Sanders, Maxine

Sanders, Maxine (1946– ) Prominent English Witch once married to the late Alex Sanders. maxine Sanders helped to found the Alexandrian tradition of contemporary Witchcraft in the 1960s in England.

She was born Arline Maxine morris in Manchester, England, and received a Catholic education at St. Joseph’s Convent there. Her mother was intensely interested in esoteric studies, Subud and Theosophy. Maxine was withdrawn as a child; according to her own account, she was clairvoyant and very sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. She withdrew further in astral projection. Her mother used her to view remotely her father’s gambling.

Maxine said she was initiated into the Egyptian mysteries at a young age. In 1962, at age 14, she met Alex Sanders at an esoteric soirée hosted by her mother. She had met him previously as a young child; her mother and Sanders had been friends since before Maxine’s birth and worked at the same pharmaceutical center.

Maxine was drawn to the magnetic Sanders, who talked about Witchcraft. Two years later, while attending secretarial college, she was initiated into his Coven. They were handfasted in 1965 and legally married in 1968. maxine became Alex’s high priestess.

In 1967 Maxine and Alex left Manchester and moved to a flat in the Notting Hill Gate area of London, a place full of counterculture ferment. They offered classes and conducted Rituals. Alex, who had a flair for showmanship, was an immediate media sensation. The couple and their coven conducted rituals skyclad—in the nude—for the press. Oddly, everyone but Alex himself was unclothed; he always wore a robe or loincloth.

Life with Alex was a roller coaster of publicity. Many of the newly public witches in Britain opposed the Sanders’ willingness to be in the limelight, but support was received from others, such as Sybil Leek and JAnet And Stewart Farrar; the latter two were initiated into the Alexandrian tradition.

The Sanders had two children, Maya, born in 1968, and Victor, born in 1972. In 1973, Maxine and Alex separated. Alex moved to Sussex, and Maxine remained in the Notting Hill Gate flat. The couple worked together until Alex’s death from lung cancer in 1988.

Maxine Sanders continued her work as a high priestess, initiating, teaching, consulting and speaking. In 2002, she moved to a tiny stone cottage, Bron Afron, in the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. She has retired from active public life. Her autobiography, Fire Child, was published in 2007.

Further Reading:

  • Maxine Sanders official Web site. Available online. UrL: Downloaded November 12, 2007.
  • Sanders, Maxine. Fire Child: The Life and Magic of Maxine Sanders “Witch Queen.” Oxford: mandrake, 2007.
  • The Wiccan/Pagan Times. “TWPT Takes to Maxine Sanders.” Available online. UrL: Downloaded November 12, 2007.


The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.

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