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VHMaroney: Greenfield and Witchcraft History

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc,alt.pagan,alt.magick.order
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: VHMaroney: Greenfield and Witchcraft History
Date: 20 Dec 1997 16:10:06 -0800

[from V.H. Maroney ]

>Actually, Bishop T Allen Greenfield has an interesting essay on 
>Thelema and Wicca, which speculates that both Gardner and Parsons 
>were working on the same project from different angles.
>Check it out at:

Greenfield is a fraudulent author whose book, "The Secret Cipher of the 
UFOnauts", is a plainly absurd attempt to derive encoded UFO messages 
from the Book of the Law. In a recent conversation with a high-placed 
Order member, I was told that Greenfield now admits within O.T.O. circles 
that this book was written purely to make money and was not sincerely 
meant. We could perhaps forgive this as a youthful indiscretion, except 
that it is only three years old, that it represents a cycnical 
prostitution of a book he is claiming to hold sacred, and that publically 
he continues to try to make hay from the book, as on his web page:

>The Rt. Rev. Greenfield is the author of several commercial books. 
>Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts (IllumiNet Press, 1994) has been 
>critically acclaimed in many reviews all over the world.

There is no evidence given in Greenfield's essay (at ) 

of any connection 
between Parsons and Gardner, only of the coincidence that they both were 
connected to Crowley and both used the word "witch" in the late 1940's. 
In fact, anyone familiar with Gardnerian tradition reading Parson's 
writings on witchcraft can insitantly see that they bear no apparent 
thematic connection to Gardnerian witchcraft. We also have plenty of 
letters between Crowley and Parsons on the subject -- this being the 
speculative connection between these two usages of "witchcraft" -- and 
these letters are silent about any connection.

These issues are conveniently omitted by Greenfield. It is not that I 
disagree with his treatment of the questions -- he does not even 
acknowledge their existence. Here is the sum total of argument by which 
he arrives at his striking conclusion about a connection between Parsons 
and Gardner:

>It is of more than passing interest that Ye Book of Ye Arte Magical, the 
>OTO Charter granted to Gerald Gardner by Aleister Crowley, the writings 
>by Parsons on witchcraft, the publication of High Magic's Aid and the 
>public emergence of Wicca all date from the same period, circa 

>First consider Doreen Valiente's observation to me concerning "the 
>Parsons connection". I quote from her letter above mentioned, one of 
>several she was kind enough to send me in 1986 in connection with my 
>research into this matter.
>"...If you are referring to the group of which Jack Parsons was a member 
>(along with the egregious Mr. L. Ron Hubbard), then there is another 
>curious little point to which I must draw your attention. I have a 
>remarkable little book by Jack Parsons called MAGICK, GNOSTICISM AND THE 
>WITCHCRAFT. It is unfortunately undated, but Parsons died in 1952. The 
>section on witchcraft is particularly interesting because it looks 
>forward to a revival of witchcraft as the Old Religion....I find this 
>very thought provoking. Did Parsons write this around the time that 
>Crowley was getting together with Gardner and perhaps communicated with 
>the California group to tell them about it? Parsons began forecasting 
>the "revival of Witchcraft" in the notorious "Liber 49 - The Book of 
>Babalon" written in 1946. The timing of the genesis of "The Book of 
>Babalon" -- which forecast a 'revival' of witchcraft in covens based on 
>the number eleven (the Thelemic number of magick) rather than the 
>traditional thirteen, seems to coincide with Crowley's OTO Charter to 
>Gardner, Gardner's U.S. visit, and also coincides rather closely with 
>the writing of HIGH MAGIC'S AID by Gardner."

That's all. Just a temporal coincidence, with no evidence of any link, no 
text in common between the Parsons and Gardner material (no sentences, no 
phrases, no specialized terms beyond "witch"), no reference to Gardner in 
the Crowley letters to Parsons that would have served as the only known 
avenue of contact between the Englishman Gardner and the Californian 
Parsons, no cross-references from Parsons to Gardner or vice versa, to 
the other, no similar ritual forms between "Wicca" and "the witchcraft", 
etc. Greenfield ignores all these issues in his rush to judgment.

If I seem cranky on this point, it's becase I am. I have had to spend 
untold hours of my life cleaning up messes left by negligent or 
fraudulent historians of witchcraft, and now I've just had to spend 
another twenty minutes on Greenfield, who for some unknown reason seems 
to be a rising historical star in the O.T.O. I am not looking forward to 
having more of my time wasted in the future by the specious claims of a 
dishonest and dishonorable writer. We don't need more Grimassis and 
Susters running around.


...Here is his closing, in which he proclaims himself appointed by 
the Inner Order to take over Wicca:

>If the Charter Crowley issued Gardner is, indeed, the authority upon 
>which Wicca has been built for half a century, then it is perhaps no 
>coincidence that I acquired that Charter in the same year I was 
>consecrated a Bishop of the Gnostic Catholic Church. Further, it was 
>literally only days after my long search for the original of Gardner's 
>BOOK OF SHADOWS ended in success that the Holy Synod of T Michael 
>Bertiaux's branch of the Gnostic Church unanimously elected me a 
>Missionary Bishop, on August 29, 1986.
>Sometimes, I muse, the Inner Order revoked Wicca's charter in 1986, 
>placing it, so to speak, in my hands. Since I hold it in Trust, perhaps 
>Wicca has, in symbolic form, returned home at last. It remains for the 
>Wiccans , literally (since the charter hangs in my temple space), to 
>read the handwriting on the wall.

V.H. Maroney
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