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.
On 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 “Cone of 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? “You cannot come! You cannot cross the sea!”

Gerald Brosseau Gardner was born on Friday the 13th of June, 1884, at “The Glen”, 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 rainstorms.

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 Circle of 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 Wicca 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 Wiccan ‘bible’, 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”, and “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 present.

Today, 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.


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