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Crafting The Art Of Magic:
A Critical Review

By D. Hudson Frew (Morgann)

Copyright 1991 by D. Hudson Frew.
Used by permission of the author.

Update Continued

11. Allyn Wolfe of the New Wiccan Church points out that on page 53, Kelly reproduces what he says is the earliest version of The Charge (written between 1939 and 1948), beginning with the words:

Listen to the words of the Great mother [sic], who of old was also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arianhrod, Bride, and by many other names.

Kelly does not italicize these words, indicating that he has not traced them to a published source. The other, italicized portions he claims were copied from Leland's Aradia and Crowley's Book of the Law and "Gnostic Mass". Also, this passage is dated by Kelly as having been written between 1939 and 1948. Kelly goes on to say on page 54:

If Gardner had received anything comparable to this material from an older coven, why would he need to lift material wholesale from published sources?

Wolfe points out that on page 202 of Alan Richardson's 20th Century Magic & the Old Religion (Llewellyn, 1991) can be found the following:

As man evolves through an ever-becoming, so also this entity, which we call the Great Mother, Great Isis, Dana, and by many other names, evolves by means of an ever-becoming. (emphasis mine)

This passage is in an essay titled "The Old Religion" by Charles Seymour. On page 19, Kelly says that:

Seymour had written an essay, "The Old Religion: A Study in the Symbolism of the Moon Mysteries," in 1937, but it was not published until 1968...

1937; two years before Gardner's alleged invention of Witchcraft in 1939. The passage attributed to Gardner above was apparently adapted from the passage in Seymour's essay. As this essay was not publicly available until 1968, Gardner must have been in some sort of contact with Seymour (or his associates) and had access to at least some of his material, as Kelly suggests on page 32. But if Gardner was aware Seymour's pagan material, did have access to it, and even copied an odd phrase or two from it, why isn't there more of Seymour's material evident in Gardner's texts? This is a clear-cut case of Gardner being in contact with a pre-1939 group practicing Pagan concepts, but passing on virtually none of its teachings. Clearly, the apparent lack in Gardner's writings of written material from an earlier group cannot be taken as evidence that there was no such group.
 Further support for this connection can be found on page 124 of Richardson's book containing an entry from Seymour's magical journal dated 1/13/1938 and describing the events of a trance journey:

We were both much older and I was in the hands of the inquisition [sic]. Another long blank, and Esclarmonde and I were standing in front of two stakes in the middle of an immense crowd. She was wondering what the pain would be like when I saw in the crowd the face of the man who turned me into a heretic. I knew what he was doing, he was giving [there is a blank in the MS here] and I knew neither of us would feel any pain. I saw both of us in the flames. It was quite painless, though the emotion was awful.

Richardson points out that the "blank" is a deliberate omission of words on the part of Seymour. On page 85, Kelly quotes a text called "The Warning", taken, he says, from the Gardner's BoS as of 1953:

If you be condemned, fear not. The Brotherhood is powerful. They may help you to escape if you are steadfast. If you betray aught, there is no hope for you, in this life, or in that which is to come. But, `tis sure, that if steadfast you go to the pyre, drugs will reach you. You will feel naught, and you go but to Death and what lies beyond, the ecstasy of the Goddess.

The similarity between these passages is remarkable, but before we jump to the conclusion that Gardner simply copied from Seymour, consider... Gardner was almost certainly in contact with Seymour, but it is still highly unlikely that Seymour would have let him read his private magical journal. And why would Seymour omit certain telling words from an account in his private diary? Perhaps both men were privy to the same secret information/oral tradition; secrets that Seymour would protect in 1938, but that Gardner might reveal to initiates in 1953.
 As pointed out above, Kelly continually insists that if a text in Gardner's writings can be found in a published source, then Gardner must have copied from that source. "It merely complicates life", he says on page 176, "to suppose that Gardner had gotten the... raw material that he worked with at second hand ... rather than directly from the available sources."
 We now can say with some certainty that Gardner was in some sort of contact with Seymour, to the extent that Gardner was familiar with material in Seymour's private journals. Well, in Seymour's "The Old Religion", as yet unpublished in 1939, Chapter 5 is titled "Diana and Aradia" and contains passages from Leland's book. Here is "raw material" that Gardner could easily have gotten "at second hand" from Seymour, or the group with which he worked, rather than directly from a published source. It may very well "complicate life" for Kelly to have to accept the possibility of such methods of transmission, but life is sometimes complicated.



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