Seax-Wica was the inspiration of Raymond Buckland. In 1973 fed-up with the egotism and power trips exhibited by others within the craft, he decided to leave the Gardnerian tradition feeling it no longer met his religious needs. He developed and founded Seax-Wica as a new tradition at Samhain that same year. He felt that the craft needed to develop beyond ego trips and self-gratification into a bone-fide religion, which did away with an oath of secrecy and became more democratic and enjoyable. Seax Wica is just that, allowing all to have a relationship with the God and Goddess. With access to the mysteries and kinship with all, “Love is the law, Love is the bond”. While Buckland claimed no direct descent from Saxon times, he chose a Saxon background as a foundation for the new tradition with “Woden and Freya” as its main deities.
After his rather negative experiences in other traditions, Buckland was therefore determined to make Seax-Wicca more open and democratic. There is no degree structure whatsoever and no oath of secrecy, and to alleviate any possibility of the abuse of power, the priesthood is chosen democratically by the coven members. Priests and priestesses are elected annually to serve for a year and a day only, after which new leaders may be elected. It is possible however for leaders to continue for more than one term, if acknowledged by the coven as being good leaders. The coven can be lead by either a priest or priestess, or by both acting together, in which case neither is regarded superior to the other.
In the Saxon tradition, non-initiates, or cowans, are referred to as Theows (pronounced thoe) and are permitted to attend ritual meetings by invitation and would spend time with the other members of the Coven learning all they could before they were ready for their intuition. A neophyte training to enter a coven is known as a Ceorl (pronounced cawl), and once initiated becomes a Gesith. As there is no degree structure for further advancement, all Saxon Wiccans are known as Gesiths. Once Gesith has been attained, he or she may break away and form a new coven, or start their own coven by doing a simple self-dedication rite before initiating others to join them. The Book of Shadows is called The Tree, and is usually bound in a green cover.
As one neared the date of initiation, it is advisable to make or obtain a robe of some description, (especially in cold climates as working skyclad is, for the most part, not exactly practical) or even an item of clothing that will be discarded into a fire marking their transition from Ceorl to Gesith (Priest or Priestess of Seax)
During one’s initiation an oath is made;
As this libation drains from the horn, so shall all blood drain from by body if I should do ought to hurt the God and Goddess or those in kinship with their love
Buckland was known as the Faeder, or Founder/Father of Seax-Wica and for many years ran a correspondence course for the tradition, believing that individuals unable to join or contact a coven should not be excluded. As a result, Seax-Wica is now a worldwide tradition with covens operating in such places as Japan, Russia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and all across England, Europe and the United States.
In 1993 at Lughnasadh, Buckland decided to retire from active participation in the Craft, and handed the leadership of the tradition on to an ex-student, Michael B. Smith, who is doing a wonderful job at the helm of the Craft, especially now with so much renewed interest in the Saxon tradition. As the new leader, Smith has re-started the tradition’s correspondence course, which is available from Crowhaven House, P.O. Box 4204, New York, NY 10163.
To learn more about Seax-Wicca you would also be well advised to go to Ray Buckland’s Home Page and read what the founder himself has written.
The Home Pages of Seax Wicca from the “Coven of the Spiral Seax” in the heart of England, who’s aim is to teach all that are interested about the tradition of Seax Wica. About the master of Galdra (Saxon magick) and the Seax Wica runes – the great father God Woden. And of course the Love, magick and protection of our beautiful mother Goddess Freya.
Raymond Buckland (1934 – 2017)
Raymond Buckland, Englishman, prolific Author and Witch. He is probably best known as an agent of Gerald B. Gardner. It was Buckland who was responsible for introducing Gardnerian Witchcraft into America in 1964. He operated his own Museum of Witchcraft in America.
Buckland was born in London, England, on the 31st August 1934. His father came from a line of Gypsies, which means Buckland himself is a half-blooded Gypsy or in their terminology a “poshrat”. He was brought up in the Church of England but when he was 12 years old, an uncle introduced him into Spiritualism and the occult. Over time this interest would evolve to include Witchcraft and Magic.
Educated at King’s Collage School in London, Buckland then studied at Brantridge Forest Collage in Sussex, earning a doctorate in anthropology. In 1955 he met and married his first wife Rosemary before serving a short term in the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1957 to 1959. In 1962 he and Rosemary immigrated to the United States. They settled in Brentwood, Long Island, where Buckland went to work for British Airways, then known as BOAC.
Buckland’s interest in Spiritualism and the occult had continued to this time, but he felt there was something missing. Within a short period of time two books came into his possession that would greatly influence his life and beliefs, The Witch-Cult In Western Europe by Margaret A. Murray, and Witchcraft Today by Gerald B. Gardner. Until reading these two books, Buckland had never looked upon Witchcraft as a religion, but now he realized he had found what he felt was missing. He contacted Gerald Gardner in the Isle of Man, and soon began a long-distance mail and telephone friendship with him. As their friendship matured Buckland became Gardner’s spokesman in the United States, and whenever Gardner received a query from the U.S. it was forwarded to, and answered by Buckland.
In 1963 Buckland and Gardner came together for their first and only physical meeting. They met at the home of Monique Wilson, (Gardner’s – High Priestess) in Perth, Scotland. The occasion was for Buckland’s initiation, which was performed by Monique. Rosemary was initiated separately sometime later. Shortly after the meeting Gardner left to vacation the winter in the Lebanon. While returning aboard ship on the 14th February 1964, Gardner suffered a heart attack. He was buried on shore the following day in Tunis.
In America interest in Witchcraft was catching on quickly, but Buckland built his coven slowly and with caution. There were many that wanted to become Gardnerian Witches who felt that Buckland was being over cautious, those who didn’t want to wait for initiation simply went away and started their own covens. Buckland persisted; he wanted only those with a genuine interest in the craft as a religion. Initially Buckland was secretive, and kept his name and address from the press, but eventually it was published and this focused attention on him as a leading authority and spokesman of the craft.
In imitation of Gardner’s Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the Isle of Man and perhaps inspired by it, Buckland began to collect artifacts and pieces for his own museum. He called it the First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the United States. His collection started in a bookcase, and then as it grew it took over the basement of their house, and eventually had to be housed in a separate building.
Buckland started to write about witchcraft in 1968, and in 1969 he published his first book A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural. He followed it in 1970 with Witchcraft Ancient and Modern and Practical Candleburning Rituals. That same year he wrote his first novel Mu Revealed under the pseudonym “Tony Earll”, an anagram for – “not really”. Writing became a passion for Buckland and he wanted more time to devote to it. By 1973 his collection of artifacts had grown large enough for him to occupy a rented building. He quit his job with BOAC and opened the museum proper, running it himself while at the same time writing full-time.
That same year his marriage to Rosemary broke up and they handed the leadership of their coven over to “Theos and Phoenix”, who became the local Gardnerian high priest and priestess of Long Island. Buckland moved to New Hampshire where he reopened his museum and later married “Joan Helen Taylor”. At about the same time he decided to leave the Gardnerian tradition feeling it no longer met his religious needs. He was also fed-up with the egotism and power trips exhibited by others within the craft. He developed and founded a new tradition called Seax-Wica. He based it on a Saxon heritage and made it more open and democratic.
In the early eighties he and Joan moved on to Virginia and established the Seax-Wica Seminary. This was a correspondence school that grew to have more than 1,000 students worldwide. They had plans to build a campus for it, but these fell through due to lack of funds. After nearly 10 years of marriage together working and building the school, their marriage deteriorated and finally broke down. Buckland and Joan were divorced.
Buckland next met and married “Tara Cochan” of Cleveland. Together they moved to Charlottesville in Virginia, where they re-established the seminary school and set up a publishing company, Taray Publications. In December 1984 they moved again, this time to San Diego, where they phased out the seminary correspondence course. By this time the Seax-Wica tradition was well established worldwide.
In 1992 after more than a quarter of a century working in and leading the craft in America, Buckland decided to retire from active participation. He moved his family to a small farmstead in north central Ohio. There except for occasional public appearances, he’s content to practice as a solitary. As well as Seax-Wica, Buckland also practices Pecti-Wita, a Scottish tradition inspired by “Aidan Breac” and which Buckland helped to develop.
Buckland was a much sort-after authority on the occult, magic and the supernatural. He was a prolific and diverse writer, covering such subjects as mystery and fantasy fiction, screenplays, divination systems, spiritualism and metaphysical nonfiction. He has averaged more than one book a year over the last thirty years. He has also written numerous magazine and newspaper articles, television scripts for the ITV’s The Army Game, a pilot script Sly Digs, for the BBC, and for a short time was the personal scriptwriter for the English comedian “Ted Lane”. He served as technical adviser for the “Orson Welles” movie Necromancy, and worked with The Exorcist director “William Friedkin” on a stage production of Macbeth.
As well as writing Buckland his appeared in public promoting the craft all across America, he has been seen on BBC-TV in England, the RAI-TV in Italy, and the CBC-TV in Canada. He has also appeared extensively on stage in England as an actor, and played small role character parts in moves in America. Buckland was also a distinguished teacher on craft subjects and has taught courses at New York State University, Hofstra University, New Hampshire Technical Collage and for Hampton, Virginia City Council. Without doubt, Buckland can be considered amongst the top of America’s leading Witches, his contribution to the revival of Witchcraft in America is perhaps without equal.
Note : The museum is located in New Orleans at 523 Dumaine St. in the French Quarter. They are currently offering tours through the Museum: both guided and unguided. Their phone number is 504-581-1457.