This week I had the privilege to interview Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, who I consider elders of my own witchcraft tradition. In this extended episode we talk about the evolution of witchcraft from its roots with Gerald Gardner to modern times. We also talk about why secrecy isn’t necessarily a good thing, the differences between witchcraft in the US and Europe, how to do syncretism responsibly, why lineage doesn’t matter, why gendered polarity isn’t necessary, and what it means to be a priest of any tradition.
Janet Farrar: Janet was initiated by Alex and Maxine Sanders in 1970. Janet Owen (later Farrar) became involved in the Craft after a friend started regularly visiting the Sander’s. Janet, being from a Christian background, went along to dissuade her friend from becoming involved, but was impressed by the moral structure that Wicca had and joined the Sander’s Coven. It is here she met her husband to be and co-author, Stewart Farrar, who initially became involved around Alex Sanders as a reporter for the Reveille, and was then asked to write What Witches Do. With her late husband she has written over a dozen books on the Craft to date. Titles which include Eight Sabbats For Witches’, The Witches’ Way (one of the first books to suggest the southern hemisphere turn for festivals in Australia), The Witches’ Goddess, The Witches God, Spells and How They Work. Janet has also had one book published jointly with Virginia Russel, The Magical History of the Horse, and with her current partner Gavin Bone, three books; The Pagan Path, The Healing Craft, The Dictionary of European Gods and Goddesses, and their latest work The Inner Mysteries. Their books have become some of the most influential in Witchcraft and have set the mould for modern Craft writers worldwide.
Since her initial introduction to the Alexandrian Craft with Stewart, she, with Gavin Bone has developed her own unique brand of Witchcraft and have been honorary initiations into several other traditions, including traditional Italian Strega. She prefers just to be called witch rather than be considered of any specific tradition. In 1999 she became ordained as third level Clergy with The Aquarian Tabernacle Church.
Gavin Bone: Born in Portsmouth, Gavin Bone was originally initiated into Seax-Wicca in 1986. He trained as a Registered Nurse, is a practising Spiritual (naturally empathic) Healer and a trained Reflexologist. He met Janet and Stewart Farrar in 1989 at the Pagan Link conference in Leicester and moved to Ireland in 1992 after accompanying them on a tour of the United States. He co-authored The Pagan Path, The Healing Craft and The Complete Dictionary of European Gods and Goddesses with Janet and Stewart.In the UK he was both a Pagan Link and Pagan Federation contact in early ‘90’s and this led him after his move to Ireland to set up the Pagan Information Network; a contact network for pagans in the Republic and the North of Ireland. Like Janet, he is an honorary member of the Strega tradition, and ordained third Level Clergy with the Aquarian Tabernacle Church.
Both Janet and Gavin tour regularly doing intensive workshops in the United States and Europe, as well as past tours in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. They have study groups in the US and Italy. They believe strongly in the idea of Wicca being both progressive and dynamic in nature, while remaining a clergy of those dedicated to serving the Gods and Goddesses. Their book The Inner Mysteries is their most radical work to date emphasizing the non-dogmatic creativity of Wicca, and was re-released as a second edition in 2012. This has now been eclipsed by their newest work, Lifting the Veil: A Witches’ Guide to Trance-Prophesy, Drawing Down the Moon and Ecstatic Ritual which focuses on their 20 years of work in promoting, and teaching deity connection, Trance-Prophesy and possession. They are responsible for creating The Alliance of Progressive Covens (APeCs) a network of like-minded covens with groups in the US, Uk, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy.
Fifty Years Of Wicca by Frederic Lamond
Other books by Janet and Gavin can be found here.