Raymond Buckland (31 August 1934 – 27 September 2017) whose craft name was Robat, was an English writer on the subject of Wicca and the occult, and a significant figure in the history of Wicca, of which he was a high priest in both the Gardnerian and Seax-Wica traditions.
|Born||31 August 1934|
|Died||27 September 2017 (aged 83)|
|Parent(s)||Stanley Thomas Buckland, Eileen Lizzie Wells|
According to his written works, primarily Witchcraft from the Inside, published in 1971, he was the first person in the United States to openly admit to being a practitioner of Wicca, and he introduced the lineage of Gardnerian Wicca to the United States in 1964, after having been initiated by Gerald Gardner's then-high priestess Monique Wilson in Britain the previous year. He later formed his own tradition dubbed Seax-Wica which focuses on the symbolism of Anglo-Saxon paganism.
Buckland was born in London on 31 August 1934, to Eileen and Stanley Buckland. Buckland was of mixed ethnicity; his mother was English, but his father was Romani. He was raised in the Anglican Church but developed an interest in Spiritualism and the occult at about age 12, after encountering it from a Spiritualist uncle.
He went on to be educated at King's College School. In 1955 he married Rosemary Moss. From 1957 to 1959, he served in the Royal Air Force, and then went on to work in a London publishing company for four years, before he and his wife emigrated to the United States in 1962, where they lived on Long Island, New York.
In the US, Buckland soon read the books The Witch-Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray and Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner, which gave him an insight into the Witchcraft religion, or Wicca as it is now more commonly known. Some sources relay that Buckland had established a relationship with Gardner when he was living on the Isle of Man and running his witchcraft museum; it seems this relationship was by correspondence.
The two became friends, and had several telephone conversations, which led to Buckland becoming Gardner's spokesman in America. Buckland also met and befriended Margaret St. Clair, author of the occult classic Sign of the Labrys.
Both Buckland and his wife Rosemary travelled to Scotland, where, in Perth, they were initiated into the craft by the High Priestess Monique Wilson (known as the Lady Olwen). Gardner attended the ceremony, but did not perform it himself. Gardner died shortly after, having never met Buckland again.
The Bucklands returned home to the United States following their meeting with Gardner, bringing the Gardnerian Book of Shadows with them. They moved to Timberline Drive in Brentwood. That same year they founded a coven in Bay Shore. This was the first group in the US following the Gardnerian Wicca lineage of direct initiation. Many fully initiated Gardnerians in the US can trace their origins back to this coven, which was a centre for Neopaganism in America for twenty years. The Bucklands tried to keep their identities secret at first, due to concern about unwanted and negative attention, however journalist Lisa Hoffman of the New York Sunday News published a news story on them without permission. / Buckland also appeared on the Alan Burke talk show, which is when his neighbors discovered that he practiced Wicca. Once 'outed', Buckland purchased and drove around in a hearse, where he was a familiar sight in the community. When Buckland and his wife separated in 1973, they both left the coven.
First Museum of Witchcraft and Magick in the United States, 1968-Edit
In 1968 Buckland formed the First Museum of Witchcraft and Magick in the United States, as influenced by Gardner's Museum of Witchcraft and Magick. It started off as a by-appointment-only policy museum in his own basement. After his collection of artifacts grew he moved the museum to a 19th-century house in Bay Shore. The museum received some media attention, and a documentary was produced about it.
In 2008, the artifacts of the Museum were housed and entrusted to the care of The Covenant of the Pentacle Wiccan Church (CPWC), based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and led by Arch Priestess Rev. Velvet Rieth. After a period of neglect and mismanagement of the previous curator, Rev. Velvet, along with many members of her church, were able to begin the restoration process.
In 2015, the artifacts were turned over to the Temple of Sacrifice, a coven based in Columbus, Ohio, founded by Raymond Buckland and Kat Tigner. Toni Rotonda, APS of T.O.S., is the museum collections current owner. The Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick is currently being displayed in Cleveland, Ohio.
Buckland formed his own Wiccan tradition, Seax-Wica, based upon symbolism taken from Anglo-Saxon paganism. He published everything about the movement in The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. He then began a correspondence course to teach people about Seax-Wica, which grew to having around a thousand members.
Buckland married his first wife, Rosemary, in 1955. They separated in 1973. In 1974 Raymond married Joan Helen Taylor. In 1992 Buckland and his third wife, Tara, moved to a farm in North Central Ohio, where he continued to write, and work as a solitary Wiccan.
His health began failing in 2015, as he suffered first from pneumonia and then a heart attack. After recovering, he experienced more heart and lung problems in late September, 2017, which resulted in his death on 27 September.
In 1969 Buckland published his first book, A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural. He followed this in 1970 with Witchcraft Ancient and Modern and Practical Candleburning Rituals, as well as a novel called Mu Revealed, a spoof on the works of James Churchward, which was written using the pseudonym "Tony Earll" (an anagram for 'not really'). By 1973 he was earning enough money with his books that he could take over running of his museum full-time. Until 2010, he published a book almost every year since, although he shifted largely to fiction in the 21st century.
- A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural. Ace Books, NY. 1975 .
- Practical Candleburning Rituals. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2000 .
- Witchcraft Ancient and Modern. House of Collectibles, NY. 1970.
- Witchcraft From the Inside: Origins of the Fastest Growing Religious Movement in America. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1995 .
- pseudonym Tony Earll (1972) . MU Revealed. Warner Paperback Library, NY.
- with Hereward Carrington (1975). Amazing Secrets of the Psychic World. Parker/Prentice Hall, NJ.
- The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. Samuel Weiser (Red Wheel/Weiser), ME. 2005 .
- Here is the Occult. House of Collectibles, NY. 2009 .
- The Anatomy of the Occult. Samuel Weiser, ME. 1977.
- The Magick of Chant-O-Matics. Parker/Prentice Hall, NJ. 1980 .
- Practical Color Magick. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1983.
- Color Magick: Unleash Your Inner Powers. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2002.
- Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2002 .
- Secrets of Gypsy Fortune Telling. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1988.
- The Buckland Gypsy Fortunetelling Deck. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1989. ISBN 0-87542-052-4.
- Secrets of Gypsy Love Magick. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1990.
- Secrets of Gypsy Dream Reading. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1990.
- Scottish Witchcraft: The History and Magick of the Picts. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1991.
- with Kathleen Binger (1992). The Book of African Divination. Inner Traditions, VT.
- Doors to Other Worlds. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1993.
- The Truth About Spirit Communication. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1995.
- The Committee (novel). Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1993.
- Cardinal's Sin: Psychic Defenders Uncover Evil in the Vatican (novel). Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1996.
- Ray Buckland's Magic Cauldron. Galde Press, MN. 1995.
- Advanced Candle Magick: More Spells and Rituals for Every Purpose. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1996.
- Witchcraft: Yesterday and Today (video). Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1990.
- Gypsy Witchcraft & Magic. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1998.
- Gypsy Dream Dictionary. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 1999.
- Coin Divination. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2000.
- The Buckland Romani Tarot. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2001.
- Wicca for Life. Citadel, NY. 2001.
- The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism. Visible Ink Press, NY. 2001.
- The Fortune-Telling Book. Visible Ink Press, NY. 2003.
- Signs, Symbols & Omens: An Illustrated Guide to Magical & Spiritual Symbolism. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2003.
- Cards of Alchemy. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2003.
- Wicca For One. Citadel, NY. 2004.
- Buckland's Book of Spirit Communications. Llewellyn Publications, MN. 2004.
- The Spirit Book: The Encyclopedia of Clairvoyance, Channeling, and Spirit Communication. Visible Ink Press, NY. 2005.
- Mediumship and Spirit Communication. Buckland Books. 2005.
- Face to Face with God?. Buckland Books. 2006.
- Ouija - "Yes! Yes!". Doorway Publications. 2006.
- Death, Where is Thy Sting?. Buckland Books. 2006.
- Dragons, Shamans & Spiritualists. Buckland Books. 2007.
- Buckland's Doorway to Candle Magic. Buckland Books. 2007.
- the Torque of Kernow (novel). Galde Press/Buckland Books. 2008.
- The Weiser's Field Guide to Ghosts. Red Wheel/Weiser. 2009.
- Buckland's Book of Gypsy Magic. Red Wheel/Weiser. 2010.
- Knowles, George (3 June 2007). "Raymond Buckland (1934 - )". Controverscial.Com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Lewis, James R. Lewis (1999). Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions. ABC=CLIO. pp. xxix. ISBN 9781576071342.
- Rhuddlwm Gawr; Taliesin Enion Vawr (2002). he Word: Welsh Witchcraft, the Grail of Immortality and the Sacred Keys. Camelot Press. p. 54. ISBN 0595258085.
- Drury, Nevill (2005). The Watkins Dictionary of Magic. Duncan Baird Publishers. ISBN 1780283628.
- "An Interview with Raymond Buckland". Cyber Witchcraft. CyberWytchLLC. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Letter From Hardscrabble Creek: Chasing Margaret" by Chas. S. Clifton, Hardscrabble #17, June 1997.
- Davis, Morgan S. "Monique Wilson" (PDF). Gerald Gardner. Morgan S. Davis. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- "Internet Book of Shadows: Saxon Wicca Rites (Raymond Buckland)". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- Greene, Heather (September 27, 2017). "Raymond Buckland (1934-2017)". The Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
Early this past week, Buckland was reportedly having some breathing problems, and doctors found that his lungs were filling with fluid. After treatments, Buckland rallied and was reportedly his cheerful self by Wednesday. Then, when doctors asked him to get up and walk around, he experienced chest pain. Buckland passed peacefully with no pain Wednesday evening, in the company of his loved ones.
- Scudder, Beth. An Interview with Raymond Buckland in New Worlds, issue 36. Llewellyn Publications.