Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Written and compiled by George Knowles
The history of contemporary witchcraft is pretty well documented, and most people are familiar with the names of Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders and Robert Cochrane, but behind the scenes of these great players, there is a whole plethora of lesser known but equally dedicated people, without whose efforts the phenomenon that is witchcraft today would not have happened. One among these lesser-known people was John Score, known to many in his day as “M”, the founder of an early influential newsletter magazine called “The Wiccan” and its background organization “The Pagan Front”.
John Score was born in August 1914 in the village of Wimbourne, Dorset. He was the eldest of three children, but destined to suffer ill health for most of his life. Shortly after his birth he was diagnosed with pyloric stenosis, and later suffered with thrombosis and heart problems, despite this he led a full and active life. Score was aware of his natural psychic abilities from an early age, and claimed to be able to see images from a number of past lives, as well as hearing things from a different time or age. He could also read or sense things about people by handling personal objects, and often demonstrated this ability to his friends.
As he was growing up, Score spent much of his time with his grandfather who worked for British Rail as a stationmaster. He was fascinated with the station’s loudspeaker system and love to play with the microphone announcing train arrivals and departure time information. This lead him to choose a career associated with transport and communication, and in 1931 he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) specializing in signals and communications. During the course of World War II, Score advanced through the ranks and after the standard 15 years of service, retired in 1945 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant (Signals).
Score was a tall and imposing man with a magnetic personality. He was an idealist with an inventive mind, but was also extremely practical in the sense of organization. He loved to socialise and enjoyed music, he could play the guitar, ukulele and violin, though only self-taught and played by ear. After leaving the RAF, Score sought and gained employment in the civilian telecommunications industry, and in 1948 was responsible for setting up and directing the communications network used at the Olympic Games, held that year in London and for which he was awarded a Bronze medallion.
During his career in the RAF and through the international cooperation he received during the Olympic Games, Score made many close friends around the world, most particularly in the United States. He was also keenly aware of the social-political changes that were occurring on an international scale. By the late 1950’s many politically inspired peace movements were beginning to form and in 1958-59, he became actively involved with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, helping to organize rallies against nuclear weapons.
Since childhood, Score never lost his thirst for occult knowledge, he had studied astrology and taught himself to cast and interpret horoscopes, about which he was convinced that given a person’s exact birthplace, time and date, it was possible to predict in advance influences that would affect a person’s life. He also made a study of palmistry and graphology. Not surprisingly given his early experiences with clairvoyance, he was particularly interested in reincarnation, trance work and anything connected with the spirit world. Working with a spiritual healer friend, during trance he was able to experience memories of his own past lives in ancient Egypt and Atlantis.
With his inventive mind, Score researched ways to use his technical knowledge to develop an instrument for communicating with spirits, without the need of a human medium. His work was done independently of other researchers in what eventually became known as the “electronic voice phenomenon”, the recording of spirit voices directly onto magnetic tape. Score believed he achieved some success, but the onset of poor health issues forced him to leave his work incomplete.
Due to the decline of his health, Score began to research different forms of natural healing and alternative medicines, including: naturopathy, osteopathy, herbalism, biofeedback and homeopathy, he also turned vegetarian in order to naturally purify his body from chemically enhanced produce. He believed that doctors were only of value for diagnosis and surgery, and that one should avoid their medicinal drugs, many of which he believed caused far more illnesses than they cured. To promote his ideas on natural therapies, he organized a group, which became the forerunner of today’s much larger “Association of Alternative Medicine”.
Score also experimented with channeling “divine healing powers” and is said to have compiled a list of over a hundred herbal and homeopathic remedies designed for specific complaints, and used to supplement and maintain the effects of magical healing. He also developed a method of “saline oxygen therapy”, which was then used to good effect at a naturopathic institute in the United States. For his work in this field, he later received an Honorary Doctorate in Naturopathy from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
It was about this time in the early 1960’s that Score first became involved with the newly evolving Wicca/Witchcraft movement. Predominantly a nature-based religion combining a working craft, it fitted nicely with his own beliefs in the ancient wisdom of Old Religions. He joined a group of Gardnerians practicing near his home village in the New Forrest area of Hampshire, and was initiated by Dolores North (the pen name of Madeline Montalban, also known as The Witch of St Giles because she lived in St Giles High Street in London). Later he formed his own group called the “Order of the Golden Acorn” (OGA) to explore his own ideas of what he called “the Old Religion of Wisecraft”. With his practical talents for wood and metalworking, Score made all of his own working tools including a magnificent ceremonial sword with a beautifully hand carved presentation case to keep it in.
In the mid 1960’s Score served for a while as Chairman of his local Ratepayers Association, but his tenure was cut short when a tabloid newspaper broke an article about his involvement with “Craft” activities and he was forced to resign. Unable to afford the legal representation it would take to clear his name, and take on the might of a newspaper, Score felt bitterly frustrated by the injustice of it. As was his way, he determined it wouldn’t happen to others, and founded his own publication to counter religious discrimination in all its forms.
In 1968 with himself as the editor, Score started one of the UK’s most popular and influential pagan newsletter magazines The Wiccan. Under his direction and with the aid of friends, the Wiccan rose to prominence in both the UK and the United States. This led to the founding of the “Pagan Front” here in the UK, and its counterpart the “Pagan Way” in America led by Ed Fitch and Joseph B. Wilson. While each initially worked together with the same aims, each evolved separately.
The founding of the Pagan Front in the UK was announced in the thirteenth issue of the Wiccan on the 02nd September 1970; it was backed by Doreen Valiente with the support of three English covens, one Gardnerian and two traditional craft covens. In November 1970 Doreen Valiente led a full moon ritual to inaugurate various divisions of the organization, and at Beltane on the 01st May 1971, chaired the organization’s first National Convention meeting located in Chiswick, West London.
Score earned the respect and affection of all those who he worked with, and even those who he disagreed with, but his views on the craft at this time were passionately opinionated and sometimes controversial, which made him both friends and enemies. He favoured feminism, care of the environment, free contraception and abortion, and was strongly opposed to the concept of matriarchy, homosexuality, capital punishment and Alex Sanders, a person he considered to be a publicity-seeking charlatan.
Score suffered from ill health through much of his adult life, particularly in his later years. During his last two years he was mostly bedridden and often-in pain, but despite this he continued a prolific correspondence. From his sickbed he made many phone calls advising friends and dealing with problems, while continuing to plan for the future of the magazine and organisation he had created. Just two weeks before his death he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died on the 30th December 1979. John Score departed leaving behind his devoted wife Jean and two young sons, and a legacy that continued to grow after his passing.
The legacy he left behind was the Wiccan newsletter magazine, by then the most influential pagan publication in the country, and the organization behind it the Pagan Front. Score had established the Pagan Front to defend and protect pagans from unwarranted exploitation and prejudice, and to campaign through the media and official channels for Paganism to be recognized as a religion. Over time as the organization grew, it also provided an important national and international networking service for its members.
After his death in 1979, one of his friends a Gardnerian high priestess by the name of Leonora James took over as editor of the Wiccan and became the first President of the Pagan Front. As an ex-Cambridge graduate trained as a philosopher and grounded in Greek and Roman classics, Leonora brought a much-needed intellectual flavour to the organisation. Over the next few years she broadened the organisations base to make it more inclusive and representative of all pagan groups and traditions, adding and inviting Alexandrians, Druids, Heathens and followers of other pagan paths to join its affiliated membership.
In 1981 the Pagan Front changed its name to the Pagan Federation, this to avoid any association with extremist neo-Nazi groups such as the politically active right-wing National Front, and further to better reflect the organisations role as an affiliation of different groups. The organisations mouthpiece newsletter publication survived as “The Wiccan” for another decade, before it too received a makeover. In 1994 it was given a full format glossy magazine style, renamed the “Pagan Dawn” and went on sale to the general public.
Today the Pagan Federation is an internationally recognized organisation representing Pagan groups in over fourteen countries. Its core function still remains much as it’s founder John Score had intended it to be: “to campaign for Paganism to be legally recognised as a Religion, and for pagans to be able to practice their religion without fear of discrimination and prejudice”. To this end the Pagan Federation works closely with institutions, government agencies and the general public to present and disseminate accurate information about Paganism, and to uphold the rights of pagans everywhere in accordance to the precepts of ‘Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, which states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, this right includes the freedom to change his religion or belief, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”.
After the death of John Score on the 30th December 1979, his wife Jean continued to run their coven group the “Order of the Golden Acorn”, but later passed it on to others to run while she concentrated on bringing up his family. Jean Score died in 2002, honoured by a fitting tribute from her sons: “She was the Moon to our fathers Sun. He shone brightly, and she reflected his brilliance back onto everyone”.
The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-paganism - By Shelley Rabinovitch
The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
The Witch Book - The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism - By Raymond Buckland
The Triumph of the Moon - Ronald Hutton
Inventing Witchcraft, A Case Study in the Creation of a New Religion - by Aidan A. Kelly
Written and compiled on the 15th May 2007 © George Knowles
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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