Doreen Valiente - Weekly Challenge - History of Magic

The Official Doreen Valiente Website - Doreen Valiente - Home
Doreen Valiente, from Brighton UK (1922-1999), is known as “the mother of modern witchcraft” or “Ameth” her witch name. As a child, one summer day at twilight she was in her garden when her keen perception lead her to realize the world around her was hiding something “very potent.” Soon thereafter her parents sent her away to convent school in part due to her habit of running around the neighborhood on a broomstick. :broom: At age 15 she left the convent and refused to return. It was in her local library that she began investigating the occult, spiritualism, Theosophy and witchcraft. In 1952 a Museum of Magic and Witchcraft opened on the Isle of Man. Doreen wrote to its owner and he passed her letter on to Gerald Gardner who eventually initiated her and soon she became High Priestess of Gardner’s coven. Being well read in the occult, she was able to identify the parts of “Old Gerald’s” Book of shadows that were written by Aleister Crowley, Rudyard Kipling or taken from Masonic rituals which she began removing and rewriting. It was her sense of poetry that gave it the mystery and atmosphere that made it so effective.

After her split from Gardner’s coven due to his insistence on publicity and power she continued practicing the craft in a manner she preferred. It was her preference to practice a less formal witchcraft than Wicca, and a more folk magic and nature based style :herb:referred to as Traditional Witchcraft. Her encounters with Robert Cochrane during this time were another major branch in her path. She soon parted ways with Cochrane as well due to his obsession with trying to conduct what he called “a night of long knives” against Gardner’s coven. Cochrane would later commit a ritual suicide by ingesting toxic plants.

Doreen wrote several books including her autobiography “The Rebirth of Witchcraft” and a guidebook for solitary practitioners titled “Witchcraft for Tomorrow.” Both these books should be a part of every witches library along with her collection of poems “The Charge of the Goddess.” The charge was adapted and expanded by Valiente and others since. Although she would eventually say she wished people wouldn’t use it so much due to it being usually read, according to her “without any passion” it remains one of Wicca’s most beautiful and important pieces of liturgy. She had intended for it to be used by priestesses only when the Goddess didn’t show up for them during the Drawing Down the Moon :full_moon: invocation, sparing them the awkwardness of not having anything to say but it has often become a standard part the ceremony. (As a side note anyone interested in techniques to more successfully embody the Goddess and other spirits, I recommend getting a copy of “Lifting the Veil” by Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone.)

Doreen Valiente was known to be very patriotic :uk: and it has been revealed she worked during World War 2 for Britains spy agency translating intercepted messages. She was also involved in gathering information from foreign merchant navy men regarding the Battle of the Atlantic. She also for a time joined a far right political party but shortly left. There is speculation she was still working for the British
government in some capacity keeping tabs on the group and never actually embraced their extremist ideology. The full extent of her role as spy may never be known as Doreen signed the Official Secrets Act which can remain classified for 100 years.

During the early 1980’s Doreen set out to find proof :mag:of the existence of Dorothy Clutterbuck, the woman who Gerald Gardner had said originally initiated him. Thanks to Valientes persistence and effort tracking down a paper trail of government records, she successfully discovered Clutterbuck’s information that confirmed her existence in agreement with Gardner’s story. The appendix of the Farrar’s “Witch’s Bible” details this pursuit. In 2013 she was honored with a Blue Plaque for her life and achievements, the first witch to do so and the first to be placed on public housing.

Power Of The Witch - Documentary with Doreen Valiente, Eleanor Bone, Alex and Maxine Sanders (1971) - YouTube


Very interesting! And I’ve got more books added to my wish list! Thanks for sharing!


Awesome topic! Thanks for sharing, Valen :slight_smile: You mentioned a lot of interesting and little-known facts about Doreen Valiente. She truly was a pioneer and we owe so much to her. I personally like that her last name means “brave” in Spanish.

It’s already on my reading list :+1:


Thank you for sharing her life to us. Truly amazing!


You did so well so many facts and I really enjoyed your history report! Here is your award :1st_place_medal: lol
She is so inspiring, she was The first to be on a plaque! Doreen Valiente is a witch I look up too! :star_struck:


I didn’t know much about Doreen Valiente- thanks so much for shining the light on this powerful witch from history, @Valen! :clap: It’s a neat point that she followed her spiritual path while balancing her patriotism and love for her country. A very interesting lady!

This is a wonderful entry to the History of Magick Challenge (just linking to the main thread so I can find this post again later!) Thank you so much for taking the time to share your research :pray::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Blessed be! :sparkles:


I love it! Great history right here!!! I love her altar plate and all her other tools shown. Thanks for the info!


@Amethyst I think I’ve got all her books but one, “Witchcraft for Tomorrow” is from 1978 but still a really good intro to witchcraft, one of my favorites
@Francisco That’s really cool her name means “brave” in Spanish, I didn’t know that. “Lifting the Veil” was a fascinating read for me. Lots of details on different practices, mostly group oriented but really interesting.
@RyuWyn your welcome, she was an amazing person. there is a biography written about her but I haven’t got to read it yet. So many books I want to read!
@Jeannie1 Haha, Thanks for the award! She really is inspirational in many ways.
@TheTravelWitch_Bry She definitely lived an interesting life, and always on her own terms as well.
@christina4 Isnt that altar plate cool! I love it.


I put that on my wish list. I’ve got so many books on there, I’ll never catch up! Thanks!


@Valen Thank you for doing this wonderful lady and her awesome life justice in your fantastic article. Loved reading this and just a note I base all my rituals on her books, history and creativity. Thanks again.


@summerlight She’s an inspiration for me as well. Valen is a shortened version of her name that worked out for me in terms of numerology :scorpius: