Sunday, November 27, 2016

Headscratcher: Nevermind the misspelling man behind the curtain

It really is annoying when ever I hear or see the red herring terminology like this little gem I found online, by someone in my area who promotes himself as a local leader and is taking students, for a minimal fee, to teach Craft:

"I call what I teach, a modified form of Gardinarian Wicca. What that means is that I use traditional methods for teaching, and very traditional forms for ritual. Any Gardinarian coming to my ritual would immediately recognize it... The difference is that I have modified some elements in ways that work better for me. This is the basis of Witchcraft..."

Yeah.  That.

So my fellow pointy-hatted many things are wrong with this diatribe?  Let's count, shall we?

ONE:  This guy charges for training in the Craft --- this in and of itself tells me that he hasn't had British Traditional Training, because if he had, he'd know we don't ever charge for training.  It is bad form, bad juju, bad manners.  If he is teaching his own form of the Craft, he can do what he likes in so far as charging for it ---although as a potential student, how would you know the value of the teaching is worth the cost of the class?--- but his stuff isn't BTW-based then, since he's ascribed a financial value to it.

TWO:  Spelling it 'Gardinarian' is a sure-fire way to say you are either too lazy to spell-check Gerald Gardner's name and thus the namesake tradition....or else you were being purposefully sneaky by not using the correct spelling, thereby giving yourself the ability to say "I used a variant of old Gerald's name to denote my stuff is a variant of the real Garderian tradition."

That latter bit then brings us to...

THREE:  Saying your stuff is a variant of something to which you are not privy is ridiculous.  It is impossible to truly know what encompasses Gardnerian traditional Craft practice unless you are an initiate of that how can you say yours is a variant of something you do not know first hand??!?  Moreover, you wouldn't be exposed to all of the teachings of a Gardnerian tradition unless you were brought all the way through to 3rd Degree, and then given permission to teach it, with duly made oaths to not expose what you've been foresworn in your practice and revelatory experience to others, unless they too are proper people, given similar initiation into the tradition and likewise foresworn to protect it?

Thus, what we have here is someone once again wanting the "pagan street cred" of claiming knowledge of things he may only have barest gleanings about, then making assumptions and suppositions about those little bits and then "making it his own" in some fashion and claiming his is a "modified version" of the whole encompassing reality of a tradition to which he isn't a member.


I think not.

But there are folks like this out there, gang.  Still.  They think people like me --the people who call them out on their verbal slight-of-hand and dubious integrity in Craft teaching--- they think I AM A BIG MEANIE POOPYHEAD.

With all due respect, I'm just protecting my tribe, my tradition, good sir.  I'm doing what my oaths say by shining a big spotlight on you.

And if you DID have the initiation you claimed to have, you'd know this.  You'd know better.

Go do you your own Craft thing.  Go teach others, and do so with all good intention and aplomb.  I applaud you and wish you all good success.

Just stop trying to ascribe some vague notion of that my tradition, however you may bastardize its spelling, is a "stamp of approval" toward what you're doing.


  1. Where does it say anything about charging? I do not charge my personal students anything for teaching them. I was taught that it's part of my responsibility as a person with knowledge, to share it with those who are seeking it.

    Yes, I misspelled Gardnerian. I hurriedly typed out the description, and spell check didn't catch it, not surprisingly. You are correct, I am not trained in the Gardnerian Tradition, though my First Degree training was from a coven trained Gardnerian Priestess, who is well known and highly respected in the local community.

    I call what I do, Modified Gardnerian, because it gives context that others will understand. I also incorporate Ceremonial Magick, and other ritual forms. I could call myself and what I teach "eclectic", but it's been my experience that eclectic has come to mean anything goes, and that is not what I practice or teach.

    It is absolutely my own Tradition, but has no name, so I've been labeling it as Modified Gardnerian. None of the Traditional Gardnerians I know in the community have given me any indication they have a problem with it.

    I have no problem giving another name to what I do, just so long as it's not "Greyhartian".

    I do not think you are a "Big Meanie Poopiehead". By all means, if you hear or see me doing something questionable, call me out on it. It keeps my feet firmly on the ground, where they belong. I may not be able to explain why I'm doing something, to your satisfaction, but I will always have a reason for doing it. I will do the same for you. ;)

    1. Thank you for the courtesy of your reply, Greyhart. I understand from what you've written that you were not intentionally meaning to be deceitful, and that is good to hear.

      As may be evidenced by my previous blogs here on BROOMHANDLE, more often than not when folks liken their practices to Gardner's version of Craft, it is because the claimants think doing so lends some sort of prestige or....and I despise this word, "legitimacy" what they are doing and/or teaching, as if by name-dropping ol' Gerald has anything to do with creating a value or worth to one's Craft explorations and experience.

      To give an analogy, it would be akin to one variety of business using a market competitor's branding to further promote their own if saying "Buy a Ford because we're just as good as a Chevy" or "Come to Yale, we're as good as Harvard" or something equally silly. It rings with a falseness that feels like rather than thinking what one is doing is valid and good and workable in its own right, you need to coat-tail ride what another group has done in order to bolster yourself.

      So yes, I am pretty vigilant and annoyed by folks likening their Craft practices to what I do, especially because the only way to make the proper association with Gardnerian praxis, one would have had to become a Gardnerian first...otherwise, one would just be speculating about what they think Gards are about and what they do...and then attempting to superimpose that onto another form of practice, as if they are similar.

      This is why it is annoying, if not offensive, to practitioners of other traditions to hear their group being used as a label in this fashion.

      When it is so obvious that you are very passionate and learned in your own form of Craft, and that is honorable and worthwhile, why not let it stand on its own and be recognized as a valid and unique entity? That you have designed it to work within a more structured form of teaching and ritual style than other eclectic practices out there is enough explanation to differentiate it. Speak to what YOU espouse and do in your Craft, not merely compare it to what you assume OTHERS espouse and do.

      There is integrity and authenticity enough in having many a successful new form or denomination of Craft practice available to seekers. The proof, if you will, comes in working it successfully and building a downline of similar practitioners and groups from your initial basis. THAT is what tradition means, the carrying on of form and ritual and substance from generation to generation beyond the initial scope.

      And as a funny aside, the name "Gardnerian" was actually a slanderous term coined by another British traditional witch, Robert Cochrane. He felt that what Gerald Gardner was promoting was nothing like what Cochrane was practicing at the time and so when he'd run into other self-proclaimed witches, he'd ask with a sneer, "You're not one of those Gardnerians, are you?"



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