I have heard from many sources that Gerald Gardner experienced seeing and possibly taking part in some native African magical practices and rituals. he was able to visit central and northern Africa during his travels for work and pleasure.
Gerald's friend and contempry, A. Crowley also incorporated some African based magical ideas in his rituals and writing. Which he referred to under the Caribbean name of Obeah.
There are many other links we could add to this short list and many books which I am sure go into more detail on this. I am not aware of many Traditional Gard or Alexandrian groups who go deeply into this part of our faith or history, but I may be completely wrong on this. I think this area is very important as the word Obeah is derived from the staff carried by Moses, the staff which was turned into a serpent by God as Moses was by the Burning Bush.
The Serpent and the burning bush have symbolism in the Kundalini and reaching enlightenment. Of course the serpent and staff are also the standard image/logo of the medical profession and its ability to heal. Obeah is the magick of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands but as I am of Jamaican descent I only really know how it is used on that island.
My father and aunts practiced as healers and Obeah men & women in the countryside as well as the city of Kingston Jamaica. They bought these practices with them to the UK during the 1950's onward, and I was witness to many spell workings as I grew up. What I now know as magick I had taken as normal day to day practice.
Why is it that more emphasis is not put on this side of our tradition?
Is it because some initiates feel they would be treading on the toes of another culture?
Was the African area of the craft never taught to you?
Did someone along the line omit this information as not as important as the British craft practices?
I am asking these questions as I have always used Obeah separately from my Trad Wica work even though they both form part of Gardnerian history and influenced our founder Gerald Gardner. Does anyone use the two together, or even feel they should be?
Please express your thoughts either way and I feel this is an area we or maybe some of us need to look into much further.
Blessings, lady Skydancer. x
As an initiate of Ordo Templi Orientis and a Gardnerian High Priest, let me first address the Obeah and Wanga on a Thelemic point. These words are used in The Book of the Law, the holy book of Thelemites. As commentary shows from Aleister Crowley himself, the Obeah is simply the act and the Wanga simply the words of the magical act. There is nothing more to it related to African influence.
His commentaries read as follows:
The obeah is the magick of the Secret Light with special reference to acts; the wanga is the verbal or mental correspondence of the same. [...] The "obeah" being the acts, and the "wanga" the words, proper to Magick, the two cover the whole world of external expression.
As for Gardner, within his Tradition I see no influence of it at all.