Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
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Reader. New York: Harmony Books, 1989. Stephenson, P. R., and Israel Regardie. The Legend of Aleister
Crowley. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1970. Symonds, John, and Kenneth Grant, eds. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, an Autobiography. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979.
Crowley, Vivianne Prominent Wiccan, best-selling author, psychologist and university lecturer, whose work has helped to build bridges between wiCCA and paganism and mainstream religions and society.
Vivianne Crowley is Irish but was raised mainly in the New Forest area of England where GERALD B. Gardner has his beginnings in Witchcraft. She was educated at state, Catholic and Protestant schools, which opened her to different spiritual traditions. Her mother had strong psychic abilities, including precognitive dreams, and this helped to make Crowley aware at a young age that there is more to the world than meets the five senses.
As she played in the New Forest, she attuned to the intelligences of nature, the energy of trees and the spirit of the land; the world emerged as a magical place. Occasionally she would come across the evidence of a ritual, such as the place where a Witches' circle had been cast. By age eight, she was testing her abilities in practical magic, starting with a rain-making spell cast with friends, and which did produce rain. She taught herself how to read cards and gave readings to fellow students on the school bus.
By age 11, Crowley had learned about covens and Witchcraft from the media and decided to form her own coven at her all-girls school. She formulated her own initiation rite after modern rites she had seen in photographs. Representing Goddess, she stood with her legs apart and had initiates pass through to be reborn. Her coven eventually was brought to a halt by school officials, not because they were a "coven" of "witches" (the term never was mentioned), but because nearby residents complained of the noise they made.
Crowley was about 14 when she decided that she wanted to take a formal initiation as a Witch. Up to then, she had not seen Witchcraft as a spiritual path or religion, but as a way of practical magic—a craft. Publicity surrounding Alex sanders and his wife Maxine, founders of the Alexandrian tradition, changed her perspective. She began to see Witchcraft as a spiritual tradition, one in which women could play a prominent role. However, the Sanders' coven informed her that she had to be 18 to be initiated.
Crowley waited, and upon turning 18 was initiated into the Sanders' coven in London. The coven underwent major changes after the Sanderses separated in 1973 and Alex moved to the south coast of England. Crowley left and joined a Gardnerian coven.
Crowley met her future husband, Chris, who was not involved in Wicca but through Crowley became interested and was initiated. They married in 1979 and established their own coven, which they have maintained to the present. Numerous covens have hived off, and the Crowleys have helped many individuals in Britain, Continental Europe and North America to start their own covens.
Professionally, Crowley is a psychologist who lectures in the psychology of religion at King's College, University of London, and is adjunct professor at the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also works in management consulting, plus some counseling. She describes herself as Jungian oriented but with an eclectic approach, including transpersonal psychology. She holds a bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of London.
In 1988, the Crowleys formed the Wicca Study Group in London as a way of introducing interested people to the Craft. At the time, there were few venues for the public teaching of Witchcraft. Vivianne also began teaching in Germany, following up on work done there by Sanders. The success of the Wiccan Study group led the Crowleys to expand their teaching to other countries.
Also in 1988, the Crowleys became involved in the PAGAN Federation, she as secretary and he as treasurer and then president. Crowley also served for a time as the federation's interfaith coordinator, and as the U.K. coordinator of Pagan chaplaincy services for prisons. Both helped to develop the federation's system of democratic elections. They have served on the council since 1991.
In 1989, Crowley entered a larger public spotlight with the publication of her book Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Age. A best-seller, the book was revised and updated in 1996 as Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium. Like STARHAwK's The Spiral Dance, Crowley's Wicca has provided a clear and appealing introduction to Wicca as a spiritual tradition that facilitates personal growth, creativity and integration.
Crowley's spiritual perspective is as a panentheist, seeing the divine at the essential force present in the universe that is both transcendent and immanent. Her interests lie more in worshiping the gods and in achieving spiritual growth than in magical spellcraft. Wicca is a mystery religion oriented toward personal wholeness.
Crowley has been instrumental in the establishment of networking and peer group support for Wiccans and Pagans in Britain and Europe. In addition, one of her most significant contributions is her ability to bridge these traditions to other areas: religions, academia, psychology and popular culture, establishing the common multicultural, disciplinary and spiritual ground. She has been a prime spokesperson as Wicca and Paganism have become the subjects of serious academic and interfaith study.
Crowley's other books are: Phoenix from the Flame: Pagan Spirituality in the Western World (1994), Principles of Paganism (1996), Principles of Wicca (1997), Principles of Jungian Spirituality (1998), Celtic Wisdom: Seasonal Festivals and Rituals (1998), A Woman's Guide to the Earth Traditions (2001) and The Magical Life: A Wiccan Priestess Shares Her Secrets (2003). With Chris, she coauthored Free Your Creative Spirit (2001) and Your Dark Side (2001). In addition, she has published numerous articles and essays and has contributed to anthologies on Paganism and Wicca.
Crowther, Arnold (1909-1974) English Witch and skilled stage magician, friend of GERALD B. GARDNER and husband of patricia C. Crowther. According to Patricia, Crowther, like Gardner, was an "old" soul who had lived many earthly lives. He discovered a past life as a Tibetan monk, and he experienced vivid dreams in which the secrets of ancient magic were revealed to him.
Crowther was born on October 6, 1909, in Chatham, Kent, one of a pair of fraternal twin brothers. His mother was Scottish and his father, an optician, was from Yorkshire.
Crowther was fascinated with sleight-of-hand, magic tricks, ventriloquism and puppeteering. From the age of about eight on, he practiced tricks in secret in his bedroom. Both he and his twin planned to follow their father's footsteps as opticians, but magic led Crowther in another direction. By his early twenties, he was touring his professional magic act. He had a good stage persona and was very clever at sleight-of-hand.
He worked in cabaret, and in 1938-39, he entertained the then-Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose at Buckingham Palace, which led to numerous engagements to entertain the titled gentry of England. He was a founder member of the Puppet Guild and made more than 500 puppets. He lectured on "curios of the world" to various societies and clubs and was himself a collector of odd items from around the world. An African witch doctor gave him the title "White Witch Doctor." Crowther was a Freemason and was interested in Buddhism, until he entered the Craft.
Crowther met Gardner and Gardner's wife, Donna, shortly before the start of World War II, probably at a lecture, and struck up a friendship with them.
Crowther became very interested in the Craft but was not initiated into it for about 18 years (see INITIATION). Gardner's coven was wary of adverse publicity and felt that Crowther might use the Craft in his act. Gardner assured Crowther that the time would come when a "very special person" would initiate him into the Craft. The Gardners kept a flat in London, and Crowther frequently met them there, especially at the Caledonian Market, an antique market where Gardner loved to browse. Crowther was often out of town during the summer season, but upon his return, he would drop by the Caledonian Market and often find Gardner, who would greet him as though he'd never been gone: "Oh, hello, old man, did I tell you . . . ?"
During the war, Crowther was in the Entertainers National Services Association and toured throughout Europe entertaining troops with his show, "Black Magic." The show's name derived from its African Basuto choir. Crowther performed wherever required, including in a DC 3 plane at 4,000 feet, en route from Tripoli to Malta on November 10, 1943.
While stationed in Paris, he learned of his past life as a beggar Tibetan monk when he and an officer visited a palmist, Madame Brux, who invited them to a séance and introduced them to a medium. The medium went into trance and began communicating with a masculine spirit who said he had been Crowther's teacher in a previous life and was his guide in the present life. The medium reported that Crowther had been a young student in a Tibetan lamasary and had been killed. She spoke the name "Younghusband," but Crowther knew no one of that name. "Your possessions will be returned to you," the medium said. With that, an object fell on the séance table. It was a Tibetan prayer wheel inscribed with the most holy of mantras, "Om mani padme hum." The medium said it was an apport.
After the war, other Tibetan articles found their way into Crowther's possession: a butter lamp, a trumpet made of a human thigh bone, a drum made of a human skull and a small rattle hand-drum. An expert told Crowther such articles were used by the Z'i-jed-pa, "The Mild Doer," a homeless medicant class of Yogi regarded as saints, who should attain Nirvana after death and not have to be born again.
If he had indeed been such a monk in a previous life, then he would not have reincarnated as Crowther, he reasoned. He discovered, however, that if he, as the monk, had killed someone, he would have had to be reincarnated to balance the karma. At an exhibition of Tibetan curios in London, Crowther discovered that a Colonel Younghusband had led a military attack against Tibet in 1904. Crowther believed he had killed one of the soldiers in the attack before being killed himself.
During his travels Crowther also met ALEISTER CROWLEY. He introduced Gardner to Crowley on May 1, 1947. Crowley's diary entry for that date reads "Dr. G.B. Gard
ner, Ph.D. Singapore, Arnold Crowther Prof. G. a Magician to tea . . ."
After the war, Crowther returned to the public stage. Just as Gardner had predicted, he met a fair-haired woman, Patricia Dawson, who initiated him into the Craft. After their marriage in 1960, he and Patricia made their home in Sheffield and achieved prominence as spokespersons for the Craft.
Crowther died on Beltane (May 1), 1974. He was given the Passing Rite of the Old Religion at his funeral. A piper played a lament, as he had requested before his death. When the music ended, the sound of a running brook could be heard: the Brook of Love, said by Dion Fortune to exist on the other side.
In addition to two books, numerous articles for a wide variety of magazines, and a radio series on Witchcraft written in collaboration with Patricia, Crowther's published credits include: Let's Put on a Show (1964), a how-to book of magic which he illustrated himself; Linda and the Lollipop Man (1973), a book on road safety for children; Yorkshire Customs (1974); and Hex Certificate (late 1970s), a collection of cartoons he drew on themes of Witchcraft. His autobiography, Hand in Glove, was not published but was serialized on B.B.C. Radio in Bristol, Sheffield, Med-way and Leeds between 1975 and 1977.
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