A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, Part III: The Council of Themis

 As described in previous blogs, the attempt to create an umbrella, church-like organization for Pagans was begun by Michael Kinghorn in Los Angeles in 1967. His work led to the creation of the Council of Themis, which, after being founded in 1969, acquired an international membership steadily until 1972. Rather than just list the members, I’ll discuss the important groupings. By 1972, according to various lists and announcements in Green Egg, the Council’s members included the fol … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: The Heartland in the Early 1970s

During the decade from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, at least half the Craft activity in America occurred in California or had direct ties to California, for reasons that might perhaps be transparent to sociologists. I will tell that story next, but first I need to cover developments in the Heartland, many of which tie into that story, especially since one comment has asked why I seem to be ignoring everything in between New York and California. I’m also hoping Orion Foxwood will be able to e … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, 1967-1973, Part II

Here continues descriptions of the groups that were involved in the series of “council” meetings in California that led to the founding of the Covenant of the Goddess in 1975. Fred and Martha AdlerTwo figures little appreciated in Craft history are Fred and Martha Adler, who lived in Hawthorne, CA, and were two of the relatively few Witches who cooperated with Hans Holzer in the late 1960s. According to his Truth About Witchcraft, Martha, convinced she had been a Witch in a previous life … [Read more...]

Imagine Jesus Holding Hands with the Goddess

I am not satisfied with any “mainstream” version of Christianity or any particular Tradition within the Craft movement as being an adequate spiritual path for our times. Using Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled as an objective measurement, both fall far short of what is needed.One cannot talk about both Christianity and the Craft in the same breath IF if one defines them in such a way that they share no common ground at all. Certainly a Christology that defines Jesus as the Lord of Glory, a … [Read more...]

Post-Doctoral Witchcraft (or something like that)

I am thinking about how to teach what I actually know, which is far more than just the Craft, although I would include the advanced but non-oathbound information I have about the Craft, and about religion in general, about spiritual progress, how to reinvent oneself, how to shed all the pernicious nonsense our society teaches to children. For the Craft aspect, the capstone would have to be taught in circle, under oath, without any monetary tuition being paid. I have no clue at the moment how I … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: The BosWash Strip, Alexandrians and Others

Alexandrian Tradition is, in terms of ritual, a minor variant on Gardnerian Witchcraft, although its adherents now far outnumber the orthodox Gardnerians. The tradition goes back to Alexander Sanders (1926-1988), who in 1963 was initiated by Pat Kopanski, an initiate of Patricia Crowther, and allowed to copy her Book of Shadows. As soon as Gerald Gardner died, Sanders began claiming that he had been initiated as a witch at age nine by his grandmother and had received the Book of Shadows from … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: The Family Tree of the New England Coven of Traditionalist Witches, Part II

The New York Coven of Welsh Traditional Witches was founded about 1970 by Edmund Buczynski (1947-1989), Herman Slater (1938-1992), and Leo Martello (1930-2000). All three were among the first to publicly defend gay rights within the Pagan movement, long before the rise of the Gay Rights movement.Ed, who had been working in Lady Gwen’s NECTW coven, brought her rituals to New York and, working with Slater and Martello, gradually rewrote them into the rituals used by the NYCWTW and its d … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: The Family Tree of the New England Coven of Traditionalist Witches, Part I

The New England Coven of Traditionalist Witches was founded in North Haven, CT, in the late 1960s by Lady Gwen Thompson (Phyllis Healey, 1928-1986), who claimed that her family tradition originated in Somerset, England, and was brought to the United States by way of Nova Scotia. This material, she said, was handed down through many generations and blended with popular occultism to become the present form that she named NECTW. Not all who are born into a family tradition are destined to follow … [Read more...]

The Letter to Theophilus, Part II

Of Saint Mark the WonderworkerThe blessed Saint Mark the Wonderworker drew many men and women into our company as students and initiates, teaching skills and celebration of our abilities and gifts.In consecrating the sacred cup of thanksgiving, Mark prayed to the Goddess Charis to drop her sacred blood into the cup that all may be inspired and empowered by it, saying, "May that Charis who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge and speech, fill your inner being and … [Read more...]

The Letter to Theophilus, Part I

The Letter to TheophilusMy dear Theophilus, all the brothers and sisters send you greetings in the name of the Lord and the Lady. I will endeavor to answer your questions concerning the teachings of our founders and of all who have preserved the true mysteries of our faith.The Origin of the True ProphetOur community in Alexandria was founded by our Holy Queen, Mariamme Magdala, wife and successor of the True Prophet Jesus, before she fled for safety to the land of the Gauls. Her … [Read more...]


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