Farrar, Janet (1950– )
Janet Farrar, author and Wiccan priestess, was born Janet
Owen on June 24, 1950, in London, England. She was raised
in the Church of England, and after high school worked as a
model and receptionist. Her uneventful life changed in 1970
when, after being attracted to witchcraft, she was initiated into
the London coven headed by Maxine and Alexander Sanders.
During her training she met Stewart Farrar (1916–2000), and
though he was more than 30 years her senior, they formed a
working relationship as priest and priestess. In the Wiccan
faith, as developed by Gerald B. Gardner and expounded by
Sanders, women play a dominant role, with the priestess taking
the lead in the annual cycle of esbats and sabbat rituals.
In spite of Sanders’ charisma, all was not well within the
coven and early in 1971 the Sanderses were to separate. In December
of 1970, Owen and Farrar left and formed their own
coven. Their relationship grew closer and in 1974 they were
handfasted (marriage in the Wiccan world) and officially married
the next year. Meanwhile, Farrar, who had worked as a
journalist, left his job and launched a successful career as an author.
In 1976 the Farrars relinquished leadership of their London
coven and moved to Ireland, settling in County Wexford. Responding
to letters from Stewart’s earlier book, What Witches Do
(1971), the two began work on what became a more detailed
look at the annual cycle of Wiccan festivals, Eight Sabbats for
Witches (1981). This book became the first of a set of collaborative
works including The Witches’ Way (1984), Life and Times of
a Modern Witch (1987), The Witches’ Goddess (1987), and The
Witches’ God (1989).
In 1988, the Farrars moved back to London where by now
they had become celebrities within the growing international
Wiccan community. They continued to write and also were
popular speakers at Wiccan events for which they made several
trips to North America. Stewart Farrar died in 2000, but Janet
continues as a major Wiccan leader, one of the few with a direct
experience of the founding generation.
Sources
Farrar, Janet, and Stewart Farrar. Eight Sabbats for Witches.
London Robert Hale, 1981.
———. Life and Times of a Modern Witch. London Piatkus,
1987.
———. The Witches’ Way. London Robert Hale, 1984.
Farrar, Stewart. What Witches Do. London Peter Davies,
1971.

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