Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Pagan Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
and compiled by George Knowles
Michael Howard was an English author, publisher, editor and folklorist, as well as a highly respected authority on Witchcraft and Magick. He was a member of the “Order of the Morning Star” founded in 1956 by Madeleine Montalban (a group devoted to angelic magic and Luciferian Gnosis), a Co-Mason with Christine Hartley (an old member of the “Fraternity of the Inner Light” founded by Dion Fortune in the early 1920’s), and an Elder of the “Cultus Sabbati” founded by Andrew D. Chumbley in the early 1990’s (a magical initiatory tradition combining traditional witchcraft and folklore with high-end ceremonial magick and sorcery).
Michael was born in Edgware, North London in 1948, after which his family moved to the more rural area of Harrow-on-the-Hill in Middlesex. During his youth he worked on several neighbourhood farms and came to love and respect nature in all it’s forms. It was here that he first heard tales about Witches from local farm workers who both feared and respected them. They could cure a farmer’s sick animals using herbs and homemade potions, but if anyone dared to cross or upset them, they could curse the fields and blight the crops causing famine. This early life on the farms of his youth profoundly affected Michael’s later spiritual life.
By his teenage years Michael had grown into a voracious reader developing a particular interest in esotericism, occultism and paranormal subjects. Initially he gleaned knowledge and information from fictional books by such as Dennis Wheatley, C. S. Lewis, Arthur Machen and H. P. Lovecraft, but at the aged 14 after undergoing an emergency operation resulting in a near death experience, he began a more serious study of religion and spirituality through the works of Aleister Crowley, Helena Blavatsky and Arthur Edward Waite, later he developed a particular interest in Tibetan Buddhism.
In the early 1960’s Michael enrolled at an agricultural College in Somerset where as part of his courses he was assigned work experience on a small farm between Castle Cary and Wincanton. There an elderly part-time worker began to relate and teach him more about real life folklore and local beliefs in magic and witchcraft. After finishing College he began work on a farm in Gloucestershire and on his days off he would travel into local surrounding towns seeking out second-hand bookstores. Over time he managed to purchased a number of books on esoteric subjects and continue his researches, these included: The Great Beast - a biography of the Aleister Crowley by John Symonds, Crowley’s own book - Magick in Theory and Practice, The White Goddess by Robert Graves, The Sea Priestess and Moon Magic by Dion Fortune, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray, Witchcraft and Black Magic by Montague Summers, The Golden Bough by James Frazer, and Helena Blavatsky’s two masterpieces Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. Later in 1964 he also joined the short-lived “Witchcraft Research Association”, and through it’s newsletter the “Pentagram”, became acquainted with the writings of Robert Cochrane (real name - Roy Leonard Bowers, an English witch who ran an active coven (covine) called “The Clan of Tubal Cain”).
After only a short time in Gloucestershire, Michael moved back
to Middlesex to be closer to his mother who by that time was terminally ill.
While there he took a short-term job as
a gardener in Stanmore public
park, once the estate
of the Duke of Buckingham. Later he
moved into central London and for several years worked in a variety of
management positions for prominent firms such as:
EMI (the well known British music publisher), Sotheby’s (the
famous London auction house) and Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise as a civil servant.
During this time Michael would no doubt have become familiar with the
Atlantis bookshop, a well known central meeting place in London for anyone
interested in occult subjects. It
was also located close to the
Museum and Library from where he could continue his esoteric researches.
After reading an article in the popular astrological magazine “Prediction” about Luciferian Witchcraft, Michael wrote seeking more information from its author Madeline Montalban, a Luciferian ceremonial magician and astrologer. She in return invited him to her at home in St Giles Circus located close to the Atlantis bookshop and the two became good friends. Montalban believed she could see the “Mark of Cain” in Michael’s aura and later invited him to join her “Order of the Morning Star” (a group devoted to angelic magic and Luciferian Gnosis), and thus she became his first real magical mentor.
Madeline Montalban (also known as Delores North) was an early associate of Gerald B. Gardner at which time she typed and edited his now famous fictional book “High Magic’s Aid.” The book was first published in 1949 by Michael Houghton (also known as Michael Juste, the then owner of the Atlantis bookshop). In the popular press of the day Montalban was also known as “The Witch of St Giles”, named after St Giles Circus in London the area were she then lived and taught.
Montalban circa 1960s
In 1969, Michael took initiation into a Gardnerian style coven, something Montalban disapproved of and which caused a spilt in their friendship. His magical partner and initiator was Rosina Bishop who had once been a leading member of “The Regency”, a coven group founded by Ronald White and George Winter, former members of Robert Cochrane’s original coven group “The Clan of Tubal Cain”, after his suicidal death in 1966.
Soon after Michael and Rosina formed a small coven group of their own in which they practiced a mixture of Gardnerian Wicca, Traditional Craft, Regency workings and Ceremonial magic, but this did not last long due to a lack of suitable members willing to do the work required of an operative occult practice. It was this coven that corresponded with the American coven leader “Jessie Wicker Bell” (also known as Lady Sheba). Unfortunately and perhaps not knowing any better, they initiated Lady Sheba into their group by proxy sending her a copy of their amended Book of Shadows. She, later claiming that the Goddess had commanded her, then published it as “Lady Sheba's Book of Shadows”, much to their own embarrassment and disapproval.
Wicker Bell (aka Lady Sheba)
Into the early 1970’s Michael developed another notable friendship this time with Christine Hartley, a Christian mystic and occultist who had once been a long serving member of the “Fraternity of the Inner Light” founded by Dion Fortune in the 1920’s. By the time they met, Hartley was operating an Egyptian themed Co-Masonic Lodge in West London and at her invitation he joined it. Also at this time he enquired about joining the West London-based “Ancient Order of the Pyramid and the Sphinx”, a ceremonial magic group practicing Enochian magic, the Cabbala and Golden Dawn-type rituals (founded by a Russian-born occultist and magician Countess Tamara Markovna Bourkoun, an ex-working associate of Israel Regardie in the USA. She was also a Gnostic, a Rosicrucian and a member of the OTO). Michael however declined to join them when it was revealed he would have to adopt vegetarianism, celibacy and teetotalism.
By this time having amassed a great deal of knowledge through books, other researches and hands-on experience, Michael was encouraged by both Montalban and Hartley to begin writing himself, and so he began contributing articles and book reviews to various esoteric magazines. His first published article appeared in the popular “Prediction” magazine during 1971, an article about “Elementals”. Being well written and informative his articles soon gained him a popular following, which inspired him to start a new career as a writer and magazine publisher.
In 1974, he launched a short lived magazine called “Spectrum” which covered a wide-range of occult and esoteric subjects, but sadly this first attempt at publishing did not do well and it folded after only ten issues. After the failure of Spectrum, Michael and his magical partner Rosina Bishop moved out of central London and bought a cottage in the Welsh countryside were they lived self-sufficiently for the next two decades. Here in the peace and quiet Michael could concentrate on his new writing career.
Magazine No 2 (Nov-Dec 1974) -
Spectrum Magazine No 5 (May-Jun 1975)
Undaunted by his first failed attempt with Spectrum magazine, in 1976 Michael tried again and launched a new quarterly magazine called “The Cauldron”. Over time this became one of the most popular esoteric magazines in the UK and remained in circulation for nearly 40 years. The Cauldron featured not just his own writings and book reviews, but articles from many of the UK’s leading esoteric writers covering the whole spectrum of contemporary modern and traditional Witchcraft, Magic and Folklore. Contributing writers included: Ronald Hutton, Gareth Knight, Robert Cochrane, Evan John Jones, Rae Beth, Philip Heselton, Caroline Tully, Nigel Pennick, David Rankine, Sorita d’Este, Geraldine Beskin and many others.
The Cauldron cover copy No 01 - The Cauldron cover copy No 94
Before launching his new magazine, Michael also wrote his first book entitled “Candle Burning: Its Occult Significance” (Thorsons, 1975). Over the next four decades he would write more than 40 other titles, the most popular being: The Magic of Runes: their origins and occult power (S. Weiser Inc, 1980), The Book of Fallen Angels (Holmes Pub Group, 2004), Pillars of Tubal Cain (Holmes Pub Group, 2001), Modern Wicca (Llewellyn, 2010), Children of Cain: A Study of Modern Traditional Witchcraft (Xoanon / Three Hands Press, 2011), and his last book The Witches Herbal (Red Thread Books, 2013).
Candle Burning: Its Occult Significance
In 1977 Michael was contacted by E. W. Liddell, a well-known
controversial author of articles about his family hereditary witch tradition he claimed had been handed down
from Old George Pickingill the famous Essex cunning man.
Some of his articles appeared in the “Wiccan”
magazine, at the time the UK’s most influential Pagan magazine.
The Wiccan had been founded in
1968 by John Score and
later became the vehicle voice of the “Pagan Front”, the UK’s first
major Pagan organisation founded in 1970 to counter media miss-representation
and religious discrimination. In
1981 the Pagan Front was renamed the “Pagan Federation UK”,
and in 1994 the Wiccan magazine
was also renamed and became the “Pagan Dawn”.
Back in 1977 Liddell stopped writing for the Wiccan and began contributing to the Cauldron instead, while Michael using the pseudonym Frater Ashtan wrote articles on the subject of Luciferianism. Not afraid to explore controversial subjects, their articles went a long way to pique new interest in the magazine, which soon became a platform for many new writers on a wide range of esoterica and serving as an alternative to the Wiccan. The Cauldron magazine continued to be published quarterly for the next thirty-nine years. Many of Michael’s Luciferian articles were later re-published in collected form as The Pillars of Tubal Cain by Capall Bann in 2000.
Much later in 1992 Andrew Chumbley contacted Michael and sent him a copy of his book (privately published as Azoetia: A Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft) for review in the Cauldron. This resulted in a correspondence that lasted several years before they actually met in person, and in 1999 Chumbley invited Michael to join his “Traditional Witchcraft” order “The Cultus Sabbati”. Chumbley had published several limited edition books through his own private press “Xoanon Publishing”, and had regularly posted articles published in occult magazines, including the Cauldron. Sadly Chumbley died on the 15th September 2004 following a severe asthma attack, he was just 37 years old. In an obituary for his friend, Michael described him as “a man of the land, rural in both birth and character. He fitted totally within the traditional archetypal parameters of the English (and specifically Essex) cunning man.” After Chumbley’s untimely death, Daniel A. Schulke succeeded him as Magister of Cultus Sabbati, while Michael remained an active member and Elder of the order.
Since he first produced The Spectrum magazine way back in 1974 followed by his first book publication “Candle Burning: Its Occult Significance” (Thorsons, 1975), Michael has been a prolific author with over 40 book titles to his credit. One of the last books he wrote shortly before his death in 2015 was The Witches Herbal (Red Thread Books, 2013). This was launched at a well-attended book signing hosted by the famous Atlantis Bookshop in London on Sunday the 19th January 2014. Since then it has become the number one best selling book available at the equally famous “Museum of Witchcraft” in Cornwall, and posthumously, is set to become a national classic best-seller. Only time will tell??
Book signing at the famous Atlantis Bookshop in London
Sadly just a year later after a short illness that was not widely publicized, on the 24th September 2015, Michael Howard died peacefully at his Devonshire home from complications brought on by renal failure. His final moments were spent surrounded by family and friends.
Last issue of the Cauldron - No 156 Spring 2015
The last edition of the Cauldron was published in the Spring of 2015 shortly before Michael’s death. Some of his written ritual work, rarely published, also appeared in The Psalter of Cain, the Cultus Sabbati’s gathering of rites and charms in honour of Cain, patron of witches. Several of Michael’s unpublished texts remain in the wings for future publication through Xoanon and Three Hands Press, as was his wish.
A Select Bibliography:
The Magic of Runes: their Origins and Occult Power (S. Weiser Inc, 1980)
Pillars of Tubal Cain (Holmes Pub Group, 2001)
The Book of Fallen Angels (Holmes Pub Group, 2004)
Modern Wicca: A History From Gerald Gardner to the Present (Llewellyn, 2010)
Children of Cain: A Study of Modern Traditional Witchcraft (Xoanon / Three Hands Press, 2011)
The Witches Herbal (Red Thread Books, 2013)
Liber Nox: A Traditional Witch’s Gramarye (2014)
Plus others to many to mention
those remembered never be forgotten for we shall not see their like again.
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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