New York: Blue Star Tradition

[An excerpt from Vol. II of A Tapestry of Witches}

The Coven of the Blue Star evolved from one established in Philadelphia in 1975 by Franque Dufner, “the Wizard.” He had earned Third Degree in the NYCWTW tradition through “Lady Kay,” and had also played a role in the founding of the Covendom of Valhalla. Dufner, with Lady Pamela, a Gardnerian High Priestess who served as an Elder, founded the fledgling 12-member coven, which also included two other Priestesses: Lady Pamela, and her daughter, Lady Maria. The members were largely students from Pagan Way classes conducted by Lady Pamela in the Philadelphia area and persons involved with Dufner’s household in the Society for Creative Anachronism, the Vale of the Flaming Sword. (1)

On New Year’s Eve 1977, Franque met Tzipora Katz at a party sponsored by Bishop Geoffrey from the SCA. They spent a few months traveling back and forth between Brooklyn, NY, and Norristown, PA, until Franque finally moved to NYC. In May of 1977 he initiated Tzipora into his tradition, compounded from Pagan Way, Alexandrian, and NYCWTW sources. Tzipora married Franque, and served as a Priestess. By the end of the year he had introduced Tzipora to the five people that would eventually form Blue Star: Shanna and Greg P., Dierdre and Edward S., and Michael S. (Hagar to most). The new coven split time for rituals between the two states. Franque also introduced Tzipora to many of the people he knew in the local Pagan scene in PA, including Lady Pam and Lady Maria. Pam monitored the new coven, sometimes from a distance, but during this period both she and Tzipora were teaching the Pagan Way classes at Herman Slater’s Magickal Childe store.

Within the next year Tzipora and Frank opened an occult shop in Manhattan at 33rd and 3rd  called Tzipora and the Wizard; they were holding open circles on Sunday afternoons in 1978. (2) Here they met Michelle D. and Tamara and Richard James. Michelle and Tamara, like Tzipora, had come from more traditional (that is, pre-Gardnerian) family lines, and the three shared many rituals and “secrets” with each other. They also developed a circle opening using the aspects of the Triple Goddess, with Tamara as the Crone, Tzipora the Mother, and Michelle the Maiden, quite similar to the NROOGD’s “Three Priestess” Sabbat ritual.

Eventually, Michelle followed Richard and Tamara to Toronto, where they opened an occult shop and later founded The Wiccan Church of Canada. Around Beltane of 1979 the original members of Blue Star left; apparently the distance between New York and Pennsylvania was finally too much. Edward and Dierdre went on to work with Ray Buckland and then founded the Maidenhill Coven.

Blue Star, after moving to Queens and then Brooklyn, began acquiring new members, among them Tina and Carl T., who later moved on to found the Crystal Blue Star coven in Queens. The coven grew to 26 people, running classes and rituals almost every day of the week, and soon had affiliate groups in Philadelphia, Binghampton, Youngstown, OH, and Monticello,  and developed as a traditionalist-style alternative to more rigid groups in these areas. Fusing elements from a variety of sources, the coven was humorously listed as practicing “Great American Nontraditional Collectic Eclectic Wicca” during its registration process as the thirty-ninth member coven of the Covenant of the Goddess in February 1980. (3) Franque and Tzipora parted ways in 1983. By that time Blue Star was working in an Alexandrian framework (Tzipora also had Alexandrian lineage from Ron P. of Lunastra Coven in Massachusetts) with a good deal of pre-Gardnerian tradition mixed in. (4)

 

NOTES

1. Major data herein was retrieved from http://wiki.wiccanweb.ca/index.php?title=Blue_Star_Wicca, which contained an essay by Tzipora Katz on Blue Star history, here supplemented with data from her. Tzipora read and has kindly approved the final version of this entry. (Sadly the link to that essay no longer works.)

2. Robin Hood’s Barn (later became Pagana) no. 1 (1979), p. 4.

3. Adapted from Gillette 1997, and originally published in Wiccan Candles: A Voice For Pagans

4. The history of Blue Star will be continued in Vol. III.

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