Reviewed by Mike Gleason
The Pickingill Papers: The Origin of the Gardnerian Craft
by Bill Liddell
Published 1994 by Capall Bann
Paperback 174 pages
More Information on this Book at Amazon
I seem to have a penchant lately for older books. Several of the books I reviewed this year were either re-releases, or simply older works which I had missed earlier. This is one of the latter.
Bill Liddell, writing as Lugh, published a series of letters in "The Wiccan" and "The Cauldron" magazines over a spread of two decades (1974 to 1994). His writings have been at the center of an on-going debate which continues to this day. Why did he write those letters? Did he write to disprove the "authenticity" of Gardnerian-derived Wicca? Was it disinformation to smear the reputation of a man who, although properly trained, went against the wishes of his elders? Was it an organized campaign, or the work of a single man?
This book contains the letters which appeared in print, as well as commentary by Michael Howard (publisher of The Cauldron
). It contains a few illustrations which are, to be polite, of mediocre quality. It has a few minor editing errors but they in no way detract from the value of this work.
Whether you agree with the premise of the book or not, it forms a vital part of the history of modern Witchcraft. It needs
to be in the library of every Witch - solitary or coven, hereditary, eclectic, or "British Traditional." You don't need to agree with it, but you do need to read it and decide for yourself how you feel about it.