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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Francis Barrett



Written and compiled by George Knowles


Francis Barrett is one of those authors about whom precious little is known, we would guess from what little is known, that he was born in London sometime between 1770 and 1780.  As the author, or more correctly ‘the compiler’ of a single book:  The Magus” (Lackington, Allen and Co, Temple of the Muses, Finsbury Square, 1801), Barrett’s efforts to revive interest in the mysteries of magic and the occult have influenced many for over two centuries.  A classic best selling book The Magus today still takes pride of place on the bookshelves of occultists and ceremonial magicians worldwide.  

Francis Barrett, F.R.C. bills himself as a Professor of Chemistry, natural and occult Philosophy, and the Cabbala, etc., etc.  That he was a learned man is beyond question, but where he acquired his knowledge and qualifications is not known, for records of his education in the colleges and universities of England, have yet to be found.  What is known is that he lived, advertised and gave lessons from an address in Marylebone, London, where he clearly spent long hours meticulously pouring over and translating Cabbalistic and ancient texts on occult lore, much of which had never before been translated into English.  He also appears to have been a keen enthusiast of flight, and during the early pioneering days of Hot Air Balloons, attempted several ill-fated balloon ascents in the Summer and Autumn of 1802.  

Montague Summers that eminent scholar and author who wrote extensively about the darker sides of witchcraft and the occult, demonology, vampirism and lycanthropy, has much to say about Francis Barrett and The Magus.  In his own book ‘Witchcraft and Black Magic’ (London; New York: Rider, 1946), he describes The Magus as:  Among the most interesting and most valuable books of English occult lore”.  He then goes on to describe Barrett’s teachings:  

In addition to the explanations and directions contained in The Magus, it appears from the following ‘Advertisement’ that Barrett gave oral instructions and conducted practical occult experiments, in fact that he trained serious inquirers into these esoteric arts and seekers after mystical knowledge:

"The Advertisement"


"The Author of this Work respectfully informs those that are curious in the studies of Art and Nature, especially of Natural and Occult Philosophy, Chemistry, Astrology, etc., etc., that, having been indefatigable in his researches in those sublime Sciences; of which he has treated at large in this book, that he gives private instructions and lectures upon any of the above-mentioned Sciences; in the course of which he will discover many curious and rare experiments.


Those who become Students will be initiated into the choicest operations of Natural Philosophy, Natural Magic, the Cabbala, Chemistry, the Talismanic Arts, Hermetic Philosophy, Astrology, Physiognomy, etc., etc.  Likewise they will acquire the knowledge of the Rites, Mysteries, Ceremonies and Principles of the ancient Philosophers, Magi, Cabbalists, and Adepts, etc.


The Purpose of this school (which will consist of no greater number than Twelve Students) being to investigate the hidden treasures of Nature; to bring the Mind to a contemplation of the Eternal Wisdom; to promote the discovery of whatever may conduce to the perfection of Man; the alleviating the miseries and calamities of this life, both in respect of ourselves and others; the study of morality and religion here, in order to secure to ourselves felicity hereafter; and, finally, the promulgation of whatever may conduce to the general happiness and welfare of mankind.


Those who feel themselves thoroughly disposed to enter upon such a course of studies, as above recited, with the same principles of philanthropy with the Author invites the lovers of philosophy and wisdom, to incorporate themselves in so select, permanent and desirable a society, may speak with the Author upon the subject, at any time between the hours of Eleven and Two o’clock, at:  99 Norton Street, Mary-le-Bone.  Letters (post paid) upon any subject treated of in this Book, will be duly answered, with the necessary information".


It is interesting here to note that Barrett is restricting his students to a class of Twelve, with himself as teacher/leader making Thirteen, the classic number of a witches coven.  

Montague Summers then goes on to elucidate on his own research and findings regarding the elusive Francis Barrett:  

“I have been told that Francis Barrett actually founded a small sodality of students of these dark and deep mysteries, and that under his tuition, for he was profoundly learned in these things, some advanced far upon the path of transcendental wisdom.  One at least was a Cambridge man, of what status, whether an undergraduate or Fellow of a College, I do not know, but there is reason to believe that he initiated others, and until quite recent years, it perhaps persists even to today.  The Barrett tradition was maintained at Cambridge, but very privately, and his teachings have been handed on to promising subjects.  At any rate, I have myself been shown and examined cabbalistic manuscripts written by Francis Barrett, and certain secret matters which he did not think proper to entrust to the publicity of print".


Summers then goes onto a long and detailed explanation of the merits and worth of The Magus, which he ends with:  

“Not the least remarkable thing about this remarkable book The Magus, is that it clearly proves how at the beginning of the nineteenth century esoteric traditions were preserved, ceremonial magic was practiced, and the secrets of cabbalistic lore were eagerly studied”.



"The Magus", a contemporary copy


That Barrett did manage to form some sort of Academy of Magic in the London is now beyond question as a number of his students have come to light.  One was John Parkins, a practicing magician and cunning man in Lincolnshire, England during the early 19th century.  In a 1802 manuscript entitled:  Directions for the Invocations of Spirits’, Parkins is mentioned as a pupil of Barrett, with whom he seems to have studied and practiced:  Horary Astrology, Crystal Gazing, Geomancy, Herbal Medicine, the construction of Astrological Talismans and Ceremonial Magic.  

Two associates of Barrett during the time he was writing The Magus were Frederick Hockley and John Denley.  Hockley met Barrett through Denley, who at the time was a bookseller specialising in occult books.  Hockley who worked for Denley was involved in copying many of the occult manuscripts he had for sale.  According to Hockley, Denley gave much of his information to Barrett for his book The Magus.  Most experts now agree that The Magus consists for a large part, of translated selections taken from Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy and the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy also attributed to Agrippa.  Other selections appear to come from Robert Turner’s 1655 translation of the Heptameron of Peter of Abano.  Barrett it seems made a few modifications and modernized the spelling and syntax of these selections.  

After its publication in 1801, The Magus went largely unnoticed until the early 1860’s, when Eliphas Levi and Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton met together in England and joined an occult group to study clairvoyance, magic, astrology and mesmerism.  Each was greatly influenced by The Magus, and they in turn would influence other great writers and occultists in its use.  In 1875, The Magus received its first reprinting, just when interest in occult mysteries was under going a huge revival, groups and organizations such as Freemasonry, the Rosicrucian’s and other Hermetic groups such as the Order of the Golden Dawn, were all becoming prominent and interest in The Magus flourished.  

When writing about Witches, Barrett believed that their power to torment or kill by enchantment, touch and wax effigy did not come from Satan.  He claimed that if the Devil wanted to kill a man guilty of deadly sin, he would not need a Witch as an intermediary to do it for him.  Barrett’s belief in magical power can be summed up as:  Magical power is contained in the inward or inner man.  A certain proportion of the inner man longs for the external in all things.  When the person is in the appropriate disposition, an appropriate connection between man and object can be attained”. 

The Magus had been written while Barrett was still quite young, perhaps while in his late twenties early thirties, yet there is nothing known about him since after its publication? 





  The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft  -  by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.


Witchcraft and Black Magic  -  by Montague Summers.

The Witch Book - The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism  -  by Raymond Buckland.


The Magus  -  by Francis Barrett.


Plus numerous websites to many to mention.



First published on the 10th May 2005, 13:44:30 © 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) /  Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /    


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:

(Our Ancestors)


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagorasParacelsus /  Abramelin the Mage Archimedes AgrippaSocrates  /  AristotleAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” /  



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


Aidan A KellyAleister 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 DuncanHermann Löher /  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" /  Lambert Daneau /  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” /  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-SmithPatricia 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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