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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Patricia Crowther



Written and compiled by George Knowles


One of the last remaining High Priestesses initiated by "Gerald B. Gardner".  Since her initiation by Gardner in 1960, Patricia Crowley has worked steadfastly to promote the Old Religion through her books, media interviews, and lecture appearances.  She is considered by many to be Gardner’s spiritual heir, and has formed many flourishing covens throughout the United Kingdom.


Patricia Crowther was born Patricia Dawson on the 14th October 1927, in Sheffield, England.  The Dawson’s lived next door to palmist “Madame Melba”, who predicted that Patricia would later develop great clairvoyancy powers and follow in the foot steps of her great-grand mother, who had been a herbalist, clairvoyant, and fortuneteller.  From an early age Patricia often identified herself with fairies and the craft, dressing up as a fairy for fancy-dress parties and playing the role in school activities.  At an early birthday party she was presented with a gold snake bangle, symbolic of wisdom, life, and death.


Patricia was keenly interested in acting, singing and dancing, and as she progressed through school, she performed in pantomimes as Robin Hood, and was chosen to be the leading lady in a special revue, which featured a tableau entitled “The Legend of the Moon Goddess”.  After leaving school she took up a career in Cabaret and toured all over the United Kingdom, singing and dancing, and acting on stage.


While performing at one venue in her late twenties, Patricia went to see a hypnotist who regressed her back to previous lives, including one as a witch called “Polly”.  The year was approximately 1670 and Polly was an old crone of about 66 years old.  She lived in a little hut with a cat, a frog, a goat and hen, and worked spells for the local people most of whom she held in contempt.  During the regression, Polly recited a number of spells in rhyme with instructions on how to use them.  Patricia at the time had no knowledge of any such spells, which experts later determined to be authentic.  After her experience with the hypnotist, Patricia had a number of clairvoyant visions from another past life, one in which she served as a priestess of a Goddess who had great power.  She identified much more strongly with this spiritual priestess than she did with the old crone.


In 1954 while playing at a theater in Birmingham, Patricia went to see a fortuneteller who predicted that she would meet her future husband, two years later over water, and his name would be Arnold.  Patricia thought no more of it, but two years later in 1956 she accepted a summer job to appear in a show on the Isle of White.  While on a flight crossing the Solent (a channel between the coast of Hampshire, England and the Isle of White) she met a stage magician and ventriloquist called “Arnold Crowther”.  He was appearing in the same show as she and soon romance blossomed between them.  Discovering her interest in witchcraft, Crowther offered to introduce her to “Gerald B. Gardner”, a personal friend since 1939.  Gardner incidentally had predicted some years earlier, that Crowther would eventually meet “a fair haired women who would initiate him into the craft”.



Arnold Crowther


After several meetings with him, Gardner initiated Patricia into the craft on the 6th of June 1960.  The ceremony took place in his private temple on the top floor of the barn at his home in Castletown on the Isle of Man.  During the initiation rite, Patricia had a profound and powerful trance experience.  She saw herself being reborn and initiated as a priestess of a Moon Goddess, whose initiation rite consisted of a line of howling naked women who passed her gauntlet-style through their spread legs.  Gardner explained it, that she, while in trance, had reverted back to a past life and relived an ancient initiation.  After the rite, Patricia in turn initiated Arnold Crowther, fulfilling the predication Gardner had made years earlier.  Gardner then presented them with a gift of ritual tools and jewelry, including a coral necklace for Patricia.


Later that year on the 8th November 1960, Arnold Crowther and Patricia Dawson were married in a private handfasting ceremony officiated by Gerald Gardner.  The ceremony was performed skyclad (nude) inside a circle strewn with flowers were they danced, sang and jumped the broom in accordance with tradition.  The following day they were remarried in a civil ceremony, which was publicized in the national tabloids.  After the wedding the Crowthers returned to Sheffield were they established their home.  Both took their second-degree initiation on the 11th October 1961, and on her birthday, Patricia became high priestess.




The media ever looking for interviews often turned to the Crowthers for comments, as minor celebrities connected with the entertainment world, they quickly became known as authoritative spokespersons for the craft.  By December 1961 they had started to build their own coven in Sheffield, while continuing their instruction in the craft with Gardner.  Patricia had also started a correspondence with an old woman called Jean in Inverness, she had seen Patricia giving an interview on television and had written to her.  She told Patricia that she thought her worthy of inheriting secret knowledge, and over the course of two years via correspondence, taught Patricia the secrets of an old inner tradition.


The Crowthers were a popular couple and media exposure generated more and more requests for interviews and speaking engagements.  Together they authored two books, “The Witches Speak” (1965 and 1976) and “The Secrets of Ancient Witchcraft” (1974).  In 1971, for BBC Radio Sheffield, they produced “A spell of Witchcraft”, the first Radio series in Britain on Witchcraft.  While performing numerous craft services for those who would ask for help, including spell casting and exorcising ghosts and spirits, they also wrote seasonal rituals and introduced new music and poetry into the craft.


After the death of her husband on the 1st May 1974, Patricia Crowther unstintingly continued to work for the betterment of the craft.  She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows, appears regularly on television, and gives lectures up and down the country.  She works hard at dispelling the many misconceptions surrounding the Craft and the Old Religion, and with her cool self-assurance and sense of humour, she is unhesitant when answering religious bigots and critics.  In 1978 she represented the United Kingdom at an international conference on the occult, held in Barcelona.


After her 70th birthday while meditating in a circle, Patricia received clairaudient guidance that she should call herself a “Grand-Mother of the Craft of the Wise”.  She emphasizes that the craft concerns the evolution of the soul, and that it’s inner teachings should be transmitted orally.  I am sure that the Craft/Paganism will have a big part to play in the centuries to come,” she say’s.  We must not forget that in the new age, the ruler of Aquarius is none other than the Star Goddess, whose white hand even now beckons the Children of the Earth, to become Children of the Stars”.



Grand-Mother of the Craft of the Wise


Patricia has written numerous books over the years (see bibliography), as well as writing for various mainline periodicals such as:  Prediction, Gnostica, New Dimensions, Zodiac, and The Lamp of Thoth.  She also designed three of the tarot cards (The Sun, Karma, and The World.) used for the Tarot of the Old Path (1990).




1965 - The Witches Speak (with Arnold Crowther - Athol Publications)

1973 - Witchcraft in Yorkshire (Dalesman)

1974 - Witch Blood (The Diary of a Witch High Priestess - House of Collectibles)

1981 - Lid off the Cauldron: A handbook for witches (Muller)

1992 - The Zodiac Experience (Samuel Weiser Inc)

1992 - The Secrets of Ancient Witchcraft With the Witches' Tarot (Carol Publishing)

1992 - Witches Were for Hanging (Excalibur Press of London)

1998 - One Witch's World (Robert Hale  -  Also published in America under the title High Priestess, which apart from the title are the same book by Phoenix Publishing)

2002 - From Stagecraft to Witchcraft: The Early years of a High Priestess (Capall Bann)

2009 - "Covensense" (Robert Hale)





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

Plus many websites to many to mention.


First published on the 20th July 2001, 14:35:50 © George Knowles



Best wishes and Blessed Be



Site Contents - Links to all Pages


Home Page


A Universal Message:


Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?


About me:

My Personal PageMy Place in England / My Family Tree (Ancestry)


Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


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 GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




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 SatanismPow-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 Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   


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:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




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




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




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


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 Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


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:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia 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 HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir 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 LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna 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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