(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