The Blundellsands Witch who summoned
the Forces of Darkness to repel Hitler’s invasion in 1940
It is July 1940.
Hitler stands poised to unleash “Operation SeaLion.” Winston
Churchill promises to “fight them on the beaches.” Captain
Mainwaring and his wheezy comrades nervously patrol the White Cliffs of Dover.
The Battle of Britain is about to begin….. And an obscure band of
elderly occultists are also secretly determined to “do their bit”
in defending these islands.
Lammas Eve, 31st July
1940, 56-year old Gerald Gardner gathers his coven in a New Forest clearing,
naked – “skyclad” in
Wicca parlance – to invoke the
Power” against Adolf Hitler.
The Cone - a beam of psychic energy aimed at
the mind of the Führer - has been called upon twice before – to thwart the
Spanish Armada in 1588, and to deter Napoleon in 1807. The incantation?
cannot come! You cannot cross the sea!”
Brosseau Gardner was born on Friday the 13th of June, 1884, at
The Serpentine, Blundellsands into a wealthy background. The family business,
Joseph Gardner & Sons, was the world’s oldest and largest importer of
hardwood. His antecedents included Mayors of Liverpool, an Admiral and a Peer.
Gardner claimed his grandmother was
a witch, and another ancestor was burned at the stake in 1610. His father was
certainly an odd man, taken to stripping off all his clothes in public during
Gerald’s upbringing was unusual; a
sickly, asthmatic boy, his parents packed him off with his Irish nurse,
Josephine “Com” McCombie to travel the Mediterranean, North Africa and
the Canary Islands for 9 years. He gained no formal education, but developed a
fascination with archaeology. When his nurse married a man in Ceylon, she
brought Gerald with her. There, he worked on a tea plantation and lived the life
of an exile, settling for periods in Borneo, Singapore and Malaya. He was
employed by the British government in the Far East as a rubber plantation
inspector and customs officer. In 1923 Gardner was appointed
Government-Inspector of opium-dens in Malaya.
During this time Gardner was
confirmed into several occult orders, including the Rosicrucian Fellowship of
Crotona, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the
the Universal Bond. He also claimed an Honorary Doctorate from the
University of Singapore.
He retired and returned to England in 1936.
Gardner became convinced
that he was reincarnated, and had lived a previous life on Cyprus in 1450
BC. These beliefs were woven into a novel, A
Goddess Arrives, published in 1939. It was around this time
that Gardner was initiated into the New Forest coven, by a hereditary witch
named “Old Dorothy” Clutterbuck.
Gardner had long been
fixated with nudism, arguing that clothes would impede the transfer of
magical power. On the
“Cone of Power” ritual, Gardner later wrote:
“Mighty forces were used of which I may not speak”; and he claimed that two members of the coven had died from their exertions,
with the life-force being drained from their bodies. These were considered
to be human sacrifices, ensuring the success of the ritual. And,
as we know, Hitler never came….
In 1947 Gardner visited the
notorious Aleister Crowley on his death-bed, to be ordained into Crowley’s
Ordo Templi Orientis, whose core belief is
“Do what thou wilt shall be
the Whole of the Law.”
Gardner was introduced in the Minerval IV th Degree, in
his priestly name of Scire, Prince of Jerusalem,
Companion of the Holy
Arch of Enoch.
Witchcraft was still a criminal
offence in Britain under the 1735 Witchcraft Act, and Gardner was unable
to put into print the details of his practices. He got around this by publishing
High Magick’s Aid, a novel, in 1949.
With the repeal of the
Witchcraft Acts in 1951 Gardner was free to launch the
religion on the world. His 1954 book, Witchcraft Today, in which Gardner
spoke openly of his worship of “The Horned God” and
“The Moon Goddess”,
caused a sensation. Gardner was also author of the secret
known as the Book of Shadows.
In 1953 Gardner set-up the
world’s-first Museum of Magic and Witchcraft at The Witches’ Mill,
Castletown, on the Isle of Man. He believed that fairies were really a persecuted
race of pygmy-witches and that The Royal Family was also descended from a long
line of witches.
By now, Gardner was internationally recognised as the
“Father of modern Witchcraft”,
“Britain’s Chief Witch”,
responsible for reviving Witchcraft in the Western world.
In 1960 Gardner was invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party, in honour of
his work in the colonial civil service.
Gerald Gardner died
suddenly on 12th February 1964 aged 79, on board a ship,
SS Scottish Prince, while returning from the Lebanon. The
following day he was buried on the Tunisian shore, with only a ships officer
Wicca is the world’s fastest-growing religion, claiming 1 million
adherents in at least 66 countries. It has recently been legally-recognised by
the United States military.
Return to Crosby Titanic