Gardnerian Wicca

Gardnerian Wicca Gerald Gardner set the precedent for the modern Wiccan movement. Sometime during the late 1930s, Gardner was introduced to a hereditary Witch named Old Dorothy Cluterbuck, who initiated him into a group called the New Forest Coven. Prior to this, Gardner had been involved with the Masons, Oriental mysticism, and the Golden Dawn system of ceremonial magic. Gardner’s new religion did not blossom overnight. It took years to perfect, with the input of other Witches and occultists. Gardner’s publication of 16 Explorins Wicca three books, High Macgick’s Aid (1949), Witchcacrft today (1954), and The Meaning of Witchzcraft (1959), brought the Wiccan ideal out into the open. The religion that Gardner created, Gardnerian Wicca, stresses the worship of the Goddess and the Horned God. Covens are always headed by a High Priestess, and they have three degrees of initiation, paralleling those of the Masons. Religious celebrations occur at the eight seasonal shifts, and full moons are considered to be a time of great power and potential. Most Gardnerian groups work skyclad (naked), and polarity (the balance between the masculine and feminine) is emphasized. Covens tend to have equal numbers of male and female initiates, and couples are encouraged to join. During ritual, power is raised through chanting, meditation, and symbolic sexual union, as enacted during the Great Rite. Symbolic tools include the four weapons of ceremonial magic (wand, athame, chalice, and pentacle), in addition to the scourge and cord.

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