|Me with Ray at the Buckland Gallery opening, April 2017|
As you may know by now, especially if you follow me on other social media, Raymond Buckland, known by many as Uncle Bucky or Uncle Ray, and more formally/historically as "The Father of American Witchcraft," has passed on. He has left his mortal body in favor of his Spirit body. In other words, he has died. We say all kinds of things instead of "died" often, don't we? In this case, since Ray is a Spiritualist, we know that he believes Consciousness survives Death. So while it is true that he died, I feel totally comfortable with the flowery language of "Raymond Buckland left his mortal body on this Earthly plane."
I had the pleasure of meeting Uncle Ray (my preferred name for him in casual speech and writing, though to his face and in our emails, I ALWAYS called him Mr. Buckland) five months ago today, at the grand opening of the Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick in Cleveland, OH. Before that, we had exchanged a few emails a couple of years ago, about Wicca, different definitions, and things that my online viewing audience had asked me about repeatedly over the years. Who better to ask than someone who was THERE? Who was actually first-hand part of the history of Witchcraft in the United States, as such? I believe whenever possible, we should go to the source. For me and my purposes, that source was Raymond Buckland.
There are many articles about Ray's life, work, and influence online today because of his death this week. I can't claim to do a better job than any of them, but I can talk about my own experiences and share in my own way. The Ray Buckland I corresponded with, the man I met five months ago, is a wonderful, warm, and encouraging energy. In some posts I wrote in my private Facebook groups with people who are working with me currently (and maybe on my public page, I really can't remember, I wrote so many posts while processing the event yesterday), I said that in meeting Uncle Ray it was clear to me that he embodied the Goddess' wishes for us, and by that I mean those named in The Charge of the Star Goddess. Ray exuded both, and all,
Beauty and Strength
Power and Compassion
Honor and Humility
Mirth and Reverence
|Chatting with Ray at the Buckland Gallery opening.|
Thank you, Steven, for taking the photos!
In many ways, I am grateful to have met Ray in his twilight years. He retired years ago, has been over the "hustle and bustle" of public appearances and huge online courses for quite some time, and he has been living for years right here in my own state of Ohio. He is a grandfather, a well respected Pagan elder to many, and that calming, charming, goofball energy that is the prerogative of folks who've done more than their share and they're ready to just kick back and relax, is wonderful to have known, even for a short time.
Everyone processes things in their own way. As I have been enamored with Numerology and Tarot this year, it's only natural that I decided to look up some of Ray's Year Cards, as though I were to do one of my Year Card Readings for him. Then, while reading other folks' articles about his life, I decided to see what cards matched up with some of the major moments in his career (at least, as far as the dates are publicly reported). Just for a little insight, here is some of what I learned.
Raymond Buckland was born in London, England, on the 31st of August, 1934.
*All Year Card dates are based on your birthday, and the year in question. We add them together, then reduce to get a number between 1-22, the number of cards in the Major Arcana of Tarot, with 22 standing in for the number 0, The Fool. Some people choose always to reduce to a number between 1 and 9, working only between The Magician and the Hermit. I prefer to use the whole Major Arcana. So if you've seen it done another way, perhaps that explains it!*Thus, his Life's Purpose or Personality card, based on his whole birth date, is Judgement (20). His Soul's Purpose, then, is The High Priestess (2). One of the key words for "Year Card Lessons" for Judgement is "dealing with criticism," which Ray definitely did in all aspects of his work. And the High Priestess, a card of spirituality, occult wisdom and knowledge, instinct and intuition, more than describes the work Ray was here to do, as a Spiritualist, as a teacher and author, and as a High Priest.
Being a Virgo, his Zodiac card is The Hermit (9). The Zodiac card represents what we need for self-expression. In this case, The Hermit points to a need for introspection and solitary study and work. Ray spent the last several decades as a mainly solitary practitioner, having left the coven he first formed in the US. Others who knew him better could speak more to how solitary a person he liked to be. His Shadow/Hidden Factor/Teacher card is Justice (or Strength, depending on the deck) (11). A Master Number, speaking to either balance, harmony, and integrity (Justice) or endurance, staying the course, and standing your ground (Strength).
In my Year Card Readings, I look at your current year, and also the previous year and next year, to see the transitions in between. Ray's card for this year, 2017, is Death (13). We know that Death as a symbol, as a card, is not always literal, but signifies a great change, a new beginning. While in this case Ray did actually die this year after his birthday (in some systems the card of the year begins its energy on your birthday that year, in others it begins at the top of the calendar year--I prefer the system that looks at both overlapping), it also still most certainly represents a great change in the status of his Spirit, and a change in that the worldly plane on which we exist, in which I am typing this, is now short one Raymond Buckland.
His card for last year (2016) was The Hanged Man (12), symbolizing gaining of wisdom through seeking new perspectives. And his card for next year is Temperance (14), which is about compromise, give & take, blending of ideas, finding a healthy balance, and making things stronger and able to handle more. Depending on your beliefs in what happens after physical Death, I'd venture that's a pretty good thing for a Spirit to be doing to prepare for its next lifetime, if it believes in that sort of thing.
|My set-up for Ray's Year Cards, using The Vertigo Tarot.|
This is the first I've done so far with all 7 being different. =)
Those are the 7 card positions I work with in my Year Card Readings. But I went a little further to see what cards match up with some of Ray's published life moments, just to see. Hindsight is 20/20, as we know. (When the cards repeat, just check above to the first mention of the card for the meaning.)
- 1955: Ray marries his first wife, Rosemary.
- (5) The Hierophant. Teaching, studying, professional development, spiritual development and guidance.
- 1957-59: Ray serves in the Royal Air Force.
- (7) The Chariot. Movement, goals, taking control, overcoming struggle.
- (8) Strength (or Justice, in some decks, but I read it as Strength). Courage, endurance, standing your ground, allowing without forcing.
- (9) Hermit. Solitude, contemplation, taking a break, taking stock, caring for health.
- 1962: Ray & Rosemary move to Long Island, NY & begin studying Gardnerian Witchcraft and corresponding with Gerald Gardner.
- (3) The Empress. Abundance, developing creativity, nurturing, settling down.
- 1963: They go back to the UK to be initiated into Gardner's lineage. Gardner was present at the initiation, from what I've read.
- (4) The Emperor. Important decisions made, tradition, lineage, taking charge, leadership.
- 1968: Ray opens his collection of artifacts as "The First Museum of Witchcraft and Magick in the United States", running it out of his basement by appointment only.
- (9) The Hermit.
- 1969: Ray's first book is published, A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural.
- (10) Wheel of Fortune. Luck, fate, completion and turning of cycles, major change.
- 1973: Ray & Rosemary separate/divorce (some sources use different words) and both leave the Long Island Coven, as the coven they founded on Long Island came to be called, although articles with interviews say that Ray said the coven didn't have an official name.
- (5) The Hierophant. (I found it interesting that the year they married and the year they separated and left the coven had the same card energy.)
- 1974: Ray married his second wife, Joan. / Publishes The Tree, a book on Anglo-Saxon Witchcraft that is now considered to be the kind of guide for solitary practice that Cunningham's Wicca is, years before Cunningham's was published.
- (6) The Lovers. Relationships, choices, taking responsibility, following your heart without losing your head.
- 1978: Ray shuts down his museum and moves all the artifacts into storage.
- (10) Wheel of Fortune.
- 1982-83: Met Tara Cochran, who was to become his third wife. / Married her in 1983.
- 1982 meeting: (5) The Hierophant
- 1983 marriage: (6) The Lovers
- 1986: Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, also known as "The Big Blue Book" is published.
- (9) The Hermit.
- 1992: Ray & his third wife, Tara, move to a farm in Ohio.
- (6) The Lovers
- 2015: Ray's health begings to decline. / Also, his museum collection artifacts are turned over to a coven in Columbus, OH, which he co-founded, for them to put them on display again. That collection eventually opens as the Buckland Gallery (see 2017, below).
- (11) Justice. Balance, harmony, legal issues, integrity, what is fair vs. what is just, partnerships. (or Strength, in some decks, meaning listed above)
- 2017: The Buckland Gallery opens in Cleveland, OH. / Raymond Buckland dies in September.
- (13) Death. Letting go, releasing the old to make room for the new, transformation, regeneration, dealing with emotional pain, end of old life. (As mentioned, this is the overall Card energy of the year 2017 for Buckland.)
- 29/April (4)/2017 - Buckland Gallery opening date - This specific date adds up to (7) The Chariot. Forward movement, setting goals, etc.
- 27/Sept. (9)/2017, Buckland's exact date of death - (10) Wheel of Fortune.
All of this, to me, makes me feel like I know Ray a little better because now I've read more about some of the major things he did in his life. This isn't the same as knowing him in person, of course, but is a little more than we may know otherwise. And obviously there are tons of books he's published, interviews he's done, etc. and we could look up the years for ALL of them, but I chose only some of the most major ones, and of course the first one.
Ray's Zodiac card, or "what he needs for self expression" is The Hermit, and I find it interesting that several of his major moments that I looked up, happen during other Hermit years for him. He opened the first iteration of his museum and gallery during one of his Hermit years (it cracks me up that opening a museum in his basement would be a Hermit year! Of course!), and published his first book the following year (The Wheel of Fortune makes a lot of sense for publishing his first book, being a big change that made him into a published author, but this also means he likely did a lot of the work on that book in the previous, Hermit year). "The Big Blue Book" was also published in a Hermit year for him, and he did his last year of service in the Royal Air Force in another Hermit year.
The Hierophant and The Lovers repeat through many of his relationship milestones--marrying and separating from his first wife, marrying the second, meeting and marrying the third, moving to Ohio, as well as leaving the first coven he established in the US, which is definitely another kind of relationship and partnership with people.
What energetic patterns repeat for you? What years have you experienced milestones in different aspects of your life, and what does that card's energy tell you about the experience in hindsight? Use numerology and the Tarot to find out for yourself and explore the possibilities of what those patterns can tell you! And if you'd like, get a Year Card reading with me and I'll help with some insight from a third party perspective, from me to you, in video format.
Dear Ray, this is part of my way of processing the surreal nature of your not being here with us on this plane anymore. I hope it isn't too much. You are worthy of so much respect and thanks. My gratitude to you. Blessings on your journey, and bright blessings to your family and friends at this time, and always.