The Ardanes

I was not passed the Ardanes, so I have never recognized them as part of my Craft. However, they are of historical interest. Not because I believe them to have been written (or at least compiled) any earlier than the 20th century, but because of the light they shed upon the ideas of early Wiccans as to how the Craft could be organized.

It is fairly widely believed that Gardner wrote them, or at least compiled them from a collection of earlier ideas which he presumably picked up from the New Forest Coven, in 1957. Doreen Valiente and other members of the coven had produced a set of Craft laws in an attempt to curb Gerald Gardner’s enthusiasm for publicity, in particular his interviews with some of the more sensationalist newspapers. In response, Gerald produced the Ardanes.

Doreen Valiente et al’s Proposed Rules for the Craft (see Appendix below) are very sensible and apart from items 9, 10, 11, and 12, which would be rather impractical due to the very large number of Wiccans these days, are mostly adhered to in practice.

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Not the messiah

A few years ago, I organized an event where Philip Heselton gave a talk based on his excellent multi-volume biography of Gerald Gardner. He was looking for a title and said that the talk was about the murkier aspects of Gardner’s life. I suggested calling it “He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy” which I’m sure you will recognize as a line from The Life of Brian by Monty Python. So that was the title of the talk.

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