In 1949 CE Gavin was initiated into a Witchcraft coven based in Cornwall, England. At that time the young people in college and returning from World War II were all into new lifestyles and religions, just as they seem to be today.
Only in the early ’70s, when Gavin was in India, did he realize that the basis for parts of the Witchcraft system that he’d been taught in Cornwall were to be found in Hinduism (and probably more specifically, in Tantric Hinduism). With a little help from senior political people in India, he arranged to go and spend two weeks in a Tantric house in the Indian Punjab. During that time he became even more convinced that several facets of Witchcraft were taken directly from Tantra: specifically the calling of the directions.
The Indian Punjab is one of the only areas in the world where the traditional attribution of the Elements is in tune with the natural surroundings. Traditionally modern Wiccans assign Air in the East, Heat in the South, Water in the West, and Earth in the North. In the Punjab we have the Himalayas to the North and the Sun in the South, the Arabian Gulf in the West, and the trade winds blowing from the East–whereas, for instance, on the east coast of the United States Water should be in the East and Air in the West. Further, in the casting of the three circles we recognize the Hindu Tri Loka, the three levels: Earthplane, Spirit Plane, and the Beyond; though in Welsh they are labeled Annwn, Abred, and Dyfed.
Because of these parallels, in 1980 we decided to teach Tantra and to write a book on Tantric Yoga so that others could benefit from knowing where to look for some of the roots of what later was called Wicca.
Although the word Wicca was gradually entering the consciousness of the alternative community,
only when a group led by Gavin and Yvonne in Missouri decided to use Wicca in the naming of their church did it become generally popular. In fact the naming of the Church of Wicca is the first federally recognized use of the word anywhere in the world.
When we looked into other covens in England, we found that in most cases their founders had spent time in the East. Specifically Gerald Gardner was a civil servant in the East; and it turned out that the founder of the coven in Cornwall had also been founded and led by an army captain who himself had served in India. If we look at the roots of Witchcraft in England, we find that it descended from such people as Kellner, who readily admitted that he too gained most of his knowledge in India.
Let us be aware at least of where our true roots are to be found. And since Tantra is the oldest documented religion, we can truly claim that Wicca is the earliest manifestation of a nature religion in modern time as well: a religion that demonstrably goes back to perhaps 6000 BCE and the Vedas–in other words far earlier than the roots of Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Those belief systems claim their heritage started in Zoroastrianism, with its male-oriented philosophy and its emphasis that everything is dualistic: either good or evil.
We encourage every Wiccan to study Tantra, either by taking the (correspondence) course in Tantric Yoga offered by the School of Wicca, or by finding a good book on the subject.
Blessed be each one who seeks. Gavin and Yvonne
disk blogs 090115 blog tyoga (tantric yoga)