Any discussion of Wicca in America must begin with Raymond Buckland. A disciple and correspondent of English Wicca’s acknowledged father Gerald Gardner, Buckland established America’s first Wiccan coven on Long Island in the early ‘60s. He literally wrote the book on Wicca, Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, along with dozens of smaller volumes. In 1968 (some sources say 1966), he established the USA’s first museum of witchcraft. Initially just a showroom in his basement, the collection grew and moved repeatedly, from Long Island to New Hampshire, to Virginia, to New Orleans. Sadly, in NOLA, the collection endured a period of neglect and damage.
Buckland has been an Ohioan since 1992, and two years ago, the collection returned to his Temple of Sacrifice coven, and is now going on display again, in a modest gallery in Cleveland. The Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick opened on April 29, 2017 in a room off of the Tremont record store A Separate Reality. (An aside—ASR should be a Mecca for punk, jazz, prog, and psych collectors. It’s owner, Gus Payne, has an incredible gift for procuring vinyl Holy Grails, and he’s a really swell guy, to boot.) The space has been a gallery before—a few years ago, under the name “Gallery Wolfy Part II,” it hosted a large exhibition of artwork by Half Japanese singer Jad Fair. That gallery was a white-wall space, but the Buckland incarnation is an intimate and inviting room in blood-red and exposed brick. The gallery’s collection features artifacts from a number of Wiccan luminaries, and even some possessions of legendary occultist Aleister Crowley’s.
Reprinted from Dangerous Minds.