Archives For Kevin Carlyon

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

Bull of Heaven publication party. (photo: Christopher Gregory/The New York Times)

Bull of Heaven publication party. (photo: Christopher Gregory/The New York Times)

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

I’ve been trying to ignore this story, which hasn’t been too hard considering the earthquake in Haiti, the recent election in Massachusetts, and the Christian gun sights story.  But the English press has been persistent, so let’s talk a bit about the mysterious horse plaits that have been plaguing Sussex.

“At least ten horse-owners in Sussex have reported finding plaits in their horses’ manes over the last two months. Police have received reports from places as far apart as Westergate in Chichester, Rother and East Grinstead – reflecting similar reports across the country.”

Despite the skepticism of many English equestrians, and the general lack of any horrible aftermath for the equines involved in the plaiting,  a couple of media-hungry Witches have decided that this is the work of other Witches, or possibly even Satanists!

“Officers in Dorset have been contacted by a warlock, or male witch, who claimed the plaits are used in rituals by followers of “knot magick”, also known as “cord magick”. But Kevin Carlyon, the Hastings-based self-proclaimed High Priest of British White Witches, told The Argus some plaits or knots could be evidence of devil-worship or black magic … Carlyon said plaiting has also been known to precede ritual mutilation of horses in black magic.”

Ah yes, Kevin “High Priest of British White Witches” Carlyon, he of the red bathrobe and Nessie-protecting. A man so outrageous in his proclamations and actions (he’s a “living god” now) that he managed to get over 900 Pagans and Witches to agree on something.

“Whilst we accept his right to practise his faith, he does not have the right to speak for us and we have no affliation with his media junkie antics. He has not been appointed for us or by us and therefore cannot present authority over us.”

Occam’s Razor suggests that the most likely culprit for this rash of plaits is a garden variety prankster, possibly even a group of them, or maybe the original plaiter inspired subsequent jokesters in braiding a bit of mane. But Witches? Satanists? Really? Even the cops seem skeptical.

“At the moment we do not know of any motive for the plaiting to start with we thought they were being marked for theft but that is clearly not the case. One motive from research by Dorset police who are also investigating a number of cases is that it may be a pagan ritual. It is hard for us to judge at the moment but any speculation will have to be considered.”

I expect this sort of press-baiting hysteria from Carlyon, but any other Pagans spreading this sort of nonsense, without a hint of proof for an occult angle, are doing the Pagan community in England a disservice. Even if, for some reason, there turns out to be a Pagan or occult motive behind the “witch knots”, the last thing we need to do is encourage wild speculation or give credence to drama-queens.

There are several Pagans who yearn for the spotlight. Who have no problem hamming it up for the press and reinforcing pop-culture stereotypes. When they appear on the screen, or in a publication, we brace ourselves, teeth gritted, for their latest antics. In the UK, no figure more typifies this than self-proclaimed “High Priest of British White Witches” Kevin Carlyon.

Kevin Carlyon

“O dear I upset practitioners of Wicca on the Gardnerian and Alexandrian path and probably the weird out of brain dildos who latch on to anything. My path of Earth Magic is 21st century reality, not the sex, bondage, drugs and power trips of others in the past, including ‘The Kinks of Witches’ Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders. Its obvious that I touch a nerve with other Witches but thats normal as I am ‘THE WITCH’ and people are jealous. I am not classed as the King of the Witches as I would be too ashamed of some of the people involved … Just to add to the controversy between other Witches I think I’ll call myself The Living God Of All Witches.”

Carlyon spends his time setting up media spectacles that the press in Britain seems to eat right up. Whether its “exorcising” the spirit of Aleister Crowley, setting himself up as official protector and “high priest” of Loch Ness, or engaging all manner of embarrassing media pronouncements the “living god” in the red bathrobe is there. His latest stunt is to cast a bad weather spell on a local Oliver Cromwell celebration as a punishment for the Cambridgeshire witchcraft trials.

“Mr Carlyon, who will cast the spell from woods near his home in East Sussex, said Cromwell failed to stop witchcraft trials during the 17th century, which saw women from Sutton and Haddenham executed and people of both sexes from all over the country imprisoned and hanged.”

However, this time around the local media isn’t swallowing Carlyon’s inflated claims of leadership and power.

“More than 800 people from the pagan and heathen community have signed a online petition to dethrone Mr Carlyon from his place as King of the White Witches, saying he does not speak for them … Cambridge-based pagan Derek Wood spoke to the Ely Standard said: ‘My personal opinion is that Kevin Carlyon may claim to be the high priest of white witches, but I am a Regional Coordinator for the national Pagan Federation and have never heard of him. We occasionally get people like this, usually with no affiliation to serious minded pagans, people with an ego looking for a cult to worship it. Such people give paganism a bad press because they are outspoken and usually define themselves by some perceived injustice hey must rebel against.'”

If anything points to the growing mainstreaming of Pagan religions it may be this. Instead of treating any media-hungry narcissist who comes into view as a spokesperson for all of us, they did some research, and contacted a local Pagan advocacy group for a quote. In the end, good journalism, more than any disavowal or petition from the Pagan community, may successfully “dethrone” these media-hungry cranks from their self-appointed lofty perches.