So mote it be…Heather Graham the witch on Kimmel

Tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Heather Graham spent some time on the stage talking about her practice of Hermetic Magic.  Between her repeated use of “and So Mote It Be”, she presided over Kimmels own “secret” wish for a pizza.

All in all, it wasn’t that disturbing really, just an interesting excursion down the road of how the practice of magik and the occult is permeating into modern society.  Serious or not, the intent was there, and it had some post time air on a major network.  The conversation meandered between alchemy, sex magic, and “the secret” wish making practice.  From my own personal take, it was cool to see it in the post prime time, but

But, what makes this even more interesting is that Kimmel’s show happens to be filmed in the one time Hollywood Masonic lodge, and hearing Kimmel (not a Mason) use the “so Mote it be” jargon struck me as a little ironic.  What’s more ironic to me is that the modern witchcraft movement was started by Freemason Gerald Gardner.

Enjoy the clip, and maybe you too can learn about the practice of the star studded magik of the new aeon.

And Jimmy/Heather, if you’re looking for a place to dig into some of the details of the occult, drop me a note, I’m in Los Angeles.

Greg Stewart: A devoted student of the Western Mystery Traditions, Greg is a firm believer in the Masonic connections to the Hermetic traditions of antiquity, its evolution through the ages and into its present configuration as the antecedent to all contemporary esoteric and occult traditions. He is a self-called searcher for that which was lost, a Hermetic Hermit and a believer in “that which is above is so too below.” Read more about Greg Stewart.

View Comments (8)

  • This is indeed an interesting development. A lot of previously underground movements are now going mainstream. This would not have happened during the Dark Ages when a lot of ideas were suppressed. We have the separation of Church and State in the US Constitution to thank for that.

  • The modern witchcraft movement was not started by Gardner, but popularised by him, according to historian Philip Heselton.

    Additionally, there isn't any conclusive evidence that Gardner ever was a Mason in a regular Lodge, even though the biographer Idries Shah, writing as Jack Bracelin, in Gerald Gardner, Witch lists Gardner as having taken the degrees in Sphinx Lodge #113 Irish Constitution, in Colombo Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

    I have inquired of the Lodge Secretary of Sphinx Lodge #107 (not 113) IC, in Colombo, and received the following response:

    Unfortunately most of our old records are lost. The only authentic item that we have that dates back to our inception is a members registration book which has all the members records since inception,

    I went through this record book but could not find a Gerald Gardner during the period you have mentioned. Even checking ten years previous and forward this name was not mentioned.

    There were three Irish Lodges during that period:

    Sphinx Lodge 107 IC founded 1861
    Leinster Lodge 115 IC founded 1874
    Dimbula Lodge 298 IC founded 1874

    Sphinx and Leinster had their meeting in Colombo. Dimbula Lodge met in the hill country among the tea plantations. At that time almost a days travelling distance from Colombo.

    The web page you refer to mentions that he was raised at Sphinx. It is possible that he was a member of another lodge but was raised at Sphinx. This practice seems to have been very common in those days as in our member's registry there are a few times when Sphinx members had been passed or raised at a another lodge.

    There was only one Sphinx Lodge in Sri Lanka (Ceylon then) and our number is 107 IC. Sphinx is the oldest lodge in Sri Lanka which has a unbroken record of continuity.

    The Oldest lodge is St John's Lodge of Colombo EC (founded 1938) but it has had periods of abeyance during its early times.

    Other English constitution lodges at that time were

    St George Lodge 2170 EC founded 1886
    Adam's Peak Lodge 2656 EC founded 1897
    The Grant Lodge 2862 EC founded 1901
    Duke of Connaught Lodge 2940 EC founded 1902
    The Nuwara Eliya Lodge 3629 EC founded 1903
    Kurunegala Lodge 3629 EC founded 1912

    There is also a Scottish lodge which meets in Colombo

    Lodge Bonnie Doon 611 SC founded 1877

    I hope this information would be of some use.

    Yours fraternally

    Pushya Cooray, secretary Sphinx Lodge #107 IC

    What does this mean?
    It means we cannot definitively determine, at this time, whether Gardner was a regular Mason or not.
    His acquaintances in and around Highcliffe in Hampshire included a number of people who are suspected of having been Co-Masons, but whether he joined them or not, is not currently stated by any of his biographers.

  • MP, thanks for the info. What I find most interesting is that Gardener gave new voice to an older idea, and how it percolates into our collective unconscious today as a very old idea, when his re-popularization is a recent manifestation.

  • MT, the problem is partly a semantic one, partly a bad history one, and partly an argument.

    What is Wicca, is the first question that should be asked.

    I hold with the following definition:
    Wicca is an initiate only mystery tradition, or more precisely a priesthood, where one can trace their lineage back to the New Forest lines. Initiation is the only way into the Wicca, and is carried out by a Wicca coven, initiation into a coven requires formal training after which initiation and a system of degrees is followed. Wicca is an orthopraxic religion: it is defined by the practices of its members. Not all Wiccans necessarily believe all the same things, but they all share certain core practices.

    Other hold with a definition that Wicca is whatever you say it is, and that arguing over the definition is as bad as the various Christian denominations arguing over who is the real Christian.

    All well and good, except that we know the history of Wicca, at least back to Gardner, and somewhat before him, and we know what he, the man who coined the word in popular use (okay, really, Cardell did, but that's another story) meant by it - that it meant to be initiated in the same way as the one who initiated you was.

    The other problem with saying "it's whatever you say it is" is that it opens Wicca up to include things which the Initiatory type definition does not include: under the anything goes definition, charging for training could be valid - for the definition I use, it's not; for the anything goes crowd, coerced sex could be part of Wicca, after all, it's anything goes - for my definition, it cannot be part of Wicca.

    As for history, for many years, Margaret Murray's hypothesis about a universal witch cult in Europe was held by many Pagans as being the absolute truth. We know now that it isn't, but many of the people who have no interest in history, but only in what books they just bought at Borders (that say they can be Wiccan in five minutes) still believe Murray's theories, and that Wicca is a religion predating Christianity.

    So, what I think - Gardner found some sort of possibly meso-pagan (as opposed to neo or paleo, on the Isaac Bonewits system of classification) witchcraft group that worshiped a specific pair of British deities, using specific initiatory practices, which was slowly dying out, do to death of members, and lack of new candidates (sound familiar?)

    He took the rituals they had, expanded them (much like Desaguliers did) fleshed them out, and wrote about them, without revealing the exact form of the pre-fleshed out workings, and without revealing the forms of the new working.

    The rituals worked for those who are proper persons (like being of good report, and well recommended) and properly prepared, and connected the recipients to an egregore, as well as those deities.

    For those who haven't received those ritual secrets in the proper manner, they are like freestone dry dikers, who attempt to build a structure without mortar, or without properly prepared mortar, and thus do not have the mysteries. They have not the word, and are not of those who do.

  • An additional note: one wouldn't consider someone a Mason just because they bought a copy of Duncan's Ritual, and performed the degree work from it in their basement on a lark, would they?

  • MP,

    I don't disagree with you, not at all. The reference to Gardner is more the pop culture link to the modern practice, the one you described as the "do what you want McWicca".

    In context to the Graham dialog, its impossible to know which practice she was describing (at the time I saw the program last night, it struck me as an Enocian magic with a lot of hybridization) but that was just from a quick viewing.

    Like so many lately realized devotees, the origin is scarcely the concern, from where, why, how did it become what we do today. More than likely the practice came from one of the more modern interpretations or re-writes of the past, and I don't think any one group is free of that affliction.

    Turning it to what we have today in Masonry, is the Preston/Webb rituals any more valid/invalid than what was practiced before? Or the frequently re-written Scottish Rite rituals? In part, I think validity comes from practice, which comes in time by doing: one form evolving to another.

    I am interested in your Gardner history however, and I think it would make for an interesting article for the site. given your extensive response, woudl you be at all interested in drafting something to publish here to extend the dialog beyond pop culture and into the main?

  • Unfortunately, MT, I don't have any more history on Gardner and Freemasonry, because Shah and two other writers are the only others I know of who wrote anything about it, and I don't the books by Lamond or Ruickbie yet (and I emailed Ruickbie, and got no response, when trying to clarify HIS sources on Gardner's Masonry).

    Turning it to what we have today in Masonry, is the Preston/Webb rituals any more valid/invalid than what was practiced before? Or the frequently re-written Scottish Rite rituals? In part, I think validity comes from practice, which comes in time by doing: one form evolving to another.

    Depends on whom you ask - if you ask Peter Clatworthy, as soon as we stopped requiring that men go through the twelve points of admission/entrance, we stopped making Masons.

    However, the oldest continuing Masonic Lodges in existence, which had both operative and speculative members (the Scottish Lodges which predate GLoS), consider themselves in alliance with the three home GL's - though all of them work very different rituals.

    In the lineaged version of Wicca, they have this same issue - the Gardnerians, the Alexandrians, the Central Valley Wicca, they all have, so i am told, differences between them, enough that some of them won't admit the others to their circles, but still recognize them as being of the Wicca.

    Why? Because there are strict core practices which cannot be removed, and still be considered Wicca; further, each of the traditions has their own core for the tradition, which is, likely, more stuff than the "pure" Wicca core, but still required to be part of each Trad.

    We still have core stuff in Freemasonry: the Hiramic Legend etc, though some GL's use different words, but we all still recognize each other, ignoring those ritual differences (to a certain extent)

    I'd rather not discuss the issues of the AASR rituals, as I took my degrees in the SJ, but now live in the NMJ, and have not affiliated here.

    What we do today is just as valid as that which was performed immediately after 1717 - why? Because their legal descendants say so.

  • Lucre...U really should consider going back to the Detroit Public Schools or equivalent or getting a GED cert. you can read! The phrase S(sic)eparation of C(sic)hurch and S(sic)tate does not appear in the US C(sic)onstitution or in the US constitution! Were U indoctrinated in a re-education camp in northern Manchuria w/Barry Hussein Sohoto & Yusef b, b, biden: don't forget to vote for them again, Kamerad!

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