Raymond Buckland (1934 - )
Written and compiled by George Knowles.
Raymond Buckland, Englishman, prolific Author and Witch. He is probably best known as an agent of Gerald B. Gardner. It was Buckland who was responsible for introducing Gardnerian Witchcraft into America in 1964. He is also the founder of his own tradition of Witchcraft called Seax-Wica, and for a time operated his own Museum of Witchcraft in America. He has been a leading spokesman for the Craft in America for more than three decades.
Buckland was born in London, England, on the 31st August 1934. His parents were Stanley Thomas Buckland and his wife Eileen Lizzie Wells. Stanley his father was a full-blood Romany Gypsy, and a highly regarded Executive Officer in the British Ministry of Health. In his spare time he freelanced as a writer of plays, short stories, poetry and music, a talent he encouraged his son to work on. In 1939 with the outbreak of war, the family moved to Nottingham to escape the bombing raids on London, and Buckland was sent to the Nottingham Boys High School to start his early education.
As a child Buckland was brought up in the Church of England, but had no particular interest in religion. When he was 12 years old his father's brother “uncle” George, a practising Spiritualist, introduced him to Spiritualism and sparked his life long interest in all things occult. By this time Buckland was already an avid reader, and started to read all he could find on alternative religions and such related subjects as: Ghosts, ESP, Magick, Voodoo and witchcraft. After the war had passed, Buckland became interested in acting and soon became involved with the theatre. He regularly performed at the People’s Theatre in Nottingham and the Nottingham Repertory Theatre. In 1951 the family moved back to London, where Buckland studied first at King's College School in Wimbledon, before gaining a doctorate degree in anthropology from Brantridge Forest College, in Sussex.
After leaving college he worked as a draftsman for an engineering firm, and in 1955 met and married his first wife Rosemary Moss. Together they had two sons Robert and Regnauld. In 1957 he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) but only served a short term leaving in 1959. After leaving the RAF, he worked for two years as a retail manager in a London publishing firm, during which time he taught himself to play the trombone and joined a Dixieland-style jazz band called “Count Rudolph's Syncopated Jazz Men”. In their spare time during evening and weekends, they played regularly at the Piccadilly Jazz Club, the Baker Street Jazz Club and other like venues.
Buckland and Rosemary
In February of 1962, Buckland with his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Brentwood, Long Island, New York. For the next ten years he worked for British Airways (then known as BOAC), which enabled him to travel extensively. Buckland’s interest in Spiritualism and the occult had continued to this time, but he was still without a religion and felt there was something missing. Shortly after his arrival in the States two books came into his possession that would greatly influence his life and beliefs, The Witch-Cult In Western Europe by Margaret A. Murray (1921), and Witchcraft Today by Gerald B. Gardner (1954).
Until reading these two books, Buckland had never looked upon Witchcraft as a religion, but now he realized he had found what he felt was missing, an old but new religion that appealed to his own beliefs and sense of history, “Wicca”. For more information about Wicca, he contacted Gerald Gardner in the Isle of Man, and soon began a long-distance mail and telephone friendship with him. As their friendship matured Buckland became Gardner’s spokesman in the United States, and whenever Gardner received a query from the U.S., it was forwarded to and answered by Buckland.
In 1963 Buckland and his wife Rosemary flew back to the UK to be initiated and raised in Perth, Scotland by Gardner’s main High Priestess ‘Monique Wilson’. Gardner joined them for the initiation ceremony, during which Buckland was given a craft name “Robat” and Rosemary named “Lady Rowen”. This was the first and only physical meeting between Buckland and Gardner, for shortly after Gardner left the UK to vacation the winter months in the Lebanon. On the 12th February 1964 while returning on board The Scottish Prince, Gardner suffered a fatal heart attack and was buried on shore in Tunis the following day.
In America interest in Witchcraft was catching on quickly, but Buckland built his coven slowly and with caution. There were many that wanted to become Gardnerian Witches who felt that Buckland was being over cautious, those who didn’t want to wait for initiation simply went away and started their own covens. Buckland persisted; he wanted only those with a genuine interest in the craft as a religion. Initially Buckland was secretive, and kept his name and address from the press, but eventually it was published by journalist Lisa Hoffman in the New York Sunday News, which focused attention on him as a leading authority and spokesman of the craft. On the other hand it also led to a deal of negative persecution on himself, his wife and two children.
Buckland and Rosemary
In imitation of Gardner’s Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the Isle of Man and perhaps inspired by it, Buckland began to collect artifacts and pieces for his own museum. He called it the First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the United States, and was formally opened to view (by appointment only) in 1968. His collection started in a bookcase, and then as it grew it took over the basement of their house, eventually it grew so large in 1973 it was moved into an old Victorian house in Bay Shore. The museum proved a popular success and was featured in numerous national magazine and newspaper articles; it was also the subject of a television documentary. At various other times a selection of artifacts was loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to other museums.
Buckland had started to write about witchcraft in 1968, and in 1969 published his first book A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural. He followed this in 1970 with Witchcraft Ancient and Modern and Practical Candleburning Rituals. That same year he wrote his first novel Mu Revealed under the pseudonym “Tony Earll”, an anagram for – not really. Writing became a passion for Buckland and he wanted more time to devote to it. By 1973 when his collection of artifacts had grown large enough for him to occupy a rented building in Bay Shore. He quit his job with BOAC and opened the museum proper, running it himself while at the same time writing. Since then Buckland has managed an average of one book a year.
That same year his marriage to Rosemary broke up and they handed the leadership of their Long Island coven over to “Theos and Phoenix”, who became the High Priest and Priestess of the first and original Gardnerian coven in America. Since its inception in 1964 other covens had hived off the original and slowly but surely began to spread the Gardnerian tradition of Witchcraft all across America. As other traditions began to appear with their own varying styles of practice, so the craft became a viable alternative religion in America with legal status.
After the break up of his marriage, Buckland moved to Weirs Beach in New Hampshire, reopened his museum in a new building and continued with his writing. In the following year 1974, he remarried to Joan Helen Taylor. At about this time he decided to leave the Gardnerian tradition altogether feeling it no longer met his religious needs, he was also fed-up with the egotism and power trips exhibited by others within the craft. To fill the gap he developed and founded a new tradition called Seax-Wica, which he based on a Saxon theme. Leaving behind the degree system of Gardnerian witchcraft, he made Seax-Wica more open and democratic, and published its rituals in: The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft (1974). Today the Seax-Wica tradition is practiced worldwide.
He moved again in 1978, this time to Virginia Beach in Virginia where he became the Educational Director of the Poseidia Institute, but sadly without suitable premises to house the museum, he was forced to place all his artifacts into storage. While still in Virginia, Buckland started a Seax-Wica correspondence course, which soon grew to over 1,000 students worldwide. Initially they had plans to build a campus for it and turn it into a physical school, but these fell flat due to a lack of sufficient funds.
Into the early 1980’s he and his second wife Joan began to drift apart and were divorced in 1982. Just a year later he married again to his third and current wife Tara Cochran of Cleveland. They lived for a couple of years in Charlottesville, Virginia, before moving to San Diego, California. There they re-established the correspondence course and also set up a publishing company called “Taray Publications” using it to published the Seax-Wica Voys, a Wiccan magazine. Eventually running the correspondence course took to much time away from his writing, so Buckland decided to close it down and phased it out. By this time however the Seax-Wica tradition was well established worldwide.
Over the next few years while he continued to write, Buckland rekindled his teenage passion for acting and theatre, and went to work for a theatrical and film casting company in San Diego. During this period he became a close friend of the character actor John Carradine, and worked with him through the last few years of his life. He also worked with Orson Welles, as the Technical Consultant on his film “Necromancy”, and the director of such hit movies as: “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist”, William Friedkin. As well as meeting with some of the movie industries elite director and actors, Buckland played some minor character parts, such like the crazy psychiatrist in the cult movie Mutants in Paradise.
In 1992 after more than a quarter of a century working in and leading the craft in America, Buckland decided to retire from active participation. He moved his family to a small farmstead in north central Ohio. There except for occasional public appearances, lectures, workshops and book signings, he is content to concentrate on his writing and work with his wife Tara as solitaries. His leisure interests include flying ultra-light aircraft and building unusual automobiles.
Buckland was a much sort-after authority on the occult, magic and the supernatural. He was a prolific and diverse writer, covering such subjects as mystery and fantasy fiction, screenplays, divination systems, spiritualism and metaphysical nonfiction. He has averaged more than one book a year over the last thirty years. He has also written numerous magazine and newspaper articles, television scripts for the ITV’s The Army Game, a pilot script Sly Digs, for the BBC, and for a short time was the personal scriptwriter for the English comedian “Ted Lane”.
As well as writing Buckland his appeared in public promoting the craft all across America, he has been seen on BBC-TV in England, the RAI-TV in Italy, and the CBC-TV in Canada. He has also appeared extensively on stage in England as an actor, and played small role character parts in moves in America. As a distinguished teacher on craft and occult subjects, he has taught courses at New York State University, Hofstra University, New Hampshire Technical Collage and for Hampton, Virginia City Council.
Buckland’s contribution to the revival of Witchcraft in America is perhaps without equal, but: “What happened to his Museum of Witchcraft and Magic”??? The last I heard it was to be moved and relocated in New Orleans at 523 Dumaine St., situated in the French Quarter (before the floods). In 2001 I personally visited New Orleans in search of it, but was told he had ran out of funds and it wouldn't be opening?? Disappointed and curious, I wondered what had become of it?? Further research has revealed what happened:
Unable to take timeout from his busy writing schedule, and as book promotions and lectures increasingly demanded more of his time, rather than allow his collection to languish forever unseen in storage, Buckland sold the collection to a Gardnerian High Priest and Priestess in Houma, near New Orleans in April 1999. Monte Plaisance and his wife Tolia-Ann are founders of the “Church of Thessaly” (a Graeco-Roman Coven) and organizers of a “WitchFest”, an annual gathering of witches in New Orleans. Together they own and run a metaphysical store called “Crossroads”, which now serves as “The Buckland Museum”, as well as the base for their Church of Thessaly.
The "Buckland Collection," which is comprised of over 500 artefacts from broomsticks to torture devices, is said to demonstrate the growth of Ceremonial Magic as well as the History of Witchcraft. Among the items on view are a 200-year-old mandrake root used in magic to bring wealth, love and fertility, a broom (circa 1850) used to sweep away misfortune and bad luck, a herb collection and many aged bottles said to be used by witches for the making of spells. The past fear and hatred of witches is evident in some of the European torture devices on view, such as nail pullers, thumbscrews and tongue extractors, used to force confessions out of witches. Historical documentation also sheds light on the "burning times" when women were burned at the stake for being suspected of witchcraft. The collection also includes items affiliated with Christianity, an ivory-covered Bible from the mid-1800s, a travelling communion kit and a vial of incense said to be from a monk in France. These are just a few of the mysterious items to be found.
Plaisance has been educating people about witchcraft for years, his own interest
arising from a near-death experience as a small child.
Over the years he has met with many of the leading major figures in
witchcraft today, and is no stranger controversy.
After feature articles on his Crossroads store and the Museum appeared in
The Courier and The Times in Picayune, he started having problems with the
public, but “we try to be low-key and very friendly with our neighbors” he
says, “and we’ve also had a significant response from people who are
interested in us, so the museum will stay and continue”.
A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural (Ace Books, NY 1969)
Practical Candleburning Rituals (Llewellyn Publications, MN 1970)
Witchcraft Ancient and Modern (House of Collectibles, NY 1970)
Mu Revealed – using the pseudonym Tony Earll (Warner Paperback Library, NY 1970)
Witchcraft from the Inside (Llewellyn, MN 1971)
Amazing Secrets of the Psychic World - with Hereward Carrington (Parker/Prentice Hall, NJ 1975)
The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft (Samuel Weiser, ME 1974)
Here is the Occult (House of Collectibles, NY 1974)
Anatomy of the Occult (Samual Weiser, ME 1977)
The Magic of Chant-O-Matics (Parker/Prentice Hall, NJ 1978)
Practical Color Magick (Llewellyn, MN 1983)
Color Magick: Unleash Your Inner Powers (Llewellyn, MN 2nd edition 2002)
Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (Llewellyn, MN 1986)
Secrets of Gypsy Fortunetelling (Llewellyn, MN 1988)
Buckland Gypsy Fortunetelling Deck (Llewellyn, MN 1989)
Gypsy Fortunetelling Layout Sheet (Llewellyn, MN 1989)
Secrets of Gypsy Love Magick (Llewellyn, MN 1990)
Secrets of Gypsy Dream Reading (Llewellyn, MN 1990)
Scottish Witchcraft (Llewellyn, MN 1991)
The Book of African Divination - with Kathleen Binger (Inner Traditions, VT 1992)
Doors to other Worlds (Llewellyn, MN 1993)
The truth about spirit Communication (Llewellyn, MN 1995)
The Committee – novel (Llewellyn, MN 1993)
Cardinal’s Sin – novel (Llewellyn, MN 1996)
Ray Buckland’s Magic Cauldron (Galde Press, MN 1995)
Buckland Gypsies Domino Divination Cards (Llewellyn, MN 1995)
Advanced Candle Magic (Llewellyn, MN 1996)
Witchcraft Yesterday and Today – video (Llewellyn, MN 1990)
Gypsy Fortune Telling Tarot Kit (Llewellyn, MN 1998)
Gypsy Witchcraft and Magic (Llewellyn, MN 1998)
Gypsy Dream Dictionary (Llewellyn. MN 1999)
Coin Divination (Llewellyn. MN 2000)
Buckland Romani Tarot Deck & Book (Llewellyn. MN 2001)
Wicca for Life – Hardcover (Citadel, New York 2001)
The Witch Book (Visible Ink Press, New York 2001)
The Fortune-telling Book (Visible Ink Press 2003)
Signs, Symbols and Omens (Llewellyn 2003)
Cards of Alchemy (Llewellyn 2003)
Wicca for One (Citadel 2004)
Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications (Llewellyn 2004)
The Spirit Book (Visible Ink Press 2005)
Witchcraft - Rebirth of the Old Religion – DVD (Llewellyn 2005)
Mediumship and Spirit Communication (Buckland Books 2005)
Face to Face with God? (Buckland Books 2006)
“Death, where is thy Sting?” (Buckland Books 2006)
Dragons, Shamans & Spiritualishs (Buckland Books 2007)
The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-paganism - By Shelley RabinovitchThe
Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
The Witch Book - An Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism - By Raymond Buckland
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - By Raven Grimassi
First published on the 23rd May 2001, 19:05:20 © George Knowles
Last up-dated on the 03rd June 2007 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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