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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others

Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki



Written and compiled by George Knowles


Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki is a British occult Author, Psychic, Lecturer and Teacher of Western Mystery Traditions.  She is the current Director of Studies of the “Servants of the Light”, one of the UK’s leading esoteric schools, founded by her late teacher Walter Ernest Butler in 1973.  The school has roots going back to an earlier Occult order, the “Society of the Inner Light” founded by Dion Fortune in 1924.


Dolores was born on the 11th June 1929 on the Island of Jersey off the coast of France.  Her great grandmother was a full-blooded gypsy gifted with natural occult talents, many of which she passed on to her grandmother.  Although her grandmother didn’t practice witchcraft “per se”, she did use magick in a craft sort of way, and she in turn passed down her knowledge onto her mother.  Her parents were both third-degree initiates and ran a group that was similar to an occult lodge, but care had to be taken to keep this secret due to restrictions still in force under the old Witchcraft Laws; it was therefore only referred to as their 'discussion group'.


According to Dolores:  “…they lived in a little cottage where all the rooms ran off a short corridor.  The room in which her parents entertained visitors was separated from her own room by a curtain.  During their meetings she would climb out of bed and go listen from behind the curtain, and there often fell asleep, at which times her mother would pick her up and put her back in bed.  Eventually they simply let her stay up and listen, on which occasions she would curl up in a corner of the settee until she fell asleep”.


In this way Dolores was brought up in a family tradition dedicated to the occult sciences.  Like most children when they are little, Dolores had 'the Sight' and recalls an incident from her childhood:


When I was little and still going to school, I used to pass this beautiful wall of Jersey granite (Jersey is built on such granite).  I didn't know what it was at the time, but I know now it was an earth elemental and I called it Christopher.  I used to stop on the way to and from school and talk to him.  A teacher found me one day busily talking to this wall and informed the headmistress.  The upshot of all this was that my parents were requested to take me, not to a psychiatrist, but somewhat of a counselor.


I was lucky; “the Devil looks after his own”, they say.  This guy was Welsh and as fey as they come.  He was most intrigued about Christopher.  How did I see him, and what did he look like?  What I had to do to see him was to clap my hands three times, then put my hands against the particular stone and turn it, as if opening a door... and there was Christopher, you see?  He was most intrigued, but in the end he gave me some advice, 'Never let yourself be found out.  Do not let normal people know about it and you will remain safe.'  Good psychic advice.  He saved my bacon!


In another recollection from her childhood, Delores recalls:


In the cottage were we lived there was a blocked doorway connection through to the next cottage.  When we first moved in I was about 18 months old, and there was an old lady living in the second cottage.  She was a lovely old lady always looking after me and making cookies, but sadly she died about six months after we moved in.  After she died, my parents rented both the cottages and eventually my father unblocked the connecting doorway (this made the corridor mentioned earlier).  By doing this, my own room was virtually in the other house (that of the old lady) and although dead, she used to visit.


It never occurred to me to be afraid, being on my own, for I had a lovely big dog that always slept in my room.  When the old lady came to visit, she would talk to me and tell me stories.  Now, I thought it was my granny who used to live just around the corner, and it wasn't until I was 4 or 5 that I realized there were times I could see right through her.  Still, it never occurred to me to be afraid.  That the two cottages were haunted was beyond question.  On one occasion, my father, a materializing medium, had an experience that cost him so much energy he was ill for some time afterwards.  “Never again!” my father said, and he didn't.  After that experience, he concentrated more on the philosophical side of the occult, rather than the physical."


In September 1939 after Germany invaded Poland and England entered war, and with the imminent invasion of France by advancing German forces, for their own safety, Dolores and the rest of her family were exiled to mainland Britain.  They were just in time, for in June 1940, German troops landed on Jersey and occupied the Island for the duration of the war.


Fortunately her mother had relatives in Wallasey, a town on the Wirral Peninsula in northwest England, and for a short time they were able to give them refuge.  Later they moved down to London, but by the end of September 1940 the blitz on London had become so bad they were forced to move again, this time to Sheffield where her mother had more relatives.  However, in December, Sheffield also suffered a severe bombing raid, which forced them to return to Wallasey on the Wirral, where they eventually settled in the nearby town of Heswall.




London blitz Sept 1940     -     Sheffield blitz Dec 1940


Situated on the northeastern tip of the Wirral peninsula, Wallasey is on the opposite side of the River Mersey to Liverpool, to which tunnels and ferries connect it.  Except for its main populated areas of Wallasey, Hoylake, Birkenhead, Heswall and Bebington, most of the peninsula is rural.  The shoreline forms a Coastal Park consisting of cliffs, ponds, mudflats and wooded embankments.  On the southwestern side of the peninsula, the Wirral Country Park is home to wading birds, foxes and badgers, and like the Island of Jersey where she grew up, is a magical and mystical place.  Tradition has it that of old, Arthurian knights hunted here for questing beasts.


Opposite the school she attended was an area of moorland where Gypsies used to camp and where Dolores spent much of her spare time visiting and playing with their children.  She learnt much about living in touch with the natural world from the Gypsies.  She would also visit with her grandmother (called Bastol) who taught her to read Tarot cards and tell fortunes.  However, when a neighbour reported Dolores had been seen telling fortunes at a local goose fair, her mother took exception and put a stop to her practice, but not before she had learned quite a lot.


After Germany surrendered to Allied Forces in May 1945, in late December that same year Dolores and her family returned to Jersey.  Shortly after her parents formed a new occult discussion group but still had to keep it secret due to restrictions imposed by Jersey’s laws.  While Jersey is part of Britain, it is self-governed by a Lieutenant Governor and a General Assembly who represent the English crown, and as such they make and maintain their own laws (Even after the repeal of England’s old Witchcraft laws in 1951, they have never repealed their own).


By this time Dolores had returned to England to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, during which for a short time she joined a traveling repertory company to gain more practical experience.  Later having developed a strong soprano voice, she moved on to study Opera at Trinity College in Cambridge.  After returning home to Jersey, Dolores made what she calls:  the biggest mistake of my whole life," and got married.  The marriage lasted just three years before she ended it and returned to Cambridge to finish her studies.


During her youth in Jersey, Dolores had been keenly interested in the sport of Fencing and had even represented the Islands against France and England in competition for which she won a number of cups and trophies.  After returning to Cambridge, she again took up the sport and joined a fencing club where she met her second husband Michael Nowicki.  They were married in 1957 and while still living in England had two children, Tamara and Carl.



Michael Nowicki


In 1961, Dolores moved the family back to Jersey feeling it would provide a better environment for bringing up their children.  Two years later after reading a book on spirituality, they made contact with the “Society of the Inner Light”, an esoteric order founded by Dion Fortune in 1924, and began training through their correspondence course.  After completing the course they were both formally initiated in 1967.  A year later Dolores joined the “Helios School”, an off shoot faction of the Society founded by Walter Ernest Butler and Gareth Knight and began training as a Cosmic Mediator.  In 1973 when Gareth Knight left to devote himself to other studies, the Helios School was renamed the “Servants of the Light” (SOL) with Butler as Director of Studies.


By this time Dolores had decided to dedicate her life to the Occult Sciences.  She began working full-time for the SOL and shortly before his death in 1978, Butler named her his successor as Director of Studies and her husband Michael as Financial Director and Guardian of the School.  Since then Dolores has traveled extensively around the world attending conferences and seminars and teaching on a wide range of esoteric subjects in her efforts to expand the school internationally.


The Servants of the Light



(A School of Occult Science)


The Servants of the Light (SOL) is a registered non-profit organisation in the UK with approximately 2600 students located worldwide in 23 different countries.  The mission of the SOL is to spread esoteric knowledge in an ethical manner to all who want to receive it regardless of religious denomination, gender, nationality, race, age, social position or income.  The School welcomes students from a wide range of traditions, including:  Wiccans, Witches, Pagans, Christian nuns and priests, Shamans, Hermetists, Cabbalists, Buddhists, Isis-worshippers and many others with the premise that all paths to the Light are worthy of respect.


The School is not affiliated with any political or religious organizations, and as a registered non-profit organization, nobody gains financially from the school.  The School has no offices or hired staff to be paid for, and not even the Director of Studies gets paid for the work she does.  There is no membership fee required to join the School and all teaching is free.  The only thing you pay for is a low material cost per correspondence course lesson, and you will also need to buy one or two textbooks.


Teaching practical methods of Magic, the Cabala and Occultism through its graded correspondence courses, students are trained through a network of Supervisors to become Friends, Guides and Companions, and after being formally initiated, Supervisors and Teachers themselves.  To join the SOL each new applicant needs to answer a detailed questionnaire, which is carefully assessed and psychically screened before he/she is accepted for training.


The School emphasizes that its training is not for the faint-hearted and involves a great deal of hard work before anything approaching Ritual or Magic is taught.  Its First Degree Course is centered on the Western Mysteries and uses the Cabbala as the base of its teachings since this makes it possible to build bridges between different types of esoteric philosophies.  The course also uses Tarot symbolism and the symbolism of the Arthurian myths.


Consisting of fifty lessons the course contains written teachings as well as exercises and meditations each of which take about a month to complete.  The student keeps a journal of all the work he/she performs, and on completion of each lesson, this is sent to a Supervisor who assesses and comments on it.  The aim of the course is to give students a comprehensive theoretical and practical understanding of the ancient Mysteries.


As the Director of Studies, Dolores herself undertakes many workshops, lectures and seminars each year, traveling thousands of miles to meet with SOL supervisors, students and others, and so with a final word from her, adapted from her website:  The SOL does not promise a sudden burgeoning of psychic powers.  It does not offer every student the possibility of becoming a High Priest or Priestess, a Magician or a top-flight Clairvoyant.  It does offer graduated training aimed at the balancing of the inner and outer selves designed to make a student into a responsible, well orientated, open-minded individual.  If students have psychic talents, our training will awaken them and polish them, bring them under control.  If they are too deeply buried, then, at least, the student emerges with a well-adjusted insight into the ancient Mysteries and a sense of being one link in a chain stretching back into past ages, and forward into the future.”






First Steps in Ritual (HarperCollins 1982)

The Shining Paths: An Experimental Journey Through the Tree of Life (Aquarian Press 1983)

Highways of the Mind: The Art and History of Pathworking (Aquarian Press 1987)

Inner Landscapes: A Journey into Awareness by Pathworking (Harpercollins - 1990)

The Tree of Ecstasy: An Advanced Manual of Sexual Magic (Aquarian Press 1991)

The Servants of the Light Tarot Deck (with Jo Gill and Anthony Clark - 1991)

The New Book of the Dead (Thoth Publications - 1992)

The Shakespearean Tarot (with Paul Hardy - 1993)

Daughters of Eve: The Magical Mysteries of Womanhood  (Harpercollins 1993)

The Ritual Magic Workbook (Red Wheel / Weiser - 1998)

The Initiate’s Book of Pathworkings: A Bridge of Dreams (Red Wheel / Weiser 1999)

Forgotten Mage (Thoth Publications - 1999)

Magical use of Thought Forms (Llewellyn Publications - 2001)

Illuminations: The Healing of the Soul (Llewellyn Publications - 2003)

The Sacred Cord Meditations (Thoth Publications - 2006)

Your Unseen Power: Real Training in Western Magic (Sounds True Inc. 2006)




The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies by John Michael Greer

Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite - DVD

Penguin Hutchinson Reference Library - DVD

Microsoft ® Encarta - DVD

 Plus to many others to mention



First published on the 20th May 2011 © George Knowles



Best wishes and Blessed Be



Site Contents - Links to all Pages


Home Page


A Universal Message:


Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?


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




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




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





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders 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 /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  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 /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew 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” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   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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