Interview with the Queen of the Witches: Maxine Sanders

Maxine Interviewed in Dutch Documentary

I posted this so you could hear Maxine’s voice and have a sense of her presence. I would have liked to do a podcast with her, but she is shy of technology. I don’t blame her. If I lived in the green hills of Wales, that would be enough for me too.

I hope this interview sparks discussion in the comments section. Just press Comments and let’s start talking! If you want to know more about Maxine read my review of her book Firechild, Firechild: The Life of Maxine Sanders, Witch Queen and Maxine Sanders: Queen of the Witches: Dawn Ritual

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Maxine Sanders Interviewed On A Dutch Witchcraft Documentary. This was originally upload on YouTube by lichtengel60 as part of a much longer Dutch documentary about Witchcraft. I figured it would`t be found by most UK viewers so cut it out and uploaded it separately. It is only a minute long but is still a nice clip and shows the lovely Maxine interviewed in 1995.

I discovered Maxine Sanders when I lived in London between 1998-2006. She fascinated me. Here was a witch that was beautiful, poetic, a figure from a fairy tale, and 1960′s icon as well. She had lived a life dedicated to Magic. She agreed to do this interview for me form the goodness of her heart really. It turned out to not be a good time for her. She is very busy and has her family needing her attention. Still, she gave some thought provoking answers to my rather personal questions. I had to ask her things I wanted to know, and I hope my readers will find these interesting as well.

From Maxine

This interview was given via email. It wasn’t easy as there was not the normal give and take of a conversation that leads from one thing to another. Plus I am totally new at this. So please forgive me if I didn’t make the most of this as far as the questions I asked.

Arlene:

Hello, Maxine.

I would like to thank you up front for taking the time to talk to me. I have given these questions a great deal of thought. Hopefully, you will enjoy discussing them.

Please feel free to answer, or not, if you don’t like a question. Or add if you are particularly interested.

Just so you know where I am coming from, I have not been initiated into Wicca or any Witchcraft Tradition, though I have been invited recently to join a coven. I think witchcraft is in my blood, though. I have ample evidence of that from my youth.
I didn’t join the coven because of time constraints, but I wish I could.

Maxine:

I have been away and am rather taken up with travel back and forth to London. My son has been seriously ill. He is still in hospital. My answers are alas brief, nonetheless they are as I feel. I find the in depth meanderings of mind only confusing to those who are really interested. If there is anything else I can help with please let me know.

Arlene:

Thank you so much.  (Lets send out a prayer for Maxine’s son, Victor, that he gets well soon.)

Questions and Answers

Arlene:

In reading things about you, reading your book, and just looking at you, I sense that, even if you had never met Alex Sanders, you would have been a witch. Do you have a response to the idea that there are people who are born witches, and how that guides their journey through life.

Maxine:

I believe some are born with magical potential and ability just as there are people who seemingly have a gift for maths or music. It is fate and fortune that help and enable these gifts to be enjoyed.

Arlene:

Is there a deep difference in energy between witch souls and other mystics?

Maxine:

The title Witch is given by Initiation or by village society where the person practices their art within the community etc. Witches are individuals who tend to specialize in particular aspects of magic and some are Witch and Mystic.

Arlene:

What marks a witch?

Maxine:

Initiation and training.

Arlene:

Where does it come from, this consciousness of the deeper Mysteries? Are we born with it, called to it, or did your mother teach you these things?

Maxine:

We have a vocation that is born of a natural consciousness. Circumstance of birth and upbringing brought me to the world of Witchcraft.

Arlene:

How does the Moon effect witches? What is the role of the Moon?
(Forgive me, I am a poet and I sometimes see images in the words that you may not see. If the questions are too vague, feel free to change them, ignore them, or ask me for clarification.)

Maxine:

Everything in the Universe effects us all. Witches are taught to be aware of the cycles of the planets and their effects. We work in the appropriate cycle to bring about affect.

Arlene:

I am very interested in the spirits of place. In Fire child, you suggest that Alderly Edge had a special energy. When I first lived in London, I lived near Hampstead Heath and on the first Samhain was assaulted, from 3AM – 6AM by the Horned God during six weeks of vivid dreams. There was a lot of related phenomena. I was terrified. When I finally stopped trying to block it, He entered me and I was on fire, on all levels, for three days and nights.
I was later told (by Christina at Treadwells) that Hampstead Heath was a stag hunting forest. Had I been initiated into Wicca, I might have known how to deal with this event, but it just erupted into my life and put me into shock.
In my earlier life, I dreamed all the time that I had stag antlers.
Can you address this issue of spirits of the land?

Maxine:

They are just that and I am aware of them and use them. A fully trained witch would not be hurt by them.

Arlene:

Why does the Horned God visit some people without being called? Or any Deity for that matter?

Maxine:

The Witch studies the natural and is empowered by their experience with these energies. The witches training includes safety techniques that include the wholeness and protection of self.

Arlene:

How have the places you have lived effected, or transformed your magic?

Maxine:

Every valley and vale is different and effects the magic of the witch.

Arlene:

Are cities better for lodge magic, and the rural places for witchcraft?

Maxine:.

Magic and its effectiveness is dependent upon the individual practitioner.

Arlene:

Does it matter?

Maxine:

For me the place obviously matters, however the preparation and creation of the sacred place contributes enormously.

Arlene:

Can witches help to heal the Earth?

Maxine:

Witches have always been aware of the need to respect the Earth. We know the Earth does have the ability to heal itself. I believe it is our responsibility to continue in respectful behaviour and if it is possible this should be encouraged throughout the human race.

This is one of my favorite photos of Maxine and the Witches. It is from King of the Witches by June Johns, 1969.

Arlene:

I am interested in the interrelationship of Faery tradition and Witchcraft. Would you discuss the relationship between witches and the Faery — especially those in the British Isles?
Are they important to you or not?

Maxine:

All of the elemental kingdoms are important to the Witch and Occultist.

Arlene:

What about the Roots of the Tree of Life?
The Underworld realms. Shamans go there, but Qabbalists keep away. Do you have any feelings about that that you would like to share?

Maxine:

I have been practicing the Art of Witchcraft for over 45 years. However I am not an historian nor am I an authority on the subjects you mention, I am still the student, enjoying that status. I do believe we each have our speciality we have chosen to practice. We can only wear one pair of shoes at any time.

Arlene:

What happens to a witch’s power if she doesn’t practice magic for a time?

Maxine:

The laws of Witchcraft advise that we invoke often. Probably because we will loose it if we don’t.

Arlene:

Do some people HAVE to practice magic to be OK?

Maxine:

No

Arlene:

I traveled in Cornwall in 1997. On one leg of the trip, I wanted to find an old wishing well I had heard about. I was in the village, and asked some children if they knew about it. An old lady come up to me and smiled and pointed the way. I sensed I had met someone whose background had always been in the Old Religion.
When you were doing your work in the 1960s, were you aware of people in the British Isles still living an ancient way of life?

Maxine:

Yes, and I am still aware of them. I live in a rural area in North Wales and even now the Old Religion is still apparent.

Arlene:

(How cool is that!)

Were there covens, or is that a modern thing?

Maxine:

I believe coven is a comparatively modern term although I do think there have always been gatherings of magical practitioners

Arlene:

Have you met earlier generations of witches during your life, and did they teach you things?

Maxine:

Yes.

Arlene:

As the Old Ways become more mainstream, domestication may become a concern. Mainstream and Domestic seem to me to equal loss of vividness, loss of power. Like churches where peoples’ prayers are empty.
How do you keep the witch soul alive when there are so many novices who become self appointed experts, and replace the deep truths with platitudes and shallow unsolicited advice?

Maxine:

It is my own practice in my own circle that is my responsibility to keep pure. Whilst Witches keep true to their highest ideals and disregard those who are ruled by ego born of earth, the Craft will be continue to be Hidden and true.

Arlene:

Have people tried to advise you as if you were born yesterday? lol

Maxine:

Yes.

Arlene:

How do we protect the power of the Goddess and the Fay when so many take them for granted, or change them into household doodas, and generally disrespect the awesome power that they are?

Maxine:

The Goddess and the Fay are more than capable of protecting themselves. To doubt it enables the profane.

Arlene:

How do we keep the old ways from becoming an organized religion?

Maxine:

Remember the Craft are called ‘The hidden Children of the Goddess’.

Arlene:

Or in the face of that probability, how do we keep the portals open, in the right way, for ourselves?

Maxine:

It would seem appropriate that we remain hidden.

Arlene:

Many women find that when we are in the Spirit that our love life stops. I was told a Faery was very possessive of me and drove potential boyfriends away.
What do you make of that phenomenon?
Has it happened to you?

Maxine:

The path of the Initiate is that of vocation and dedication. It was my choice therefore I must live with the consequences.

Arlene:

Do you have anything you want to say to people who are drawn to the occult, and magic, but may not know what they are getting into?

Maxine:

Listen to the Inner voice and beware of those who boast.

Arlene:

What is the Dark Night of the Soul and its purpose?

Maxine:

The Dark Night of the Soul is experience of true Brilliance. The Brilliance is the realization of the inner reality of that experience.

Arlene:

Can goodness be found in the dark?

Maxine:

There is a saying ‘The Light shineth in Darkness’.

Arlene:

What do you say to those who insist God wants you to be happy all the time?

Maxine:

Happiness is of the moment. Continuous happiness would be difficult.  I rather think if would become boring, although it is possible to enjoy the moment and be at peace with all experience.

Arlene:

Are your cycles of death and rebirth fast or slow?
Are they intense or easy?
Why does the Goddess put us through such strong cycles?

Maxine:

We choose the path!

Arlene:

Right, right….of course. What is the goal?

Maxine:

The Moment.

Arlene:

I love in your book your sea working in Wales. It reminds me of Dion Fortune’s Sea Priestess and Apuleius’s vision of Isis in the Golden Ass. How breathtaking! Is this the type of magic you do all the time?

Maxine:

The intensity of the Sea Rite is truly breathtaking, it would be quite silly to do this kind of work regularly; it would loose its vitality.

Arlene:

Can I be your student? lol!

Maxine:

Bless you. I stopped teaching several years ago. I believe the Craft is experiential and extremely physical. Whilst as an Elder I can advise, my physical ability is compromised through time against which we are helpless.

Arlene:

I hope these questions are not too obtuse, Maxine. I want to know these answers from one of the very wise, so must others want to know.

Maxine:

I do wish you joy on your wonderful journey.

Thanks so much!

If you want a little more, please see my blog reviewing Maxine Sander’s autobiography by clicking this link: Firechild: The Life of Maxine Sanders, Witch Queen

Buy the book by clicking on this widget. there are other great Wicca books here as well but those connected to the Sanders.


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15 thoughts on “Interview with the Queen of the Witches: Maxine Sanders

  1. i had never heard of Maxine before you talked about her.she really seems to be in painand at the threshold of an important experience, so bless her for that.Nevertheless, i feel also that she is very burdened by her life and how she insists that she she has to live with the consequences with certain decisions she has made.sometimes you feel she is burning herself at the stake.also her relationship with Alex seems to me about awakening her Witch potential and then breaking away from it with her heart, to attain her own freedom. i feel Wicca is about nature but seperated from yourself,like nature outside yourself. i ve read a few things and what they do is beautiful, but a little bit too fatherly, and so a little bit unfullfilling.i don t want to go overboard, but practising all this magic, being so close to the godess and having breast cancer is for me defenitely a sign of femine deficient energies. obviously we all do our time, when she says it is hard for her physically, it probably just means that her spirit doesn t feel at ease in her body anymore in what she does.it must as well be hard to break from a whole system that one lived in plus breaking away from one s old self.i like the idea of covens for the people the decorum the magic, but also there is the whole part where you are your own coven.so that would be an interesting question to ask,like for example does she have an individual path within that community, does do , practice certain things on her own ? sometimes a coven can be a prison.when you look at society, they have created covens without noticing it, people who go to work everyday go to the coven.As to the part of of training, safety techniques when you are confronted to certain experiences, this i think is a mistake cause you actually create enmities.if i go out in the street carrying a knife, i am obviously looking for a fight and looking for a protection that will actually trigger this event that then justifies me carrying a knife.there is the universal consciousness and the individual one, seeing them seperate is an imbalance.each of us is confronted to cretain experiences because we have somehow triggered them ,it is an illusion to think that we don t have the means to survive them, because if they happen it is precisely because we have it what it takes to overcome them, and to go deeper it is about to reveal something within us that is hidden. Accepting this results in creating the tools naturally to grow.So as she says and it is about to live in the moment, it is also constantly bringing out what is hidden, it bringing out our own nature, in the form of a flowing river or a hurricane.Goodness and darkness are really just pillar whose friction opens the doors.Seeing alone dies.The result is a constant eclipse.I was in London for the eclipse of august 1999, and i ve never experience such wellbeing before, cause i felt my spirit vibrating in my whole body as one, there was no difference, it is a little bit like a contact lense.The light was different, it wasn t even light.Obviously within ourselves we all have our own cycles, pain is necessary too, as much as happiness, as much as staying on a victory is not interesting either.she is full of wisdom for that.Pain has a spring and a winter, but we obviously choose how long this winter, spring or summer is going to last, but we obviouly have to go with the flow too, by respecting the cycles, where i cannot go from spring to winter, or grow leaves if i am full of ice. This then depends on your natural constitution, just like pine trees or evergreens, whose natural meanings are way more hidden cause their cycle is less perceptive.But anyway what is the most important thing as she says is the Moment, the intersection of Everything.I really liked your questions cause they were really flowing and real.i wouldn t know about any question to ask her.And just for that i ve seen the older version of the Wicker Man quite a few times, and i really loved it for the fact that a guy who has nothing to do with magic gets caught in a kind of natural force to brings him up to fulfill his destiny, there the hidden is revealed. So the witches here acts as catalysts and drive those forces. Interestingly, it takes a lot of concentration and also a universal coven cosciousness to accomplish this rite, but then, the witches do sometihing for him he could have done for himself, if he had allowed his nature to guide his own life.He still ends up with his spirit emprisonned within him, and that is why he gets sacrificed. But again it is on the outside level, and has just an illusory sense of growth.It is a dead end. i aslo believe that by listening to your own nature, or better said following you save the Earth, cause in the state of affairs today i can for example find food in my own Heart(Earth backwards), and then if i don t have a dead Heart then i don t need to take so much of the Earth and let the cycles follow its courses.Heart,EArth,HEArth.
    Anyway i wish her the best of luck, and i hope i haven t been beyond the limits of respect, and i will definitely have a thought for her son today.

  2. actually i don t know if it is right to say this,but i think the wiccan and the american indians complement each other, both kind of lack the other.

  3. And the last thing i dont mean again to go over the limits, but i think her breast cancer was linked to her son and that and that she really is on threshold of becoming closer to the Godess, it is about freedom and Moon energy, sorry i coudn t help it.You become closer to the Mother by breaking the links to the Father, which is what brought her here, sorry i couldn t help it to say it.

  4. Hi Alex!
    Thanks for the thoughts.
    One thing about Maxine when she mentions the physical side of it is that she is 62 years old. When she was younger sge was very strong and if you read about her initiation into the Egyptian cult you will see how strong she not only was, but how strong she needed to be.
    As far as the Goddess, she is the High Priestess. She not only as spent a lifetime representing the Goddess, but bringing her through. It should come as no surprise that she might fall ill in a world as out of balance as ours is.
    She also healed herself and learned a lot about the disease in the process.

  5. How is it like Moonchild? That’s an interesting thought. I read it ages ago and just remember the woman having to eat moon food and not do any physical activities.
    Crowley has never been my favorite person. But he is interesting.

  6. crowley isn t my favorite person either, i guess you just have to read it and look what it would be like if he was healed, like moving a few walls, he s got a real issue with women.he s a little bit out of place, drifting away from his work, but he had the good ideas.He s a good firestarter .its hard to listen to somebody who takes heroin.His work is like ideas who don t have sex with each other.Which is probably he was quite a sex addict.but the book is a mix of fiction, essays on the fourth dimension, essays on the soul and on the artist, which kind of introduce the ritual its nature and everithing that has to be taken into account for its manifestation and there s this story about a woman that is chosen to give birth to the godess, so she s taken to a villa called the butterfly net, that is how they call it for the ritual,and she has to stay in a room or only be fed with things related to the moon, whether colors pictures, plus Moon rituals taking place to catch the essence of the Moon .The way she is chosen for that is close to the way the guy of the Wicker Man is chosen, where the ritual is a natural process.If i remember the person chosen is an actress, dancer singer.And then you ve got people with different magical backgrounds and views who try to stop him.At the end the child escapes to America.

  7. I loved the article and interview with Maxine Sanders. I read ‘King of the Witches’ in 1969 or 1970 and the interview seemed like a meeting with an old friend. I’m sorry to hear of her son’s illness and her physical limitations, but as she states, we have no control over age and time. I am a Witch and am about Maxine’s age (I am 63); I know about physical limitations and wish her complete recovery and GoddessSpeed. Love to Maxine.
    - abra8

  8. Thank you! It was the first interview I ever did and I was worried I didn’t ask very good questions as I didn’t want to drag her over the same old ground. She is a really nice person that I admire greatly. I am glad you enjoyed it.

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