Janet and Stewart Farrar

Janet and Stewart Farrar

Janet and Stewart Farrar

Janet Farrar and her husband Stewart were initiates of Alex Sanders into a Gardnerian derived form of British Traditional Wicca. In 1971, Janet and Stewart left Sanders’ coven to found their own. They met Doreen Valiente and became two of the most influential Wiccan authors, starting with The Witches Way (1984) which fleshes out some of the philosophy of Wicca. In The Witches’ Way, the Farrars devoted a chapter to the Jungian interpretation of Wiccan ritual. They write that “Every witch would be well advised to study the works of Carl Gustav Jung. … Jung’s ideas strike an immediate chord with almost every witch who turns serious attention to them.” They go on to define the purpose of Wicca “as a religion” (as opposed to “a Craft”) to be the integration of conflicting aspects of the individual psyche and the individual psyche with the “Cosmic Psyche”. They compare ritual to dreams, as both involve communication between the unconscious and the ego: “In dreams, the necessary communication between Unconscious and Ego is initiated by the Unconscious. In ritual, it is initiated by the Ego.”

The Farrars went on to publish The Witches’ Goddess (1987) and The Witches’ God (1989), which describe various feminine and masculine archetypal principles such as the “Earth Mother”, the “Bright and Dark Mother”, and the “Triple Goddess”, and the “Son/Lover”, the “Vegetation God”, and the “Horned God”. In The Witches’ Goddess, the Farrars write that “[e]very good witch, and particularly every good High Priestess, has to be something of a psychologist.” They then proceed to explain such Jungian concepts as the collective unconscious, the archetypes, the anima and animus, and synchronicity. While the Farrars insist the archetypes are “real” and the gods “exist”, they nevertheless take a pragmatic or psychological attitude to the question which should be of interest to many naturalistic Pagans:

“To the age-old question, ‘Are the Gods real?’ … the witch answers confidently, ‘Yes.’ … But from the point of view of the psychic value of myth, ritual and symbolism, the somewhat surprising answer to the question is, ‘It doesn’t matter’. Each man and woman can worry out for himself or herself whether archetypal God-forms were born in the human Collective Unconscious or took up residence there (and elsewhere) as pied-a-terre from their cosmic home—their importance to the human psyche is beyond doubt in either case, and the techniques for coming to healthy and fruitful terms with them can be used by believers and non-believers alike.

“Voltaire said: ‘If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him’. That remark can be taken as cynical; but it can also be rephrased: ‘Whether the archetypal God-forms are cosmically divine, or merely the living foundation-stones of the human psyche, we would be wise to seek intercourse with them as though they were divine’. Myth and ritual bring about nourishing communication with the Archetypes, and because of the nature and evolution of the human psyche, the symbolism or myth or ritual—their only effective vocabulary—is basically religious.”

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