Idries Shah and Gerald Gardner
MBFM comment on More on Idries Shah
05.01.10 at 9:17 pm ·
Am not sure if my earlier post went through. In case it did not,
researchers might wish to study the relationship between young Idries Shah and Gerald Gardner, considered the great revivor of Wiccan paganism.
Shah is mentioned as having been Gardners secretar-companion. This suggests a close working relationship. Shah, under the surname Bracelin, wrote a biography of Gardner, and this was the first book published via Shah’s Octagon Publishing House. Gardner died in 1963.
This URL lists a catalog for Gardners library. Some items were added by custodians after Gardners death, but many original items remain, and these are books which young Shah could have freely accessed.
Gardner also created a Museum of Magic and Witchcraft. Sadly, much of it was dispersed after he died. An attempt has been made to revive it.
Information about Gardners library, which must have been frequented by his younger secretary and companion is given here, at this URL.
There is one book listed by a Gurdjieffian (Walker).
In addition, there are many books on masonry, theosophy, hypnosis and social persuasion (including a copy of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and Dianetics) are also in this collection, plus books on symbolism, many on witchcraft, astrology and at least one book on secret societies, plus one collection of HP Lovecrafts stories.
Any items on this list that carry a publication date after Gardners death were, presumably, added later by those who sought to revive the museum.
Gardner’s interests were chiefly European magic and esotericism. The list of items under the heading ‘no author’ includes descriptions of various manuscripts and diagrams.
What is interesting is how very many of the books collected by Gardner later became popular among the hippies and consciousness seekers of the late Sixties and Seventies–Gardner could be considered a proto-hippie and died just a handful of years before the psychedelic era hit full tilt.
This library would have given excellent preparation to someone aiming to gain a following amongst that constituency.