Wiccans whose initiatory lines descend from Alexander Sanders. Divisions between Alexandrians and Gardnerians are, in England, now largely blurred. Sanders began his Wiccan career in the area around Manchester, his group holding their Coven meetings at Alderley Edge.
Alexandrian Coven practices differ from those of Gardnerian groups in several respects. The more usual three degree system of Initiation, before the first grade of which no candidate may attend the circle, is sometimes replaced by the formal admission of novices through a Neophyte ritual. These candidates may then attend rites as passive observers.
According to a biography by June Johns, at the height of its activity in 1965, membership of Alexandrian Wicca was claimed to involve more than 1600 members.
However subsequent, more sober, investigation by other researchers suggests that there may have been a membership of no more than a few dozen contained within three Covens at that time...
Since Sanders' death, and with the 'explosion' of interest in Wicca in the past 20 or so years, it should be noted, that many Initiates of Sanders - and, likewise, their Initiates, in turn - have spread his version of Wicca worldwide and the numbers of adherents/practitioners of this Tradition defies all attempts of accurate reckoning.
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one defintion may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differring practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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