A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, VII: A Church for Witches

After the second Pagan Ecumenical Council meeting in June 1974, Gwydion and I continued to discuss the problem of how to organize a "church" for Witches, now that we had a reason not to have to include Pagans in general. In a way, it was like trying to set up an organization for anarchists—so that one could be the Anarch. There were already organizations whose members were individual Witches, but these were not meeting the need. Most Witches at that time clearly believed that one normally … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, Part V, 1974-1975

Here begins what will become Volume IB or II of the finished book. As I mentioned, many important changes took place in 1973 within at least half a dozen different Traditions. As a result, the period 1974 to 1979, which I will now begin covering for the whole of the USA and parts of Canada, requires a new chapter. I’m starting with events in California in the mid-1970s, not because they were the only developments at that time, but they turned out to have national implications. Focusing … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

A Brief History of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, Part I

Having been a co-founder of the NROOGD and a ringleader in it for its first decade, I naturally have at least ten times more information about it than about almost any other Craft or Pagan group. Trying to include all that in the general history of the Craft that these blogs are aiming toward would have totally unbalanced it. Putting it together in my Hippie Commie Beatnik Witches has solved the problem. Here I will be giving a much more general overview of the NROOGD, in about as much detail as … [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...]

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...]

Joe Wilson, Part III: England

Wilson wanted to go to England to contact the many people he knew through his magazine who claimed to have knowledge of the Old Religion. In September 1969 he was assigned to RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, England.  On the way I stopped in New York to visit Susan Roberts and look at the galley proofs of her book. Also at that meeting were Ed Fitch, Ray Buckland, John Hansen, and Joe Luchak. We agreed that her book was as accurate as possible, and knew that after publication it would generate … [Read more...]