The publication from 1954 of Gerald Gardner's non-fiction works on witchcraft has led to the current public existence of two different trends of religious and magical belief and practice, both which identify themselves as "Wicca". One form places a strong emphasis upon the transmission of traditional practices and a form of initiatory lineage similar to that practised by Gardner himself. The other covers a wider range of views on each of these aspects, but with the most common position being a strong distance between the traditional practices-giving a greater importance to innovation-and a complete or near-complete abandonment of the concept of initiatory lineage. Both trends often see themselves and each other as being within a wider religio-magical stream of Post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft of which the innovative form is a larger part, though in different ways. The traditional view of the innovative form typically labels that form "Eclectic" even in cases where the practitioners would understand "Eclectic" differently, and considers it to be something outside of what it terms "Wicca". The innovative form generally labels all Post-Gardnerian Pagan Witchcraft, or beyond, as "Wicca", and as such recognizes all traditional practitioners as Wiccan but does not generally make more significant distinctions between the various schools. The traditional stream considers the differences between the two streams as significant to the point of typicality while the innovative stream considers the differences as much less important. This book examines the differences and offers insights into both.
Jon Hanna (1976- ) was born in Co. Down, Northern Ireland and has lived in Dublin, Ireland almost continually, since the age of 18.
He has practised several types of witchcraft since 1996, before being initiated into the Alexandrian Tradition in 2007.
In writing an essay as part of his training in that Tradition, he failed to keep an essay within the requested length; a felix culpa that resulted in the book-length essay that was later developed into his first book, "What thou wilt". This work was inspired by the differing experiences he himself had with different forms of witchcraft, but looks not to such individual experience but to compare different practices in their practitioners' own words, using publicly available resources to back up his assertions, and to consider wider societal influences that may have affected the differences that exist in the practice of witchcraft today.