Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Scott Douglas 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 beneficial 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 acquaintance 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 traveled 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 secretive 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.
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.
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.
First published on the 01st May 2001 - updated 25th June 2009 © 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
The 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 / An esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism / Pow-wow / The Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / A 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 Native American Sun Dance / Shielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Festivals:
The Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Rituals contributed by Crone:
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
Rocks and Stones:
Stones - History, Myths and Lore
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
Wisdom and Inspiration:
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murdered 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 - “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 - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred / John Michael Greer / John Score / Joseph John Campbell / 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 / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellars / Mrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" / Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) / Rudolf Steiner / Sabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough" / 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 and Cotton Mather ) / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest /
Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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