Doreen's surname before she got married was Dominy and there was a family tradition that her family, who in more recent years had settled in Southampton, had originated in Cerne Abbas. Dominy was a prominent name in the village for several hundred years. Doreen refers to Dominys who were swearing "No Popery" there in the 1680s, during the reign of James II, who was the last Roman Catholic English monarch, and who was deposed because he favoured the return of Catholicism. There may be some connection in that Doreen's grandfather had many Romany friends, who used to leave their caravans and horses in his field. They taught him some of their language, and possibly other skills. He passed that knowledge down to Doreen's father, who taught it in turn to Doreen. Doreen seems to have been the sort of person to attract 'highly coloured' stories: I've had rumours circulated about me for years. The one I like best is that I'm the illegitimate daughter of Aleister Crowley - I really rather fancy that one. My mother is supposed to have been a dashing 1920's deb of high family, and I was farmed out to foster parents who brought me up as their own because their own child had died. Unfortunately it clashes with the other story that I am a Polish Jewess who came here in wartime as a refugee, having been initiated into the darker secrets of the Qabalah in my own country. The New Forest gypsies took me in, and that is where Gerald Gardner found me. (I've had this one told to me in total solemnity by someone who didn't know who he was talking to - and I didn't let on!) The truth, which I shall try to tell in this book, turns out to be far more interesting, as is often the case!

 

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Doreen Valiente Witch - Philip Heselton

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