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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The Wiccan Rede

The concept of the Wiccan Rede is frequently and widely misunderstood and misquoted. The full version is “An it harm none, do what thou wilt”. (If it harms no one, do what you want / do your True Will.) I have written about this before but haven’t devoted an entire blogpost to it.

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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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It’s only a model

I frequently see the skeptical crowd on Twitter pointing out that the Myers-Briggs test is “astrology for business people”, or dismissing astrology as hokum. I suppose this was inevitable, given that there are people who won’t get out of bed when Mercury is retrograde (despite the fact that the apparent retrograde motion is an illusion caused by our geocentric perception that the Earth is the centre of the solar system and not the Sun (whereas everyone knows that Galileo was right — with the possible exception of flat-earthers).

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Dialogue with traditions

In initiatory Wicca, there have been some fairly heated arguments over the years about what tradition means, and what aspects of Wicca can be creatively altered to be inclusive. When I started talking about making Wicca more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people, the response from some people was “but what about the tradition?”

In this post, I propose a new approach to questions of tradition: more of a creative dialogue, and a focus on the real purpose of a tradition (which is the approach I have tried to take all along, but some people assumed that I was throwing away all adherence to tradition).

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A message from Brighid

We are in the northern part of Turtle Island. We start every circle with a land acknowledgment and a blessing for the First Nations of this land. Today we invoked Brighid, goddess of smith-craft, poetry and healing. This is her message. She wanted me to put it on the Internet. Even if you don’t believe in channeling and goddesses: her message is truthful.

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