The Bureau of Occult Affairs
25 Mab Square
25 Mab Square
Memo, Were Liaison
Cromwell, Judith (Director, BOA)
Robson, Peter (Were Liaison, BOA)
The Association of Weres and Eldritch
JudithI hope this brief background is useful. Of course, BFM and the Moot Association were of less interest to us than the gods, the Seelie Court and the Witan. It will be interesting whether this latest merger changes that perception.
The Association of Weres and Eldritch
AWE is a fairly new organisation, although its predecessors have been around a long time. It was formed last summer, through a merger of the Moot Association and British Fay & Magic.
Prior to that, about 10 years ago, British Fay & Magic was created by a merger of the Magic Temple with Aegis, which were themselves both relatively recent organisations.
Magic Guild (c1560 continuing)
This was created by Dr John Dee, court magician to Elizabeth I. At one time it represented magicians, sorcerers, witches, druids, seers, shamen and basically any human practising some sort of magic. They ran their own licensing system, awarding professional recognition to practitioners that still form the basis for employment job evaluations. It grew steadily in power over the next two centuries until a series of conflicts with various gods, especially those with a long established presence in this country and Ireland, resulted in an agreement (the Avebury Agreement) that it would not actively recruit non-human magical people, not permit them to join without the agreement of the Court or the gods, and that any who did join were subject to the Guild's examination system. It was further weakened by a series of laws passed in the late nineteenth century designed to regulate the practice of magic. One of its most colourful presidents in recent times, Aleister Crowley, split the Guild in the 1920s by fighting this legislation and the more progressive elements - effectively everyone who felt the Guild was too biased towards senior magicians - hived off to form the Magic Temple. Although magicians eventually trickled back, the rest stayed with the Temple, and eventually the Guild and the Temple came to their own agreement (the Glastonbury Accord) whereby magicians went to the Guild and other magical practitioners to the Temple.
Throughout the Guild continued to be the body that effectively determined the standards for qualification to the various grades of magician.
Magic Temple (1924 - 1990)
Its initial popularity waned once Crowley lost power, but it lasted long enough, and proved sufficiently amenable, to enable the Practice of Magic Act passed in the late 1920s which finally curbed the stranglehold of magic on British industry and provided for the creation of the Bureau of Occult Affairs the same year. (In 1934 the Bureau also took on responsibility for regulation of the Moots).
In the 1950s the then President of the Temple, Gerald Gardner, nearly caused another split with his own ideas of modernisation, and this eventually paved the way for its eventual merger with Aegis.
Aegis (c1930 to 1990)
During the eighteenth century The Magic Guild began to admit non-human magical people to its ranks. At the time such people - the fay (then still called fairies), dryads, nymphs, goblins etc – held an ambiguous position in society, with most considered slightly disreputable though a few were lauded. However, many complained that they held no influence within the Guild and the Avebury Agreement eventually effectively prevented their membership.
The Magic Temple created a new organisation the fay might join, as it did not feel itself bound by the Avebury Agreement. The gods were not pleased when their own servants in this country, the Albion (British) native High Elves and the Irish Daoine Sidhe began to join and made demands for new rights. At this time the gods common to the UK and the Irish Tuatha Da Danann (TDD) still ran a basically feudal system. According to unverified reports, Lugh of the TDD, together with Loki and Thor of the Aesir, set up Aegis as a counter organisation to both the Temple and the growing power of the Seelie Court of the High Elves. It is possible they were also motivated by some social conscience, although, if so, it was not to the liking of all their fellow gods and goddesses. In the event, it was so successful it brought about some changes that gradually forced revisions in the employment rights and treatment of the whole Albion Fay culture.
It was Aegis that denounced the use of the word ‘fairy’ as discriminatory and offensive, and forced the change to the word ‘fay’. The word is used nowadays to cover any people of magical descent, but it was originally only used for fairies, elves, brownies etc (then the only magical people permitted to join Aegis), and not used for the spirits of the land or trees.
So BFM (British Fay & Magic) was created by an amalgamation between the Magic Temple and Aegis. Obviously, the power created by increased size became addictive, as they almost immediately began talks with the Moot Association, with a view to merging to what eventually became AWE.
Moot Association (c1874 to 1998)
This began when some lone werewolves in West Mercia banded together and applied to the regional Eldorman for moot status. When they were denied they set up the Moot Association, which rapidly gained membership among the disaffected. Its power and influence waxed and waned as various political factions tried to use it to check the power of the moots (I’ll send you a separate memo on them). Very simplistically, the Moot Association has tended to be radical in its views and associated with the Labour Movement, and they accepted more Exotic Weres (mainly those from Africa and the Indian sub-continent) for membership before the moots accepted them. The relationship between the moots and the Moot Association was not simple, and, if anything, has become more complicated by the Association’s merger with BFM (British Fay & Magic).
Graham Lightfoot, the current General Secretary of AWE, was the General Secretary of the Association. This means that, to some extent, the moot leaders – the Thanes and their seniors, the Eldormen, still heavily influence AWE. It remains to be seen what will happen there once he moves on and AWE begins to grow its own identity.
Association of Weres and Eldritch (1998 -)
This is still beginning to find its feet. The first year has been characterised by a rationalisation of property and branch structure. The traditional names for local representatives retained by the old organisations – Priests of Hermes, Moot Guards and Grove Spirits – were done away with and replaced by the universal but less picturesque Branch Secretaries and Local Organisers. Of course, some officers still stubbornly retain the old titles.
The internal reorganisation has tended somewhat to reduce their current involvement with several pressing issues, including a spate of attacks on humans by Weres, which has led to a rather lacklustre opposition to the anti-hunting bill proposed by Martin Symes, MP.
One internal pressure on AWE is the learning curve of its officers. Ex-BFM officers are having to come to terms with the discrimination or hero worship of Weres within society, while those who are ex-Moot Association are having to deal with people for whom magic is part and parcel of their lives. Industry is encountering the same problems as it finds it is dealing with new representatives who do not understand how industrial magic operates. There are also indications that some gentler ex-BFM officers, at all levels, who find their authority challenged by werewolves used to domination by Moot Association officers, are experiencing discomfort. Werewolves have a tendency to establish strict hierarchical relationships based on force, and some of the ex-BFM full time officers are finding difficulty coping with this.
Were Policy Advisor
© Alexa Duir 2006. All Rights Reserved.