Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Pagan Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
Walter Ernest Butler
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Walter Ernest Butler was a highly respected occultist and author of a number of classic books on esoteric subjects including: The Magician: His Training and Work (1959), Apprenticed to Magic (1962) and Magic and the Qabalah (1964), when few books on such subject were being published. In 1965 he founded the influential “Servants of the Light” (SOL) School of Occult Studies for which he remained Director of Studies until shortly before his death in 1978.
Butler was born in rural Yorkshire
on the 23rd August 1898. He
was the eldest son of Oates Butler (1870) a poor quarry engine driver and his
wife Sarah Hannah Butler (1870). According
to the 1911 census they lived at 50 West Lane, Haworth, Keighley, West
Yorkshire, and by this time the family included several brothers and sisters:
Marion Butler (1899), Alice Butler (1901), Eric Butler (1902), Garfield
Butler (1904), Harry Kay Butler (1906, died aged 5) and Frank Butler (1910, died
Life during the early 20th century would have
been difficult for such a large family living in a rural area.
It is thought (though unconfirmed) that poverty
eventually drove his parents to seek refuge in a workhouse and their children
distributed amongst family relatives? Thereafter
it is believed he boarded with an aunt or grandparent?
Later friends and associates reported that Butler rarely talked
about his early life, although his book of lectures: Lords
of Light: The Path of Initiation in the Western Mysteries gives us a little
Education at that time particularly
for the poor would also have been basic and rudimentary, but in efforts to
improve his lot and climb out of the poverty trap, he attended night school
to study engineering.
He also joined the Liberal Catholic Church where he gained an interest in
occult studies. While there he came
to the attention of the exorcist, astrologer and Independent Bishop of
the Church - Dr. Robert King, who began
his early training as a medium in astral travel, exorcism and trance work. Much later in his life Butler became a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church himself.
Dr. Robert King
In 1917 Butler joined the Army as an
engineer and reaching the rank of A/Sgt with the Royal Garrison Artillery
(Army No - 32232) and spent a number of years serving in
India. While there he continued his
occult studies, particularly yoga and Eastern theology with a number of Indian
mystics and spiritual teachers.
He also came into contact with Annie Besant
the then leader of the esoteric Theosophical Society,
earlier founded by Madam H. P. Blavatsky in 1875,
but she rejected his requests to
study with her and instead advised him to return to
England and look for a “Lady with Roses”? (The Rose is a symbol
associated with the esoteric Rosicrucian
Society, which is based upon Western theology rather than the
Eastern theology of the Theosophical Society).
On his return to England, Butler married Gladys Irene
Newell in 1924 with who he later had a daughter called Iris.
In the following year 1925 having been rejected by Annie Besant and the Theosophical
Society, he joined the Society of
the Inner Light, a magical Order founded by Dion
Fortune as an offshoot of the by then defunct “Order
of the Golden Dawn”. There
he continued his own occult training and participated in their work giving
the occasional lecture and contributing articles to their Inner Light Magazine,
but at the end of World War II he left the Society for a time after a
disagreement with Fortune over Spiritualism.
Army in 1929, Butler worked for many years as an engineer until in 1956 he took
up a position working at the University of Southampton as a laboratory
technician in charge of physical chemistry.
Later in the 1950’s he returned to the
Liberal Catholic Church and took Holy Orders as a Priest.
In 1962 after rejoining the Society of the Inner Light, he
met and began working with another Society member Gareth Knight to write and
develop a correspondence course in
Practical Qabalah for the Helios Book Service, a small occult bookselling
and publishing business co-founded by Knight and his partner John Hall.
Knight at the time was also the editor of an occult magazine called “New
Dimensions” to which Butler had occasionally contributed articles.
After the initial start of the correspondence course and
with just six lessons contributed by Knight, Butler took over full
administration of the course and the supervision of its student’s work, while at
the same time writing more lessons. By
1965 Butler had extended the course to include 50 lessons, and using these as a
base, founded the “Servants of the Light” (SOL) as a
separate School of Occult Science. Butler
remained as Director of Studies of SOL until shortly before his
death, when he passed on the responsibility to Dolores
Gareth Knight - Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
Butler was a little concerned about his financial future for he made very little
money from the books he had published and would only have a small Army pension
and State pension to support himself and his wife.
However he needn’t have worried for he was able through friends to
move into an attractive country cottage near Southampton called “Little
Thatches”, and live there rent-free in return for general maintenance on the
house and garden.
Walter Ernest Butler
Walter Ernest Butler sadly died in Southampton on 1st August (Lammas Day) 1978, causes unknown. His legacy the “Servants of the Light” (SOL) continues to thrive today, and under the guidance of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki as Director of Studies supports more than 8000 students worldwide in their personal spiritual development.
Books by Walter Ernest Butler are now considered classics among experts, not
least due to his clear diction and extensive practical experience.
May he rest in peace.
Magic: Its Ritual, Power and Purpose by Walter Ernest Butler (Aquarian Press 1952)
The Magician: His Training and Work by Walter Ernest Butler (Aquarian Press 1959).
Apprenticed to Magic by Walter Ernest Butler (Aquarian Press 1962)
Magic and the Qabalah by Walter Ernest Butler (Aquarian Press, 1964)
How to Develop Clairvoyance by Walter Ernest Butler (Aquarian Press 1968)
How to Read the Aura by Walter Ernest Butler (Red Wheel Weiser 1971)
How to Develop Psychometry by Walter Ernest Butler (Aquarian Press 1971)
An Introduction to Telepathy by Walter Ernest Butler (Aquarian Press 1975)
Lords of Light: The Path of Initiation in the Western Mysteries by Walter Ernest Butler (Destiny Books 1990, edited by M.A. Geikie).
those remembered never be forgotten, for we shall not see their like again.
Copyright © George Knowles - 01st August 2016
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 and Totem Animals) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild 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
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
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)
Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders 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 / Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya / Allan Kardec (Spiritism) / Alphonsus de Spina / Amber K / Ann Moura / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Balthasar Bekker / Biddy Early / Barbara Vickers / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christopher Penczak / Christina Oakley Harrington / Cornelius Loos / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Donald Michael Kraig / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edain McCoy / Edward Fitch / Eleanor 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 Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Heinrich Kramer / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Ivo Domínguez Jr. / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jean 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 Spence / Lodovico Maria Sinistrari / Ludwig Lavater / Madeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Michael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" / Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Martin Antoine Del Rio / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" / Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set / 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 / Olivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Paul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school / Peter Binsfeld / Philip Heselton / Raven Grimassi / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Richard Baxter / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘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 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 / T. Thorn Coyle / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / Walter Ernest Butler / 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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