Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, a working coven founded in 1985 that runs local moots, teaching circles and it’s own correspondence course. To supplement the covens teaching, a year later in 1986 they started a Pagan magazine called Silver Wheel to provide additional information and practical advice about Paganism and Witchcraft to a wider audience. Since writing her first book Herb Craft (1995) Anna has authored some 28 other books on associated subjects.
Anna was born on the 15th December 1955 in Derbyshire, England. Initially cared for by the local council (an orphanage), she was later adopted by a Roman Catholic family and raised in a small Leicestershire town called Hinckley. As a child she was sent to a Roman Catholic convent school and there spent most of her time in the library reading Greek and Norse mythology. Even then at such a young age the Goddesses - Aphrodite and Athene resonated and inspired her, and she wondered if anyone else felt the same way about the Old Gods?
After finishing Convent School, Anna spent the next four years studying at John Cleveland College, a Grammar School in Hinckley, where she gained a lasting passion for Photography and Art. In 1973 at the age of 18, she took a year out from her studies for work experience, this she spent working for a local newspaper but was later fired for allowing rude words past the proof reading stage. It was during this time that Anna finally met other people who felt the same way she did about the Old Gods - they called themselves Witches. This was a Gardnerian group run by a lady (High Priestess) called Julia Isobel Reed, and it was she who introduced Anna to native Celtic deities and the practice of Witchcraft. Anna received her 1st degree initiation later that same year.
After a trip around Europe, Anna started on a foundation course at Nuneaton Art School specialising in photography, and then went on to earn an honours degree in Fine Art from Lanchester Polytechnic College in Coventry. After finishing college in 1980, over the next few years she built a career around photography and art. She worked first as a press photographer, then as a seaside photographer, a sports photographer and as a community artist. She presented her work in exhibitions and also taught and lectured on photography, video, watercolour painting and drawing.
In 1983, ten years after taking her 1st degree initiation, Anna received her 2nd degree from the Hearth of Brighid of the Coranieid Clan, a Traditional Witchcraft coven led by Sara and Phil Robinson in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Sara was an initiate of the Horsa coven, the famous New Forest Coven in which Sybil Leek had been a High Priestess during the late 1940’s and which claimed to have existed for over 700 years.
Sybil Leek in the New Forest
According to Sybil Leek: “There are four old covens operating in the New Forrest area, the Horsa coven (horsa being the Anglo-Saxon word for horse) near Burley of which she was the High Priestess, the others being located at Lymington, Lyndhurst and Brook.” It was to one of these others that Gerald Gardner had been associated, and whose workings he elaborated on to form what evolved as the contemporary tradition of Gardnerian Wicca. With Sara and Phil Robinson, Anna was able to learn and distinguish the difference between Traditional Witchcraft and modern Gardnerian Wicca.
A couple of years later Sara and Phil Robinson moved away from Nuneaton to re-settle on the south coast, so it was left to Anna to keep their local group running. Initially the group travelled south to join them for the Sabbats, but when this became impracticable, Anna was given licence to form her own “Coven of the Clan” and called it the Hearth of Arianrhod. She later received her 3rd degree elevation from Merrymoon, the covens then High Priest. As the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, Anna started running open circles, teaching circles and a correspondence course.
While Anna had always loved to write as a teenager, she had written many short stories and even a novel for self-interest, she now began to write serious pagan related material to supplement her coven teachings, and in 1986 founded the Pagan magazine called Silver Wheel. With only a few Pagan/Wiccan magazines in circulation at that time, the Silver Wheel proved a great success. After the initial flourish of interest in Wicca/Witchcraft throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, Paganism was continuing to grow expeditiously, and there was a genuine need for more information by the many new people attracted to the Craft.
Initially the Silver Wheel was published eight times a year as printed magazine, and was used as a vehicle to show case her work and that of other Hearth of Arianrhod members who were also producing articles, poetry and artwork. In 1988 it was reduced to four issues a year, and now from Beltane 2009, after twenty-three years of continual publication, it will take on the form of an annual paperback book published in May of each year.
Anna next began to concentrate on her other Craft activities and was soon a familiar sight at psychic fairs, events and magical gatherings manning the Silver Wheel Craft stall and giving tarot readings. As her contacts grew, she began to supply many of UK’s occult shops with ritually prepared incenses, perfumed oils and other magical products. Having already studied herbalism, Anna re-trained as a therapist in reflexology and aromatherapy, and later with two friends - Sue Phillips and Amazon Riley opened a Holistic Healing Centre.
It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that Anna wrote her first book Herb Craft (1995), co-written with another High Priestess - Sue Lavender. Since then while she continues to contribute articles to magazines, she has written over 28 books covering such subjects as: Herbs, Incense and Oils, Animal Familiars, Festivals and Feasts, Magick and Personal Power, Tarot, Oracles and Fairies. Most of her books are based on the Craft and its practice, and draw upon her training and experiences as a High Priestess running a tradition coven. Paul Mason, a long time friend she met at Art College way back in the late 1970’s, illustrated many of her books.
Today Anna is still the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which continues to run regular moots, open circles and social evenings. Since 2005 they have also hosted the “Mercian Gathering”, the UK’s largest annual Pagan camp-out weekend, held during the first week of September on private land near Nuneaton, Warwickshire. As well as rituals centered on celebrating the season and honouring the Gods, there are guest talks by prominent speakers, workshops, healing sessions and free ‘have a go’ Archery lessons.
The highlights of the weekend feature a large flaming Labyrinth and the burning of a huge Wicker Man. One of Anna’s main hobbies is Archery, and as Chairwoman of the Hwicce Bowmen (pronounced H-wich-uh) she and her merry band of Barebow Archers have the honour of shooting the Wicker Man with flaming arrows to set it alight (for more information about the coming year’s gathering see: http://www.merciangathering.com/). All profits made at the event are donated to charity.
Also in 2005, Anna founded Lear Books, a small press publisher specializing in Pagan oriented books, about which she writes: “Lear Books was born out of my frustration with mainstream publishers. I grew tired of having to dumb down my books when publishers would say 'that's too difficult for the reader, take that out and put some spells in' or 'angels/crystals/fairies are popular, can you write a book about angels/crystals/fairies?' I also grew tired of having to threaten some publishers with legal action to get my royalties paid.” We aim to publish Pagan books by people who are experienced, practicing Pagans, not jobbing writers. We want authors to write the books that they want to write on the subjects they know about. Three of her more prominent authors include: Nigel Campbell Pennick, Dr Michael Berman and Pat Regan.
Anna lives in a village in the Midlands with her partner John and eight cats. They grow most of their own fruit, vegetables and herbs while trying to live “The Good Life”. They have a love affair with Egypt and dream of owning a winter home in Luxor!
Herb Craft - with Sue Lavender - (Capall Bann 1995)
Familiars: The Animal Powers of Britain - (Capall Bann 1997)
Pagan Feasts - with Sue Phillips - (Capall Bann 1997)
Personal Power - (Capall Bann 1998)
The Sacred Circle Tarot: A Celtic Pagan Journey - (Llewellyn Worldwide 1998)
The Wellspring - with Pamela Harvey (Capall Bann 2000)
Fairy Lore - (Capall Bann 2000)
Ritual Incenses and Oils - (Capall Bann 2000)
Lammas - with Paul Mason (Llewellyn Worldwide 2001)
Midsummer - (Llewellyn Worldwide 2002)
Real Wicca for Teens - with Sue Phillips (Capall Bann 2002)
The Fairy Ring - (Llewellyn Worldwide 2002)
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Fairies - (Vega/Chrysalis 2003)
Hearth Witch - (Lear Books 2004)
Watercolor Fairies: A Step-by-step Guide to Creating the Fairy World - (Watson-Guptill 2004)
A Romantic Guide to Handfasting (Rituals, Recipes & Lore) - (Llewellyn Publications 2005)
Working with Fairies (Magick Spells, Potions & Recipes to Attract & See Them) - (New Page Books 2005)
Pagan Ritual Path of the Priest/priestess - (Lear Books 2008)
Handfasting a Practical Guide - (Lear Books 2009)
Midsummer Solstice History Lore and Celebration - (Lear Books 2010)
Lughnasa History Lore and Celebration - (Lear Books 2010)
Yule History Lore Celebration - (Lear Books 2010 )
Yet to be posted.
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 / T. Thorn Coyle / 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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