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Article ID: 2655
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 12th. 2000
Stewart Farrar: Official Obituary
by Pagan Communities
The son of a bank official and schoolteacher, Stewart Farrar was born on the 28 June 1916, at 239 Winchester Road, Highams Park, Walthamstow, in what is now the London borough of Waltham Forest.
Stewart Farrar's interest in the occult field came very much as a late vocation, having had little more than a passing interest in many other philosophies including communism and Marxism. By the time he met Alex and Maxine Sanders, the well known London witches, in late 1969 he was, in his own words, an "interested agnostic". In the process of writing his first non-fiction book, What Witches Do, having warmed to its themes and philosophy, he was initiated into the Craft on 21 February 1970. What Witches Do proved to be a milestone for the Craft for many reasons. It was perhaps the first book written from the inside as it were, with a sense of sobriety and intelligence, which many of its cloak and dagger, garbled predecessors lacked. In Stewart's own words, it filled a gap. It combined an overall survey of the basic beliefs and practices of a modern witch with a new witch's reactions to the process of learning those beliefs and practices. It is still recommended reading for serious minded students of the Craft today.
Stewart with his beloved wife Janet, moved to Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland, in the spring of 1976 and it was here that they began to produce the first of their own independent writings. Here, immersing themselves in rural Irish tradition and culture, they formed a coven nucleus and worked out ritual drama for their Eight Sabbats for Witches published in 1981. They spent a short time in the west of Ireland before moving to a rural backwater in Swords close to Dublin City where they began working on another milestone The Witches Way (1984). From here they moved to Beltichburne near Drogheda and then on to Kells, County Meath where they produced The Witches Goddess (1987); The Life and Times of a Modern Witch (1987); The Witches God (1989) and Spells and How They Work (1990). Stewart and Janet co-authored with Gavin Bone, a qualified nurse, The Pagan Path (1995) and The Healing Craft (1999).
Stewart also wrote seven witchcraft novels of which Omega was perhaps the most outstanding and idealistic. It depicts a world ravaged by man's corruption, his rape of the planet and the final coming to terms with a New World through the philosophy of Wicca.
I think it is fair to say that Stewart Farrar did more than any Craft writer on this side of the Atlantic to expound the spirit of Wicca in its 'purest' form since Gerald Gardner. Certainly, he has few, if any contemporaries that can rival him for sheer volume alone. His rational, intelligent and easy to read style of writing has proved immensely popular and has given witchcraft the 'respectable' image it needed for so long. Farrar was not without his critics who were quick to dwell on his occasional misdemeanours in the field as sometime spokesman for the Craft movement. These however, with the passage of time, along with the critics, will be seen as inconsequential storms in a tea cup.
Suffice to say that Farrar was, is and may remain the most prolific writer on the subject of contemporary witchcraft that perhaps the world has ever known. He more than anybody else, has put his shoulder to the wheel of the Western Mystery Tradition to make Wicca a viable and workable path for many to tread.
Peter J. Doyle
Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin. Ireland.
7th February 2000
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