Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Monique Marie Mauricette Wilson (nee Arnoux) was born in Haiphong, North Vietnam in 1928. Her parents were French, the father being a French naval officer stationed there in the seaport. She first met Gerald B. Gardner as a child in Haiphong and came to know him as “Uncle Gerald”. At the time Gardner was working as a customs official for the British government, a position that allowed him to travel widely in the area and occasionally brought him into contact with her father.
Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, Monique was witness to the unfortunate murder of her father by Communists in the streets of Hanoi, after which she and her mother joined many other refugees and fled to the relative safety of Hong Kong, there to wait out the war. Life was tough in Hong Kong during the war, more so after the British surrendered to the Japanese on the 25th December 1941. It remained tough until the end of the war and the British reoccupied the island following the surrender of Japan on the 14th August 1945.
After the war and while still living in Hong Kong, Monique met her future husband a Scotsman called Campbell Wilson, or “Scotty” to all who knew him. At the time he was serving as a Flight Lieutenant with the Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force and stationed in Hong Kong. Within months of their meeting they got engaged and soon after were married. After leaving the service in 1954, they returned to the UK and settled in Perth, Scotland, where Scotty went to work for the local gas board. Three years later they were blessed with a daughter called Yvette.
While living in Perth, Monique became interested in the Old Religion, inspired in part by a book called Witchcraft Today (1954) and news media articles about the book’s author “Gerald Gardner”, dubbed by the press as “Britain’s Chief Witch”. Gardner was gaining popularity in the daily tabloids, though sometimes controversially, as the owner of a “Museum of Witchcraft and Magic” based on the Isle of Man.
Not knowing whom the author actually was, Monique wrote to him seeking further information about the craft, and was surprised to find that he was the same “Uncle Gerald” she had known as a child in Haiphong many years earlier. After renewing their friendship Gardner initiated Monique into the craft, and later in 1961 elevated her to High Priestess. She was given the craft name of Lady Olwen, and her husband Scotty who acted as her High Priest was named Loic. Their daughter Yvette although still a young a child, was also initiated and given the craft name of Morven.
Monique and Gerald Gardner
Gardner’s aim at the time was to proliferate and establish working covens across the UK and Scotland, so Monique under his guidance formed her own coven in Perth, and Gardner became a regular visitor. Gardner showed a lot of affection for Monique (perhaps due to their earlier relationship in Haiphong) and often referred to her as his niece, although there was no physical blood tie between them. She also became one of his main spokespersons on the craft, and attracted much media publicity. Through her association with Gardner, the popular press dubbed her the “Queen of the Witches”, a claim she never refuted and indeed sometimes embellished.
Monique ‘skyclad’ performing a ritual
In November 1963 at the bequest of Gardner, Monique and Scotty initiated Raymond Buckland and his wife Rosemary into the craft, a momentous event in the History of contemporary Witchcraft on two counts, one, it would prove to be the last initiation ceremony attended by Gardner himself, and two, it paved the way for the Buckland’s to introduce the Gardnerian tradition of Witchcraft into the United States, the effect of which Gardner would never see. After attending the Buckland’s initiation (their first and only physical meeting), Gardner left the UK to vacation the winter months in the Lebanon. On his return by ship aboard The Scottish Prince, Gardner suffered a fatal heart attack. He died on the 12th February 1964 and was buried the following day in Tunis.
In his will, Gardner left an estate with an estimated value of £21.688, the bulk of which he left to Monique Wilson. This included all the contents and artefacts of the ‘Museum of Witchcraft’ housed in the ‘Witches Mill’ located in Castletown on the Isle of Man. He also left her his cottage on Malew Street, which contained almost as many artefacts as in the museum, including his collection of swords and daggers, his other magical working tools and objects, plus numerous notebooks, papers and other important documents. Because Gardner and his wife Donna never had children, or any other living heirs, copyright to all his writings also went to Monique.
Gardner’s Cottage on Malew Street in Castletown
Initially in his will, Gardner left the ‘Witches Mill’ and all its out buildings to William Worrall, the museums manager/caretaker, but added the stipulation that if he didn’t wish to take it, it should then revert to Monique, and this is what happened. Another beneficiary of his will was Jack Bracelin his biographer, to whom he bequeathed the more commercial part of the museum “the Witches Kitchen”, a small restaurant attached to the museum together with a grant of a £1000. Later when the Wilson’s moved in and took over the museum, they purchased the Kitchen from Bracelin, making the museum a more viable financial venture.
The Witches Mill in Castletown
Other beneficiaries of his will, which is now preserved at Sumerset House in London, were Mrs Lois Pearson of Carlyle Avenue in St Albans, to whom he left £1000 plus his shares and interests in Ancient Crafts Ltd, a company he had formed with Dafo in 1947 to buy a piece of land adjacent to the naturist club he frequented near St Albans. To Mrs Edith Woodford-Grimes (other wise known as Dafo) of Avenue Road, Highcliffe in Hants, he left £1500. He also bequeathed lesser amounts to two of his past High Priestesses, Doreen Valiente and Patricia Crowther.
Following Gardner’s death and the dispersion of his will, the Wilson’s left their home in Perth, Scotland and moved to Castletown on the Isle of Man, taking up residence in Gardner’s old stone cottage. There they took over the running of the Museum and set about trying to continue his work. To this end the Wilson’s continued to generate a deal of media coverage, most of it positive, but sadly their relationship with other leaders of the Craft (perhaps out of jealousy, Gardner having left so much of his estate to one person???) become quite strained. Eleanor Rae Bone was particularly adamant in her objection to Monique’s continued use of the press inspired title “Queen of the Witches”, as she was equally apposed to Alex Sanders and his title "King of the Witches".
While Monique did her best to cultivate a positive image for the Craft in the media, the press at best is a fickle friend, and a few years later in 1969 the “News of the World” ran a sensationalised story about the Wilson’s daughter Yvette. It appears that neighbours started a rumour she had been abused as a child and forced to take part in Witchcraft Rituals. As a result of these allegations, Yvette was placed on a special supervision order and under the protection of a probation officer for the next three years.
Under such pressure and circumstances, what with the press on a rampage looking for her blood, and when most other Elders in the craft were closing ranks against her, Monique’s situation deteriorated. As a result she started drinking seeking solace from a bottle. Up until this time her husband Scotty had always played second fiddle to his wife, and supported her in all her endeavours, but seeing the effect this combination of events had caused upon his family, decisively stepped in and urged Monique to sell the Museum. In 1973, Scotty himself took the lead role and began to negotiate the sale of the Witchcraft Museum to the “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” consortium in the United States.
After the sale of the Museum in 1973, Scotty used the proceeds to move and relocate his family to Torremolinos, Andalucia in Spain, at the time, still a quiet and sleepy little village. There withdrawn from any further involvement in Witchcraft, they bought a cafe and began to rebuild their lives. Both Monique and Scotty are believed to have passed into Summerland, sometime in the mid-1980’s, Scotty Wilson as a result of an auto accident???
The Wilson’s were widely condemned by the English witch community for selling off the Witchcraft Museum and all its artefacts outside the UK. Many had considered Gardner’s collection of artefacts, his notebooks and other important documents, as part of England’s National Heritage, and as the custodian of such treasures, Monique was viewed as having “sold out”, of abusing her position and responsibilities as one of Gardner’s last High Priestesses. As a result of her perceived treachery, the Wilson’s became outcasts with their name forever reviled.
Despite such treatment by witches in the UK, the Wilson’s name is much better regarded in the United States. There the Wilson’s legacy to furthering the aims of Gerald Gardner continues on through the efforts of their early initiates Raymond and Rosemary Buckland. After receiving intensive training from Monique and Scotty in 1963, the Buckland’s were initiated and raised to High Priest and Priestess. Before they returned home to Long Island, Gardner himself presented them with a copy of the Gardnerian “Book of Shadows”, with which they founded the first Gardnerian coven in the United States.
Raymond and Rosemary Buckland
This was in the early days of the 1960s, since when the spread of the Craft movement in the United States has been both rapid and successful. Buckland’s introduction of Gardnerian witchcraft into the US was an inspired move, for it coincided with many other radically developing social and political movements and an increasing interest in alternative spiritualities. All of this helped to ensure the popularity, spread and survival of Gardnerian Witchcraft across the United States.
Today, there are many differing types and traditions of Witchcraft in the US, and nearly all of them have been influenced to some extent by the work of Gerald Gardner and other early pioneers from the 1950’s and 60’s, Alex Sanders and Robert Cochrane among others. It stands to reason therefore, that if not for the Wilson’s efforts and training, the Gardnerian influence on the Craft in the United States may never have happened, and Craft history today could have been very different.
After the sale of the Witchcraft museum to “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” consortium, Richard and Tamarra James, founders of the Wiccan Church of Canada based in Toronto, managed to buy back the bulk of Gardner's collection in 1987. Although the collection is still not back in the UK where many believe it should be, it is now back within the Craft and available for witches and pagans everywhere to view and visit.
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
Written and compiled on the 29th 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 Henry Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya / 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 / 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 / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / 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 / Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" / 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" / 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 / 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 / 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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