Thursday, August 25, 2011

Archival Video: Doreen Valiente Speaks!

(Oh, I would love to find a matching set of her cloven-hoof candle holders!)

As of 1 September, 2011 it will have been twelve years since Doreen Valiente passed from the mortal plain to live with the gods and the Elders of the Craft in the breathtaking Summerland.  She was regarded -- mot without cause -- as the Mother of Modern Witchcraft.  Among her publications includes: "The Charge of the God" (a companion piece to "The Charge of the Goddess" that was written shortly after her partner in Magick and in Life, Ron, died; it was published in The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism [Citadel, 2004], ed. by Shelley Rabinovitch and James Lewis with the permission of the executor to her estate); Witchcraft for Tomorrow (Robert Hale, 1993); an interview published in FireHeart; An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present (Phoenix Publishing, 1988); The Rebirth of Witchcraft (Robert Hale, 2008); Natural Magic (Phoenix Publishing, 1985); posthumously The Charge of the Goddess--The Mother of Modern Witchcraft (Hexagon Hoopix, 2000) ; Where Witchcraft Lives (The Centre for Pagan Studies, Ltd. Edn.); and excerpts from a speech was published in the book Wiccan Wisdomkeepers (Samuel Weiser, 2002), however the full speech was published in the journal of the Pagan Federation, Pagan Dawn, under the following title, "A Witch Speaks"  which is available on-line.  In it she makes some astonishing proclamations, such as the fact that there is no place for homophobia within the Craft or without it (which garnered her a standing ovation); and, had she only but known of the publication of Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture by Arthur Evans she would have lent Gerald Gardner her own copy while he was still living.  Sadly, Gerald Gardner was a product of his time and deeply homophobic.  This staunch homophobia later came to influence his own Initiates, such as High Priestess, Lois Bourne, who wrote in her book, Dancing with Witches: "I never saw Gerald become angry or lose his temper, and only once did he express an opinion forcefully and in a manner which brooked no argument, so deeply was it felt.  Gerald was homophobic.  He had a deep hatred and detestation of homosexuality, which he regarded as a disgusting perversion and a flagrant transgression of the natural law, negating the life force and the fertility aspect represented by the God and Goddess.  The subject arose during a conversation with Jack Bracelin concerning an acquaintance of his who had expressed an interest in the coven.  'There are no homosexual witches, and it is not possible to be a homosexual and a witch' Gerald almost shouted.  No one argued with him.  It is true that I have never met or recognized any homosexual witches by the particular aura possessed by all witches which allows them to identify each other, so Gerald was probably correct." (pp. 38-9, Robert Hale, 1998).  Bourne claimed to be a psychic with the clairvoyant disposition for observing each individual's innate aura.

After Doreen's passing, due to pancreatic cancer, her estate was left to her final Initiate, John Belham-Payne, which included many beautiful Pagan or Witch-related artifacts (which is presently on a touring exhibit throughout Britain).  While her lecture in association with the Pagan Federation occurred shortly before her passing, there was another speaking engagement that was put on by the Centre for Pagan Studies which was a mere Q and A with Doreen (pictured; Copyright, Belham-Payne):

For those who have always yearned to hear Doreen speaking for herself, and been unable to attend one of her lectures in the United Kingdom, you may do so, now...  She was interviewed ten years before her death for a video called Earth Magic (1989), which was thankfully up-loaded by the patently ridiculous British Witch, Kevin Carlyon (Seriously, the man parades around in a terry cloth bathrobe and proceeds to lecture the Harry Potter filmmakers on International television that Daniel Radcliffe and the rest of the cast rode on their brooms the wrong way around based upon Medieval prints rendered by Goya, the famed Spanish atheist painter!).  This video -- which I am thankful that he posted, despite a severe technical flaw (it's a video of a video!) -- portrays HPs Doreen Valiente (with her charming and maternal smile) discussing many topics germane to the modern Craft movement, such as the history of the Book of Shadows, contemporary Pagan politicking, how she met Gerald Gardner, his flaws, and it concludes with her recitation of her "Invocation of the Horned One".  The interview begins shortly after the five-minute mark and a discussion with the infamous Alex Sanders:

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