Month: March 2016

Mario Martinez

(This is a response to a letter from Mario Martinez, the person who has unsubstantiated claims of being a Gardnerian initiate in Brazil, who has had every opportunity to prove it over the last decade, but hasn’t yet. Read his letter before this response for maximum effect.)

Dearest Mr. Martinez,

Thank you quite sincerely for noticing the sarcastic and trashy nature of our blog. We are glad that you get it, as some people mistake it for actual value and that absolutely terrifies us. You have made our day, sir.

Now, however, we will drop the schtick (that’s a Yiddish word for an act. You should totally incorporate it into Portuguese down there. It’s great). Instead of making light of an obviously tawdry situation, I’ll speak in the first person, in a civilized manner, which is unusual for me.

Sir, I would love for you to join the big family. If you could prove yourself to have a vouch from a verified Gardnerian that is vouched for by others who are not ultimately reliant on you for their vouch, I would be happy to see and treat you as a brother of the Art. However, until such a time as that process is completed, then I would be in violation of my oath, as would any of us in the US or the UK or the rest of Europe or even in Brazil. However, I am hoping that this discourse will prove exactly that you are legitimately initiated and elevated, because one thing that I love more than poking at a silly bee’s nest is meeting actual brothers and sisters of the Craft. Hell, I even recognize Alexandrians as brothers and sisters of the Wicca, and that’s not very ‘Hard Gard’ of me. So please, let’s get this taken care of.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Seamus McKeon, and I live in Los Angeles, California. I am a third degree High Priest and I run a coven in West Hollywood. I am downline from Raymond Buckland and from Theos and Phoenix, and I am a member of the Long Island line which you seem so keen to attempt to discredit based purely on ad hominem attacks. I am such legitimate Long Island line that I even grew up on Long Island about 25 minutes away from where Ray established the first Wiccan coven in America. However, as I said before, I’m not a hard gard. I recognize Alexandrians. I am a High Priest and I run my coven, as opposed to our HPS running it, because I am still training her. These are very, very un-hard Gard things to do, and they are two among many, yet still, I am a recognized initiate of the Gardnerian tradition and not even the most Hard Gard of priests will deny that.

This blog is meant as both a joke and also a blunt way of looking at Wiccan subjects that most of us are far too nice to say aloud. We have articles ranging from initiation experiences to yelling about amusing shenanigans at Pagan festivals happening between friends, because the vast majority of us are friends with other Gardnerians and we like the sense of family that we enjoy because of it. Articles here are written by multiple initiates with no regard for saying who’s who, because all opinions here belong to Gardnerians. The point is its diversity of thought, regardless of who happens to be writing any one piece. We celebrate the mirth and the reverence of our tradition and our lives. If that is not a part of your group, then we heartily recommend incorporating it, as it makes for some truly great bonds. The situation down there with you has been so consistently pathetic and full of contradictions that we just had to comment on how much rope it seems that you have been given to hang yourself (that’s an American idiom that suggests that you’ve been given opportunities to prove your points but have only managed to shoot yourself in the foot and make your cause all the more difficult for yourselves).

But, I digress, this post is about mending fences and finding family. As far as I can tell, people have checked with you and with your people in order to obtain a vouch. The fact that one has not been forthcoming since 2005 is extremely telling. Hell, some of us even accept vouches from Alexandrians. The only attempt at legitimacy that I have ever heard of from you is the fact that you somehow got onto a list that Fred Lamond wrote and he didn’t kick you out. That is not a vouch. That is an English person being polite. If Fred Lamond has never met you or circled with you and doesn’t personally know anyone else who has, then he can’t really vouch for you. That’s not how it works. So, I ask you quite sincerely, who can vouch for you? I have read comments in which you claim to have been initiated by Olwen herself on the Isle of Mann, and other claims by those downline from you that you are teaching them that their lineage flows through you to an Ann Tyler. I have also been informed that you tried to claim degrees off of Patricia Crowther, and she denied ever knowing you. So which is it? What is the truth?

Who are your initiators? What are their names and how may we contact them? If they are deceased and unable to vouch for you, is there anyone else who has been in circle with both you and them who can vouch for you? Is there anyone who is not your initiate or an initiate of your initiates who can vouch for you? Can anyone else use their good standing in the Gardnerian priesthood to vouch for you without also being ultimately reliant on your vouch as a part of their lineage? I have stood in circle with Long Island people, with Kentucky line people, with Rae Bone-line people from both the United States, England, and continental Europe. I have people who are completely unconnected with my lineage who can and will vouch for me. Do you have the same? That would help immensely. This is how it works.

Let’s next address the BoS in question. Someone (I thought it was you, but if it was one of your downline then I apologize, but my point still stands) sent a sample of your/their book of shadows to a High Priest that you subsequently maligned because he rejected it as proof of validity. His name is Brian and he is a HP in good standing in Texas. The reason why this sample was sent was to serve as proof of your legitimacy by way of having a legitimate book of shadows. The interesting point is that your book, per your version of history, would have been copied from your initiators in England 45+ years ago, because that is where and when you claim to have been initiated, but this “proof of legitimacy” sample was from an American HP with notes that he wrote in the 1990s on the west coast of America. This is one of the things I was referring to as giving you enough rope to hang yourself. If it was one of your initiates who sent this, as it seems to be people other than you who are always transmitting your messages, then I invite you to provide proof of your own.

I’ve been through the rites, and I have experienced the Mysteries, and they have led me to understand that the Wica are everywhere, waiting to be found, having already been known and loved again, and stand ready to bring in those that come after us. I will circle happily with people whose vouches are good, and I dislike disunion almost as much as I dislike lying and overbearing pride. We are taught to be humble in the craft, and so, I offer to you to serve to stand witness to your veracity as soon as you can provide me with an adequate vouch. I am, as you say, “a 3rd degree member who wishes to talk to you, compare texts, and take a look at your material,” but I am also a 3rd degree member who values my oath, and will need a vouch to satisfy that requirement before I will feel comfortable enough doing so. I am available via email. I am available via telephone. I can Facetime, Skype, Viber, or WhatsApp you. Just let me know.

I assure you that despite whatever reasons you may have to think that any of us envy you or your situation, you are wrong. We neither envy you, nor do we hate you. We pity you, because we’ve seen other people go through this same process. It’s happened in the United States. It’s happened in Canada. It’s happened in England. It happens, and no one likes it, least of all us. As much as we would love to throw our arms open to everyone who professes to love our tradition, we can only do so once we have validated that they have been through the initiation rite. I am sure that you understand, as our oath requires it. So, I very much look forward to hearing from you and speaking to you directly, in order to confirm your lineage and attain a vouch for you from a recognized initiate, per the rules of our shared religion.


A Mediocre Coward


Of Babies and Bathwater (SOBRE BEBÊS E ÁGUA DE BANHO)

(Por favor, veja abaixo para Português.)

Some time ago, back when we thought that writing on this blog was something we would actually do regularly, we posted a piece about what to do when your lineage isn’t Gardnerian, other than cry. We posted this because it seems that a very large swath of the eclectic Wiccan community has no idea how lineage works, what purpose it serves, or how to figure out their own if they actually have any. We recommend that you read it sometime. The ultimate example of mistaken Gardnerian identity was Silver Ravenwolf’s claim of Gardnerian lineage stemming through a bunch of eclectic witches who were initiated into multiple different traditions leading back to Ray Buckland’s Seax Wicca tradition, and from there, to Gerald, somehow, because it sounded fun.

Nowadays, after that whole silly kerfuffle, we shift our attention to the magical land of Carnival and Umbanda, of terreros and Candomble, of feathered head dresses and a Globeleza Carnival Queen who was deemed “too black” for the role. We turn our attention to the lovely Brazil.

Why do we turn our attention now to the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world? Is it because we were out late the other night practicing Umbanda with a friend of ours who spends way too much time in Rio? Not really. It’s because there are Gardnerians in Brazil! And just like in the United States, when you get a lot of people who identify as Gardnerian in the same country, a shit storm erupts, except this time it’s in even worse English than usual, so get ready to pour a drink and Google translate for your life.

Claudiney Prieto has been an internet friend of ours since people actually used things like and random Pagan ning sites that predated Facebook. In tween terms, that means we’re both really old now. Claudiney has long been an active witch and Goddess-serving pagan of various stripes. In fact, he’s so good at it that the notorious Zsuzsanna Budapest, who everyone just loves to death, even ordained him as whatever the dude version of a Dianic priestess is. (We think he’s the only one that exists and we bet that more than a few militant feminists blew their gaskets at it.) Claudiney is also, less impressively, an initiate of our little cult: traditional Wicca. He’s a Gardnerian. He was the only Gardnerian there that any of us even knew, and still today it’s a fun thing and we all love him for it.

But there are other Wiccans who identify as Gardnerians down there, and they don’t like that there’s a new kid on the block, and that he may or may not have a working partner, and that they may or may not have formed a new coven down there which stands on its own. This is because the other group identifying as Gardnerians all stem from one fascinating and eloquent guy named Mario Martinez.

We don’t know Mr. Martinez, but what we have heard of his story goes a little something like this. “46 years ago I was in the UK and I got initiated, and maybe elevated, and I brought Gardnerian Wicca back to Brazil.” Ok, that sounds totally plausible. When people make claims about being Gardnerians, there are certain ways that other Gardnerians handle it. First, we check to see how many leagues away your covenstead is, because some old made up laws require that if you’re close enough, we have to show up with a LOT of liquor and have a drinking contest with you, of which the loser must slather himself in flying ointment, naked, and run down the street with a broom between his legs singing God Save the Queen. But if you live far enough away that we can’t egg your house on Halloween, somewhere like Brazil (Brasil?), well, then we just ask for a vouch.

A vouch is simple. If I am a Gardnerian and another Gardnerian knows it, he will take my word seriously and I can vouch for others to him. If I know that Claudiney is an initiate of Gardnerian Wicca, which I do because his HPS told me and a few other hundred people more than once, then I can vouch for him, because I am also vouched for, in private and in public, and also I run this blog for Gods’ sakes. Back to the royal ‘we.’ So, when we encounter strangers who claim to be us, we ask for the vouch. When we are asked, we have someone else known to the Gardnerian community vouch for us. Usually this is our initiator, or their working partner, or anyone we’ve ever been in a Gardnerian coven with, or anyone that we’ve ever been in a Gardnerian circle with, because they can neither confirm nor deny that they have seen us totally nude dancing around with a bottle of scotch while also weaving rushes together into a Brighid’s cross while chanting furiously. Or something. Vouches create a system of validation and verification that we all have access to.

But what happens when someone can’t get anyone else who has been vouched for to vouch for them? Well, that’s the problem with Mario Martinez. Pretty much every Gardnerian on the planet knows how to get a vouch, but somehow this guy can’t find a one. This is always curious to us. Let’s imagine that something like death has gotten in the way. “My initiators are dead.” Ok, that puts a damper on things. Is there anyone else? What about their coven siblings? Their initiators? All dead? What about their initiates? Did any of them ever hear of you? Do you have any photos? Papers? Communications? Proof that you were initiated? Do you know the oral lore that helps to prove that? No? Well fooey, that’s just too bad. Luckily, if you are Mario Martinez and you have no vouch, you can just launch a Facebook page called Gardnerian Manifesto to prove how bad ass and legit you are, right? Have luck reading it, cause it ain’t in English or even Engrish.

There is a very fascinating situation that happens from time to time when Gardnerian covens hive and new covens spring forth in distant lands: whoever was already in those distant lands and pretending to be Gardnerians tend to FREAK THE FUCK OUT. Why? Well, for gods only know how long, persons like this Mario Martinez were operating under the radar, claiming to be Gardnerian and building a potentially sizable group of people who have all been misled into thinking that someone without a vouch from another Gardnerian could have been initiated by us. When the real deal subsequently arrives (Hi Claudiney!), shit hits the proverbial fan, because now there’s someone else who can either confirm or deny the claims of the other, and this new someone happens to be the initiate of a rather well known Gardnerian author in the NYC-metropolitan area.

So now the shit is flying back and forth in Brazil, and it’s quite marvelous to watch, despite how immensely difficult it is to read because it’s not in GOOD OLE AMERICAN ENGLISH. Now, we’re not the type to play compassionate person, but let’s pretend for a second, that Mister Martinez’ claims are true. Certainly, a few people have been left without a vouch because they were from small, remote covens (usually in the Canadian wilderness) and their initiators died and were not really in touch with anyone else. These cases happen, and they are sad, but there are hallmarks to a Gardnerian that all of us can recognize. We were taught the same things. We know the same words. We do the same stuff. So we ask each other, and when it comes out that this person is obviously legit but lacking in a vouch, we wring our hands and the delicate dance of “do I recognize them without this crucial thing or offer to reinitiate them to restore the link in the chain and hope they don’t find it to be horridly offensive?” begins.

But this is not the case down in Brazil, from everything we’ve read. Mr. Martinez claims as proof of his legitimacy that he has a copy of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. He even sent a copy to one of us up in Texas. What we found was that we can neither confirm nor deny that this was part of the actual Book of Shadows, because duh, but what we CAN confirm is that it has footnotes and annotations from a wonderful, but deceased High Priest up in Seattle or Portland or whatever gloomy, rainy American city he loved, and that it makes NO SENSE that someone who claimed to have been initiated in England in the 1970s would have a copy of a book that was compiled and edited with footnotes in the 1990s in the San Francisco Bay area of America. So if his book didn’t come from his initiators and was instead possibly stolen from an accidental Yahoo posting in the early days of the internet, the question is “where is your own book? Why do you have an American version?” His response? “Everyone down line from Ray Buckland is invalid.” Calling those who disagree with you and cite proof bullies? Brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that it’s almost as American as that book you lifted.

The situation speaks for itself. If you or someone you love speaks Portuguese, feel free to translate this article and spread it around down there. I’d LOVE to read the hate mail in the comments ❤


-A Gardnerian

PS Hey Mario, if you can prove that you have a vouch from anyone, and not Philip Heselton telling you to continue practicing without worrying about it, we’d love to hear it. Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE that attempt, but we bet you can even one up it. Have at it.


Algum tempo atrás, quando pensamos que escrever este blog seria algo pare ser feito regularmente, publicamos um artigo sobre o que fazer quando sua linhagem não é Gardneriana além de chorar. Postamos isso porque parece que uma grande faixa da comunidade Wiccan eclética tem ideia de como linhagem funciona, para que serve, ou como descobrir a sua própria se eles realmente tivessem uma. Recomendamos que você o leia algum dia. O penúltimo exemplo de identidade Gardneriana equivocada foi a reivindicação de linhagem Gardneriana por Silver Ravenwolf por meio de um grupo de bruxos ecléticos que foram iniciados em várias tradições diferentes que levam de volta a tradição Seax Wicca de Ray Buckland, e de lá, para Gerald, ou algo assim, porque parecia divertido .

Atualmente, depois de todo esse tumulto bobo, voltamos nossa atenção para a terra mágica do Carnaval e Umbanda, de terreiros de Candomblé, de adornos de penas para cabeça e uma Rainha do carnaval Globeleza que foi considerado “muito negra” para o papel. Voltamos nossa atenção para o lindo Brasil.
Por que voltamos nossa atenção agora para o maior país de língua portuguesa do mundo? Será que é porque estávamos fora até tarde noite passada praticando Umbanda com um amigo nosso que gasta tempo demais no Rio? Na verdade não. É porque há Gardnerianos no Brasil! E, assim como nos Estados Unidos, quando você tem um monte de pessoas que se identificam como Gardnerianos no mesmo país, uma tempestade de merda explode, só que desta vez isso está ainda pior do que o inglês habitual, então prepare-se para tomar um drink e Google translator para sua vida.

Claudiney Prieto tem sido um amigo nosso de internet desde quando as pessoas realmente utilizavam coisas como e circulavam os sites Pagãos do Ning, que antecederam o Facebook. Em termos resumidos, isso significa que nós dois somos muito velhos agora. Claudiney tem sido um bruxo e cultuador pagão da Deusa ativo de diversas matizes. Na verdade, ele é tão bom nisso que fez com que a notória Zsuzsanna Budapest, que todo mundo ama até a morte, o ordenasse como algo parecido com a versão masculina de uma sacerdotisa Diânica. (Cremos que ele é o único que existe e apostamos que mais do que algumas militantes feministas bufaram por isso) Claudiney também é, menos impressionantemente, um iniciado de nosso pequeno culto: a Wicca tradicional. Ele é um Gardneriano. Ele foi o único Gardneriano de lá que qualquer um de nós já conheceu, e ainda hoje isso é uma coisa divertida todos nós o amamos por isso.
Mas há outros wiccans que se identificam como Gardnerianos lá embaixo, e eles não gostaram que existe um novo garoto no bloco, e que ele pode ou não ter uma parceira de trabalho, e que eles podem ou não ter formado um novo Coven lá que se sustenta por si só. Isso ocorre porque o outro grupo que se identifica como Gardneriano derivam todo de um cara fascinante e eloquente chamado Mario Martinez.

Nós não conhecemos o Sr. Martinez, mas o que ouvimos de sua história é mais ou menos isso. “46 anos atrás eu estava no Reino Unido e eu fui iniciado, e talvez elevado, e eu trouxe a Wicca Gardneriana para o Brasil.” Ok, isso soa totalmente plausível. Quando as pessoas fazem afirmações sobre serem Gardnerianos, há certas maneiras que outros Gardnerianos lidam com isso. Primeiro, vamos verificar para ver quantas léguas seu covenstead está, porque alguns antigos fizeram leis que exigiam que você estivesse perto o suficiente, temos que te dar um MONTE de bebida e ter uma competição com você, do qual o perdedor deve se lambuzar com pomada para o voo das bruxas, nu, e correr pela rua com uma vassoura entre as pernas cantando Deus Salve a Rainha. Mas se você vive longe o suficiente para não podermos jogar ovos em sua casa no Dia das Bruxas, em algum lugar como o Brasil, Bem, então nós apenas pedimos um Vouch (Comprovação/Testemunho).

O Vouch é simples. Se eu sou um Gardneriano e outro Gardneriano sabe disso, ele vai levar a minha palavra a sério e eu posso testemunhar por ele aos outros. Se eu sei que Claudiney é um iniciado da Wicca Gardneriana, o que eu sei porque sua Sumo Sacerdotisa e algumas outras centenas de pessoas mais de uma vez me disseram, então eu posso testemunhar por ele, porque eu também tenho testemunhas, em privado e em público, e eu também mantenho esse blog graças aos Deuses. Voltando para o real “nós”. Então, quando deparamos com estranhos que se dizem fazer parte de nós, pedimos um Vouch (uma Comprovação/Testemunho). Quando nos perguntam, temos alguém conhecido pela comunidade Gardneriana para testemunhar por nós. Normalmente, este é o nosso iniciador, ou o seu parceiro de trabalho, ou qualquer um com quem já estivemos em um Coven Gardneriano, ou qualquer um com quem já estivemos em um círculo Gardneriano, porque eles não podem confirmar nem negar que nos viram dançando totalmente nu por aí com uma garrafa de uísque ao mesmo tempo, tecendo junto uma cruz de Brighid ao cantar furiosamente. Ou algo assim. Vouches criam um sistema de validação e verificação ao qual todos nós temos acesso.

Mas o que acontece quando alguém não pode obter qualquer outra pessoa comprovada para testemunhar por eles? Bem, esse é o problema com Mario Martinez. Praticamente todos os Gardnerianos do planeta sabem como obter um Vouch, mas de alguma forma esse cara não consegue encontrar um. Isto é sempre curioso para nós. Vamos imaginar que algo como a morte surgiu no caminho. “Meus iniciadores estão mortos.” Ok, isso coloca um abafador sobre as coisas. Existe mais alguém? E quanto aos seus irmãos de coven? Seus iniciadores? Todos mortos? E sobre aos iniciados deles? Será que algum deles já ouviu falar de você? Você tem fotos? Papéis? Comunicações? Prova de que vocês foram iniciados? Conhece a tradição oral que ajuda a provar isso? Não? Bem querido, isso é muito ruim. Felizmente, se você é o Mario Martinez e não tem Vouch, você pode simplesmente criar uma página no Facebook chamada Manifesto Gardneriano para provar quão fodão e legítimo você é, certo? Tem sorte, por não está em Inglês ou até mesmo Engrish.

Há uma situação muito fascinante que acontece de vez em quando, quando covens Gardnerianos são formados e novos covens brotam em terras distantes: quem já estava naquelas terras distantes fingindo serem Gardnerianos tendem a SAIR DO CONTROLE. Por quê? Bem, porque só os deuses sabem quanto tempo, pessoas como este Mario Martinez estavam operando nas sombras, afirmando ser Gardneriano e construindo um grupo potencialmente considerável de pessoas que têm sido enganadas pensando que alguém sem um Vouch de outro Gardneriano poderia ter sido iniciado por um de nós. Quando o negócio real chega posteriormente (Oi Claudiney!), a merda atinge o proverbial ventilador, porque agora há alguém que pode confirmar ou negar as reivindicações do outro, e este novo alguém passa a ser o iniciado de uma autora Gardneriana bastante conhecida na área metropolitana de NYC.

Então agora a merda está voando para todos os lados no Brasil, e é maravilhoso assistir, apesar da enorme dificuldade que é ler, porque não está escrito no bom inglês americano. Agora, não somos o tipo de pessoa que brinca com compaixão, mas vamos fingir por um segundo, que as alegações do senhor Martinez são verdadeiras. Certamente, algumas pessoas foram deixadas sem um Vouch porque eles eram de covens pequenos e remotos (geralmente no deserto canadense) e seus iniciadores morreram e não estavam realmente em contato com mais ninguém. Estes casos acontecem, e eles são tristes, mas há marcas em um Gardneriano que todos nós podemos reconhecer. Fomos ensinados as mesmas coisas. Conhecemos as mesmas palavras. Nós fazemos a mesma coisa. Por isso, perguntamos um ao outro, e quando aparece que essa pessoa é obviamente legítima, mas falta um Vouch, nós levantamos a mão e a dança delicada do “eu os reconheço sem essa coisa crucial ou ofereço para reiniciá-los para restaurar o link na corrente e espero que eles não achem isso terrivelmente ofensivo? ”

Mas este não é o caso lá em baixo no Brasil, por tudo o que temos lido. Sr. Martinez alega como prova de sua legitimidade que ele tem um exemplar do Livro das Sombras Gardneriano. Ele chegou a enviar uma cópia para um de nós no Texas. O que descobrimos foi que não se pode confirmar nem negar que isso era parte do Livro das Sombras real, porque hummmm…, mas o que podemos confirmar é que ele tem notas de rodapé e anotações de um maravilhoso, mas falecido Sumo Sacerdote em Seattle ou Portland ou qualquer sombria e chuvosa cidade americana que ele amava, e que não faz sentido que alguém que afirma ter sido iniciado na Inglaterra na década de 1970 tenha uma cópia de um livro que foi compilado e editado com notas de rodapé na década de 1990 na área da baía de San Francisco da América. Portanto, se o livro dele não veio de seus iniciadores e foi em vez disso possivelmente roubado de uma postagem acidental no Yahoo nos primeiros dias da internet, a pergunta é “onde está o seu próprio livro? Por que você tem uma versão americana? “Sua resposta? “Todo mundo abaixo da linha de Ray Buckland é inválido.” Citando aqueles que não concordam com você como prova de intimidação? Brilhante.

A situação fala por si. Se você ou alguém que você ama fala português, sinta-se livre para traduzir este artigo e espalhá-lo aí em baixo. Eu ADORARIA ler as postagens de ódio nos comentários ❤


-Um Gardneriano

PS Ei Mario, se você pode provar que tem um Vouch de alguém e não Philip Heselton dizendo-lhe para continuar a praticar, sem se preocupar com isso, nós adoraríamos ouvi-lo. Não nos leve a mal, ADORAMOS essa tentativa, mas apostamos que você pode inventar um. Fique à vontade.