Notes on hereditary and traditional British Witchcraft

For those who have recently entered the Magical Milieu of MOTO, Simon Goodman (d.1991) was a foundational figure in Australian Wicca and Paganism. When he died he left much of his collection of books, papers and correspondence to Murdoch University Library, where I was working at the time. Simon is still a controversial figure, as witnessed recently in some on-line and personal discussions. So whilst I have already made available some material from his collection on the Resources page, I thought I’d continue the project. And, in keeping with his heritage of of good-natured provocation, post something a little interesting. : )

These ‘Notes on hereditary and traditional British Witchcraft‘ are interesting for many, many reasons. For this (proactive) post the most relevant point is the conclusion an 80’s weekend gathering of UK Craft bigwigs, lineage holders etc came to. Provided of course these notes are accurate. Anyway, the conclusions read:


“Basic Problems:

i. The craft offers no adequate means of spiritual growth.

ii. The craft has an ethical system, but does not offer adequate solutions to inflated egos.

iii. Egocentric High Priestesses are particularly prone to arise in the craft.

iv. Coven leaders do not necessarily adequately explain why power is being raised, with the possibilities of exploitation.”


Anyway…if you can read the handwriting, you’ll find much to interest you. And if you are kind enough to do what I can’t be bothered doing and transcribe the bugger, please send us a copy for the other MOTO readers. Ta 🙂 Download here.

UPDATE: Andrew B. Watt has kindly started the task of transcription here. THANKS Andrew!



  1. Sue Gray · October 15, 2012

    Well his conclusions/basic problems are right. I havent read the transcript, but will do later.

  2. Satima Flavell · October 15, 2012

    Nothing’s changed, eh? Simon was a bit of an eccentric but his thoughts were always clear and linear. I visited him in hospital during his final illness and he was still clear headed and fixed in his faith, despite the shortcomings he acknowledged in its practice.

  3. Matt Baldwin-Ives · October 15, 2012

    Thank you for sharing this material Peregrin 🙂

  4. Dave Finnin · October 17, 2012

    I would like to see the complete paper , participle part D.
    Dave Finnin -Co-Founder of the Roebuck

  5. Peregrin · October 17, 2012

    HI Dave – this was all that was there. I will be revisiting the collection soon, and contacting someone who may be able to fill in some gaps – some documents were stolen or lost in transit before being deposited with the library. If I find the item I will let you know and place a link here 🙂

  6. Dave Finnin · October 17, 2012

    Thank you Peregrin, I hope you can find the lost papers.
    Dave Finnin

  7. Andrew B. Watt · October 21, 2012


    I deposited my transcript as basic text into a comment box, which promptly vanished. Can you confirm that it exists as a comment before I re-add it?

  8. Pingback: Notes for Peregrin’s PDF « Wanderings in the Labyrinth
  9. Andrew B. Watt · October 21, 2012

    Ok, so I got up through the top of page 18 in the original PDF, and I’ve posted it to my blog. It’s rough going in places there, and this Simon Goodman (like me) is a visual thinker; there’s a couple of drawings that I haven’t tried to reproduce. But I have posted the transcript to my blog.

  10. Peregrin · October 21, 2012

    Hi Andrew – THANK YOU so much for this transcription. It is a great service to everyone. I will link to your blog now… ta. I think the original may have disappeared because of the length? Not sure. Anyway, thanks again… 🙂

  11. Dave Finnin · October 22, 2012

    I have knew some of the folks who were at that meeting, and the notes do not reflect their views on traditional British Witchcraft as they have expressed them to me.

  12. Peregrin · October 22, 2012

    Hi Dave – that is great input, thanks. The notes that show these views are not Simon’s – not in his handwriting. Not that it is important in our practice, just would be interesting to know their exact provenance 🙂 Ta. Love your website by the way 🙂

  13. Birch · October 25, 2012

    Spending quite a few years as a Gardnerian Priestess, before walking an Esoteric Christian path I can say I agree with those ‘basic problems’

  14. Thistle · November 30, 2012


    Interesting blog!
    A couple of questions though: Why is it so difficult to differentiate between British Traditional Witchcraft and British Traditional Wicca?
    The title of the blog post is a bit misleading to me, although the notes you provided do mention the roebuck, village witchcraft and a piece on the Royal Windsor Coven, it’s still mixed with Gardenerian and Alexandrian traditions that are Wiccan. Robert Cochrane for one criticized Gardner a lot and I always thought that practitioners of Wicca and Traditional Witchcraft, mostly were at odds with each other, am I wrong?
    Even when I read academic texts on magic, Paganism, the New Age etc. it seems like “witchcraft” means Wicca to most people. Are the claims of the existence of a Traditional British Witchcraft as opposed to Wicca not valid? I have yet to find an academic text on Traditional British Witchcraft, the Cochrane kind.
    I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts on this!

  15. Ly de Angeles · February 22, 2013

    Interesting. Came across your blog researching for my next book. very helpful. I knew Simon back in the 70s. Thank you for refreshing my memory. Ly de Angeles.

  16. Jean de Cabalis · October 13, 2013

    Hi Peregrin

    Good to find this page about Ian Watts here. Simon Goodman was Watt’s wicca alias.

    Hey did Murdoch University get that copy of the ‘Coachroach Papers’ by Simon I sent you.


  17. Peregrin · October 14, 2013

    Hi Lenny,

    yes I got that to Murdoch Uni – thanks heaps 🙂 The collection there however has been woefully maintained and is basically all lumped in archive boxes. I have no time to volunteer to sort, catalog an classify it at present. I did suggest to the Special Collections librarian that it would be a perfect job for a librarianship student to do, but not movement on that yet 😦


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