, including Strega (traditional), Eclectic Electric Eleusian Kuven (Eeek!), The Eleusian Mysteries (ATC), and The Order of Bill the Cat (If we've missed your trad. out we apologise!). I hope this confuses the matter even more!
We consider all spirituality, particularly paganism, to be organic in nature and therefore a growth process. Hence, our way of practising Wicca is very different to how we first practised it or how we practised it when we wrote our books. We obey the natural law that if something doesn't evolve it becomes extinct - and this is as much applies to spiritual practises as it does species! We do not denigrate any other method of Wiccan practise -it is just no longer correct for us here in Ireland where social and environmental factors have required our Wiccan practise to develop in a different way to the US or Europe for it to develop and survive.
We no longer use the Degree System as first taught to us but have developed it into a more natural system and have added a dedication ritual prior to first degree. We guide students, but don't 'teach' them as if they were pupils in a secondary school. We act as mentors for those who want learn Wicca realising that everyone has their own individual path. Regardless of this we still expect our students to know 'the basics' but encourage them to specialise in an occult or healing field .
We consider Wicca to be like being 'under Holy Orders' within Paganism, just as there Dominican Priests etc within in Catholicism - a Priest/esshood, but NOT THE Priest/esshood of Paganism. Recently, we have become more and more convinced that the origins of Wicca are in the Healing Arts, with magical practises being a part of this (hence the publication of our latest book THE HEALING CRAFT; Healing Practises for Witches and Pagans).