Rose Ariadne's Chitchcraft Blog

Dear Friends,

Many newcomers to the Pagan path would be surprised to find out that there are many ‘sub-paths’ within the larger body. I use the word sub only to indicate their inclusion in the larger Pagan family, and not as a means to imply they are in any way less than other groups. Just like Methodists, Baptists and Lutherans are all considered Christians, there are many traditions within Paganism that have their own separate beliefs and practices that fall into the broad definition of Paganism.In the next few messages, I’d like to introduce you to a few of the more popular traditions and explain the similarities and differences between them. The first in this series is the Alexandrian tradition. Alexandrians define their religion as a Pagan mystery faith that includes initiations, oaths and experiments with nature. Its origins lie in the Ancient British Isles. Alexandrians consider themselves to be the first Wiccans, and have distinguished themselves from other Wiccans by requiring an initiation.

The tradition dates back further than the name “Alexandrian” does. The roots are in what is now called Gardnerian Wicca, which in the Ancient days was called simply ‘the Old Religion’ or ‘the Wica.’ The name “Alexandrian” references the founder of this modern formal interpretation of the Old Religion, Alex Sanders. It is also a reference to the Great Library of Alexandria, which was the center of Occult knowledge for the ancient world.

Alex Sanders was initiated into Wicca sometime in the early 1960s. He later gained a reputation as a Ceremonial Magician, as well as having a media presence. For this reason, he was given the name “King of the Witches” by some of his Covens. Most of the modern Alexandrians descend from the original London Coven, which was founded by Sanders and his wife Maxine.

His flair for showmanship and courting of the media led to widespread recognition of Wicca in the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s. This attention was not welcomed by all in the Wiccan community, and resulted in a schism between his coven and several others. As a result, the Alexandrian Tradition of Wicca began to be developed apart from other Wicca traditions.

Alexandrians work primarily with the Old Gods of Europe, and focus their worship on the Lady of the Moon and her Consort, the Horned One. The Gods are not jealous, however, and Alexandrian witches are free to work with other deities on a personal or group basis. They aim for a personal connection and understanding of the deity, and ancestors. They respect the rhythms and tides of nature. They believe in the power of magick, and use traditional and experimental techniques to achieve their goals.

Unlike some Wiccan traditions, Alexandrians have no formal clergy. They believe that everyone initiated into the tradition is a Priest or Priestess in their own right. However, the tradition is organized into covens. To become an Alexandrian, a properly prepared and authorized Alexandrian High Priestess or Priest must initiate you. It is not possible to self-initiate into Alexandrian Wicca.
Shortly after being initiated, the initiate begins to hand copy the Alexandrian Book of Shadows from the person who initiated him or her. It is the initiator’s responsibility to make sure that the new member gets the information they need about their new religion. The Book of Shadows has a core section that has been passed down from the original London Coven, and then sections that are specific to the local coven.

The tradition is an oath bound Mystery Tradition; which is why many details of the workings of the coven and the spellwork are in secret. The secrecy among the initiates is because they hold their traditions to be sacred, private and respected.

In the next message, we’ll explore the origins of another popular Pagan tradition.
Brightest Blessing,

Rose Ariadne, Your Warm And Caring “Resident Witch In Charge”

Posted by Rose Comment 1

1 Comment

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Maxine Sanders last weekend as she read a dozen or so pages from her book in her wonderful accent. She spoke of some church women in England that she introduced to Wicca and the scandal that it caused with the locals and press. I could see she had joyful memories of these women.
    I want to thank you so much for your most recent help. I have bookmarked the sight and will read everything shortly.
    I feel better already
    BB Always

    June 8th, 2007 | #

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