Alex Sanders, an English Witch who developed his own unique brand of Witchcraft known as Alexandrian Wicca, was hailed in his lifetime as The King of the Witches. Later he studied all the Occult arts including Ritual and Ceremonial Magic.
Initially, Sanders was tempted to misuse his power and gradually used his magical skills for personal gain amassing a great fortune. However after a sudden tragedy he reflected on his path, vowing to return to the Right Hand Path of his original initiation and began cultivating a benevolent system of Wicca.
His contribution and influence cannot be underestimated in this field and certainly led to the furtherance of Wicca in the modern world. Never afraid to court publicity, Sanders welcomed documentary makers, journalists, photographers and potential recruits, becoming the religion's most ardent publicist. Many now feel that this open unguarded attitude has lead in part to the current tolerance towards White Witchcraft in society today.
By the end of the sixties he headed well over a hundred covens and began to work closely with a gifted psychic and trance medium - Derek Taylor. The pair worked together connecting, we are told, with celestial intelligences, disembodied spirits, and the demiurge itself. Their work superseded the average Wiccan coven activity and went way and beyond what was acceptable to the Witches of the time. Each time they invoked the various forces and dredged the astral realms, Taylor kept carefully scribed notes of the trance dictates of Alex Sanders, who allowed himself to be used as a channel for these forces.
During the nineteen-eighties - a decade obsessed with material advancement, social status and power, very few gave any credence to the writings of a pair of Witches living in virtual obscurity. Eschewed by their own community, denounced and ignored, the two seers continued in isolation producing their magical diaries believing that the communications received were vitally important to the well being of humanity. Indeed they began to read into the scribed notes a pattern, a prophetic catalogue of events to come, including the Apocalypse (World War III).
Alex Sanders died in 1988 and although in death he was given a popular send off (having been recognised as an innovative leader who had carved a solid niche in the history of Witchcraft) his final tracts were still an embarrassing egress. Printed and bound, the many trances, prophesies, predictions and visions of the King of the Witches were left to gather dust in a basement in Hastings, East Sussex.
The Hexagon Archivist wiped the jacket cover with a cloth and looked over to a tall, lank, elegant man in his fifties. The room was surrounded in Indian wall coverings, exotic prints and one or two oil paintings. Three incense sticks burnt slowly in a corner sending up a monotonous coil of smoke perfuming the abode. Gazing down at the pamphlet the archivist began to read the title: "Apocalypse Earth 1987 - 2012, Extraterrestrial Messages". Here was the work of the man named "King of the Witches". Inside the spartan publication a grim set of warnings began to unfold regarding the end of the World, given by extraterrestrial spirits.Other works included:
Opening up another volume of work: "The Children of the Stars", this particular document quoted living instructions although it continually referred to the Exodus, the Apocalypse and warnings against the current levels of pollution affecting the world. The Appendices reveal a remarkable interpretation of the Kabbalah in the form of Talismanic Sigils.
Leafing through these forgotten texts, engrossed and unaware of his surroundings, the tall man lit a hand-rolled cigarette and inhaled deeply, savouring the moment. "If that interests you there are more. Here." he passed over yet another paper. The title: "The Southern Quarter Speaks - Set & Sekmet ". The text may allude to the coming of new bio-technologies such as Cloning & GM foodstuffs not to mention a whole host of other futuristic scenarios.
Since 1979 Alex Sanders and Derek Taylor worked together in a magical partnership in which Alexs already prodigious powers as a magician and medium forged a natural bond with the mystical and prophetic Taylor. Alex established the traditional work of Wicca into the oldest coven in the world - the Ordine della Luna (in Constantinople), which was 500 years old in 328 A.D, when the patronage changed due to Christian conversions, from Diana and Apollo to the Virgin Mary and Jesus. Alex Sanders was made the Grand Prior for England and Wales by Prince Paleogus (of Constantinople)- the Grand Master of the Order. Derek Taylor was initiated into the Ordine della Luna and with a charter from the organisation established Ordine della Nova to promote a progressive concept of Wicca into the New Age and to include the study and practise of communications with Extraterrestrials.
Derek Taylor then sat down, lit a cigarette and let out a thin stream of smoke. He began to explain the particular slant on Witchcraft taken by both he and Alex towards the mid-eighties. He maintained that most so- called Witches and Pagans, even the ones of note who had taken to writing on the subject, had all made one major error in their thinking. They had all, without exception, only focused on Wicca and the worship on Earth, either concentrating on the Earth Mother aspect or on Pan God of the Woodlands, the Green Man and so on.
This, he continued, had lead to the omission or denial of the cosmic or celestial aspects of the teaching. Taylor shook his head and spoke thoughtfully and added as if in afterthought that raising elementals, wood spirits or God forms here on Earth, only reached the parts of ourselves we already knew or could get to know. The work he was engaged in with Alex Sanders (and now continuing alone) was building a line of communication way and beyond terra firma to the stars, reaching the Divine Mother in us and spiritual intelligences in deep space that had existed since time began. If there was any truth in the old adage "As Above So Below" then man is surely a mirror of the Cosmos; each man a Star. So it followed that the demiurgic forces of deep space and communion with them were also our birthright.
It would be accurate to say that Mr Taylor has received vehement resistance inside the Wiccan community; these ideas were far from fashionable in the late seventies and less so into the eighties. Many of the old guard in Wicca dismissed Taylor as a crank, avoiding all contact with him and advising others to do the same. In 1989 he finally turned his back on the pagan community and began working alone in the trance mediumship, following what he describes as "The Great Work".
Whether one agrees with Derek's position on the Craft or not, no-one can deny that his stance is both challenging and thought-provoking. His ideas on subjects such as initiation tend to raise hackles with many traditionalist witches. He insists that initiation was not a question of taking certain oaths or having a sword pointed at ones breast, nor was it true that a person was a Witch after having spent ten years committing spells, rituals etc to memory. True initiation was only imparted in a deep, moving, emotional experience that transcended everyday consciousness and left an indelible impression on the psyche of the individual concerned. Derek Taylor claims most of Wicca is populated by large egos, pomposity and delusion.
Derek Leo Elliott -Taylor, Head of the Ordine della Nova, was born in London in 1939. He died on February 22nd 2000, in tragic circumstances.
His involvement in witchcraft, which spanned four decades, brought him little public acclaim or recognition, yet he is still one of the most intriguing figures of modern Wicca. Growing up in Sussex as a young boy along with his twin brother, he attended boarding school before going onto study drama in London. Failing to find his mark in the theatre, he returned to Bexhill, Sussex and began buying and renovating dilapidated properties. Finding success in his new found enterprise, he was a popular local figure, often seen around town, complete with pin stripe suit. His first marriage brought him three sons, but the scholarly, studious Taylor had been marked out for an altogether different life - witchcraft.
After meeting internationally renowned witch, Alex Sanders, in the late 1970s, his life changed forever. The pair became inseparable. Sanders was immediately impressed by the mystical and prophetic qualities of Taylor and installed him as his personal trance scribe. Together they wrote vast tracts on magic. This influence on Alex Sanders cannot be underestimated and has lead many to declare Taylor the visionary powerhouse behind Alexandrian witchcraft.
Before his death in 1988, Alex Sanders gave a charter to Taylor to establish the Ordine della Nova, a magical Order with a specific remit to prepare for a New Age. In effect, this charter made Derek Taylor commensurate in status to the self-styled witch king himself (Alex Sanders), although he had no interest in publicising himself in that way. The gentle seer much preferred to continue his efforts to understand the deepest workings of the human mind in relative isolation.
A close friend said of him:
"If he saw anyone homeless in the street he would bring them home and cook them a meal...... he was very compassionate to those less fortunate".
Other tributes poured in from former pagan colleagues. Jack Lindwood described him as: "A gentleman witch of the old school".