Herman Slater
Magickal Childe

Herman Slater
1935 - 1992

Book I & II

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The following is a compilation of comments from friends of Herman Slater
who knew him when he was the owner of the
Magickal Childe Witchcraft Bookstore
Greenwich Village
New York City, USA
and high priest in the Wicca religion


Hi, it's Kat (Broomstix's Elder, as well as Nat's). In the mid 70's - I was a young Irish witch from the wilds of NJ, and Herman just could never quite get that there were Irish family traditions separate from the British.(He kept saying, "So does that mean you were 'Gard').  Then, we were the odd ones out. Now today EVERYBODY'S a bleedin' Celt.

I remember Herman and the Warlock Shop in Brooklyn. It was there that I started on my path. It was enjoyable driving Herman all over the place...13th and 14th Ave to book stores, and those "just alillte longer" ones where we went up state NY to buy and order Herbs. Of course this was when the shop was still small and growing. I never questioned his intent, and he never inquired of my path. Now in Florida, I often think back on those good times and friends like Herman.

My name is Wayne and I was taking care of Herman when he passed away. I'm simply looking for friends from the store because it's been so long and I've received the bad news about Steve and Linda. Anything you can do to get me in touch with Emily, Anthony, Laura or anyone who was there would be wonderful. I'm not a witch or Warlock or Pagan, but I've written an auobiography that is soon to be published that portrays all you screwballs as the wonderful people who took me in and made me a better person: one worth saving, that you really are. Basically, I'm feeling sentimental and don't want to read another obituary without trying to find some of the people who saved my life.
 Than You and Blessed be
 Wayne Kern__chan

I had the good fortune to have been raised in the Village in NY. I started frequenting the store in the mid-70's and learned SO much from Herman and the others who hung about. I can't say that I miss him because he's still around. What a beautiful spirit...

Many blessings,
Pattie (aka Breegha, HPS)

How intriguing. I never knew your Mr. Slater personally, but he was there for me at a time when I was in a great transition, and from somewhere I can't even remember I found something that
pointed to Magickal Childe. I was a young Thelemite so devoted to getting the information I needed that I would use the inter-library loan system to get books a week or two at a time and hand-copy
them to notebook paper. When I received my first Price List/Catalog (not much was wasted back then on shiny paper, they were more like tabloid lists), I found a very personable note (doubtless sent
to all new subscribers) that somehow spoke to me. I was at the time working on the use of scents/essential oils in setting mood and direction, not just in ritual, but in everyday life. Unfortunately,
many of the scents I needed were unavailable.....*except* at Magickal Childe! Mr. Slater also had a very nice little pocket-sized hardbound copy of Crowley's Liber Al, and after receiving
the first one, I ordered several more (by this time I had secured a lucrative job and could actually afford to *buy* books!) And I  gave them away. And ordered more. Then one day I received
the terrible news.....Mr. Slater was slowly, terribly dying. He made apologies, ironically, for being human and mortal. Heartbreaking. So, Mr. Slater,
an elderly mage salutes a life well lived, subject to none other, bravely marching ahead and doing what others feared to contemplate. Bravo!
Papa John
"If it don't hurt a little bit, it ain't Rock & Roll!"

Dear Herman   I just read this page and found out you had passed on. I guess I was thinking about you for some spiritual help and tried to contact you for some spiritual advice. I found this and would like to say I always admired you. I guess you wanted me to let your friends know what you were asking me to tell them so here it is- The nets are in the rosegarden- it doesn't mean anything to me but that is his message. Blessed are the Blessed Be Herman and you were Blessed and will be missed   Love, JA

My first contact with Herman came back in 1975 at the Magickal Childe Shop on Henry Street. Instinctually, I knew this Shop and it's keeper would be a key. When Herman moved The Shop to Manhattan he recommended me to a group that had recently lost a member. The group he put me in touch with was the "Circle Fire", an amazing coven that mentored me for over two years until it's breakup in 1979. As an artist I made wands and scourges that Herman displayed and sold at the 35th street store. I celebrated a few holidays with Herman over the years.  As time goes on I seem to be drawn more and more  to  my Wiccan roots. Having a platform like this only reinforces that energy.

 Thanks, Rob-Black Crow 

Herman Slater and Ed Buczynski had a little occult emporium on Henry St. in Brooklyn, just off Atlantic Ave., back in the early 1970s. They mainly sold herbs, candles and oils, but they also carried a modest selection of books. The Warlock Shop was just a hole in the wall, but despite its humble appearance, it was a true cash cow. In 1976, the duo pulled up stakes and moved the operation to Chelsea.
At the Magickal Childe, there was enough space to dramatically increase the merchandise offered, and since Herman had the cash and the connections, the new store became, in effect, the one-stop-shop for any and all conjuring needs. In addition to herbs, oils, candles, books, robes, swords and other accoutrements of the Art, one could find human skulls, dried bats, mummified cat’s paws and a wide variety of unusual jewelry, a large portion of which was created by Bonnie, my ex-wife-to-be. A room in the back of the store served as a temple and classroom for the various strains of wicca that began to gravitate to the place.

That temple also served as the launching pad for the explosive growth of Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) in the city in the late 70s and early 80s.

Blessed Be and Merry Meet,   I am so glad this website is here. I only found it recently as I was reminiscing about Herman and decided to Google his name for the fun of it. By the Immortal Gods am I glad I did! I first met Herman Slater, or I should more properly address his Lordship as Lord Govannan, when he visited Ravenwood in Atlanta many, many years ago. He and Lady Sintana (the founder and Elder of Ravenwood) went way back. In fact she had a picture of Lord Govannan and Dame Sybil Leek together in the original house of Ravenwood that she has since passed to Lord Orion of Foxwood.   He was the funniest and most knowledgeable man I had ever met in the Craft. I was a young neophyte at the time and he took a liking to me. I'll never forget it. Some years later he was visiting and I spoke to him around the dinner table about a wonderful Vouldon lady that helped raise me as a child. He sent me a skull that was used for divination as a gift out of the blue. I still have her sitting on my mantle and she will be burned with me when I pass.   I still have his picture on my wall from when he came to witness two of our members' elevation to their 3rd degree. And I still have 'A Book of Pagan Rituals and A Book of Pagan Rituals III' that he brought to me and inscribed for me.   Those of you who knew him know we loved him for being 'Horrible Herman.' He would tell the truth about the origins of the Craft in America when nobody else would admit it or knew it for that matter. He knew everybody before they were somebody. I wish I had a copy of the original musings to 'A Book of Pagan Rituals III' that Herman wanted to publish. The published version of his musings are toned down from the one he mailed us greatly. And it called many to task that claimed to be Elders and Founders in this country. I miss him so much.   My Lord I miss you and still adore you. Thank you for being there for me and trying to even make it down for my 3rd degree. I'll always love you my Mentor. (He said he was flying down for my 3rd degree.) We did not know, as he wouldn't let anybody tell us, that he was in the hospital passing at the time. I spoke to him in that hospital room shortly before his passing via phone and although he sounded a little weak he assured me he was coming down. I was so excited. We knew he had health issues and was ill. We didn't realize how ill he was at that time so we made preparations for his coming here. We knew he was ill and needed some special care. We even turned one of the rooms of the Covenstead into a Hospice room of sorts in preparation once we found out he was coming. But alas it was not to be.   I'm so glad to see that some are carrying on his work. He loved the Magickal Childe and used to tell me (as I would get the Magickal Childe catalog), "If you want the real stuff, buy the cheap stuff its real. I would even give it away to ones that I feel are true seekers. The rest of it pays the rent." And I knew that he was true and honest about that. He was always the Jewish Business Man. But with the true Witches' heart.   Blessed Be and Merry Part, Lord Starhawk Former High Priest and Titular Head of Ravenwood Church and Seminary of the Old Religion, Inc. Atlanta, GA - "We shall all live again, and we shall meet, and we shall remember, and we shall know, and we shall love."   I will be so glad to see you again my Lord.

Blessings My Friends:                                
Herman and Ed will always live on as the as the founding fathers of the Craft in New York City.  Through all of our efforts as a community it is to keep the future generations of the Craft to come to know this, that these two great men will never be forgotten and will always be recognized.  As it was upon the shoulders of these two men that many of our covens and New York's Pagan community were founded.  I will always honor my Fathers.  So Mote It Be!                                                                            Many Blessings,       Lady Rhea

CHIESA DELLA LIBERAZIONE SATANICA. Nel 1986 un professore di inglese, Paul Douglas Valentine, ha fondato nel Connecticut la Chiesa della Liberazione Satanica, che appartiene alla stessa corrente del satanismo occultista di Aquino e si ispira anche ai modelli europei ottocenteschi descritti in romanzi come L-bas di Huysmans. Valentine pu contare sull'appoggio della mitica libreria magico-occultistica di New York Magickal Childe e del suo "satanico" proprietario Herman Slater ("Herman l'orribile"), punto di riferimento di un certo satanismo newyorkese.

I met Herman Slater once when I visited Magickal Childe in 1990. At first, he seemed a bit guarded and was a little intimidating. He emanated a very powerful energy. Although I did not know him, I could sense there was a softer side to him. You could see it when you looked in his eyes. I'm sure his friends feel blessed to have known him and I am surely thankful for my brief encounter. I found Magickal Childe by accident. I got the address mixed up. I swiched the ave. and street number. Happy accident for sure. I was looking for another book store and on the way back to my car there was Magickal Childe. I was speechless when I walked inside. It had a "if you need it we got it, if we don't have it we can get it, if we can't get it you don't want it" kind of vibe. I was very sad to learn it had closed. I still have old catalogs. I wish I had taken pictures. I always wanted to go back. Now, the only way to get a glimpse of it now is to watch Vampire's Kiss. For the rest of my days I will never forget Herman Slater or Magickal Childe.
Christopher Shriver (aka LustMetropolis)

herman slater: also known as "horrible herman". very controversial new york witch, owner of the magickal childe occult shop. notorious prankster. "discovered" the famous terrible manuscript "necronomicon" of lovecraftian infamy when a "mysterious monk" (wink-wink-nudge-nudge)named simon "delivered" the manuscript to his store, then called the warlock shop. a lot of people believe this to be the actual necronomicon. a lot of people also believe elvis faked his own death. slater also wrote _the hoodoo bible_ and _the witch's formulary and spellbook_ and plaigerized _a book of pagan rituals_. died in the early 90's.

I taught the Earth Star Temple/Pagan Way for Lord Govannan (Herman) back in the early '80s, and the picture you have of Herman on his biography page was taken at the Childe back in '81 (full picture attached).

It's really nice to see some form of the old Shoppe up and running on the internet.

I still have all the material Lord Govannan gave me from the old Earth Star Temple, as well as copies of the Earth Religion News.

I still miss the old "Troll."

Tuan C Mhara, Coven Hensiarad
Welsh Rite Gwyddonaid


I had the good fortune to stumble into the Magickal Childe in the late 70's and to make the acquaintance of Herman Slater.

Although I would never consider myself a friend, he always had a greeting, a piece of wisdom or a bad joke to share. For many years the Childe would be a destination for books, supplies and the occasional reading. And where else would you find Ray Buckland MCing a Samhain Party - H. L . Berger

Beloved Pan, and all ye other gods who haunt this place, make me beautiful within, and grant that what-ever happens outside of me will help my soul to grow. May I always be aware that true wealth lies in wisdom, and may my "gold"be so abundant that only a wise man can lift and carry it away. For me that is prayer enough. - Socrates


did you know that herman slater's family, as well as my own, came from New Paltz?  they're in some cemeteries around there...... my great-great grandmother, named Mariah, was a Slater.  and they were *all* from New Paltz.  so i think, horrible herman and i were related somewhere back there.   !!!  

The Magickal Formulary, edited by the late Herman Slater. What also makes this work so invaluable is that it is from the inner workings of Mr. Slater’s shop, Magickal Childe, which used to be one of New York’s oldest Witchcraft Centers. (Magickal Childe closed several years ago, after the owner had passed away). His Formulary work is worth its weight in gold simply because the recipes for some of the most effective and potent incense and oils utilized in the craft are within its pages. Slater guarded these recipes more tightly than a 5-star restaurant chef.

I would like to make sure that for once and for all Herman Slater gets the credit that is due him, for coming up the the concept. Herman Slater owned an occult bookshop in the 1970s-1980s called The Magickal Childe. He probably cultivated his handle as "Horrible Herman".

Some people may remember the newspaper he put out, called Earth Religion News. It was, in my opinion, the best - and sometimes the worst - Community newspaper that was ever put out, and influenced our starting publication in 1995. Herman Slater died shortly before we started up The Old Guard as Pentangle used to be known.

There were - and still are - a lot of people who feel drawn to the Craft, who want to know more, before making a commitment to WitchCraft that an Initiation would entail. Herman came up with the idea - and I felt and still feel it was a good one - that such people could participate in a Pagan Grove, which is an Outer Court extension of a Covin. A Grove was never intended to replace or substitute for a Covin, which is where the "real" Magyk happens. There was even a book of Grove rituals published, called A Book of Pagan Rituals, by, you probably guessed it, Herman Slater. I even had a copy which was "spirited" out of my Temple before I had a chance to read it.

I had accepted periodic invitations to stay at the Florida home of a witch I knew as Artemis. The now legendary Herman Slater of Brooklyn's Warlock Shop, had also accepted her invitation, and Artemis frequently told me of his stay with her. Slater had published my work in his occult journal, EARTH RELIGION NEWS, before publishing his own version of H.P. Lovecraft's NECRONOMICON, much debated among enthusiasts as to whether it was a book Lovecraft had made up or found. Slater never claimed his version was the actual NECRONOMICON, only that he had found essays from the same time period ascribed to the creation of the NECRONOMICON, so that it was, in Slater's view, what the NECRONOMICON might be like. But the magical essays which made up Slater's version of the NECRONOMICON developed their own mythology. They had been stolen, they said, from a library by an Old Catholic Archbishop, named Simon. Ironicly, I once spent the better part of an afternoon walking around Brooklyn with Archbishop Simon, having met him by chance at the Warlock Shop, without a clue as to who he really was or would do, or that he would abruptly disappear from view after providing the ancient essays for Slater's book, now sometimes called the Simonomicon. Anyway, it was with Herman's friend Artemis that I oftened stayed in Florida, alternating that with brief flings in the inexpensive, elevatorless, and often cockroach ridden hotels that then lined that area of Miami Beach which overlooked their free beach, Lummus Park.
Above by T. Casey Brennan, The Last Witch.

The Warlock Shop in Brooklyn Heights was a world unto itself.  Enclosed in a small shop between two buildings lay another world in secret existence.  It was here that all  " The Craft", as we know it to become today would give birth and rise from this small Universe.  Herman Slater and Edmond Buczyski were both proprieters and High Priests of N.Y. Wicca. Eddie being Welsh and Gardnerian and the more magickal part of the business initiated me into the Gardinarian Tradition on February 2nd 1972. That May I was elevated to 3rd degree and that same afternoon Raymond Buckland came in to visit with Herman and Eddie.  I was so young and thrilled that I met him the afternoon of my elevation to 3rd degree.  Herman, the elder of our coven, trained me in the business end of the shop.

I started working for the shop, waiting on customers, weighing herbs, blending oils, casting spells, selling jewerly and speaking endlessly about "The Craft" after about two years, I left for a better paying job, only to return in 1978 to Magickal Childe owned and operated also by Herman Slater (Lord Govannon) and Edmond Buczynski (Lord Gywddion) on West 19th Street New York City, New York.  It was in the Magickal Childe that I created the Enchanted Candle in 1979,  In the years I spent working at the "Childe" my exposure to the occult world was vast and multifaceted, I found myself  highly capable of absorbing the knowledge.  I learned from the various customers and employees that frequented the shop from several different religious areas involved in the world of magick.  From the O.T.O (Crowley's Magickal Order) to priests of Voudon, I was exposed to it all.
Above from Lady Rea's Biography "The Craft in New York City"

In the United states we have The Welsh Rite Gwyddonaid, a Welsh/Celtic offshoot tradition of the New York Welsh Traditionalist Wicca (NYWTW) originally founded by Herman Slater and Hermes and derived from Gwen Thompson.

The New York Welsh Tradition. This tradition was originally founded by Ed Buczynski with the help of Herman Slater. It is derived from The Celtic Tradition as taught by the late Gwen Thompson. 3.) A Tradition of Witchcraft derived from the teachings of the ancient Welsh Bards and practiced by Keith Morgan of Wales. 4.) A Southern Wales tradition called "Nementon", which was brought to the U.S. by the late Gwydion Penderwen, who founded the tradition in the 60's and 70's in California, and is being carried on by his initiates.
Above from The Church of Y Tylwyth Teg of Florida.

On this date in the year 1992, Herman Slater (Wiccan High Priest, well-known occult author, and proprietor of the Magickal Childe bookstore and Witchcraft supply shop in New York City) lost his battle against AIDS. His death was a great loss to the magickal community.

American Welsh
A denomination featuring extensive use of Welsh folklore and mythology and following a loose Neo-Gardnerian outline. Groups tend to be democratic, and work either robed or (rarely) skyclad. Largely developed by occultists Ed Buczynski (d. 1989) and Kate Smith, with influence by spokesman and occult shop proprietor Herman Slater (1935 - 1992).

In 1970 Lady Rhea first came into contact blending oils while employed at the Warlock Shop owned by Herman Slater in Brooklyn, NY. It was there she discovered her true love of Magickal Formulas. Later her knowledge expanded in her management of the Magickal Childe in New York.
Above from Magickal Realms Lady R and Lady Z

I was a friend of Herman Slater of the old Warlock Shop in Brooklyn Heights before it moved to Manhattan and became Magickal Childe. I was around during the famous Witch Wars of the Seventies, when it seemed that everyone was casting spells on everyone else. I was there when Gardnerians and Welsh Trads and Alexandrians and Sicilian Trads sat down around a table in the back of Herman's shop to settle the War and make peace once and for all.
Above from Peter Levenda

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