Witchcraft Research Association (WRA)

The Witchcraft Research Association (WRA) was an organization founded in February 1964 by Sybil Leek with the purpose of uniting witches in Britain.

Leek established herself as president, but only for a few months, stepping down in July 1964 in the face of backfired self-promotion and publicity. Leek moved to America, and Doreen Valiente stepped in as her successor. The association had a journal, the Pentagram, edited by a friend of Robert Cochrane, who also contributed articles.

On October 3, 1964, the WRA hosted a dinner at which Valiente urged all witch traditions to come out of secrecy and join together. Among the approximately 50 attendees were Cochrane and Patricia Crowther. Cochrane was introduced as a hereditary witch, and Valiente and Crowther made a toast to the Horned God together.

In the first issue of Pentagram, Valiente wrote about her dream to see the WRA become the United Nations for witches. All traditions, she said, should make themselves known and accept one another. This dream was never realized, for the Pentagram became the battleground between supporters of Gerald B. Gardner, among whom Crowther and her husband, Arnold Crowther, were leading voices, and anti-Gardnerians, including Cochrane and his associate, Taliesin. By 1966, the Pentagram folded, and the WRA ceased soon after.

Further Reading:

  • Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Valiente, Doreen. The Rebirth of Witchcraft. London: Robert Hale, 1989.

Source:

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

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