Quality, not Quantity

When Alex left London in '72 he claimed that his work in the Craft was finished. This was reinforced by his later focus on, among other things, creating the orders ‘Ordine della Luna’ and ‘Ordine della Nova’; and also by his returning to Maxine and David's coven for Craft workings whenever he felt the need. Indeed, often, when he wanted Craft work done for himself or others, he would call on Maxine or invite them to Bexhill to do it.

A significant cause for confusion, however, is that his ego would not let him relinquish the 'King of the Witches' title, and with many people coming from around the world in search of a Craft experience from the King; plus Derrick exploiting the situation, waters became muddied.

When they were together, Maxine tempered Alex's behaviour but when he went to Bexhill, it turned into a free- for-all. This time period is one of the wellsprings of the 'tap- to-the-forehead pub initiation' stories, as well as the 'woman enough for me' same-sex bedroom initiations.
Two significant issues arise in these cases, namely, (1) the members of the mentioned Ordine orders who later claimed that their membership in the Order also gave them initiation into Alexandrian Witchcraft when clearly neither had anything to do with the other; and, (2) the same-gender bedroom initiates who went on to initiate others but did not have training to pass on. Even if these initiates later acquired gender-polarity based 2nd & 3rd Degree initiation, the damage was already inflicted by the lack of training. Understandably, with the distinction between ‘validity of initiation’ and ‘lack of training’ being clouded, some of the ‘downliners’ as it were, have concerns about their initiations, and in some cases, bitter feelings towards the entire topic. Given the climate surrounding this issue and our appreciation for your candid question, Maxine responds as follows:

“The inappropriately named ‘downliners’ (‘descendants’ is perhaps a better word) of Alex after 1972 were true and sincere seekers of Initiation into the Craft regardless of the sometime unworthy Initiators; it is sad the training did not follow their Initiation.

These facts do not make their Initiation ceremony any less potent than if they were to have trained in the magical arts under the supervision of a fully trained priest or priestess of the Alexandrian Tradition.

Indeed the criticism regarding the validity of my own Initiation directed from the Gardnerian priesthood was unbecoming and hurtful, so I understand their reaction and hurt at the validity of their Initiation being questioned.

In the case of the many Initiated Alexandrians who have not received direct training, I can only salute their tenacity in continuing their work within the circle. However, it is

apparent that when it was made known they were welcome to question those who were trained in the Alexandrian Tradition, some joyously received the requested training while others merely succumbed to their mundane ego and chose to continue in their ways magically and ritually despite being enlightened - at their own request - to some of their workings being in direct contradiction to the inner workings of the Alexandrian Tradition.

Some of their practices have come from Vivianne Crowley or Janet Farrar, neither of whom completed their Alexandrian training. Others have assimilated Gardnerian rites into their practises and, being dissatisfied with their workings have sought dual Initiation.

I can’t blame them and would have done the same had I been in their shoes, although when given the opportunity to learn the ways of core Alexandrianism with the logic that is natural to Alexandrian working, the occultist within me would have jumped at the opportunity.

It is with a lifelong curiosity and enthusiasm for the arts magical that would have enabled me to adapt my newfound knowledge of the ways Alexandrian into my own
practises. Should I have found my existing practices to be preferable, however, I would have been empowered with the knowledge to discern a new name for my workings.
Alas, this requires an understanding of the difference between magical and mundane ego.” – Maxine

authors
Sharon Day
Maxine Sanders