So you've looked around and seen a whole heap of Wicca/Witchcraft/Pagan books by a myriad of different authors. I, personally, like to know whose words I'm reading - who is this person and are they credible? That's what this page is for - to give you a little info on some of the more common Pagan authors.
Adler, Margot Buckland, Raymond Crowley, Vivianne Cunningham, Scott Ezzy, Douglas
Gardner, Gerald Horne, Fiona Murray, Margaret RavenWolf, Silver Starhawk
Margot Adler was born in Arkansas, USA in 1946 and grew up in New York City. She has a degree in political science from Berkeley, a master's from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia, and was initiated into the Gardnerian tradition, eventually becoming a High Priestess. She has had a career in as a radio reporter and live talk show creator/host, focusing on social issues such as the death penalty, euthanasia and the Kosovo war. She is also the author of one of the most important books in modern Wicca, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today, published in 1979.
Margot Adler's homepage
Raymond Buckland (August 31, 1934 -) was born in London, England and was raised Anglican, but developed an interest in Spiritualism and the occult the age of 12. He later attended Brantridge Forest College and gained a doctorate in anthropology, before marrying Rosemary Moss in 1955. They emigrated to New York, USA in 1962, where Buckland read The Witch-Cult in Western Europe and Witchcraft Today and began corresponding with Gerald Gardner, who was then living on the Isle of Man, leading to Buckland becoming Gardner's spokesman in America.
In 1963 Raymond and Rosemary travelled to Perth, Scotland where they were initiated into the Gardnerian tradition - though Gardner attended the ceremony, he did not perform it. Raymond and Rosemary then returned to Long Island and founded the Long Island Coven in the Gardnerian tradition, and were High Priest and High Priestess until 1973 when they separated and left the coven.
Buckland founded America's first Witchcraft museum in 1968, and published his first book - A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural - in 1969. In 1974 he married Joan Helen Taylor and, having had enough of the infighting within the Gardnerian tradition, he founded his own trad - Seax-Wica - and published a full guide to this new trad in The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. He divorced Joan Helen Taylor in 1982, and in 1983 married Tara Cochran (to whom he is still married).
Buckland has published many books, on both New Age topics and Wicca, including Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, Practical Candleburning Rituals and Practical Color Magick.
Raymond Buckland's homepage
Vivianne Crowley is of Irish descent, but grew up in England. She first became interested in Witchcraft when she was about 11, after seeing Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders in the news, and was initiated into Alex Sanders' coven in London when she was 18, though she later joined a Gardnerian coven.
In 1988, Vivianne founded the Wicca Study Group in London and became secretary of the Pagan Federation. Today, she has a Ph.D in psychology and is a professional psychologist, lecturer in the psychology of religion at King's College in London and adjunct professor at the Union Institute in Ohio.
Scott Cunningham (June 27, 1956 - March 28, 1993) was born in Michigan, USA and began studying Wicca in high school, under the guidance of a female classmate. He was initiated into various eclectic covens, and thus didn't have access to the oathbound practices of 'traditional' Gardnerian/Alexandrian covens. Because of this, he tended to write for the solitary practitioner.
Scott wrote both fiction and non-fiction books, but it is for his non-fiction works on Wicca and Witchcraft that he is best remembered. He is known for his clear, simple explanations and his books are a practical and reliable resource.
Scott died in early 1993 from a combination of cancer and infection.
Douglas Ezzy is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania.He has published 6 books and many articles, some on Wicca and others on spirituality in general. He's not a Witch himself, but he works closely with people that are and as a result his books are very well-researched. His sensible, scholarly approach to Wicca makes his work an excellent resource.
Gerald Brousseau Gardner (June 13, 1884 - February 12, 1964) was an English civil servant, writer, occultist and an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist on the side. He believed Wicca to be a survival of a pre-Christian religion, into which he claimed to have been initiated by a coven (specifically, by Dorothy Clutterbuck) located in the New Forest region of southern England (southwest Hampshire and southeast Wiltshire). He used this knowledge to write Witchcraft Today, published in 1954, and The Meaning of Witchcraft, published in 1959, which were the base for the Gardnerian tradition. This trad inspired numerous other branches/traditions, and it is because of this that he's called the 'father of modern Wicca'.
Gardner wrote both fiction (A Goddess Arrives and High Magic's Aid) and non-fiction (Keris and Other Malay Weapons, Witchcraft Today and The Meaning of Witchcraft) books - he said later that High Magic's Aid was an attempt to write about the tradition into which he'd been initiated under the pretext of fiction, and after the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in England he'd been given permission by the Witches to write a non-fiction book.
Gerald Gardner was married for 33 years to Donna (nÃ©e Rosedale), until her death in 1960. After she died he began to suffer from a recurrence of his childhood asthma, and after a heart attack in 1964 he died at sea on a ship from Lebanon, and was buried in Tunisia.
Fiona Horne (1966 -) was born in Sydney, Australia and has been a model (in Black+White, Ralph, FHM, Australian Playboy and Playboy), singer (in Def FX, The Mothers, Sister Sludge and with Paul McDermott), TV personality (host of Mad Mad House, and competitor on Celebrity Survivor), radio personality (currently on The Hamish and Andy Show on the Austereo network) and actress (first in the movie Unbeatable Harold). She is well known for her books on Witchcraft, and efforts of publicise the subject, but today concentrates mainly on her media career.
Fiona Horne's homepage
Margaret Alice Murray (July 13, 1863 - November 13, 1963) was born in Calcutta, India (now Kolkata). She attended the University College of London, where she studied linguistics and anthropology, eventually becoming a respected anthropologist and Egyptologist. Murray was the first female Egyptologist employed at the University of Manchester's museum, was appointed Associate Professor of Egyptology at the University College of London in 1924, and became a fellow of Britain's Royal Anthropological Institute in 1926. After retiring in 1935, she became president of the Folklore Society in 1953.
While she is highly regarded for her work as an anthropologist and Egyptologist, Murray is today best known for her controversial book The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, published in 1921, about an alleged underground European pagan 'resistance' to the Christian Church - Witches that worked in covens of thirteen, worshipped a Horned God and secretly practised human sacrifice until uncovered by the medieval Witch hunts. Although The Witch-Cult in Western Europe has since been discredited, and Murray's tendency to bend the truth to fit her theories revealed, it still greatly influenced the early development of Wicca.
Silver RavenWolf (September 11, 1956 -) was born Jenine Trayer and is the author of many fiction and non-fiction books on Wicca and Paganism in general. Silver is a third degree initiate of the Serpent Stone Family, and also a second- or third-degree initiate into many, varied covens across the United States. She is the leader of the Black Forest Circle and Seminary, lecturer/workshop coordinator and active Wiccan anti-discrimination campaigner, and currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 4 teenage children.
If you've been looking around the net for reviews on Silver's books to help you choose one, you'll notice that there is a lot of criticism about her writing - or perhaps you've read them and come to this conclusion on your own. Below are some critiques on Silver's books, to outline some of the concerns some members of the Pagan community have about what she teaches, plus an open letter from Silver responding to these concerns.
Silver RavenWolf's homepage
Wicca: For the Rest of Us - Why We Despise Silver RavenWolf
Tarnished Silver - Why I Don't Recommend Silver RavenWolf
The Problem with Silver RavenWolf
An Open Letter from Silver RavenWolf
Starhawk (June 17, 1951 -) was born Miriam Simos in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Today, Starhawk lives in San Francisco, where she is a political activist and the author of many non-fiction books on conservation and feminism as well as Wicca and Paganism, including the famous The Spiral Dance. She was a co-founder of Reclaiming, an international organisation promoting earth-based spirituality and political activism. Along with her books and web writings, Starhawk also records her teachings on tape and CD, in addition to writing the occasional song. She is perhaps the most respected Wiccan author and practitioner around today.