The first Gareth Knight Lecture took place on the weekend of March 26 in the Assembly Rooms at Glastonbury. Organized by Knight’s daughter, Rebsie Fairholm, among others, the day-long event was to celebrate Knight’s important work. Sadly, Knight himself died three weeks before the event on March 1 at the age of 91, but if he observes from the astral he will be aware of the success of this conference (designed as the inaugural day of an annual event) and the light it sheds on his influential writings.

Flyer for the Gareth Knight conference [Gareth Knight Group]

Most occultists will be familiar with Knight’s work and now his legacy. Gareth Knight (the pseudonym of Basil Wilby, who worked at the Longman Group, a publishing house for many years) was born in Colchester in 1930. In 1953 he joined the Society of the Inner Light, the organization formed around of the work of Dion Fortune, and later edited New Dimensions magazine and started his own publishing company, Helios Books. He knew many key figures of British esotericism in the second half of the 20th century and beyond, initiating a course on Kabbalah with Walter Ernest Butler.

He has published numerous books, including A Practical Guide to Kabbalistic Symbolism, White Magicand The experience of inner worlds with Christian priest Anthony Duncan. His work with the Society of the Inner Light, and later that of his own group, with his regular meetings at Hawkwood College, are central to any understanding of esotericism at this time. Many readers will consider Knight’s work formative for their own understanding of magick, Kabbalah, and other aspects of esoteric travel.

The talk began with Rebsie’s own memories of her father, not just as an esoteric practitioner (she’s been a member of the Gareth Knight band since 1995), but as a parent (he kept a parrot and was “particularly cutesy” at about dogs): a moving story, especially since she had just lost her father. She also recalled her mother Roma, Knight’s equal partner and committed to spiritual exploration.

The following talk was given by Wendy Berg, a member of the Gareth Knight group since the 1990s, who led the group between 1999 and 2013. She gave a detailed talk on the Rosicrucian and the Goddess, exploring the symbolism behind the Rosicrucian cross, and the links between the Rosicrucian tradition and others, including those who work with Egyptian magic, and Tibetan Buddhism. She also explored the “six rules” for Rosicrucian groups: the emphasis on “healing the sick” and the importance of training one’s successor. Primarily, she emphasized Knight’s work on the divine feminine.

After a break, Rebsie returned to the stage for a discussion of Anglo-Saxon magic – a rather overlooked aspect of paganism these days. She highlighted the importance of ancestors in the Anglo-Saxon world and some differences between this and the Norse tradition, including an exploration of Anglo-Saxon runes and herbalism.

Julie Petrie, who is a member of the Gareth Knight group and a consultant in clinical psychology and psychoanalytic psychotherapist, in addition to being a student of mythology, then gave a lecture on Remembering Arwen Undómiel, which had as its starting point an encounter with an elf be.

In the afternoon, other members of the Gareth Knight Group gave talks, including Derek Thompson, a freelance writer and novelist, on the links between creative writing and magic, and Margaret Beardsley, a scientist and engineer. professional. His talk took as its starting point Gareth Knight’s observations that science and magic were suffering from the rift that had grown between them, then explored the factors that led to the division of science and magic, the paths each has taken and the signs that these paths are finally converging once more.

Condolences for Knight’s death, together with responses to the lecture, can be found on the Facebook page below, and show how well respected Gareth Knight has been over the past decades in British esotericism (and at beyond), and how many people experience and practice his influenced and inspired work.

Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey – Image credit: Gerd Eichmann – CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=100750867

A community member, upon learning of Knight’s death, said his first response came in the form of a recollection of a conversation they had had about Coleridge, and offered this text as a tribute to his legacy :

“The poet, described in ideal perfection, puts into activity the whole soul of man, with the subordination of his faculties to each other according to their relative value and dignity. It diffuses a tone and a spirit of unity, which merge, and (so to speak) merge, each in each, by this synthetic and magic power, to which I would attribute exclusively the name of Imagination.