Buckland, Raymond (Brian) (1934– )
Author and Wiccan high priest who, with his wife, Rosemary
Buckland, introduced Gardnerian Witchcraft into the United
States. Buckland was born August 31, 1934, in London, England,
where he attended high school. He served in the Royal
Air Force, 1957–59, and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at
King’s College, Cambridge.
When he was 12 years old, Buckland’s uncle loaned him a
book on Spiritualism. A vivacious reader, in the 1950s he became
familiar with the books of Margaret Murray and Gerald
Gardner on Witchcraft. Buckland contacted Gardner and established
a relationship with him and his priestess Monique
Wilson (Lady Olwen). Shortly before Gardner’s death in 1964,
Buckland and his wife became Gardner’s first American initiates,
and they assumed the religious names Robat and Lady
Rowan. After they moved to the United States in 1962, they
began the first Gardnerian coven (an assembly or band of usually
13 witches. Whenever Americans contacted Gardner and
his followers in England, they were referred to the Bucklands,
thus establishing the Gardnerian movement in the United
States. They also opened a Witchcraft Museum on Long Island
modeled on the museum Gardner had established on the Isle
of Man. Buckland also authored a set of books on Wicca, including
Ancient and Modern Witchcraft (1970) and Witchcraft from
the Inside (1975).
In the early 1970s Buckland divorced and began to disagree
with some of the elements of the Gardnerian tradition. In 1973
he turned the leadership of the Gardnerian movement over to
another couple, Lady Theos and Phoenix, and created a new
non-secret form of Witchcraft that he called Seax (or Saxon)
Wicca. He presented this new Witchcraft in a 1974 book, The
Tree The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. That same year he
also married Joan Helen Taylor, who became his new high
Buckland then developed a correspondence course in Seax
Wicca, which he offered through the 1970s. He also moved to
Southern California where his approach to the craft evolved.
He continued to write on a wide variety of magical and Witchcraft
themes and his latest books include Practical Color Magick
(1983), Complete Book of Witchcraft (1986), and the Secrets of Gypsy
Fortunetelling (1988), which is of a series of books on gypsy occult
practices. As of the mid-1990s, Buckland has written more
than 20 books. One, a spoof on the books of James Churchward,
was called Mu Revealed and appeared under the Pseudonym
Tony Earll (an anagram for ‘‘not really’’). Buckland also
wrote novels under the pseudonym Jessica Wells.
Bucke, R(ichard) M(aurice) Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon. New York Viking
Press, 1979. Rev. ed. Boston Beacon Press, 1986.
———. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft. St. Paul,
Minn. Llewellyn Publications, 1986.
———. Doors to Other Worlds. St. Paul, Minn. Llewellyn
Books, 1993.
Guiley, Rosemary E. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Witches.
New York Facts on File, 1989.