Spiritual Maturity for Pagans—and Everyone Else

Many years ago I ran across a “scale of spiritual maturity” that was both theoretically interesting and useful in practice. I’ve never able to relocate it. I thought it was called “The Myers-Briggs Scale . . .” but searching on that turns up nothing but their Jungian personality typology, which seems to be neither more nor less scientifically valid than the Enneagram or one’s natal chart. Each of these, like many other systems, relies on intuition in order to be of any use.However, I clearly … [Read more...]

Six Songs After Lalla Yogishwari

I.                    Perception  When Sun was unperceived,Then moonlight came.When Moon was unperceived,Then thought remained.When thought was unperceived,The wind blew roundAnd, nothing undeceived,Made not a sound.  II.                  Sound  Restless mind, be unafraid.The one with no beginning meditates on you,On how your hunger may fall away from you.Chant the unobstructed sound to Him alone. The ever-unobstructed soundHas … [Read more...]

Of Pagan Spirituality and Addiction

If you have the misfortune to be both Pagan and an addict, you may face the hurdle caused by the mistaken notion that Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve-Step programs are inherently Christian or at least monotheistic in nature. I hope here to lower that hurdle.The seed for AA came from Carl Jung, who had been working with Roland, who could not stay sober. Finally Jung suggested to him, as a last resort, that sometimes people who had a conversion experience were able to stop drinking and … [Read more...]

The Pagan Way

In a strict chronology, I should next be discussing events in California and New England in the late 1960s, but, given the problem of many developments all happening more or less simultaneously, I think it will be clearer if I wrap up some later history of the Pagan Way movement, since I have covered its origins.In creating the Pagan Way, Joe Wilson, Ed Fitch, John Hansen, and the other members of the Committee of Correspondence created a form of Witchcraft that was Gardnerian in all but a … [Read more...]

Raymond Buckland and Seax-Wica

In my last blog about the Gardnerians, I indicated that, because of changes in his life situation, in 1973 Ray Buckland found himself at loose ends. Further, after a decade of administering the Long Island coven, he had come to see some disadvantages in the Gardnerian Tradition as received from Lady Olwen, particularly its hierarchic structure.The “Old Laws” or “Ardanes,” which both Doreen Valiente and I have established were not written until 1959, do provide for two kinds of governing struc … [Read more...]

Pagan Theology: The Problem of Anything

I have been arguing with myself about posting about the matters herein discussed. I am sure many readers will ask, “What in the world does any of this have to do with Paganism?” Since my overall agenda is to argue that current Paganism is just as genuine a religion as any other, I need to demonstrate that a Pagan theology can provide adequate answers to the fundamental questions that any mature religion must be able to answer. Perhaps many people will find the content of this and subsequent blo … [Read more...]

The [American] Gardnerians, 1973-75

[Several colleagues have recommended more precision in titling.]In 1972, after a decade of leading the Long Island coven, Lady Rowen (Rosemary Buckland) decided to retire, and so elevated Lady Theos (Judy Kneitel) and Phoenix (Tom Kneitel, 1933-2008) to be the coven’s new High Priestess and High Priest. At first the Bucklands remained active as Elders in the coven, but then they separated and started becoming less active. When Theos and Phoenix realized that Rowen might no longer be a … [Read more...]

The Gardnerians, 1963-1972

Raymond Buckland was one of the very first people to foresee how important the Gardnerian Witchcraft movement would be and who therefore imported it into the US. I am personally very grateful to Ray, not only for the nice things he said about me in his Witchcraft from the Inside, but also because it was his strong recommendation that persuaded Carl Weschcke to publish my Crafting the Art of Magick: A History of Witchcraft in England, 1939-1964. That was the popularized version of my doctoral … [Read more...]

To Remember Thomas DeLong, Who Wrote as Gwydion Pendderwen, On the Second (Now the Thirtieth) Anniversary Of His Going into Eternal Life

I remember the night I first met you On Bernal Heights, before we knewThe Craft would cross our paths.The strident horn of your flaming carDrew me to the street: beforeThe doors of Hightower, whereLord Randall ruled his madCourt of science-fictioneers,Van the Dagda read an Anglican wakeOver your still-smoking engine.I remember you, and I begin to let you go.  I remember how you sang to me and AltaWhen you first visited us in … [Read more...]

Yet Another Three Pagan Poems

Alchemical Sonnets  Four worldly indivisibles divide the sphere,Plus three unworldly to define the here:Fire, spirit, water, after, air,Before, and earth: of these six will pair;Three pairs, and spirit, again give fourThat mark the now, a sevenfold metaphorMuch like the week: we could name the daysAfter seven other gods, or in other waysKeep track of when we are or will be, yetWe have them, and they're good enough to getUs from play to work and … [Read more...]