Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Pagan Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Since their initiation into witchcraft by Alex Sanders in February 1970,
and starting their own coven in December that same year.
Janet and Stewart Farrar have done much to make Wicca and the Pagan way
available to the public. Their books have become classics in their own time, and over
the years through diligent hard work they have become England’s most eminent
and respected modern day witches. After
the death of Stewart Farrar on the 07th February 2000, a year later
on the 05th
May 2001, Janet
married their family friend and business partner Gavin Bone, since
then they have continued
to work with the Pagan community promoting and explaining the Craft to those who
would want to hear it.
Janet Farrar was born as Janet Owen on the 24th June 1950 in Clapham, a suburban district of London, England. Her father Ronald Owen came from an English and Welsh background while her mother Ivy Owen (nee Craddock) was an immigrant Irishwoman. Both parents worked in the local hospital and were members of the Church of England. Janet was five years old when her mother passed away.
Janet was educated first at Leyton Manor School in London, then at Royal Wanstead High School for Girls in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. After leaving school Janet started work as a model, while in-between assignments working as a receptionist. She first became involved with the Craft after a friend started visiting Alex Sanders, the “enfant terrible” of witchcraft, known in the popular press as the “King of Witches. Janet having a Christian background tagged along with the intention of dissuading her friend from becoming involved, but what she saw impressed her and she ended up joining herself.While training with Alex Sanders, Janet met another initiate called Stewart Farrar, who later became her husband. Alex Sanders initiated Janet into his coven during February 1970, and at more or less the same time his wife and High Priestess Maxine Sanders initiated Stewart Farrar. Later that same year according to Janet, she and Stewart were both elevated to the second degree on the 17th October 1970 in an unoccupied house in Sydenham, after which they decided to leave Alex and Maxine’s coven. During the Yule celebrations that year and while awaiting their third degree initiation (they were still under the supervision of Alex and Maxine) they founded their own coven in London. On the 24th April 1971 they finally received their third degree initiation in the Sanders flat, which allowed them the freedom to become independent.
Janet and Stewart Farrar
While indebted to the Sanders’ for their
initial training in the craft, both Janet and Stewart felt that much of their
teaching was sparse in content. From
the start of their own coven in 1970, they both worked to develop and structure
their own rituals and training methods, not just for use within their own coven,
but also for use within the wider community.
Janet and Stewart handfasted in 1972, and later in 1975 legally married
at the Registry Office in Woking, Surrey. Stewart’s
two daughters and two sons from three of six previous marriages also attended
his wedding as Janet Owen became his seventh wife.
In April 1976, fed-up with the pace of life in the crowded streets of London, the Farrar’s turned their coven over to Susan and David Buckingham and moved to the Republic of Ireland for the peace and quiet of fields and mountains in County Mayo or County Wicklow. They finally settled in a two-bedroom cottage on the bog called “Herne Cottage” in Kells, County Meath. After settling in they soon founded a new coven, which quickly expanded resulting in numerous spin-off new covens as people finished their training and started there own. The structure and method of the Farrar’s workings had by this time developed and changed radically from their original Alexandrian roots. Today some seventy five percent of Wiccans, both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland can trace their beginnings back to the Farrar’s.
Now living in peaceful surrounding they each collaborated on writing some of the most influential books on modern witchcraft and coven practises published to date. In many of their earlier books, Janet who continued working as a model to help pay the bills, appeared in illustrations not just of their own books such as: “Eight Sabbats for Witches and The Witches Way” (jointly published as “The Witches Bible”), “The Witches Goddess”, “The Witches God” and “Spells and How They Work” (see bibliography below), but in numerous other early books about Wicca, including the cover of the paperback version of Margot Adler’s famous book - “Drawing Down the Moon” (1979).
Margot Adler’s - Drawing Down the Moon (1979)
Janet Farrar demonstrating the "Osiris position" in the book Eight Sabbats for Witches (1981)
The Farrar’s returned to England in 1988, and while speaking at a Pagan Conference in Leicester 1989, they met Gavin Bone and formed a lasting friendship. When they returned to Ireland in 1993, they were joined by Gavin and entered into a “polyamory relationship”. In 1995, Stewart Farrar suffered a stroke and Gavin, as a trained nurse and healer was instrumental in helping him back to good health. The three of them co-author two more books “The Healing Craft” and “The Pagan Path”.
Having developed their own brand of witchcraft,
the Farrar’s became honorary initiates of several other traditions including
“Traditional Italian Strega”. Janet
while initially trained by Alex Sanders in the early 1970’s, also trained in
Jungian psychology and took Caballistic training in a Magical Lodge during the
70’s, she also became a professional Tarot Reader and counsellor.
Gavin meanwhile is an Empathic Healing Medium who was trained in
spiritual healing during the 1980’s and took initiation into three different
traditions of Wicca, including Seax-Wica and Alexandrian.
He also took part in the revival of Shamanism in the UK at that time.
Janet and Gavin Bone wedding
After Stewart Farrar’s death, Janet and Gavin continued to author books, but also travelled extensively lecturing and presenting workshops on their own vision of Wicca, Witchcraft and Magick, teaching in such far away places as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and of course in Britain. They also teach private online classes and seminars, and run full seven-month correspondence courses through the College of The Sacred Mists an online teaching Academy.
The title of their 2004 book, “Progressive Witchcraft”, is a description used to describe their current religious practice. This book was re-released in 2013 as a new edition called “Inner Mysteries”. Their current area of work is in trance-prophesy, trance-possession and ecstatic ritual, and they are currently working on a new book project to cover this subject, which they hope will soon be released. They are founders of “The Alliance of Progressive Covens” (APeCs), which has links with several covens in the United States, Italy, and the UK. They also continue to run their own group in Ireland at Tempall Na Callaighe, which includes an open worship group.
Despite all their previous achievements and adornments, Janet and Gavin prefer to be known simply as Wiccans working on the Pagan Path. They believed strongly in the idea of Wicca being a progressive and dynamic religion accessible to all who want to belong. According to Janet, witchcraft is a tradition of healing and self-discovery, as well as an Occult practise. It is not dogmatic by nature, but evolves according to culture and circumstance. It is spirituality, focusing around some of the most ancient of mankind’s magical practises.
Gavin Bone was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire in England, in 1964. He trained as a registered nurse and has studied complimentary healing methods such as reflexology; he is also a practicing spiritual healer. He was initiated into “Seax-Wicca” in 1986, and is currently developing the theory that Wicca “may have” some roots in tribal shamanistic healing traditions, as apposed to medieval ritual magic.
Gavin first met the Farrar’s in 1989 at a Pagan Conference in Leicester, from where they struck up a friendship. After a tour of the United States in 1992 accompanied by Gavin, the Farrar’s returned to Ireland in 1993. Gavin later joined them as their business partner; they also entered into a “polyamory relationship”.
Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
When in 1995, Stewart Farrar suffered a stroke, Gavin’s training as a nurse and healer proved most valuable. He was instrumental in helping to nurse him back to good health. Gavin co-authored two books with the Farrar’s: “The Pagan Path” (Bookpeople, 1995), and “The Healing Craft” (Phoenix Publishing, 2000). He also acts as the production manager of their latest moves into video.
As the Farrar’s business partner in 1996, Gavin was responsible for setting up their WebPages - "http://gofree.indigo.ie/~wicca/". This has since developed into the “Pagan Information Network”, a contact network for pagans across the Republic and Northern Ireland, for which Gavin and the Farrar’s are the primary coordinators.
Sadly Stewart Farrar passed into a better place on the 07th February 2000. He was an outstanding example of a dedicated Witch, and one who simply preferred to be called a Wiccan. Supported by Janet and Gavin, his contribution to the evolution and development of the modern day witchcraft movement, has helped many to find their own way on the path. Janet and Gavin today carry on with his work.
Sabbats for Witches
Witches' Goddess: The Feminine Principle of Divinity
Witches' God: Lord of the Dance
and How they Work
Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook (re-issue of The Witches'
Way and Eight Sabbats for Witches)
With Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone:
1995: The Pagan
Healing Craft: Healing Practices for Witches and Pagans
Complete Dictionary of European Gods and Goddesses
With Virginia Russell:
Magical History of the Horse
With Gavin Bone:
Witchcraft: Spirituality, Mysteries, and Training in Modern Wicca
2013: The Inner Mysteries: Progressive Witchcraft and Connection with the Divine
Elizabeth Guerra with Janet Farrar
2008: Stewart Farrar: Writer On A Broomstick
The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - By Raven Grimassi
Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism
- By Shelley Rabinovitch and James R. Lewis
A Witches' Bible - By Janet and Stewart Farrar
What Witches Do - By Stewart Farrar
First published on the 25th April 2001 - up-dated 24th June 2007 - 24th June 2020 © 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 and Totem Animals) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild 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
Rocks and Stones:
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)
Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
Aidan A Kelly / Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya / Allan Kardec (Spiritism) / Alphonsus de Spina / Amber K / Ann Moura / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Balthasar Bekker / Biddy Early / Barbara Vickers / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christopher Penczak / Christina Oakley Harrington / Cornelius Loos / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Donald Michael Kraig / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edain McCoy / 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 / Hermann Löher / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Heinrich Kramer / Idries Shah / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Ivo Domínguez Jr. / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jean 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 Spence / Lodovico Maria Sinistrari / Ludwig Lavater / Madeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Michael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" / Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Martin Antoine Del Rio / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / 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 / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Paul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school / Peter Binsfeld / Philip Heselton / Raven Grimassi / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Richard Baxter / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘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 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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