Buckland truly is a living legend. He knew and practiced with
Gerald Gardner, and wrote the first book I ever read on Witchcraft, Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft.
An Interview With
With some 60 books now
published, he is a prolific author, and speaker. He has now
entered the realm of fiction, with his latest book, which he speaks
about in this interview.
is with great pride and reverence that we present this interview with
First off, I
want to thank you so much for taking time to give this interview.
I guess my first question is a natural one, how long have you
been a practicing Witch, and how did you first come
to your Path?
was initiated into Gardnerian
Wicca in 1963. As a child I was an avid reader and was introduced to
Spiritualism (by my uncle) when I was about twelve. I read everything I
on that subject then expanded my interest to other related subjects:
ESP, magic, witchcraft, etc., etc.
Some years later I read all of
Murray’s books and became intrigued with Witchcraft. Then Gerald
books came out (1954 and 1959) and I was hooked! I got in touch with
and, since he was wanting to spread the Craft to the U.S., I was
invited to be
initiated by Gerald’s own High Priestess, the Lady Olwen. I went to
CW: As one
of the first authors on Witchcraft, and the one credited with bringing
Witchcraft to America, it must have been somewhat intimidating to hold
out publicly as a Witch. What was it that caused you to write
book on Witchcraft?
books eventually went out of print (they have
subsequently been reprinted, several times over) and I didn’t want that
the end of the Witches’ side of the story. Gerald’s books were the very
to tell the story of Witchcraft from the Witches’ point of view, so it
important that that voice continued. So I wrote “Witchcraft From the
I never set out to be a
leader/pioneer/major figure in
Witchcraft; I just got pushed into all that! For the longest time I
interviews and write articles to straighten the misconceptions that
(this I felt to be my task), but withheld my name and picture. Then a
for the New York Sunday News, who assured me she would honor my
confidentiality, boldly published my name and address and all hell
From all of
your experiences as an
author, what is your favorite story about being a "known witch"?
RB: About fifteen
years ago we moved from San Diego to Ohio and
I retired from public life. We bought a small farm in the middle of
country and I continued writing, happy in the knowledge that no one
knew who I was . . . . until a young lady from a nearby high school
down the name of the village where I lived (though I’m actually outside
village itself). She decided to come and talk to me so she went into
village and to the general store, asking where I lived.
No one seemed
the name so she said “Oh, you must know him – he’s the famous
Somehow she did find me and told me what she had done. I was aghast! I
some time with her, answering her questions, but as soon as she left I
into town and to the store. I said to the people there “Did you have
kid come in here calling me a Witch?” We all laughed about it and then
slipped away. Happily very, very few locals know who I am even now.
Witchcraft in America
the beginning, how has it changed in the last 44 years?
major change is that it is now accepted in most places,
with the majority of people now knowing – if only roughly – what
really is. The tremendous expansion of it is certainly a change – it’s
called the fastest growing religion in the United States.
We now have
representation at interfaith conferences, here and abroad, and Wicca
who are able to go into prisons and hospitals. Most recently, of course
mainly to the work of Selena Fox), the Pentagram can be
placed on the
Do you think
those changes are for
better, or would you have wished for something different?
definitely for the better. Anything that stops
prejudice and ignorance has to be better. I knew it was going to take a
time – and there’s still a long way to go – but I’m delighted that such
strides have been made.
your beliefs and practices
evolved since the first printing of Buckland's Complete Book
beliefs are still pretty much the same but my personal
practices have changed in that I have given up coven practice and am
solitary. I feel I’ve “done my time” in teaching the Craft, and public
and probably in writing about it too.
I have no plans to write further
subject (there are plenty of excellent newer voices around now) and
concentrate on other writing . . . fiction in particular.
CW: You are a prolific author, with
books published. What have you been doing recently?
recently completed a book on ghosts, at the request of Red
Wheel/Weiser. It will be out this spring: “The Weiser Field Guide to
Recently out is my fantasy novel (the first of many, I hope) called
of Kernow”. I am also trying to finish (I keep being distracted!) my
autobiography, which is three-quarters done. And I am deep into a major
set in Victorian England and France, based on the Order of the Golden
the Illuminati. It’s called “Golden Illuminati.”
CW: You’ve recently written a book
affectionately known as “Big Red”, called Buckland’s
Communications Can you tell our readers more
was my first introduction to the whole
metaphysical field and in recent years I seem to have gone full circle
returned to it. I teach workshops at Lily Dale, NY (the world’s oldest
largest Spiritualist community) and speak at their churches, and have
for the last four or five years. “Big Red” is a book arranged in the
that “Big Blue” is – with lessons rather than chapters – that covers
what I teach. I have also done a large encyclopedia on the subject,
Spirit Book” (there’s also “The Witch Book” and “The Fortunetelling
with a quarter million words on the subjects). I am probably far more
Spiritualism than in Witchcraft, these days.
CW: Can you give us some information
your most recent book, which is a work of fiction, called The
this is a book very dear to my heart. It is a fantasy
novel in the Tolkien genre. It is not a trilogy, in the sense of “Lord
Rings” but is an on-going series about the land of Kernow.
complete in itself, though there may be carry-overs of some of the
(check-out the Chronicles
of Kernow web
site). “Kernow” is
old name for Cornwall, in the southwest of England; my favorite part of
The book’s Kernow is loosely based on that area and the “old
used by some of the characters is also based on the old Cornish
opportunity, what is the
thing you would wish to tell every Witch?
true to yourself. By that I mean to remember the Wiccan
Rede and apply it to yourself as much as to anyone else. The Rede is
what is generally known as the “Golden Rule”, and is found in virtually
I’m amazed at the so-called “Witch Wars” (I hate the term!)
flare up on both large and small scales all across the country. Those
generally forgotten, or chosen to ignore, the Rede.
By doing so, they
showing themselves not to be true Witches. If you want to be a Witch,
a Witch in the truest most honest sense of the word. Don’t be coerced
doing anything that you don’t want to do, and don’t try to coerce
into doing what they don’t want to do.
Always remember that
a religion of LOVE.
you so much for giving us this opportunity
to talk to you, and to learn more about who you are, and what you've
been up to. This really has been a fascinating discourse, and
I hope that we may be able to do it again.
you, and go in Love and Light.
For more about Raymond Buckland,
you can go to his website, www.raybuckland.com,
and you can always find his books in your local bookstore, or at amazon.com.
from Raymond Buckland Interview
Back to Homepage
If you like this site...