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“Doreen Valiente Witch” by Philip Heselton

 Book publishing date 22nd February 2016

 

Book Review by George Knowles - 07th February 2016

Hail Ho Guys 

Merry we meet 

Book review:  “Doreen Valiente Witch” 

For anyone interested in the history of contemporary Wicca/Witchcraft this book “Doreen Valiente Witch” by Philip Heselton is a must have for your library collection.  While Gerald B. Gardner is commonly considered the founder and “Father” of contemporary Witchcraft, perhaps more than anyone else before and after his death in 1964, it was Doreen Valiente who nurtured his vision and helped to change and shape it into the acceptable recognised religion and spirituality it is today.  Meticulously researched and written by the author of “WitchFather:  A Life of Gerald Gardner”, here Philip expands his knowledge from that biography into the fascinating life of Doreen Valiente, now considered the “Mother” of contemporary Witchcraft. 

While much of the broad and basic history of Doreen’s life was already known, in this new biography Philip dig’s much deeper and interviews many of the people she had known and worked with over the years.  Amply noted and quoted throughout the book (the list of contributors reads like a veritable Who’s Who of Contemporary Paganism), they reveal many personal details about her life previously unknown and brings us all the more closer to understanding her as a normal regular person with common everyday interests, wants and needs.  For instance it is interesting to learn that during the late 1950’s Doreen had more than a passing interest in Horseracing and betting, and even created her own unique methods of studying form.  Philip states:  An example in her notebook for August 1958 was very technical and involved various methods and partial methods, such as which courses had been best over the previous ten years for non-handicap favourites.  She also notes that 3 Year-old handicaps are very difficult to forecast, form is likely to be upset by soft going caused by rain.” 

Philip also reveals that her interests were not just limited to Horseracing, but also included Football.  Quoting from an interview with Janet Farrar in 2013 (who with her husband Stewart share a special relationship with Doreen), Janet states:  There was one part of the year when nobody, and that included Stewart and me, was welcome at Doreen's house.  When the World Cup was on, that was it!  The door of the flat was locked and nobody got inside until the World Cup was over.  She was a football fanatic.  We knew that was the one time you 'did' not disturb Doreen Valiente...” 

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Doreen’s life for me was her time and working occupation during WWII, the years 1939-1945, much of which is still clouded and shrouded in mystery.  Despite having left school early and without the advantages of a higher education, Doreen appears to have become more than proficient in languages, as such and throughout the duration of the war she became employed as a linguist/translator by the MOD (Ministry of Defence).  Sadly I have been cautioned by the publishers not to reveal to much about this so you will need to purchase the book to find out more. 

Doreen Valiente Witch” was commissioned by John Belham-Payne, the co-founder of the Centre for Pagan Studies (CFPS) in 1995 to which Doreen Valiente became Patron, and in association with the Doreen Valiente Foundation (DVF), officially formed on the 6th March 2011 as charitable trust with the objective to preserve her extensive collection of historical books and manuscripts, as well as her personal notebooks, other writings, copyrights and artefacts bequeathed to him after her death in 1999.  Philip therefore was given unprecedented access to their archives to begin his research, and his researches did indeed bear fruit.  As he retraces her life and path as a witch, this book goes a long way in clearing up issues that over time have become clouded, such as her initial meetings with Gerald Gardner and Dafo in 1952 and the real reasons for her split with him in 1957, her association with and the conspiracies surrounding Charles Cardell circa 1958, and later her meetings and workings with Robert Cochrane and his Clan of Tubal Cain. 

Doreen was a life-long book-a-holic, a credible researcher on esoteric subjects, and a prolific writer and contributor to many of the associated news media/magazine’s during her time.  As an author her first book “Where Witchcraft Lives” was published in 1962 and was followed by “An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present” in 1973, since then both these books have became classic best sellers.  She was also a prolific and outstanding poet, and perhaps her most famous poem “The Charge of the Goddess” has become the basic liturgy for initiation into Witchcraft used all around the world.  Throughout this new biography, Philip give us a detailed breakdown view of most all of Doreen’s published work’s and poetry.  Philip is also careful to point out that he doesn’t have all the answers, and for the benefit of future researchers generously indicates those area’s were he has made assumptions or simply didn’t know the answer. 

One final comment before I close this brief review and for me as a ex-serving member of the British Armed Forces (Army) something I found most interesting, in Chapter 18 (Pg 254-255) entitled “Correspondence, Visitors and Friends in High Places”, Philip reveals that Doreen was a friend and confidante of the Queen Mother.  Well I certainly didn’t know that before!!  There are many other surprising and interesting snippets of information to be found in this book, but you will need to read it yourself to find them.   

As stated at the beginning of this review, for anyone interested in the history of contemporary Wicca/Witchcraft this book “Doreen Valiente Witch” by Philip Heselton is a must have for your library collection.  Buy it, read it and enjoy it. 

Best wishes and Merry we part. 

George Knowles (Man in Black).

E-mail - George@controverscial.com

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Site Contents - Links to all Pages

 

Home Page

 

A Universal Message:

 

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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:

 

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:

 

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

 

Animals:

 

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

 

Trees:

 

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

 

 

Biographies

 

Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)

 

Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders 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 /  Amber KAnna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman Spare /  Biddy Early /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /  Charles Henry Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya /  Charles WaltonChristina Oakley Harrington Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  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 /  Isaac Bonewits Israel RegardieJack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJessie 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 ScoreJoseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceMargaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew 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” TelescoPhilip HeseltonRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Robert CochraneRobert ‘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 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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