John Gardner was a writer and Wiccan who founded the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft on the Isle of Man. He left a lasting legacy in the modern Wiccan community, as well as a number of books about Wicca. Many people call Gardner “the Father of Wicca.”
Gardner was born in Blundellsands, Lancashire, and spent his childhood abroad, living in Madeira. Later, he went to colonial Ceylon and Malaya, where he began to develop his interest in native people and their magical practices. After his retirement, he travelled to Cyprus and Ceylon, then returned to England and joined the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship. There, he also claimed to have met a New Forest coven.
After years of travelling, Gardner was introduced to Wicca by a coven in the New Forest, where he had spent time learning about the indigenous cultures of the world. Gardner was concerned that Wicca was dying out, so he propagated it through the introduction of notable High Priestesses. His books were the first comprehensive and popular guide to Wicca. The Gardnerian tradition is a distinct type of Wicca, with rituals and beliefs derived from Celtic, Egyptian, and Western traditions.
Gardner wrote extensively on the sources of witchcraft and created the Book of Shadows, which is considered to be the central text of Wicca. However, his book was never made public, and there is no definitive copy. Instead, every coven has its own copy of the Book of Shadows, which supposedly contains the teachings of Gardner. The Book of Shadows differs from coven to coven, however, depending on the beliefs and traditions of its members.
There are various interpretations of the pentagram. Gardner’s followers deny this meaning. His primary tenet is “do as you will, as long as you do no harm.” Gardner applied the concept of karma, a belief popular in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. It describes three ways in which our actions affect our lives. In his book, Witchcraft Today, Gardner discusses this concept in detail.
Gardner is considered one of the founders of modern incarnations of Wicca. During the 1950s, he led a revival of witchcraft in England. Gardner’s witchcraft beliefs and rituals stem from pre-Christian religions, including the animist traditions. After reading many esoteric texts, he became a member of the British occult community. His work on the Wiccan faith has influenced many modern forms of the practice.
The religion of Wicca was founded in the 1940s by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant and informal archaeologist who spent some time in southern Asia. After his retirement, Gardner began to participate in different spiritual groups. In his book, Witchcraft Today, Gardner traces the evolution of Wicca and its global reach. Its beliefs are similar to those of traditional religions but tend to emphasize the positive aspects of nature.
Gardner’s history is an interesting example of the interweaving of esoteric traditions. He claimed to be a direct descendant of the witchcraft traditions described by Margaret Murray, but his religion did not remain tightly integrated. This means that Gardner’s work is not the only important piece of history in Wicca. The author has drawn from the work of many influential writers in the history of the religion. Despite its many facets, Wicca remains a living religion.