Some Gardnerian groups claim a lineage stretching across a chain of initiations to Gardner himself.
Despite Gardner’s historical importance in the modern witchcraft revival, he does not occupy a lofty position in the Wiccan belief system.
I’m not a Wiccan myself, but I attend Wiccan rituals and count many Wiccan folks among my friend.
This article is my attempt to answer some of the most common questions about Wicca, Paganism, and the relationships between the two religions. When I tell someone that I’m Pagan, a typical response is, “Oh, so you’re Wiccan?
And it’s clear that the Gardnerian corpus is heavily influenced by English Freemasonry, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the field of cultural anthropology, and the famous magician Aleister Crowley (of whom Gardner was an associate).
Even if there’s no truth at all to Gardner’s claims of an ancient tradition, Wicca is now around 80 years old, at least, with many branches and offshoots.
At its heart, witchcraft is about using interactions with the unseen world to effect change on the mundane world.
In my almost 20 years as a practicing Pagan, I’ve met lots of people who want to learn more about this small-ish, little-understood religion.
The oldest branch of Wicca is called Gardnerian Wicca.
Gardnerians attempt to follow Gardner’s rituals and instructions as near as possible to how they were written down.
Some people buy this explanation, while some people believe that Gardner fabricated or embellished his stories about the New Forest coven.
There is very little evidence for an unbroken tradition of British witchcraft before the 1930s.