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Believing the coven to be a survival of the pre-Christian Witch-Cult discussed in the works of Margaret Murray, he decided to revive the faith, supplementing the coven's rituals with ideas borrowed from Freemasonry, ceremonial magic and the writings of Aleister Crowley to form the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca.
Moving to London in 1945, following the repeal of the Witchcraft Act of 1736 he became intent on propagating this religion, attracting media attention and writing about it in High Magic's Aid (1949), Witchcraft Today (1954) and The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959).
Born into an upper-middle-class family in Blundellsands, Lancashire, Gardner spent much of his childhood abroad in Madeira.
In 1900, he moved to colonial Ceylon, and then in 1911 to Malaya, where he worked as a civil servant, independently developing an interest in the native peoples and writing papers and a book about their magical practices.
Gardner returned to Ceylon in late 1907 and settled down to the routine of managing the rubber plantation.
In 1910 he was initiated as an Apprentice Freemason into the Sphinx Lodge No.
Gerald's father, William Robert Gardner (1844–1935) had been the youngest son of Joseph Gardner (b.
1791), after whom the firm had been renamed, and who with his wife Maria had had five sons and three daughters.
It was here that their first child, Harold Ennis Gardner, was born in 1870.After his retirement in 1936, he travelled to Cyprus, penning the novel A Goddess Arrives before returning to England.Settling down near the New Forest, he joined an occult group, the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship, through which he claimed to have encountered the New Forest coven into which he was initiated in 1939.Gardner is internationally recognised as the "Father of Wicca" among the Pagan and occult communities.His claims regarding the New Forest coven have been widely scrutinised, with Gardner being the subject of investigation for historians and biographers such as Aidan Kelly, Ronald Hutton and Philip Heselton.