The belief system of the Church and School is based not on one tradition but on a composite system of spiritual and magical beliefs resting firmly on five supports. The system has Celtic undertones just because of our personal heritage, but other ethnic flavors are apparent as well. The five supports are:
1. The old masters and new texts
Literally thousands of old texts have been studied by at least 50,000 members of the School’s student body. People in our groups can read hieroglyphics, cuneiform, ogham, and other ancient scripts. We have people who are acknowledged experts in biblical lore and in Judaism. In modern languages too we are second to none. Take a look at a list of the books we use in conjunction with the School’s courses here.
2. Modern experimental work
With hundreds of new students joining each month, we are able to research a variety of different ways. Students do the work and report their experiences back to us. When a sufficient body of data has been accumulated, the belief system is modified. We do not believe or claim that our path is the only path; instead we encourage experimentation.
3. Research into modern remnants of primitive cultures
Especially Native American, though also Eskimo, Hopi, Australian Aborigine, Brazilian rain-forest cultures, and those of New Guinea. This is an ever-expanding area, as is the newer science of social anthropology which forms the basis for parts of the course.
4. Family traditions
Gavin’s own family tradition, though fragmentary, was passed down in South Wales. His great-great-grandfather was transported to Australia with the famous Welsh healer Dr. Price, but both were pardoned by Queen Victoria. How much farther back the tradition goes is unknown, but that matters little now. Only small portions of the tradition remain in the course, because it was simply too chauvinistic to pass muster in today’s society. The Church is not a dinosaur unable to adapt; it is a vital, growing, dynamic entity.
5. Students and other Wiccans and pagans
Gradually the School has been discovered by pagans and Wiccans who want more from their spiritual path than a chance to get laid, or dancing in the dewy meadow, or substituting a female for a male deity. These people have done their own experimenting, and many share results with us so that all students can benefit from their experience. Some traditions have been passed down in families and are part of current Craft practice. Most of them go back only to the late 19th or early 20th century.