Alex and I moved to London in 1967, it wasn’t long before the elite and the scurrilous of the occult world made their way to the basement of number 40 Clanricarde Gardens in Notting Hill Gate.
It was a time of transition from the days of controlling religions to the conscious awakening of the soul in search of its spirit. It seemed number 40 was the first port of call to many who could not afford the fare to India in search of their guru. The transition had been happening for years; the sixties was the time of recognising individual freedom, spiritual realisation and nothing and no one including Mrs Mary Whitehouse could stop its progress.
Mary was an English, social activist known for her strong opposition to social liberalism and the mainstream British media, both of which she accused of encouraging a more permissive society. The witches, especially Alex and I, were her target at one time; we barely noticed, being too busy with our work inside our sacred circle.
A Mr George Alexander was among the throng although with a somewhat unusual agenda; he was an artist who specialised in the different. He wanted to be a maker of magical weapons, swords, athames and anything made of metal.
By this time the Craft that was later to be known as the Alexandrian Tradition was gaining momentum with would be Initiates putting themselves forward to receive Initiation and training in the ways of Witchcraft. It was a gift from the Gods for Mr Alexander; the orders for magically crafted athames made by him, became a regular request.
George was a quiet man who obviously had magical leanings; it was not long before he suggested making something that symbolised our way of Craft. At the time Alex and I preferred to call ourselves ‘Witches’; we were not Gardnerian, or Traditional or hereditary although other traditions were calling us Alexandrian to separate us from them as they did not want to be associated with our ways of Craft.
The feeling was mutual. Our rites had been changed quite dramatically from those of other traditions. Eventually, we were to become known officially as ‘Alexandrian’ not least because we had developed the Craft along the lines of Freedom, Consciousness, Worship, and Magic, much to the despair of other traditions.
George wanted to create a symbol of our craft that would be recognisable to those Initiated and to seekers with a curious nature. To begin, we had to find what the Craft meant to us. Life was the first word, Magic the second and Mystery the third, all we had to do was create the symbol for all three.
The Ankh is the symbol of life, the rose and the lily, the magician. Only the tips of the lily’s leaf slightly visible, the mystery, Of course, there are a myriad of symbolisms within the Alexandrian Rose Ankh. The five petals of the rose, the elements, etc.
The original Rose Ankh was made in gold or silver to allow for everyone’s affordability. The centre was either plain and worn by 1st degrees, or gold, worn by 3rd degrees. In Alexandrian Witchcraft, the Second and third degrees are given together which is yet another difference between Traditions.
Fifty years later those original Ankhs have been copied and re-designed by many, some even by Gardnerians; but none have had the same intensity or purity of vibration of the original, until today.
The Alexandrian Rose Ankh designed by Alexandrian Priest Brian Cain and his partner Christian Day is a sheer magical joy to wear. The purity of line and strength of design making them easily recognisable as the chosen created symbol of the original Alexandrians and the refined spiritual evolution of its priesthood.