You Are A Coven Of Witches
The Wicca-Pagan Times has posted an interview with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, transcribed from a 2001 radio interview. The whole things starts off with how Gerald Gardner started Wicca and talks about the evolution of modern Witchcraft and Paganism.
“That’s difficult because it’s hypothesis. There’s no factual basis, there’s only hypothesis to go on. We believe and I think a lot of other people out there believe that he actually didn’t really find Witchcraft. He believed he’d found Witchcraft but you’ve got to remember that during that period people studying the occult were very upper class. People like ourselves and your self wouldn’t have had a hope in Hel of being involved in the occult scene. We are talking of the wealthy; the elite. Gerald had been a tea planter out in Malaya and when he returned to Britain it was just after the First World War. You’ve got to remember how many people in Europe died in the trenches in the 1st WW and as a result of that there was a revolution going on. People wanted a spirituality; they’d lost it. So many people became involved in the occult via things like Rosicrucionism, Theosophy and so on. It would have appealed to these upper class people. We think that what Gerald actually found when he went to the New Forest when he discovered the Rosicrucian Theatre, wasn’t a coven of Witches but a group of Theosophists. He so wanted to believe they were the remnants of an old religion that he actually said to them, “You are a coven of witches.” I think it’s very possible that they turned around and said to him, “No, we’re not,” and tried to explain to him what they were, but he wouldn’t have it.”
The whole thing is worth a read. Including the parts about how several Wiccan leaders were all coming to a consensus on self-initiation at around the same time.