Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Pagan Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
(The Rede of the Wiccae)
Written and compiled by
Born on the 16th September 1928 in Nova Scotia, Canada, Lady Gwen Thompson (also known as Lady Minerva and Rhiannon) was the craft name of Phyllis Thompson (née Healy). Lady Gwen claimed to be a hereditary witch from New England and that her grandmother “Adriana Porter” had been the custodian of a secret tradition of folk-craft passed down to her from ancestors dating back to the seventeenth-century. It was her grandmother who initiated her into the family tradition and gave her the craft name Lady Gwen.
At first Lady
Gwen intended to keep the tradition within the family and in turn initiated her
own children into it. However, her
son and his family left to joined a Christian Church, while her daughter had no
children to carry-on the line. In
the late 1960’s fearing the tradition would be completely lost and forgotten,
she began initiating outsiders into their family coven.
By 1970 as people hived off to form their own covens, in
1972 she founded the New
England Covens of Traditionalist Witches (N.E.C.T.W.) as an umbrella
organization named after her family practice.
In around 1974
Lady Gwen retired from active partition in the N.E.C.T.W., and conferred
leadership onto two of its early members. Under
new leadership the N.E.C.T.W. continued to developed and now includes:
the Coven of Minerva (Rhode Island), Nemed Cuculatii
(Washington), the Needfire Grove (Maryland), the Coven of Athena
and the Coven of the Crossroads (Rhode Island), the Coven Sidera
(Michigan) and the Raven Eyrie Coven (Massachusetts), plus others. Today the N.E.C.T.W. is listed
in the State of Rhode Island as a subsidiary of the Society of the Evening
remained actively teaching her form of witchcraft, a blend of her family
tradition mixed with more contemporary forms of witchcraft into
the 1980s, during which she carried on an extensive worldwide correspondence.
Through her letters and teachings she contributed to the development of
other traditions, including the Keepers of the Ancient Mysteries and the Georgian
In her later life
Lady Gwen altered her craft name to “Lady Gwynne Thompson”, she had been
married and divorced three times, and Thompson was her final married surname.
In the mid-1980s, she
was diagnosed with cancer and while on a visit to her birth place in Nova
Scotia, Canada, died on the 22nd May
1986. Many of her craft
artefacts, including her personal Book of Shadows are now in the possession of
the N.E.C.T.W., having been given to them by her daughter.
Lady Gwen is perhaps best known for an article she wrote entitled “A Wiccan-Pagan Potpourri”, which was published in the Green Egg magazine (Vol. VIII, No.69) at Ostara in 1975. A portion of the article included a poem called: The Rede of the Wiccae, about which she stated: “... Our own particular form of the Wiccan Rede is that which was passed on to her by Adriana Porter, who was well into her nineties when she crossed over into the Summerland in the year 1946. ...”
Adriana Porter had been born in Nova Scotia, Canada in July 1857 and died in Melrose, Massachusetts, on the 01st March 1946. Lady Thompson claimed that she inherited her own beliefs and practices from Porter, who had summarised them in the poem. The full poem as published by Thompson is as follows:
Rede Of The Wiccae
the Wiccan Laws ye must In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.
an’ let live - Fairly take an’ fairly give.
the Circle thrice about To keep all evil spirits out.
bind the spell every time - Let the spell be spake in rhyme.
of eye an’ light of touch - Speak little, listen much.
go by the waxing Moon - Sing and dance the Wiccan rune.
go when the Moon doth wane, An’ the Werewolf howls by the dread Wolfsbane.
the Lady’s Moon is new, Kiss thy hand to Her times two.
the Moon rides at Her peak Then your heart’s desire seek.
the Northwind’s mighty gale - Lock the door and drop the sail.
the wind comes from the South, Love will kiss thee on the mouth.
the wind blows from the East, Expect the new and set the feast.
the West wind blows o’er thee, Departed spirits restless be.
woods in the Cauldron go - Burn them quick an’ burn them slow.
be ye Lady’s tree - Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
the Wheel begins to turn - Let the Beltane fires burn.
the Wheel has turned a Yule, Light the Log an’ let Pan rule.
ye flower bush an’ tree - By the Lady Blessèd Be.
the rippling waters go Cast a stone an’ truth ye’ll know.
ye have need, Hearken not to others greed.
the fool no season spend Or be counted as his friend.
meet an’ merry part - Bright the cheeks an’ warm the heart.
the Threefold Law ye should - Three times bad an’ three times good.
misfortune is enow, Wear the Blue Star on thy brow.
in love ever be Unless thy lover’s false to thee.
Eight words ye Wiccan Rede fulfill - An’ it harm none, Do what ye will.
However, the true authorship of the poem is still disputed as a similar poem was included in a speech given by Doreen Valiente on October 3, 1964 at what may have been the first witches dinner organized in modern history and sponsored by the Witchcraft Research Association. The event was covered and later reported by Pentagram, a quarterly newsletter and “witchcraft review” started and published by Gerard Noel in 1964. The poem has since been very widely circulated and has appeared in other versions, with additional or variant passages.
When the Green
Egg published her article they credited it as “Lady Gwen Thompson, Welsh
Tradition Wicca”, but this sparked a protest by Lady Gwen in a later letter
published in issue No 71, which was followed by an apology from the then editor
Oberon Zell-Ravenheart (then known as Tim Zell) in issue No. 72.
In her opening
letter Lady Gwen stated: “... For
the record, we are not Welsh. I do
believe we ran this route a few years ago, and it seems that once more
clarification is needed. We are and
always have been simply Traditionalist. We
use the term Celtic Traditionalist to differentiate us from the ones who claim
to be Welsh, and I know of only one tradition that has the right to use that
name. If there are others, I do not
know of them. My apologies, but we
are not Welsh. We prefer to be
simply known as "Traditionalists. ...”
Gwen maintained the use of the term Witch and Witchcraft in her teachings and
writings, by this time the term Wicca was becoming more fashionable to use in
it’s place. This has led to
numerous instances of her tradition being labeled as Celtic Wicca despite her
objections and preference for the term Traditionalist.
Gwen claimed to be a hereditary witch from an established family tradition, but
sadly there is no documentary proof to support this. Allegedly, after copying the contents of her grandmother’s
original ‘Book of Shadows’, she claimed to have destroyed it, and since then
her own Book of Shadows has been rewritten several times obliterating much of
its original content, it cannot now be used to substantiate her linage by
succession. Neither has any other
providing first-hand information ever been made public.
In their book:
The Rede of the Wiccae (2005),
Robert Mathiesen, a medieval philologist and professor at Brown
University, and Theitic, an Elder in the N.E.C.T.W., have documented the ancestral history of the Thompson family.
This includes an account of a seventeenth-century alchemist called
Jonathan Brewster, and several families involved in the Salem Witch Trials of
1692, however, there is no direct evidence to prove an unbroken established
family tradition of Witchcraft. And
so, controversy over the origins of the Rede continues.
Plus to many others to mention.
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
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 / 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 / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Heinrich Kramer / 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" / 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” / 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 / 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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