Raymond Buckland

Raymon Buckland Skyclad
Raymond Buckland

Raymond Buckland | Books | Photos | Videos | Wikipedia

Raymond Buckland (31 August 1934 – 27 September 2017) has been one of the longest active and most prolific influences in modern witchcraft and Wicca. In his early days living in England, he was most known by his craft name Robert. That changed when he moved to the United States and authored under the name Raymond Buckland. Also changed with the move was his tradition.

Raymond Buckland is often credited with bringing Gardnerian Wicca ti the United States. Although Mr. Buckland was initiated into the Gardnerian tradition, even his earlier publications better resembled Seax-Wicca, something he would later introduce. Dr. Buckland later worked closely with Scott Cunningham to further a solitary eclectic Wicca. The Gardenarian tradition was not known for either accepting of solitary or gay Wiccans. Scott Cunningham, a gay man with help from Raymond Buckland, helped Wicca to finally accept gay men and women into their fold. This from a man who once wrote.

“A ‘gay witch’ would be an absolute contradiction in terms. Being a religion of nature the witch is very much heterosexual; there must be a male and a female, equal numbers of each, in a coven.” – Raymond Buckland from his bookWitchcraft: Ancient and Modern

Indeed, some early quotes of Mr. Buckland were horribly homophobic. But let us remember, the US president who encouraged the US Supreme court to make legal same sex marriage had once opposed same sex marriage. This is what is amazing about Mr. Buckland. He was actively reporting on the craft for so long, that his opinion, style, and identity evolved with time. Let us not forget that we are talking both about Doctor Raymond Buckland, the serious scholar, and we are talking about Ray Buckland the guy who wrote The Magic of Chant-o-Matics. Raymond Buckland was both these men and more, himself evolving as the craft evolved.

Per his book Witchcraft from the Inside (1971) Raymond Buckland brought Gardenarian Wicca to the United States in 1964. This was after being initiated into Gardnerian Wicca by Monique Wilson (Lady Olwen) in 1963. In the same book, Mr. Buckland claimed to be the first in the United States to openly practice Wicca. Somewhere along the line, Mr. Buckland became a third degree and High Priest in the Gardenarian tradition. This version of the story seems the most popular.

A more accurate version of this story puts Raymond Buckland in the United States before his interest in witchcraft. It seems Buckland knew Gerald Gardner via a mail order witchcraft course and correspondence. Even Buckland’s claim of being the first to openly practice Wicca now seem false. Gavin and Yvonne Frost founded the Church and School of Wicca in 1968. During the same general time period, Raymond Buckland was driving around in a Hearse, making appearances on TV shows and generally hamming it up. In 1968, Raymond Buckland launched the first Buckland’s Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

The 60s were a different time. Before the internet, before serious interest from large publishers, there were mail order courses. Gerald Gardner had his. The Frosts had theirs. Buckland bet on the right tradition. Right or wrong, it was Gardner who history would later focus on.

Bibliography

Raymond Buckland | Books | Photos | Videos | Wikipedia

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