Farrar, Janet (1950– ) and Stewart (1916–2000)

0
Fortune, Dion (1891–1946)
Duncan, Helen (1898–1956)

Farrar, Janet (1950– ) and Stewart (1916–2000)
En­glish witches whose “progressive witchcraft” work
has had a major influence on the Craft. Janet and Stewart
Farrar were initiated by the flamboyant Alex Sanders but
were able to transcend the showmanship that surrounded
Sanders and his coven, and went on to form their own
covens in England and Ireland. Their Craft is sometimes
called “reformed Alexandrian” and “post-Alexandrian,”
but the Farrars avoided applying a sectarian label to their
work. They preferred to call themselves simply Wiccans
working on the Pagan path.

Pre-Wiccan backgrounds. Janet Farrar was born Janet
Owen in Clapton, London, on June 24, 1950. Her father,
Ronald Owen, came from an English and Welsh background;
her mother, Ivy (née Craddock), was Irish. Both
parents were hospital workers and followers of the Church
of England. Ivy Owen died when Janet was five.
Janet attended Leyton Manor School in London and
Royal Wanstead High School for Girls in Sawbridgeworth,
Hertfordshire. After graduation, she worked as a model
and receptionist. In 1970, she was initiated into the coven
of Alex and Maxine Sanders, which led to her meeting
Stewart Farrar the same year.

Stewart Farrar was born on June 28, 1916, in Highams
Park, Essex. His father, Frank Farrar, an Englishman,
worked as a bank official, and his mother, Agnes (née
Picken), a Scotswoman, worked as a schoolteacher. Stewart
was raised a Christian Scientist, but at 20 he turned
agnostic until he was initiated into the Craft in 1970.
Stewart was educated at City of London School and
University College, London, where he studied journalism.
He served as president of the London University Journalism
Union and as editor of London Union Magazine. He
graduated in 1937.

In 1939, Stewart volunteered for the army and became
an instructor in gunnery, antiaircraft. He served until
discharged in 1946 with the rank of major. Following
military service, he worked as a civilian public relations
and press officer for the Allied Control Commission for
Germany until 1947.

In 1947, he embarked on a career as journalist, author
and scriptwriter. From 1947–50, he worked as sub-editor
and then deputy night editor in the London office of
Reuters. He joined the British Communist Party and from
1953 to 1954 worked as a reporter and editor for the party’s
Daily Worker. Disillusioned, he left it and the party in
1954. From 1956 to 1962, Stewart was a scriptwriter for
Janet Farrar and Stewart Farrar (Courtesy Janet and
Stewart Farrar)

124 Farrar, Janet and Stewart
Associated British Pathé, where he worked on television
documentaries and a feature film, and for the company’s
associate, A.B.C. Television (now known as Thames Television)
where he worked on dramas. As a freelance writer,
Stewart authored radio scripts for the British Broadcasting
Corporation, short stories for magazines and books.
His first book, a detective novel, The Snake on 99, was
published in 1958.

From 1969 to 1974, Stewart worked as a feature writer
for the weekly Reveille, a job that led to his introduction to
witchcraft. Late in 1969, Stewart was sent to a press preview
of the film Legend of the Witches. Alex and Maxine Sanders,
who had given technical advice for the film, were to be
present, and Reveille was interested in a story. Stewart was
skeptical about Witchcraft, but was impressed with Sanders
upon meeting him. Sanders invited Stewart to attend
a witch’s initiation, which Stewart did, and found it both
dignified and moving. He wrote a two-part feature for the
magazine, which gained him Sanders’ trust. Sanders told
him the publisher of his biography, King of the Witches,
was looking for an author to write another book on modern
witchcraft. Stewart got the contract for What Witches
Do and began attending the Sanders’ training classes. At
first, he was a sympathetic but skeptical outsider. What he
learned, however, struck a positive, personal chord, and
on February 21, 1970, Maxine Sanders initiated him into
the coven, where he met Janet Owen.

Wiccan and Pagan activities. On December 22, Stewart
and Janet left the Sanders’ coven to form their own coven
in London. The Sanders separated shortly after that; the
last time Stewart and Janet ever saw Alex again was in
1971. The same year, What Witches Do was published. Despite
its inclusion of Sanders’ fabricated stories about himself—and
Stewart’s assertion that Sanders ranked above
Gerald B. Gardner and alongside Aleister Crowley
and Eliphas Levi in terms of magical achievement—the
book helped to establish Stewart as a major voice in the
Wiccan community. Though Stewart later admitted he
had been too credulous and that he no longer put Sanders
on the same or better footing with Crowley, Levi and
Gardner, he refused to disparage “the enfant terrible of
British witchcraft.” Sanders, he said, made a significant
contribution to the Craft.

From 1970 to 1976, Stewart and Janet developed their
coven. On January 31, 1974, they were handfasted. They
were legally married in a civil ceremony on July 19, 1975,
with Stewart’s two sons and two daughters from a previous
marriage in attendance. In 1974, Stewart left Reveille
to work full time as a freelance writer.
In 1976, the Farrars turned their coven over to Susan
and David Buckingham and moved to Ireland, where they
built up a new coven. Other Irish covens eventually hived
off of it. About 75 percent of all Wiccans in Ireland have
their origins with the Farrars or one of their initiates.
What Witches Do brought an unending stream of mail
from people seeking help in joining the Craft. After nine
years of running a coven and being sought out for advice,
the Farrars jointly authored two books of ritual and
nonritual material, Eight Sabbats for Witches (1981) and
The Witches’ Way (1984). The books were combined and
published in the United States as A Witches Bible Compleat
(1984). The books included rituals created by the Farrars,
plus a wealth of material relating to the religion of the
Craft. The Witches’ Way provides the first thorough reconstruction
of the evolution of the Gardnerian book of
shadows, as developed by Gardner and Doreen Valiente
and includes contributions from Valiente.
For years, the Farrars continued as leaders in dispelling
myths and misconceptions about Wicca and in making
it more available to the public. They stressed that their
books were to be taken as guidelines for coven working
and were not to be taken as traditional.
Until 1989, the Farrars’ experiences with the broader
Pagan movement were within the European theater. In
1991, they did their first tour in the United States, where
they discovered progressive change and growth within
the Pagan community. Stewart envisioned the emergence
of a diverse “Pagan Global Village,” with Wicca being but
one path in it. The Farrars make frequent lecture tours
to the States, as well as in Europe. In 1998 they became
ministers with the United States–based Aquarian Tabernacle
Church and were given the charter for the ATC
in Ireland.

Their work has evolved along with Wicca and Paganism,
reflecting less Kabbalistic ceremonial magic and
more shamanic elements, the latter of which the Farrars
view as part of the core of traditional Witchcraft. They
advocated a progressive practice of the Craft, fluid and
changing in accordance to need.
In 1989, the Farrars met Gavin Bone, and in 1993
added him as a permanent member of their polyamorous
family. Bone assumed the roles of webmaster and general
business manager. Their Web site led to the formation of
the Pagan Information Network, now operated under the
aegis of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church.
In 1995, Stewart suffered a stroke, and Bone helped to
nurse him back to health. Stewart suffered a heart attack
on February 7, 2000, and died in his sleep at home in
Kells, County Meath, Ireland. He was cremated, and his
ashes were scattered at a undisclosed megalithic site close
to his home at the summer solstice.
Janet and Bone were married on May 5, 2001. They
continue their collaboration in writing and educational
activities for the Craft.

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The Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook by Janet Farrar (English) Pap

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The Pagan Path by Janet & Stewart Farrar

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% BUMBLE CREEK FARM A TRUE STORY BY JANET FARRAR WORTHINGTON TRADE

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David Farrar Janet Leigh Black Shield Of Falworth Original 8x10" Photo #J6845

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The Ultimate College Survival Guide by Ronald T. Farrar; Janet F. Worthington

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WHERE'S WINE: AND OTHER QUESTIONS By Janet Farrar Worthington **Excellent**

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HEALING CRAFT: HEALING PRACTICES FOR WITCHES AND PAGANS By Janet Farrar *VG+*

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Fortune, Dion (1891–1946)
Duncan, Helen (1898–1956)

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