A Brief History of Wicca

The Development of Wicca

Raymond Buckland

Raymond Buckland

Wicca Across the World (1960s)

Within a few years of Gardner's propagation of the craft, Wicca had spread from England into neighbouring Scotland and Ireland. However, in the 1960s, it also began to spread much further abroad, most notably in the English-speaking nations of Australia and the United States.

In Australia, Wicca "found a receptive social environment because of the long-standing presence and familiarity of Aboriginal culture with its 'pagan' (i.e. 'non-Christian') beliefs and practices".

Gardnerian Wicca came to the United States through an Englishman who had recently emigrated to the USA, named Raymond Buckland, and his wife, Rosemary. Raymond, working for British Airways, regularly returned to England, and he began to correspond with Gardner. In 1963, both Bucklands were initiated into the Gardnerian craft by Monique Wilson in a ceremony in Britain. The couple returned to America where they founded the Long Island coven in New York state, basing their practice upon the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. The coven was later taken over by a couple known only as Theos and Phoenix, who enlarged the Book of Shadows, adding further degrees of initiation which were required before members could found their own covens. Interest outstripped the ability of the mostly British-based covens to train and propagate members; the beliefs of the religion spread faster by the printed word or word of mouth than the initiatory system was prepared to handle.

Gavin and Yvette Frost

In 1968 Gavin and Yvonne Frost established the
Church and School of Wicca;
which in 1972 became the first Federally recognized Wiccan church

 

Also in the 1960s, non-Gardnerian forms of Witchcraft (which are sometimes viewed as Wicca, or sometimes as "Traditional Witchcraft") made their way to the USA. The American Joseph Bearwalker Wilson corresponded with the English Robert Cochrane prior to Cochrane's ritual suicide in 1966, and from this he founded the 1734 Tradition. Sybil Leek too, an English witch from the New Forest, emigrated to California, where she continued to practice her craft, and teach others. In 1968 Gavin and Yvonne Frost established the Church and School of Wicca; which in 1972 became the first Federally recognized Wiccan church.

It would be in the 2000s that Wicca would begin to gain a foothold in other nations; for instance, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti began to publicise it in India, and it also has a number of adherents in South Africa.

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