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Crowther, Patricia C.
As a Witch
and high priestess of Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, Patricia Crowther has
since the 1960s been a predominant spokesperson for Witchcraft. She has
authored several books as well as giving many media and lecture appearances.
She was nitiated
into the Craft by Gerald B.Gardner, being considered his spiritual heir, has worked promoting
the renaissance of the Old Religion in order to benefit and enlighten humankind.
She had formed flourishing covens throughout the United Kingdom.
Born as Patricia Dawson in Sheffield, her great grandmother of Brittany
was a herbalist and a clairvoyant, who also told fortunes. Her grandmother Elizabeth
(Tizzy) Machon (her maiden name) was a very small woman whose surname means
The Dawson family lived next door to a palmist, Madame Melba, who predicted
that Patricia would possess great clairvoyant powers. In her childhood,
she experienced synchronistic association with fairies and the Craft: at
a children's birthday party she was chosen to be Fairy on the Moon, and
she was whirled around seated on an illuminated crescent moon (The Goddess
with crescent moon is often symbolic of Diana); as a birthday present she received a gold snake bangle,
the symbol of wisdom, life, and rebirth; she performed as Robin Hood in
pantomime, and performed in a revue entitled The Legend of the Moon Goddess.
At 30, a hypnotist regressed Patricia to previous lives including one as
a Witch, Polly, an old crone of about 66 in the year 1670. Polly revealed
that she lived in a hut with a cat, frog, goat and hen, and worked spells
for people, most of whom she loathed. She openly recited numerous spells,
all of which rhymed, and gave instructions for using them. Patricia possessed
no knowledge of the spells which experts claimed to be authentic. However,
the regression substantiated she had been a Witch in a past life and, according
to Witch lore, she would become a Witch in this her present life. Since
that regression experience Patricia has recalled in numerous clairvoyant
visions, another past life in which she served as a priestess of the Goddess
of great power. She feels more affinity with the spiritual priestess than
with the spell-casting crone.
Her parents were able to train her in singing, dancing, and acting for stage.
Patricia toured all over the United Kingdom. When playing at a theater at
Birmingham in 1954, a fortune-teller predicted that she would meet her future
husband, a man named Arnold, two years later over water. At the time the
prediction seemed utterly fantastic, but it was borne out. It was in 1956,
when flying to a summer engagement, which she had taken on the Isle of Wight,
Patricia met Arnold Crowther, a stage magician and ventriloquist who was to perform
in the same show as she. When Arnold discovered her interest in Witchcraft
he offered to introduce her to Gardner, a personal friend. Thus, another
prediction came true. Several years earlier, Gardner had told Crowther that
he would meet a fair-haired who would initiate him into the Craft.
Following several meetings with Gardner, he initiated her into the Craft
on June 6, 1960. The initiation occurred in Gardner's private Magic Room,
the top floor of a barn, at his home in Castletown on the Isle of Man. Patricia
in turn initiated Arnold. Gardner presented them with ritual tools and jewelry,
including a coral necklace for Patricia.
During the rite, Patricia had a profound and powerful trance experience
in which she envisioned herself as being reborn into the priesthood of the
Moon Mysteries, initiated by a line of howling, naked women who passed her,
gauntlet-style, through their spread legs. Gardner postulated that she had
gone back to another previous life and relived an ancient initiation ceremony.
Their marriage occurred a few weeks later. On November 8, 1960, Patricia
and Arnold were married in a private handfasting ceremony of which Gardner officiated. The ceremony
took place in a circle, and all participants were skyclad (nude). The couple
were married in a civil ceremony the next day, November 9. The press found
out about it in advance, and it was highly publicized. The Crowthers made
their home in Sheffield. They took their second-degree initiation on October
11, 1961, and Patricia became high priestess on October 14.
The media eagerly sought after the Crowthers for interviews. When asked
by a reporter if she would like to meet people interested in the Craft,
Patricia answered yes. This inadvertently prompted the reporter's news headline,
"Witch Seeks Recruits for Coven," which brought many inquiries.
The Crowthers initiated the first member of their coven in December, 1961,
with others gradually following over time.
Simultaneously they continued their instruction in the Craft with Gardner.
Also, an old woman named Jean, who lived in Inverness, saw Patricia on television
taught her a 300-year-old secret, inner tradition. She told Patricia she
considered her worthy to inherit this knowledge which she imparted through
a two year correspondence course.
The Crowthers gave many interviews and speaking engagements always promoting
knowledge of the Craft. Together they authored two books, The Witches
Speak (1965, 1976) and The Secrets of Ancient Witchcraft (1974).
For Radio Sheffield they produced the first radio series in Britain on Witchcraft,
A Spell of Witchcraft, which debuted on January 7, 1971. Also, they
cast spells and exorcised ghosts for people. They wrote seasonal rituals
as well as new music and poetry for the Craft.
Patricia's books include: Witchcraft in Yorkshire; Witch Blood,
her autobiography; The Witches Speak ( 1976); and Lid Off the
Cauldron (1981, 1985). Her articles have appeared in numerous periodicals
including Prediction, Gnostica, New Dimensions, and The Lamp of
Thoth. She appears on as a guest on radio and television shows attempting
to dispel misconceptions concerning the Old Religion and modern Witchcraft.
She has endeavored to bring back the Great Goddess consciousness on a racial
level, in order to promote a greater harmony on spiritual levels of thought,
and to further the equality and prominence of women in general. In 1978,
she represented Wicca in the United Kingdom at an international conference
Besides her Craft activities Patricia continues to perform professionally
as a singer, magician and puppeteer. A.G.H.