Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Old Time Religion

'This was an assumption very much at variance with the British historical experience, as represented both by the first public representatives of Wicca and the magicians from whom they had drawn their ideas. Mathers had been fascinated by militarism and aristocracy. Yeat's right-wing tendencies developed into a flirtation with fascism. Crowley was a lifelong high Tory, and all Dion Fortune's expressed political and social attitudes point in the same direction. Gardner, as said, was certainly a conservative, and while Alex Sanders disclaimed an associations with specific parties, he consistently expressed admiration for hierarchy and monarchy. A writer who interviewed several Wiccan groups in the 1960s noted that most of their members were politically right-wing.'

'There was no paradox in this; for most of these people their interest in paganism and magic was part of a wider rejection of modernity, a phenomena in which for many people in the early and mid-twentieth century, industrialization, urbanization, and high technology all formed parts of a package with socialism. Their spiritual aspects matched closely with three different emotional aspects of right-wing idealogy: nostalgia for a better past, elitism and suspicion of the masses, and a free market, in magic and sex as in economics.'

Ronald Huntford, The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft


  1. According to Ronald Hutton Wicca is ".. the only complete religion (as opposed to sect or denomination) which England has ever given the world."

    Invented by a former tea and rubber planter in the 1940s.

  2. Dennis Wheatley seems to have held much the same views:

    "Socialist ‘planning’ forbids any man to kill his own sheep or pig, cut down his own tree, put up a wooden shelf in his own house, build a shack in his garden, and either buy or sell the great majority of commodities – without a permit. In fact, it makes all individual effort an offence against the state. Therefore, this Dictatorship of the Proletariat, instead of gradually improving the conditions in which the lower classes live, as has been the aim of all past governments, must result in reducing everyone outside the party machine to the level of the lowest, idlest and most incompetent worker.

    It will be immensely difficult to break the stranglehold of the machine, but it can be done, little by little; the first step being the formation of secret groups of friends for free discussion. Then numbers of people can begin systematically to break small regulations, and so to larger ones with passive resistance by groups of people pledged to stand together – and eventually the boycotting, or ambushing and killing of unjust tyrannous officials."

    the 'free market in sex' line also feeds into 60s stuff, maybe

  3. i wonder what the UFO people were like politically...


  4. Interesting, don't know. Wonder why Spiritualism overlapped with the left before the first world, but paganism was right wing?


  5. well it could be that spiritualism where it wasn't scientific-based like the various societies was more the preserve of individual working class people: the pagans set out to elitist societies from the start. However the traditional = conservative argument doesn't hold when stuff like the folk revival was rarely ever conservative.

    A salient point is that belief in the supernatural is class-divided in Britain, with the upper and lower class more likely to believe than the middle classes.

    A less salient point: Nick Clegg is apparently a distant relation of Helena Blavatsky.