Today, January 4th, is what would have been Doreen Valiente's 90th birthday. If you've been following my blog, you'll already know in what high regard I her work; truly, she has inspired me more than any other author, dead or alive. Some people are Gardnerian, some are Alexandrian, but if I had to label the "flavour" of my own practice, it would probably be Valientean.
I think what I like best about her writing is how she managed to bridge the gap between Wicca and Trad Craft, and how she was able to effectively convey deep occult truths in a simple and easy to understand format. She was there right at the beginning of the modern Witchcraft revival, worked with both Gerald Gardner and Robert Cochrane, and yet wasn't afraid to puncture overblown egos or demolish popular legends when the truth needed to be told. Finally, of course, I absolutely must mention her amazing, magical way with words. Her poetry and chants went a long way in creating the Wiccan liturgy, and her version of "The Charge of the Goddess" is known the world over. My own book contains many of her published Witch songs and chants, as they really capture the feeling of magic and timelessness experienced when celebrating a Sabbat or even having a quiet, personal moment with the Old Ones.
So, happy birthday, Doreen! Thank you for everything you did, and the legacy you left behind. I certainly wouldn't be the Witch I am today without it.
January 4th 1922 - September 1st 1999