Sed Rite – Alex Sanders at the Temple of the Mother, 15 Clanricarde Gardens, London, 1976

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    In 1976, Alex Sanders wrote to Maxine Sanders at the Temple of the Mother requesting a ritual of renewal; his having felt he had lost his way and wanted to come back to a spiritual path.


    Alex prepared and purified for several months in the lead up to the ceremony given complexity and duration of the rite which was based on the Egyptian Sed rite of the ‘renewal of the king’s rule and health’.


    The occasion was attended by many from the occult world including Michael Howard; by accounts, there was an abundance of floral arrangements, bouquets, and bay trees adorning the ‘throne room’ at the front; the overflow of people spilt into the outside staircase and onto the street.


    However, only a select few Priests and Priestesses performed the rite, including Wendy and Joan (pictured); Maxine did not participate in the rite as she was greeting guests in the reception room (the temple was at the back of the flat).


    The images below depict the ‘showing of the King’ after the ritual. Prior to entering the temple, Alex had undergone cleansing and purification. He entered the temple robed in pure white and through the rite, emerged the transformed King.


    In terms of regalia and surrounding artefacts: Alex’s headdress was crafted by Chris Moroz (Scorp) (dec. [2016]); the Egyptian crook & flail belonged to Maxine Sanders and the Temple of the Mother, as did the heavily-carved altar depicted in the background; Wendy’s crown was that which Maxine Sanders wore on the cover image of her ghost-written autobiography ‘Maxine: the Witch Queen’; Maxine’s floral crown was made by and gifted to her from Alex.


    Alex was reportedly taken with the ritual and regalia and did not want to change out of the robes.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. The transformed King emerging from the Sed Rite. (L) Wendy Llywelyn-Harries; (C) Alex Sanders; (R) John Ryan.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. The transformed King. (Back L) TBC [Alan ?]; (L) Wendy Llywelyn-Harries; (C) Alex Sanders; (2nd R) Joan; (R) Big Mick.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. The Throne.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. The transformed King being seated. (L) Wendy Llywelyn-Harries; (C) Alex Sanders; (R) Joan.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Alex Sanders, the transformed King; (Bottom) Wendy Llywelyn-Harries.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Alex Sanders, the transformed King, post-Sed Rite.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Alex Sanders, the transformed King, post-Sed Rite.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Alex Sanders, the transformed King, post-Sed Rite.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Alex Sanders, the transformed King, Crook & Flail crossed.

    Image source: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Maxine Sanders.



    By Wendy Llywelyn-Harries

    Memories of Alex


    The late 1960s early 70s was an exciting time, many ways and traditions were being challenged, and questions asked. Some seekers travelled to India to the gurus and mystics while others of us were drawn to the western mysteries.


    Alex with his charismatic showmanship, experimentation and love for the magic, opened up the Wiccan path which without him being in the public eye would have stayed hidden. Some would argue it should have remained hidden but many others will argue it needed that time to develop.


    My time with Alex after my initiation was shortly before Alex left London.


    I do remember he was full of life at that time. He was always surrounded by followers listening to his every word and could excite and hold their interest whether it was him speaking or his spirit guide Michael. Alex understood psychology well and used this, not always wisely.


    He had a fun mischievous way even in ritual which would keep you on your toes and a warm generous nature that made you feel at ease but woe betide anyone who thought they could fool him. He did not approve of drug-taking and would teach those a lesson who ignored this.


    The both serious and fun Alex inspired many of us to explore and Dare to Do which led us to evolve and hone our Craft.


    As all religions must evolve to survive, years later Alex visited the Temple of the Mother. This had evolved from Alex’s beginning and the priesthood and magic were strong. He joined our ritual, but I don’t think he was prepared for such a disciplined group. As was his way, he was being a little mischievous and tried to disrupt the ritual but sensitive to the magic he was quietened and reminded of the connection which I think through the path he had been following he had lost and wished to reconnect with again.


    Maxine and David visited him several times at his home and told the group he wished to return to the path and they agreed to help do the Sed ritual a renewing of his kingship.


    As far as I remember Maxine and David organised and arranged the ritual. I was chosen to be the Sun priestess and Joan the Moon priestess.


    We were to be in full regalia and fully prepared for when he arrived at the temple.


    The robe and shawl I wore was one I had bought and worn in previous rituals. The Egyptian sun crown I wore was lent to me by Maxine.


    The outer and inner temples were fully prepared before the arrival of Alex and there was an abundance of flowers and sweet smelling incense burning.


    As Sun and Moon priestess we greeted Alex as he arrived and led him to the bathroom. We gave Alex a full purification bath. Alex humbly gave himself over to us, at first he was a little shaky.


    Nothing was rushed, but once dried we used consecrated oil and dressed him in a clean white linen robe. It was not made for the occasion but one I had previously made which quite by chance fitted him perfectly.


    When Alex came out with each of us at his side, He looked younger, stood taller and with presence and I glimpsed the real Alex.


    We led him through to the outer temple where many had gathered. We took Alex through to the middle chamber to continue preparations and apply his makeup.


    Incense was burning and prayers were read the whole time, Alex appeared to zone in and out but remained still and silent throughout.


    I have strangely no real memories of the ritual, perhaps because at a later time another ritual was performed to undo the Sed ritual, though I was not a part of this.


    However, I do have some vague memories of singing the Osiris song. I remember this because when Alex died years later I had been unable to travel down to London to attend [the funeral] but found a quiet spot outside and remembering that time, chose and sang the Osiris song to honour Alex and say farewell.


    I do remember after the ritual bringing him out to the outer temple and to all those who were there to greet him including the press. He was now in full regalia confident and magnificent but I could no longer see the Real Alex as I had seen him earlier in just the white robe.


    I hoped this ritual would have allowed him to reconnect and be true to the magic but sadly I don’t think it did.


    I never saw Alex again after that although towards the end of his life we shared some exchange of letters and he sent me some red material, remembering the robe I wore as Sun priestess.