Doreen Valiente (1922-1999) was a famous witch and was one of the most influential people in the formation of the neo-pagan religion of Wicca. It is said that she transfered her magical powers psychically to her successor on her deathbed.
Born in Southern England, she was initiated into witchcraft by Gerald Gardner (1884-1964) and went on to become a high priestess in Gardnerian Wicca. Often referred to as the “mother of modern witchcraft,” she wrote various texts for Wicca, such as The Witches Rune and the Charge of the Goddess. These went into the early Gardnerian Book of Shadows.
A friend of mine, Jon Tapsell – film-maker and author of Porn Again Christian – was commissioned to archive Valiente’s writings and materials, which forms the world’s largest collection of Wiccan memorabilia and artifacts. During this time he came across the story that Valiente may have transferred her powers psychically on her deathbed.
This is what Jon told me:
During my archiving of the Doreen Valiente (1922-1999) collection, which is the world’s largest collection of Wiccan memorabilia and artifacts, I came across an interesting story that was related to me by the owner of the collection. He claimed that he had not only been bequeathed the Wiccan relics, but had also received an energy from Doreen Valiente as well.
The energy passed by the famous witch was actually transmitted consciously over two or three sessions. But on the final occasion, when the two were in a trance at Doreen’s deathbed (she would have been hovering between life and death), the full power was passed across.
The owner of the collection claimed to retain memories, powers and perceptions that were not his as a result of this strange incident.
Such tales, of course, are familiar in the East – the passing of divine energy (baraka) from the Sufi Sheikh to his adherents is one example, but it was the first time I had heard of it in the West. The Sufis believe that once the teacher has died, his baraka can no longer be passed down to his students – so the baraka must be transmitted in life.
Perhaps this strange phenomenon may one day be explained by science as bio energies given off at a cellular level.