Sunday, September 26, 2010

Alex Sanders Biography

Alex Sanders Biography Cover Alex Sanders – the “King of the Witches” as he became known - was responsible for founding the Alexandrian Tradition of Wicca, now one of the main traditions of the Wicca/Witchcraft movement. But his reign was fraught with criticism and controversy.

Alex Sanders was born Orrel Alexander Carter on the 06th June 1926 in a house on Moon St, Birkenhead. He was the eldest of six children to parents Hannah and Harold Carter. His father Harold Carter was a music hall entertainer who suffered from alcoholism, and soon after the birth of Alex, moved the family to Grape St in Manchester, there he unofficially changed the family name to Sanders. Alex was unaware of his official surname until he applied for a passport later in life, at which time he officailly changed his name to Sanders by deed poll.

As a young boy Sanders suffered with tuberculosis and would regularly visit with his grandmother in Wales, where he could benefit from the Welsh fresh air. At the age of seven, he is believed to have happened upon his grandmother “Mary Biddy” performing some sort of pagan ritual. Taken by surprise she immediately swore young Sanders to secrecy, and initiated him on the spot claiming, “Now, you are one of us”. Thus he became her student and started on the path of the Old Religion.

Sanders was a natural psychic who learned all he could from his grandmother. He claimed that she gave him her “Book of Shadows” to copy and taught him all the rites and magic of the witches including clairvoyance by scrying in inky water and using his grandmother's crystal. Sanders also claimed that following the Blitz during WWII and just a few months before her death at age 74, his grandmother conferred upon him the second and third grade initiations involving ritual sex. After her death he tried to contact other witches, and though failing continued with his studies while working for a time as a healer in Spiritualist Churches under the pseudonym of Paul Dallas.

In the early 60’s, Sanders is reported to have sought entrance to some Gardnerian covens (see Gerald Gardner), including that run by "Patricia and Arnold Crowther", who refused to accept him. Not to be put off so easily, he somehow managed to obtain a copy of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. This he copied (badly from all accounts) and embellished it with a few of his own amendments. He then used this as the bases to found his own coven, claiming it to be a copy of his grandmother’s Book of Shadows.

Sanders was a born showman who avidly courted publicity. In September of 1962 he even succeeded in convincing the Manchester Evening News to run a front-page article about Wicca. As a result he soon attracted a large following. During this period Sanders and his coven worked from his home at 24 Egerton Road North, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester. One of his initiates was "Maxine Morris", a Roman Catholic 20 years his junior. After her initiation, they handfasted and she became his High Priestess. They were married in a civil ceremony in 1968 and moved into a basement flat near Nottinghill Gate, London. Later that same year, Maxine bore him a daughter they called "Maya".

From their new home the Sanders’ ran his London coven and taught training classes, he claimed to have initiated more than 1,623 witches working in 100 covens around the country, all-practicing what had become known as the Alexandrian Tradition. At one meeting, a gathering of sixteen of his covens, Sanders was bestowed with the title of “King of the Witches”. Sanders frequently appeared in ritual photos as robed or wearing only a loincloth while Witches surrounding him were naked. His explanation for this was that the old “Witch laws” required that the Elder of a coven should be easily identifiable from the other coven members.

In 1968-69, Sanders with Maxine appeared in and gave technical advice on a film called “Legend of the Witches”. During the press preview of the film, they met with and were introduced to "Stewart Farrar", then a reporter for the Reveille. Stewart would later be initiated by Maxine, and move on to become famous himself as a witch and author.

Without doubt Alex Sanders was a controversial and flamboyant man, who without scruples plagiarized the work of others to embellish he own. Whither he did so with malice, remains a question? Personally I don’t think so. More I assume through innocuous indifference, and mainly for the benefit of his students, even though it resulted in criticism from many in the craft. He was also without doubt a very skilled witch, and powerful magician, whose contribution to the newly evolving movement, brought witchcraft back into the public arena and changed the face of Wicca. He helped to influence many newcomers entering the craft and Alexandrian Wicca remains today one of the largest traditions of the craft.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Aleister Crowley - Alice An Adultery
Albert Pike - Morals And Dogma
Aleister Crowley - Alexandra

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