In 1900, he moved to colonial Ceylon, and then in 1911 to Malaya, where he worked as a civil servant, independently developing an interest in the native peoples and writing papers and a book about their magical practices.
After his retirement in 1936, he travelled to Cyprus, penning the novel A Goddess Arrives before returning to England.
Settling down near the New Forest, he joined an occult group, the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship, through which he claimed to have encountered the New Forest coven into which he was initiated in 1939.
Believing the coven to be a survival of the pre-Christian Witch-Cult discussed in the works of Margaret Murray, he decided to revive the faith, supplementing the coven's rituals with ideas borrowed from Freemasonry, ceremonial magic and the writings of Aleister Crowley to form the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca.
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