Traditional and Innovative Trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft

A book, What Thou Wilt, based on this essay, has been published by Evertype.

As well as benefitting some insightful comments by readers, and from a deadline forcing me to finally rectify some errors and make some necessary additions, the oversight of an editor is a wonderful thing—I don’t know why some writers complain about editors; seeing what I’ve tried to express made clearer by editting is a joy.

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The publication of Gerald Gardner’s non-fiction works on witchcraft has led to the current public existence of two different trends of religio-magical belief and/or practice, which both identify themselves as Wicca. One form places a strong emphasis upon the transmission of traditional practices and a form of initiatory lineage similar to that practiced by Gardner himself. The other covers a wider range of views on each of these aspects, but with the most common position being a strong distance between the traditional practices—giving a greater importance to innovation—and a complete or near-complete abandonment of the concept of initiatory lineage.

Both trends often see themselves and each other as being within a wider religio-magical stream of post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft of which the innovative form is a larger part, though in different ways: The traditional view of the innovative form typically labels that form Eclectic even in cases where the practitioners would understand Eclectic differently, and considers it to be something outside of what it terms Wicca. The innovative form generally label all post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft, or beyond, as Wicca, and as such recognises all traditional practitioners as Wiccan but does not generally make a more significant distinction between e.g. Alexandrian and Correlian or Gardnerian and Dianic than between Alexandrian and Gardnerian and as such often does not even recognise the self-identification of the traditional streams.

Hence, the traditional stream considers the differences between the two streams as significant to the point of typicality while the innovative stream considers the differences as much less important. Examining these differences offer a chance insights into both.


  1. Traditional and Innovative Trends in Post-Gardnerian Witchcraft
    1. Abstract
    2. Contents
    1. On Wicca and Wicca
      1. What’s in a Name?
      2. Drawing Lines
    2. Traditions in the Craft and Traditions of the Craft
      1. Denominations
      2. The Prevalence of Craft Traditions
        1. The Wiccan Rede
        2. Wiccan Prehistory
        3. Tools
        4. Initiation
        5. Coven Government
        6. Male–Female Pairings
        7. The Five-Fold Kiss
        8. Drawing Down the Moon & The Charge of the Goddess
        9. Feast Days
        10. Monetary Reward
    3. Books, Books of Shadows and Cultural Transmission
      1. The Book of Shadows
      2. Orthopraxies, Orthodoxies and Heterodoxies
    4. Training, Standards and the Anti-Fluffy Backlash
      1. Standards & Training
      2. Self-Efficacy
      3. The Anti-Fluffy Backlash
    5. Nature Religions & Fertility Religions
    6. The Politicisation of the Craft
      1. Traditional Wicca and Politics
      2. The Witch as Radical
      3. Feminist Histories of Witchcraft
      4. Mythological Elements in Feminist Witchcraft
        1. The Burning Times
        2. Matriarchal Prehistory
        3. Sisterhood
      5. Criticism of Feminist Witchcraft
      6. The Witch as Environmentalist
    7. The ID Wars, Teen Witches, and Representation
      1. The Identity Warriors
      2. Teen Witches
      3. Bubblegum for the Eyes
    8. National and Tribal Cultures as Source Text
    9. Sex and Sexual Politics
    10. Churches, Incorporation and Ministries
    11. Conclusion
      1. Identity Politics and Teens
      2. Apolitical Traditions Revisited
      3. The Value of Lip Service
      4. Sexuality
      5. Expectations
      6. Nature
      7. The W–Word
    1. Bibliography, Filmography, Discography & Webography
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