Coven of the Unicorn's Realm
Gerald Gardner became a Co Mason when he returned to England in 1936. He joined Crotona, a Co Masonic group that had formed "The First Rosicrucian Theater in England." It was within The First Rosicrucian Theater that Gerald found the coven that initiated him. Gardner was born 1884, and spent most of his working adult life in Malaya. He retired, and returned to the UK in 1936. He joined the Folklore Society, and in June 1938, also joined the newly opened Rosicrucian Theater at Christchurch where it is said he met Old Dorothy Clutterbuck.
The Golden Dawn is not the only influence upon Gardner; Freemasonry has had a tremendous impact upon the Wicca. Not only were the three founders of Isis Urania Temple Masons, so too were Crowley and Waite; Gardner and at least one member of the first coven (Daffo) were both Co Masons. Gardner was also a friend of J.S.M. Ward, who had published a number of books about masonry."
In 1927 he married an Englishwoman, Donna. The two returned to England upon his retirement from goverment work in 1936. In England Gardner became acquainted with the people who introduced him to the craft. Before World War II, the Gardners lived in the New Forest region, where Gardner became involved with the Fellowship of Crotona, an occult group of Co Masons, a Masonic Order established by Mrs. Besant Scott, daughter of Theosophist Anne Besant. The group had established The First Rosicruciain Theater in England," which put on plays with occult themes. "Within the Fellowship of Crotona was another, secret group, which drew Gardner into its confidence. The members claimed to be hereditary Witches, who practiced a Craft passed down to them through the centuries, unbroken by the witch hunts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The group metin the New Forest. Just days before World War II began in 1939, Gardner was initiated into the coven by Old Dorothy Clutterbuck, the coven's High Priestess.
Daffo was an elegant, graceful lady with dark wavy hair, In her younger days, as I later discovered, she had been one of the people who helped to found the Rosicrucian Theater in Christchurch and who took part in the plays presented there. She was also one of the inner circle into which Gerald found his way, the circle which used the Rosicrucian Theater and the allegedly Rosicrucian Fellowship of Crotona as a cover for their membership of the Southern Coven of British Witches.
A biography of Gerald Gardner was published during his lifetime, in 1960, entitled Gerald Gardner: Witch, by J.L. Bracelin. In it, Gerald Gardner revealed how after a lifetime spent in the Far East, much of it in the Civil Service as a Customs officer, he retired to a place on the edge of the New Forest. Here he found a building called 'The First Rosicrucian Theatre in England'. It aroused his interest and he came to know the people who ran it. He was not impressed with their claims to be inheritors of the esoteric knowledge of the Rosicrucians; but he was very intrigued to discover that there was an inner circle, apparently unknown to the leaders, who remained there simply because it was a useful cover for their real interest,witchcraft. These people introduced Gerald to 'Old Dorothy, in whose house he was eventually initiated as a Witch.- - - - - Items marked * are proven.
As well as Gerald B. Gardner's associations with Alester Crowley and the Ordo Templari Orientis (though from Aleister Crowley's diaries it would appear that they DIDN'T meet or communicate until after many of the supposed Crowley portions of the BOS were already written*) he mixed in Masonic circles (though whether he was a Mason or not I don't know), I have been told he was working in a number of magical groups including one that practiced sex magic and that he knew three consecutive Chief Druids and may have been a high ranking Druid himself (he is one of the 4 signatories on one of the Chief Druid's inauguration documents not likely for an aquaintence or low ranking member*). Also Doreen Valiente states that Dorothy Clutterbuck's sword was used by the Druids for many years as it fitted the hole in the heal stone at Stonhenge. Either she was involved with the Druids herself or else how did they happen to get her sword an add in the national papers "would anyone who has a sword that fits the heal stone please contact the Druids as we'd like to borrow it". And why would she lend them her sword? Who "lends" magical weapons to other groups for major ritual purposes?
Given Gerald B. Gardner's involvement with these people there is an argument that says he created modern Witchcraft by simply cobbling together bits from all these groups and some of his own invention. Plausable, but if he did know so many people in the Magical world and "names" not just the ordinary membership then why in 45 years have none of them simply said (especially at the time as some of them didn't like (Gerald B. Gardner) that Witchcraft was made up and plagarized by him. A conspiracy to invent Witchcraft and put Gerald B. Gardner at its head that has held its silence for 40+ years seems far fetched is there another explanation?