I was reading the fascinating American Folkloric Witchcraft blog, and came across a post about folk rhymes and witchcraft. This reminded me of a talk given by Steve Wilson in 2004, in an attempt to launch a witchcraft tradition that would be like how you imagined witchcraft would be, before you found Wicca. It also included a disquisition on the possible esoteric significance of One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, among other cryptic folk rhymes.
Remember that back in 2004, hardly anyone knew about traditional witchcraft of the Cochrane / Clan of Tubal Cain / 1734 variety. The massive resurgence of interest in it had yet to happen. This was before Tumblr, YouTube, and Instagram witches. It was even before Facebook (gasp!) So Steve’s talk on his proposal for an all-new Archaic Witchcraft was visionary, ground-breaking, and exciting.
His main interests were in chaos magic, but he maintained a number of other esoteric interests, and was incredibly knowledgeable about pretty much every occult topic.
I was very fond of Steve. He once travelled all the way across London to meet up for a drink and try to dissuade me from a bad decision that I wasn’t actually planning on doing – so instead we spent a couple of hours drinking and reminiscing about old times and mutual friends, and rambling on about the occult. Sadly, I think this was the last time we saw each other.
I first met him at the old Talking Stick moot in London (UK) in 1993, when I travelled from Cambridge (UK) to give a talk on my book, The Enchanted Forest. He was such a great MC – he created a bubble of bonhomie and goodwill for the speaker to step into and inhabit – amazing.
We then knew each other online back in the days of Wicca-UK (founded by Casparian; and where I also first encountered Adrian Bott) which became the Pagan Network forum, and he gave a memorable talk at their conference in 2004, on his proposed foundation of Archaic Witchcraft, which he was planning to base on folkloric themes, much like the folkloric witchcraft which is now gaining wildly in popularity. How he would have loved the Nameless Arte conferences!
I also had a good chat with him at the funeral of Harry Greenfield, the former editor of Pagan Dawn, back when it was still called The Wiccan.
And he autographed my copy of his book, Robin Hood: Spirit of the Forest, with the hilarious message “Curses, curses, you have more books published than me!”
His other book was Chaos Ritual, which I think I also have a copy of. (I hope so, as it appears to be very rare and expensive these days!)
I heard that he had died in 2017, too late to go to his funeral. He was a lovely man. Hail the goer!