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High Magic’s Aid by Gerald Gardner first edition 1949

High Magic’s Aid by Gerald Gardner first edition 1949


SCRIRE. O.T.O. 4=7 (GARDNER, G[erald] B.)

High Magic’s Aid 

London: Michael Houghton, 1949


8vo., black cloth lettered in silver to spine; endpapers showing various magical diagrams; in the vibrant green illustrated dust wrapper; pp. [vi], 7-351, [i]; near-fine, spine ends lightly compressed with a couple of small spots to the upper edge, and previous owner’s name in ink to front paste-down; the dust wrapper clipped, with light shelf-wear and nicks, remarkably near-fine, save for a 1cm chip to the foot of spine, and resulting loss. 


First edition. 


Gerald Gardner ‘The Father of Wicca’ was an English Wiccan, archaeologist and social anthropologist who is now widely credited with bringing the ancient pagan religion of Wicca to public attention . However, it was only after his retirement at the age of 52 that he first joined the Occult group, the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship. Settling in the New Forest, Gardner supplemented the New Forest Coven’s beliefs with Freemasonry, ceremonial magic, and the works of Alistair Crowley to form his own tradition of Wicca. In fact, after Crowley’s death in 1947, Gardner had become the official representative of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) in Europe, an occult secret society and  hermetic magical organisation. High Magic’s Aid was his first attempt to build the reputation of this form of religion, and it was followed by Witchcraft Today (1954) and The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959). By the time of Gardner’s death in 1964, ‘Gardnerian Wicca’ had spread to the United States and beyond, with estimates of the number of Wiccans worldwide ranging from 100,000 to 800,000.


Set during the mediaeval period at the time of the Norman invasions, Gardner’s tale has been compared to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in its depiction of the lost and forbidden secrets of Magic. In many ways, it was an attempt by the author to publish his findings and beliefs about the occult under the guise of fiction, and combines fantasy with political satire, as well as ceremonial magic with old religion. The text also includes scenes of ceremonial magic based on The Key of Solomon, a textbook of magic attributed to King Solomon, and dating from the Italian Renaissance. 


A far superior copy to those often found, the small chip to spine being the only defect. 

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