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A Timeline of Witchcraft.

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  • A Timeline of Witchcraft.

    An On-going Timeline.
    This timeline includes:
    a) Information on Wica, The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry and the O.T.O
    b) Information on Cochrane and his line.
    c) Information on the Ravenwood-Circean Tradition (Circe, Sintana and Merlin)
    d) legal statutes through history.
    e) Historic publishings

    Information on those still living, sans Buckland and Lady Astraea, has been omitted.

    300 - Under the pre-Christian Roman Empire, punishment of burning alive was enacted by the State against witches who brought about another person's death through their enchantments.

    306 - The Christian Council of Elvira refuses last rites to those who had killed a man by a magical spell because such a crime could not be effected "without idolatry" (i.e. the help of the devil).

    313 - Conversion of Emperor Constantine; Christianity is granted official toleration by the Roman Empire.

    314 - Canon 24 of the Council of Ancyra imposes five years of penance upon those who consult magicians. Here, the offence lies in participation in paganism.

    420 - St. Augustine argues that witchcraft is an impossibility.

    600 - Christian pope Gregory the Great proclaims "all the gods of the heathens are demons."

    785 - The Council of Paderborn rules that sorcerers are to be reduced to serfdom and made over to the service of the Church.

    906 - The document De ecclesiasticis disciplinis ascribed to Regino of Prüm describes popular notions of witchcraft and states it is the duty of priests to
    "instruct the people that these things are absolutely untrue and that such imaginings are planted in the minds of misbelieving folk, not by a Divine spirit, but by the spirit of evil."

    1080 - Pope Gregory VII writes a letter to King Harold of Denmark forbidding witches to be put to death upon presumption of their having caused storms, failure of crops or pestilence.

    1208 - Pope Innocent III attacks the belief that both God and Satan can have supernatural powers. Anyone who held the belief in this were labeled heretics.
    Definition of Satan left for the church to judge...

    1223 - In Germany, the secular law code "Sachsenspiegel" designated death by fire as the proper punishment for witchcraft.

    1258 - Pope Alexander IV instructs, "The Inquisitors, deputed to investigate heresy, must not intrude into investigations of divination or sorcery without knowledge of manifest heresy involved."
    "Manifest heresy" is defined as: "praying at the altars of idols, to offer sacrifices, to consult demons, to elicit responses from them... or associate themselves publicly with heretics."

    1273 - Thomas Aquinas argues that demons do exist that try to lead people into temptation.

    1275 - The first "witch" is burned to death after judicial sentence of an inquisitor, in Toulouse, France.
    Her name was Hugues de Baniol and she "confessed" to having given birth to a monster after
    intercourse with an evil spirit and to having nourished it with babies' flesh which she procured in her nocturnal expeditions.

    1305 - Philip IV of France sought to end the Knights Templar in order to gain their wealth, under the rein of Pope Clement V.

    1307 - Philip IV had the Knights Templar arrested and false confessions of blasphemy, idolatry, and sodomy were given as a result of their days of torture. Baphomet cited.

    1314 - Jacques de Molay, last grand master of the Kinights Templar,was burned at the stake for "Devil Worship" despite his good service for Christianity during the Holy Wars. Baphomet cited.

    1317 - The Bishop of Cahors was found guilty of trying to "think" the pope to death using a crystal ball.

    1374 - Pope Gregory XI declares that all magic is done with the aid of demons and thus is open to prosecution for heresy.

    1400 - Peter de Gruyères, a secular judge, carries out large-scale witch trials in Bern, Switzerland.

    1484 - Pope Innocent VIII issues an edict that calls for the eradication of witches and other heathens.

    1484 - Pope Innocent VIII publishes the bull Summis desiderantes affectibus ("Desiring with the Greatest Ardor") condemning witchcraft as Satanism, the worst of all possible heresies.
    The bull also officially grants Heinrich Krنmer and James Sprenger, Dominican inquisitors, the right to prosecute persons of any class or any form of crime. He uses Exodus 12:18 to back up his campaign.

    1486 - Heinrich Krنmer and Jacob Sprenger publish Malleus maleficarum ("The Hammer of Witches")

    1532 - The penal code Carolina decrees that sorcery throughout the German empire should be treated as a criminal offence, and if it injured any person, the witch was to be burned at the stake.

    1563 - The Scottish Witch Act states that even people who consult with witches to cure various maladies were as guilty of witchcraft as those who actually practiced it.

    1572 - The Protestant ruler of Saxony imposes the penalty of burning for witchcraft of every kind, including fortune-telling

    1735 - various anti-witchcraft laws established.

    1591 - King James authorized the torture of suspected witches in Scotland.

    1609 - In response to a witch panic in the Basque region, La Suprema (the ruling body of the Spanish Inquisition) issues an "Edict of Silence"
    forbidding all discussion of witchcraft. For, as one inquisitor noted, "There were neither witches nor bewitched until they were talked and written about."

    1631 - The Jesuit Friedrich von Spee publishes Cautio criminalis against the witch craze.

    1749 - The last trial for witchcraft in Germany is carried out at Würzburg.

    1782 - Last known execution for witchcraft takes place in Switzerland, in the Protestant canton of Glarus.

    1875 - Birth of Aleister Crowley

    1884 or 85 - Gerald Gardner is born

    1899 - Charles Godfrey Leland publishes Aradia or the Goddess of the Witches.

    1910 - Crowley meets a leader of German Masonic order called the Ordo Templi Orientis, is soon initiated.

    1912 - Crowley is named Grand Master of the O.T.O. for Great Britain and Ireland.

    1916 - Order of Woodcraft Chivalry founded by Ernest Westlake.

    1917, February 22 - Sybil Leek born in the village of Normacot in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England

    1920 - Rosicrucian Order of the Crotona Fellowship founded by George Alexander Sullivan.

    1921, Lammas - Order of Woodcraft Chivalry has first folkmoot/sabbat at Sandy Balls estate on the northern edge of the New Forest

    1921 - British archaeologist Margaret Murray writes The Witch-Cult in Europe, sparking an interest in witch covens.

    1921 - Lady Circe is born.

    1922 - Ernest Westlake passes away from motoring accident. Harry Byngham takes over Woodcraft, and subsequently changes his name to Dion, short for Dionysus
    Starts publishing an Order periodical called The Pinecone, which contained many provocative items, including a nude Dionysus on the cover of one issue,
    a photograph of a nude Byngham and his semi-nude girlfriend in Grecian dress,
    and a verse play by Victor Benjamin Neuburg, who also introduced Byngham to the ideas of the famous occultist Aleister Crowley.
    All this brought Byngham into strife with many of the Christian members of the Order

    1922 to 1927 - The rituals of the Order Woodcraft continued to evolve along Masonic and quasi-Masonic lines, adopting elaborate titles and ritual equipment

    1924 - Byngham was replaced as editor

    1925 - Byngham suspended after posing nude with his girlfriend for press photographs to promote nudism.

    1926 - Birth of Alexander Sanders, founder of Alexandrian Wicca.

    1928 - A compromise was accepted between the pagan- and the Christian-inclined members whereby the Order of Woodcraft would promote both the sanctity of nature and Christian ethics, while criticising the "repressive" aspects of Christianity.
    However the damage had been done.

    1929 - The Society of Friends formally withdraws support for the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry.

    1929 - Margaret Murray published her article “Witchcraft” in the 14th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica.

    1930 - The Order of Woodcraft saw major decline.

    1931, January 26 - Roy Bowers, whom would become known as Robert Cochrane is born in West London.

    1934 - Aubrey Westlake, the son of Ernest, resigns as Chiefton of Woodcraft.

    1935 - Aubrey Westlake leaves the Order of Woodcraft, depriving it of its meeting place at Sandy Balls.
    In the 1990s Martin Westlake, son of Aubrey and grandson of Ernest, allowed the Order to celebrate its anniversary at Sandy Balls estate again.

    1935 to 1939 - At some point during this time-frame a fragment of the Order of Woodcraft becomes the New Forrest Coven.

    1935, July 12th - David John White, Lord Merlin, born in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England

    1936 - Gardner returns to the UK.

    1939 - The O.T.O. in Germany is effectively dissolved by the Nazis.

    1939 - Gerald Gardner initiated into the New Forest Coven at old Dorothy's house. Met coven via the Rosicrucian Order of the Crotona Fellowship. Age: 55

    1939 - Gardner joins the Folklore Society and presents a paper on witchcraft.

    1940 - New Forest Coven does working to prevent Nazi's from entering Britain

    1942 - George Alexander Sullivan passes away.

    1946 - Gardner forms Wood coven in Hertfordshire. Dafo of New Forrest Coven becomes his first HPs.

    1946 - Gardner begins work on "High Magic's Aid"

    1947 - Gardner and Edith Woodford-Grimes start a company called Ancient Crafts Ltd.

    1947 May 1 - Gardner meets Crowely at the Beast's home in Hastings and meets him again several times thereafter during the month.

    1947 may - Gardner becomes a member of the O.T.O. Is given a charter for an encampment.

    1947 Dec. 1 - Crowley dies. On the 27th Karl Germer is selected over Gardner as the O.T.O head. Germer held the position until his death in 1962.

    1948 March - Lord Merlin initiated into the Rose Wreath Coven, on a cold March morning on Monk’s Island, in the middle of the River Thames

    1949 - Gardner publishes high Magic's Aid under the psuedonym Scire.

    1950 - Gardner states in a letter that Crowley had participated in the witch cult but left.
    Gardner begins distancing himself from the O.T.O in favor of Wica.

    1951 - The 1735 Witchcraft Laws, which had made the practice of Witchcraft a crime in Great Britain, were abolished.
    Gardner publicaly declares himself a witch. Gardner founds the "Northern Coven" in London and holds a small rite at his home near the British Museum on May Eve.

    1951 - The Witchcraft Museum on the Isle of Man opens with backing from Gerald Gardner.

    1952 - Fearing backlash from Gardners publicity, Dafo flees the Coven. The two remain on good terms.

    1953 - Destiney intervenes and Doreen Valiente is brought into the craft by Gardner, becoming Aemeth, a force to be reckoned with...or not.

    1954 - Gardner publishes the first non-fiction book of the era on Witchcraft, Witchcraft Today.
    Sometimes cited as the "Founding of Wicca"

    1957 - Rift grows between those who support Gardner's growing publicity and those opposed, heading Valiente.

    1959 - Gardner publishes The Meaning of Witchcraft Today, first introducing the term "Wica" in published context.

    1962 - Raymond and Rosemary Buckland, come to the United States and began training others.

    1963 - Cochrane publishes Genuine Witchcraft is Defended in Psychic News,

    1963-64 - Gardner spends his winters in Lebanon due to his failing health.

    1964 - Gardner passes away of heart failure on the SS Scottish Prince in the Mediterranean. His body is buried at the next port of call, Tunis.

    1964 - Cochrane meets Valiente through mutual friends met at gathering at Glastonbury Tor held by the Brotherhood of the Essenes.
    through mutual friends which he had met at a gathering at Glastonbury Tor held by the Brotherhood of the Essenes

    1964 or 5 - Monique Wilson initiated Raymond Buckland (1964 or 5)

    1964 - Sybil Leek invited to appear on "To Tell the Truth" a TV programme in the States. Also asked to plug her book A Shop in the High Street.

    1965 or early 66 - Robert Cochrane initiated into Gardnerian Craft by Cynthia Swettenham. Up to second degree.

    1966, Litha(July 3rd) - Cochrane dies of Belladona overdose at age 35. Slough, Berkshire.

    1966, Samhain - Cochranes Coven (original Clan of Tubal Cain) reformed into The Regency by leadership of the Clans Summoner, Ron White.

    1967 Beltaine - The Regency finds home in Hampstead Heath, North-West Londen. First outdoor Sabbat.

    1969 - John of Monmouth joins The Regency.

    1970 - Paul Huson published Mastering Witchcraft

    1971 - Stewart Farrar publishes (with Alex's blessing) What Witches Do

    1971, February 23rd - Lady Circe officially goes public in Blade article.

    1971, March 6th - Lady Circe gives speach at a conference held by the Association of Astrology, Metaphysics, and Psychic Sciences

    1972 - Algard Wicca founded Mary Nesnick in an attempt to unify the two during a particularly bitter era of feuding.

    1972 - Lady Sheba publishes her grimoire

    1973 March 2nd - Sisterhood and Brotherhood of Wicca oficially established by Lady Circe. Toledo, Ohio.

    1973 - Alex and Maxine Sanders seperate. Both continue to practice the craft.

    1973 - Raymond Buckland, Lord Robat, crafts Seax-Wica, a non-initiatory Saxon take on the mysteries.

    1973 - Valiente publishes An ABC of Witchcraft, which contained a self-initiation ritual for solitary practitioners.

    1975 - Lady Sintana founds Ravenwood Church and Seminary of The Old Religion.

    1978 - Lady Sintana and Lord Merlin meet for the first time.

    1979 - Alex Sanders apologizes to Gardnerians (and others) encouraging good relations berween the two traditions.

    1981 - Janet and Stewart Farrar publish Eight Sabbats for Witches

    1982 - IRS challenged; Ravenwood becomes one of the first Pagan congregations in the country to be granted tax-exempt status as a church.

    1982 - Lady Sintana and Lord Merlin married.

    1982, October 26 - Sybil Leek passes away Lo at the age of 65.

    1984 - Janet and Stewart Farrar publish A Witches Way

    1985 - The District Court of Virginia declares that Wicca is a legitimate religion protected by the First Amendment.

    1986 - A federal appeals court ruled that Wicca was a legal religion. Wicca is therefore now protected by the U.S. Constitution as are other religions.

    1986 - Raymond Buckland publishes the Complete Book of Witchcraft.

    1986 - In the USA, the court case of Dettmer v. Landon established that Wicca was a religion, and therefore should be treated as such under the eyes of the law.

    1988 - Alexander Sanders passes away.

    1988 - Scott Cunningham publishes Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

    1989 - Valiente publishes The Rebirth of Witchcraft

    1991 - Aiden A. Kelly publishes Crafting the Art of Magic, Book I, which aims to show that Gardner's Book of Shadows could be entirely traced to earlier sources.

    1996 - Lady Sintana leaves Ravenwood and settles first in California and later in Washington state.
    “I think Ravenwood has come to the point where it has to grow beyond myself,” she said. “I think the elders there are strong enough.... My interest is still in keeping the old tradition alive.”
    “When she moved, we were always in contact two or three times a week,” her husband said. “She was a very strict disciplinarian and she caused controversy, but through controversy came truth. She had extraordinarily high principles and was very successful.”
    “She set the standards high and demanded we work to the best of our abilities,” said Mrs. Clouse, aka Lady Astraea. “She was very charismatic and dynamic.”

    1999 - A Wiccan vernal equinox celebration starts a controversy at Fort Hood, Texas.

    2000 - House of Oakspring founded, from the Circean-Ravenwood Tradition.

    2003 - Lady Brighid and Lord Seth found ShadowWood, a hiveing off of Lady Circe's Coven.

    2004 - Lady Circe passes away.

    2004 - The first Wiccan wedding to be legally recognized in the UK (by the Registrars of Scotland) was performed

    2005 - Parting ways, Lord Merlin moves to Ball Ground in Cherokee County.

    2007 - The United States Armed Services permits the pentagram to be placed on graves in military cemeteries.

    2007 - First pentacle to be engraved on the headstones of fallen pagan soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery and other U.S. military burial grounds.

    2010, September 17 - Lady Sintana passes away from complications of lung cancer.

    2011, Mabon Friday September 23rd 1:00pm - Lord Merlin passes away. Aged 76.
    Last edited by Humming Bird; October 29th, 2015, 09:36 PM.
    Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
    (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths) - The Anikutani Tradition