To many, witchcraft is a silly fantasy passed down through old wives’ tales and something that should be put to rest thanks to our technological society. But even as our technology has grown, the ritual and practice of craft has followed along. It may have changed as our knowledge and technology grew, but it has still found its place among us.
While we can trace back stories and superstitions to old folk magic, it is because of the work of the following individuals that it has persistent and become prevalent in the modern world. This list is not all encompassing, but it is at least a starting point. You can find more information about most of these individuals through the Recommended Reading list.
A majority of the pagan community credit Gerald Gardner with the revival of modern witchcraft. Which I have always found interesting considering there is a perception that only women can practice. However, while he may have been the face for a time – he had a circle of highly influential individuals at his side guiding their own followers and developing their paths.
You can access a visual I’ve created of these connections here. *Please note this link may not work on tablet or smartphones.
William Robert Woodman
William Wynn Wescott
Samuel Liddel MacGregor Mathers
New Forest Coven
Ernie & Edith Mason
Gerald Gardner – later left the New Forest Coven to create the Bricketts Wood Coven with Doreen
Bricketts Wood Coven
*Aleister Crowley joined them for a short period of time
Other Prominent Witches
Alex & Maxine Sanders – connected to the Bricketts Wood Coven via Patricia Crowther. Many BWC members did not approve of Alex Sander’s choices and came together to publicly denounce him later as they began to part ways.
Sybil Leek – a prominent witch in the UK who eventually relocated the U.S.
Charles Leland – a U.S. journalist whose later experiences traveling Europe inspired a fascination in folklore and traditions.