Buckland, Raymond (Brian) (1934-)

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Buckland, Raymond (Brian) (1934-)

Author and Wiccan high priest who, with his wife, Rosemary Buckland, introduced Gardnerian Witchcraft into the United States. Buckland was born August 31, 1934, in London, England, where he attended high school. He served in the Royal Air Force, 1957-59, and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at King's College, Cambridge.

When he was 12 years old, Buckland's uncle loaned him a book on Spiritualism. A vivacious reader, in the 1950s he became familiar with the books of Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner on Witchcraft. Buckland contacted Gardner and established a relationship with him and his priestess Monique Wilson (Lady Olwen). Shortly before Gardner's death in 1964, Buckland and his wife became Gardner's first American initiates, and they assumed the religious names Robat and Lady Rowan. After they moved to the United States in 1962, they began the first Gardnerian coven (an assembly or band of usually 13 witches. Whenever Americans contacted Gardner and his followers in England, they were referred to the Bucklands, thus establishing the Gardnerian movement in the United States. They also opened a Witchcraft Museum on Long Island modeled on the museum Gardner had established on the Isle of Man. Buckland also authored a set of books on Wicca, including Ancient and Modern Witchcraft (1970) and Witchcraft from the Inside (1975).

In the early 1970s Buckland divorced and began to disagree with some of the elements of the Gardnerian tradition. In 1973 he turned the leadership of the Gardnerian movement over to another couple, Lady Theos and Phoenix, and created a new non-secret form of Witchcraft that he called Seax (or Saxon) Wicca. He presented this new Witchcraft in a 1974 book, The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. That same year he also married Joan Helen Taylor, who became his new high priest.

Buckland then developed a correspondence course in Seax Wicca, which he offered through the 1970s. He also moved to Southern California where his approach to the craft evolved. He continued to write on a wide variety of magical and Witchcraft themes and his latest books include Practical Color Magick (1983), Complete Book of Witchcraft (1986), and the Secrets of Gypsy Fortunetelling (1988), which is of a series of books on gypsy occult practices. As of the mid-1990s, Buckland has written more than 20 books. One, a spoof on the books of James Church-ward, was called Mu Revealed and appeared under the Pseudonym Tony Earll (an anagram for "not really"). Buckland also wrote novels under the pseudonym Jessica Wells.


Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon. New York: Viking Press, 1979. Rev. ed. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986.

. Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 1986.

. Doors to Other Worlds. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Books, 1993.

Guiley, Rosemary E. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Witches. New York: Facts on File, 1989.

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