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Thread: Here's a new biography featuring Christina Oakley Harrington

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    Aug 2008
    Reading, Berkshire in England UK

    Here's a new biography featuring Christina Oakley Harrington

    Hail Ho Guys

    Merry we meet

    Here's a new biography featuring Christina Oakley Harrington, owner of the now famous "Treadwell's Bookshop" here in London UK. I wrote this bio some time ago in May this year, and as is my practise, I have tried to contact the subject with questions to verify my findings, correct any mistakes, and seek her approval. While we have exchanged emails in the past on various subjects, it seems she is now to busy to respond and comment?? After waiting six months, time has therefore come to release it regardless:

    Christina Oakley Harrington - Written and compiled by George Knowles

    Christina Oakley Harrington is a respected historian, researcher and academic commentator on the history of Paganism and Witchcraft in the UK and Ireland. A Wiccan High Priestess, she is a founding director of "Treadwell’s Bookshop", one of the UK’s premier Occult bookshops located in Bloomsbury, London.

    Born in America to an English father, a Geologist working for the United Nations, and American mother, an amateur Anthropologist, her parents were dedicated to Third World economic development. As a result, Christina was raised mainly in West Africa, were she recalls attending her first religious ceremony at the age of five, that of a young girl’s initiation rite in Northern Liberia. Later the family moved to Burma where she experienced Buddhism, and through the early 1970’s lived in Chile during the turbulent rule of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte.

    At the age of 15 Christina returned to England to completed her formal education at an American style academy, a transition she refers to as "a severe culture shock where they had strange tribes, like football teams, cheerleaders and computer geeks." She then entered University studying for a BSc degree in International Politics and History. Her interest in Politics was negligible however, and she spent most of her time reading Latin and Medieval poetry, of which she was particularly fond of the American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892), and his "Leaves of Grass" poetry.

    Also at University and since her early 20s, Christina has been a pagan, but how did she find paganism? During an interview she has stated "I was heartened to discover Europe’s native religious traditions", and further explained: "Well, I had always had this ‘tree thing’, Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass. I was a failed Buddhist, I liked to drink and smoke and enjoyed sex too much for that, and a friend suggested I read a book on paganism. I did and thought "Oh God, this is what I am!"

    After graduating University, Christina spent the next few years working in Corporate business, before returning to study at University College London (UCL) and there completing a PhD degree in Medieval History. She then began a career in academia and throughout the 1990s was an Assistant Professor (lecturer) in Medieval and Theological History at the University of Surrey. During the course of her tenure, Christina received a sponsored ‘University Research Fellowship’ from Queens University, Belfast, the result of which was the publication of a book in 2002 entitled "Women in a Celtic Church" (*for a review see below).

    While Christina loved her work teaching at the University of Surrey, with growing academic interest in the ‘History of Paganism’ inspired by books and scholarly works from the likes of Aidan A. Kelly in America, and Ronald Hutton (Professor of History at Bristol University) here in the UK, she began seeking a place where she could develop and advance such academic interest. To this end she founded and opened "Treadwell’s Bookshop" in 2003.

    Treadwell’s Bookshop at 34 Tavistock St, Covent Garden, London (Pic)

    A traditional old style bookshop specialising in Occult, Magick and Pagan literature, Treadwell’s also stocked the usual magickal accessories of wands, herbal potions, tarot cards and incense. Under Christina’s guidance however, Treadwell’s became more than just a bookshop, for it has and evolved into a cultural centre focused on building bridges between the esoteric community and the wider worlds of academia. It is now a place where people with an interest in the Occult, Paganism and Witchcraft can comfortably meet and exchange ideas.

    Using her contacts in academic circles Christina regularly invites speakers from nearby Oxford and Cambridge Universities to talk on specialized subjects, as well as prominent authors and practitioners from the wider Pagan community to share their knowledge and experience with interested audiences. Today the shop is host to numerous evenings and weekend talks, lectures and classes covering all manner of esoteric subjects. Her mission statement when starting the shop was: "To provide a place for people who have a Spiritual, Occult or Pagan interest, a place that can link the Pagan and Occult world to the world of Literature, Art, and Philosophy", and this she has achieved in abundance.

    Aside from running the bookshop, as a Wiccan Priestess Christina conducts open rituals in Central London, serves on the central committee of the Pagan Federation UK, and is currently an editor of its magazine "The Pagan Dawn". She is also co-editor with Rob Ansell of "Abraxas: A Journal of Esoteric Studies". Well known to the media as a spokesperson on Paganism and Witchcraft, Christina was featured in the documentary film "Celtic Legends", and has appeared on the "Richard and Judy" television talk show in the UK. She has also given interviews to the BBC World Service, Radio 4 and 5, and Resonance Radio, and been mentioned in such national newspapers and magazines as Stern, Marie Claire, Time Out and Women’s Weekly. She is also a frequent guest speaker at national and international academic conferences.

    More recently, at a time when small bookshops are failing due to the popularity of the internet, and when those still running are struggling to survive, Treadwell’s bookshop is expanding. At the start of 2011 the shop was relocated to larger premises at 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1.

    Treadwell’s - the new shop at 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WCI (Pic)

    According to Christina, "Treadwell’s had to expand and relocate from its old premises in Covent Garden. The spiritual centre of London is the old British Library in the heart of the British Museum. There is a tradition for people going to Bloomsbury looking for knowledge, for inspiration - both artistic and creative - and it is here where people look for others who might share their desire for intellectual freedom. I aspire to carry on that tradition."


    "Women in a Celtic Church" (Oxford University Press - May 2002)

    *A Review:

    A history of women in the early Irish church has never before been written, despite perennial interest in the early Christianity of Celtic areas, and indeed the increasing interest in gender and spirituality generally. This book covers the development of women's religious professions in the primitive church in St Patrick's era and the development of large women's monasteries such as Kildare, Clonbroney, Cloonburren, and Killeedy. It traces its subject through the heyday of the seventh century, through the Viking era, and the Culdee reforms, to the era of the Europeanization of the twelfth century. The place of women and their establishments is considered against the wider Irish background and compared with female religiosity elsewhere in early medieval Europe. The author demonstrates that while Ireland was distinct it was still very much part of the wider world of Western Christendom, and it must be appreciated as such. Grounded in the primary material of the period the book places in the foreground many largely unknown Irish texts in order to bring them to the attention of scholars in related fields. Throughout the study the author notes widespread ideas about Celtic women, pagan priestesses, and Saint Brigit, considering how these perceptions came about in light of the texts and historiographical traditions of the previous centuries.


    The Book of English Magic" by Phillip Carr Gomm and Richard Heygate

    Plus others to many too mention.

    Written and compiled on the 22nd May 2011, first published on the 03rd November 2011 © George Knowles

    Best Wishes.

    Merry we part.

    George Knowles (Man in Black).
    E-mail -
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    Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.
    Last edited by GeorgeKnowles; November 9th, 2011 at 03:50 PM.



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