January 4, 2012

Remembering Doreen Valiente

Doreen Edith Dominy Valiente was born on 4 January 1922 and passed 1 September 1999. She was interested in magic from an early age and studied occult. When she was 30, she met Gerald Gardner and was initiated into his coven the following year. She went on to become his High Priestess, split from him, and became the High Priestess of several other covens -- some that she formed. She went on to write several important books including An ABC of Witchcraft, Natural Magic, and much later, The Rebirth of Witchcraft.

During the mid 1970’s I was investigating various religious paths. Doreen’s book, An ABC of Witchcraft was one of the first books I read regarding Witchcraft. Her approach made more sense to me than Steward Farrar’s What Witches Do. I thought her approach was more in tune with Nature than some of the other materials I read at the time. (She may have been influenced by Robert Cochrane.)

She had a very positive approach to relationships with coven members and with the outside world in general. It was a refreshing approach to Witchcraft and was the closest thing I had found to my beliefs and expectations before I found modern Druidism.

Of course, we still have her books in my library. (Many of them are now out of print.) Her vision of Witchcraft gave me a much broader vocabulary of modern Witchcraft (Wicca) and an understanding of what it should be about. She provided a clear perspective of the Craft as a positive, life affirming, religion that was important for me to understand at a time when "Witchcraft" conjured visions of Satanic Rituals.

Today, on the 89th anniversary of her birth, I remember Doreen Valiente and give thanks to her as an Ancestor.

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