Lewis Henry Close was born in September 1869, one of seven sons, five of whom served as Officers in the Royal Engineers. Educated at the United Services College, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in April 1888, and arrived in India in the following year. Quickly employed on active service as a Field Engineer in the Miranzai Expedition of 1891, when a force under Brigadier-General Sir William Lockhart was engaged in operations against the followers of fanatical priest Sayad Mir Basha who had declared a “Jihad”, Close was advanced to Lieutenant in April of the same year. Next actively engaged in the Waziristan operations of 1894-95, while attached to the Bengal Sappers and Miners, and once again under the command of Sir William, he gained advancement to Captain in April 1899 and returned to the U.K. to take up an appointment at Aldershot in the following year.
Close was back out in India as a Major by the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914, but was quickly attached to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force as an Assistant Director of Works. In this latter role he built up an impressive supply base in Egypt, collecting some £500,000 worth of equipment for the operations in Gallipoli and Salonika. Still with the M.E.F., and having been awarded the C.M.G., Close became Commanding Royal Engineer, Canal Zone in May 1917, in which post he was responsible for setting up a refrigeration plant that was still in use in the 1939-45 War. Latterly the Commanding Engineer, Alexandria, he ended the War with four mentions in despatches and the Egyptian Order of the Nile.
Advanced to full Colonel in August 1919, Close became Commanding Royal Enginner, Baluchistan in the following year, but died at Quetta in November 1924, aged 55 years.
C.M.G. London Gazette 3 June 1916.
David Conway grew up in rural Wales. At eighteen he moved to London and, on leaving University, went to work – reluctantly – for the Civil Service. It was shortly afterwards that his first book, Magic: An Occult Primer was published, winning the favour of critics and readers alike. (Nearly fifty years on it is still in print.) A second book, The Magic of Herbs quickly followed, as well as a third title, Secret Wisdom: The Occult Universe Explored, several years later.
By then its author had joined the Foreign Office, serving as First Secretary at the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union before becoming, still in his thirties, Principal Director at the European Patent Office in Munich. He has since returned to his native Wales. There, his home overlooks the estuary where, legend has it, the infant Taliesin, bard at King Arthur’s Court, was found after being cast out to sea by Ceridwen, goddess of rebirth and transformation. Magic thus remains as much a part of David Conway’s surroundings as it is – and always has been – part of the man himself.
Photo: Patrick Garbous
American by birth and British by marriage, Sharon’s academic career began with one year in Japan as an exchange student in 1980. She would return to that country after graduating from law school in New York City in 1992 when her British husband, himself a lawyer, took up a post in Tokyo years later.
After returning to London in 1997, Sharon felt drawn to esotericism, finally discovering in Alexandrian witchcraft what she felt was her true vocation. Her subsequent quest for suitable training, as well as practical experience, took her from London to Australia and the United States, then finally back to London, where she became the personal student of Maxine Sanders, co-founder of the Alexandrian Tradition.
Today, she leads the Coven of the Stag King in London
Sharon is the founder of Rose Ankh Publishing Ltd, its aim to offer an eclectic range of historical, philosophical, and biographical works, among them titles hitherto difficult to obtain or even believed lost.
In addition, Sharon has created an online historical archive dedicated to the Alexandrian witchcraft tradition: www.alexandrianwitchcraft.org
Richard Deutch (1944-2005), travelled to England from the United States sometime in the mid-70s when he met Alex and Maxine Sanders, prompting his interest in the then-emerging Alexandrian tradition of Witchcraft which eventually led to his writing ‘The Ecstatic Mother – Portrait of Maxine Sanders-Witch Queen’.
A prolific poet, Richard also published several books on magic, ranging from the extreme “Exorcism: Possession or Obsession?” (1976) to a children’s stage-magic title: “Your Book of Magic Secrets” (1991) followed by “The Australian Magician’s Handbook” (1993) to “The Magick Handbook” (2003), about witchcraft as a method of practising magic with historical aspects.
June Johns, (1927-1980) author of ‘King of the Witches: The World of Alex Sanders‘ (1969), was a highly respected reporter and writer having worked as staffer on the Daily Mirror and Daily Express before the age of 25. In her son’s words “she was a trained observer and a total sceptic. All things interested her but few influenced her. By the time of her death in 1980, aged just 53, she had written and had published more than a dozen books,” including ‘Black Magic Today‘ (1971).
Pascal Beverly Randolph was an African-American medical doctor, occultist, spiritualist, trance medium, and writer. He is notable as perhaps the first person to introduce the principles of erotic alchemy to North America, and, according to A. E. Waite, establishing the earliest known Rosicrucian order in the United States [Wikipedia, July ’20]
Len is one of the several remaining ‘first generation’ witches who trained directly with Alex and Maxine at a time some would say was the pinnacle of Alex’s teaching in the late 60s and early 70s.
It is Len’s experience that Alex’s original teachings were not about witchcraft; rather, they were about magic, and it is in this vein he will impart knowledge that he gained and evolved through his own practice and experience.
Crucially, he seeks neither to define ‘Alexandrian witchcraft’ itself nor compare the Alexandrian tradition to any other.
For over half a century Len has remained in the shadows, shunning any form of public dialogue and only with the encouragement of his Guides did he publish the booklet A Spark in the Void in 2008 under the pen name Apawaae.
Alex Sanders, (1926 – 1988) born as Orrell Alexander Carter, known in the 60s & 70s as the ‘King of the Witches‘ he possessed tremendous magnetism; a beacon of attraction. While his knowledge of the art magical was extensive, he had no compunction about expropriating from the comparatively few authors that were in publication at the time to get his point across. He was influenced by the likes of Franz Bardon; Éliphas Lévi; Dion Fortune, to name a few; and unscrupulously incorporated their works into his teaching whilst often neglecting to credit them.
Variously described as an inspiring teacher and guide to those who were seekers of the inner way, he was equally considered controversial, even notorious. Wit, humour, infamy, and fearlessness of public exposure – he embraced them all. Criticism and judgment aside, it can be said that many a witch of the day acquired a firm foundation for the continuation of their magical work, and many of their descended witches of today consciously or not, owe a measure of their ability to choose whether to be open about their being or to remain in the shadows – to Alex.
There is anecdotal oral lore about how in the late 60s Alex diverted the attention of a group of tabloid reporters who were seeking to expose several school teachers who were training as witches in Manchester, away from them by promising the hounding press hoard a better story of resurrecting a corpse before the cameras. The teachers were spared the loss of their jobs and reputation in favour of a Swiss Roll recipe incanted backwards thus bringing a ‘corpse’ back to life, which had the desired effect of scaring the frightened reporters and sparing the teachers.
An antic perhaps considered corny by today’s standards, Alex’s protective intent then in response to the public mood of the time still holds true today, namely, that ‘we [witches] are only one bigot away from persecution.’
Maxine Sanders born 30 December 1946, is a highly respected Priestess of the Sacred Mysteries. She has encouraged, enabled, and inspired students of the Priesthood to take on the conscious mantle of their spiritual potential. She believes the catalyst for that inspiration comes from the Cauldron of the Goddess in all its guises.
At age 15, Maxine was the youngest Westerner to be Opened in Subud, a spiritual movement that had its origins in Indonesia in the 1920s and spread to the west in 1957. She was a student of John G. Bennett in Coombe Springs, Kingston, where she experienced the teachings and practices of Gurdjieff, which in turn, set her on a spiritual path that led her into the mysteries of a magical lodge that performed in rituals near Alderley Edge in Cheshire, England.
It could be said that the occult world holds Maxine in connection with her late, former husband Alex Sanders, with whom she co-founded the Alexandrian Tradition of Witchcraft. Constructive comment cannot do justice to her supporting contribution as she was as much a part of the teaching when she was with Alex as when she continued on her own path with her own students whilst simultaneously dealing with the legacy of Alex; a legacy that became more and more complex (even notorious to some) as the years passed.
And still it continues.
Very little is known of George Wright, but what we do know is that he was born in the state of New York in approximately 1864 to parents William and Mary Wright, and died in 1934. Two years after George was born, his brother Harry C Wright (H.C. Wright) was born in Pennsylvania. George married his wife, Mary in 1890 and lived in Corry, Pennsylvania for a large part of his life. The Wright family was a small, but close family often living in the same home or next door to each other. George and Mary did not have children. Together George and Harry owned The Wright Co., a printing house, in Corry, Pennsylvania. The Wright Co. was in operation during the first decade of the 20th century and during the company’s existence, they published The Master-Mind: God at the Threshold and The Psychology of Sensation both written by Geo. W Wright. The Wright Co. also published the journal, Elkta, during this period of time with Harry Wright contributing as an editor.