Janet & Stewart Farrar

Janet and Stewart Farrar

Janet and Stewart Farrar

Stewart and Janet Farrar were initiated by Alex Sanders into a Gardnerian-derived form of British Traditional Wicca. In 1971, Stewart and Janet left Sanders’ coven to found their own coven. They met Doreen Valiente and became two of the most influen­tial Wiccan authors, starting with The Witches Way (1984), which fleshed out some of the philosophy of Wicca.

The Farrars devoted a chapter to a Jungian interpretation of Wiccan ritual: “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 went on to define the purpose of Wicca as the integra­tion of conflicting aspects of the individual psyche and the integration of the individual psyche with the “Cosmic Psy­che.” They also compared 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.” They then proceeded to explain such Jungian con­cepts as the Collective Unconscious, the archetypes, the anima and animus, and synchronicity.

The Farrars went on to publish The Witches’ Goddess (1987) and The Witches’ God (1989), which describe various feminine and masculine archetypes, such as the “Earth Mother,” the “Bright and Dark Mother,” the “Triple Goddess,” the “Son/Lover,” the “Vegetation God,” and the “Horned God.” In The Witches’ Goddess, the Farrars wrote that “[e]very good Witch, and particularly every good High Priestess, has to be something of a psychologist.” While the Farrars insisted the archetypes are “real” and the gods “exist,” they nevertheless adopted a prag­matic or psychological attitude to the question:

“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 [person] 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 of myth or ritual—their only effective vocabulary—is basically religious.”

Updated 2019

 

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