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Scott Cunningham (1956-1993)   

Written and compiled by George Knowles.  

Scott Cunningham was a Wiccan and popular author of more than thirty books on both fiction and non-fiction topics.  More than fifteen of his books were written on Wicca and its related subjects, he also wrote scripts for occult videos.  Scott was a key player in the opening up of Wicca to solitary practice, and by making a great deal of information available to the public, he helped influence many newcomers entering the craft. 

Scott was born on the 27th June 1956 at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA.  His parents Chester Grant Cunningham and Rose Marie Wilhoit Cunningham had two other children, an older brother Greg and a younger sister Christine.  In 1959 due to his mothers recurring health problems, the family moved to San Diego, California, were the doctors declared the mild climate would be more benificial for her.  Aside from his many trips to Hawaii, Scott continued to live in San Diego until his death in 1993. 

His introduction to the craft came through a book he read in 1971, one purchased by his mother (The Supernatural, by Douglas Hill and Pat Williams).  Scott had always shown an interest in plants, minerals and other natural earth products, and this book furthered his interest.  It also showed diagrams of Italian hand gestures used to ward of the evil eye, and these particularly fascinated him.  Later in high school he used these gestures to attract the attention of a female classmate he knew to be involved with the occult and a working coven.  She introduced Scott into Wicca, which further intensified his interest in the powers of nature.  Over the next few years he took initiation into several covens of varying traditions gaining experience, but really he preferred to practice as a solitary practitioner. 

In 1974 he enrolled at San Diego State University were he studied creative writing, inspired to do so by his father.  His father was a professional writer who had authored some 170 non-fiction and fiction books.  Scott started writing truck and automobile articles for trade publications, he also wrote advertising copy on a freelance basis.  His roommate during this period was the author Donald Michael Kraig, he also made the the aquintance of Raymond Buckland, who was living in San Diego at the time.  After only two years of his University course, Scott had collected more published credits than most of his professors, and so decided to drop out from the rest of the course and began to write full-time.  The first book he had published was an Egyptian romance novel, Shadow of Love (1980). 

Scott’s writing style was easy to understand being simple and direct, his teachings focused on encouraging people to employ whatever works for them in their religious, spiritual, and magickal endeavours.  He was a fine herbalist and produced several books dealing with herbs, including Magickal Herbalism (Llewellyn Publications, 1982), and Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs  (Llewellyn Publications, 1985).  His books on Wicca led to a steady rise in its popularity, and he soon became one of the best-read Wiccan authors of his time.  Sales of his most popular book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (Llewellyn, 1988), reached over 400,000 copies by the year 2000. 

His prominence was instrumental in influencing the changes that took place in the Wicca movement during the eighties.  Due to his influence, the Wiccan religion shifted primarily from the hands of initiates into the public arena, and many eclectic traditions were formed as a result.  While essentially a self-styled Wiccan and a solitary practitioner, he was initiated into several established Craft Traditions.  In 1980 he entered into the Aridian Tradition, where he undertook a course of study on Witchcraft and Magick from Raven Grimassi.  Then in 1981 he entered the Reorganized Traditional Gwyddonic Order of Wicca, and the Ancient Pictish Gaelic Tradition.  Additionally, he was an initiate of the American Traditionalist Wicca. 

Scott travelled around the country giving lectures and occasionally making media appearances on behalf of the craft.  He viewed the craft as a modern religion created in the 20th century, and thought that Wicca, while containing pagan folk magic derived of ancient times, should be stripped of it’s quasi-historical and mythological trappings and represented to the public as a modern religion utilizing ancient concepts.  He also believed that Wicca, which had been a closed and secrative tradition since the 1950s, should become more open to newcomers. 

A sudden onset of health issues began to affect his public appearances, then later his writing.  In 1983 he was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a form of cancer.  To make matters worse in 1990, he also contracted Cryptococcal Meningitis.  His health continued to decline as he suffered opportunistic infections related to his primary disease.  Finally on the 28th March 1993, he succumbed, and Scott passed from this world and into the next.  As an ambassador of the pagan way of life, his books today continue to influence us all.

Partial bibliography: 

1980 - Shadow of Love

1982 - Magical Herbalism: The Secret of the Wise

1983 - Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic

1985 - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

1987 - The Magical Household

1987 - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic

1988 - The Truth About Witchcraft Today

1988 - Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

1989 - The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews

1989 - Magical Aromatherapy: The Power of Scent

1991 - Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic

1991 - The Magic in Food

1993 - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

1993 - Divination For Beginners

1993 - Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

1993 - Spell Crafts: Creating Magical Objects

1993 - The Truth About Herb Magic

1994 - The Truth About Witchcraft

1995 - Hawaiian Magic and Spirituality

1997 - Pocket Guide to Fortune Telling

1999 - Dreaming the Divine: Techniques for Sacred Sleep

2009 - Cunningham's Book of Shadows: The Path of An American Traditionalist.  A rediscovered manuscript written by Cunningham in the late 70's or early 80's and due to be released October 2009 by Llewellyn Publications.

  

Sources: 

Several of Scott's own books contain text – “About the Author”. 

The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft  - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. 

Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - by Raven Grimassi. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Cunningham

 

First published on the 01st May 2001  -  updated 25th June 2009 © George Knowles

 

Best wishes and Blessed Be

 

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About me:

 

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Wicca & Witchcraft

 

Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is WiccaWhat is Magick

 

 

Traditional Writings:

 

 Wiccan RedeCharge of the GoddessCharge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches ChantThe Witches CreedDescent of the GoddessDrawing Down the MoonThe Great Rite InvocationInvocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of ChivalryA Pledge to Pagan Spirituality

 

Correspondence Tables:

 

IncenseCandlesColoursMagickal DaysStones and GemsElements and Elementals

 

Traditions:

 

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 MoonsLinks to Personal Friends & ResourcesWicca/Witchcraft ResourcesWhat's a spell?Circle Casting and Sacred Space /  Pentagram - PentacleMarks of a WitchThe Witches PowerThe Witches HatAn esoteric guide to visiting LondonSatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  /  Part 2 Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /  The History of ThanksgivingI have a Dream, the 1963 speach by civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King /  Auras by Graham Furnell - Part 1 and Part 2 /

 

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)

 

Rituals contributed by Crone:  Samhain / YuleImbolcOstara /  BeltaneLithaLammasMabon

 

Tools:

 

Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron MagickMirror Gazing

 

Animals:

 

Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) /  AntelopeBatsCrowFoxFrog and ToadsGoat / HoneybeeKangarooLionOwlPhoenixRabbits and HaresRavenRobin RedbreastSheep SpiderSquirrelSwansWild Boar /  Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat

 

Trees:

 

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 /  ElderAlso see:  The Willow Tree (Folk Music)

 

Sacred Sites:

 

Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /

 

Rocks and Stones:

 

Stones - History, Myths and Lore

 

 Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:   / Apophyllite  / Amber AmethystAquamarineAragoniteAventurineBlack TourmalineBloodstoneCalciteCarnelianCelestiteCitrineChrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / FluoriteGarnet /  Hematite Herkimer DiamondLabradoriteLapis LazuliMalachiteMoonstoneObsidianOpalPyriteQuartz (Rock Crystal)Rose QuartzRubySeleniteSeraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodaliteSunstoneThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble

 

Wisdom:

 

Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakeningThe Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods

 

Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:

 

Murder by WitchcraftThe Fairy Witch of ClonmelA Battleship, U-boat, and a WitchThe Troll-Tear (A story for Children)Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-LanternThe Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark

 

Old Masters of Academia:

 

Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras

 

Biographies

 

Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)

 

Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)

 

Abramelin the MageAgrippaAidan A. KellyAlbertus Magnus “Albert the Great”Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” Alison HarlowAmber KAnna Franklin /  Anodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey  / Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite Austin Osman SpareBiddy EarlyBridget ClearyCarl Llewellyn WeschckeCecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey LelandCharles Walton /  Christina Oakley Harrington /  Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) /   Dion FortuneDolores Aschroft-NowickiDorothy MorrisonDoreen ValienteEdward FitchEleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” /  Dr. John Dee and Edward KellyDr. Leo Louis Martello /  Eliphas LeviErnest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry /  Fiona Horne /  Friedrich von SpeeFrancis Barrett /  Gerald B. GardnerGavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gwydion PendderwenHans Holzer /  Helen DuncanHerman Slater "Horrible Herman" /  Israel RegardieJames "Cunning" MurrellJanet Farrar & Gavin BoneJessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne John George Hohman /  John GerardJohn Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) /  John Michael Greer /  John ScoreJohannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von EckartshausenLaurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis Spence /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General”Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata /  Monique Wilson the “Queen of the WitchesMontague SummersNicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellersMrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-RavenheartOld Dorothy ClutterbuckOld George Pickingill /   Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsusPatricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPhilip Emmons Isaac Bonewits Philip HeseltonRaymond BucklandReginald ScotRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /  Rudolf Steiner /  Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & DruidsSabrina - The Ink WitchScott CunninghamSelena FoxSilver Ravenwolf /  Sir Francis DashwoodSir James George FrazerS.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  StarhawkStewart FarrarSybil LeekTed AndrewsThe Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather /  Thomas AdyVera Chapman /  Victor Henry AndersonVivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna 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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