About Writing Witchy History

It ain’t easy. Given that I began saving Green Egg and the other dozen  periodicals we got as exchange subscriptions for The Witches Trine, I began gathering materials for A Tapestry of Witches more than 40 years ago. About ten years later, I began compiling entries about covens and other groups that had announced their existence into a database program on my Apple II that Isaac set up for me; some of those entries still exist in the book now. In the early 90s, when I began the actual writing wo … [Read more...]

A Tapestry of Witches: A History of the Craft in America, Volume I is now available on Amazon

tapestryofwitches

I have released the first volume of the history for which I began gathering data about 30 years ago. It covers from 1893 up to the mid-1970s. There were Witches before Gardnerian Witchcraft was introduced to America by Raymond Buckland, and there still are. The relationship between these two varieties is still a matter for active discussion. The book contains several hundred footnotes, mostly documenting the Wiccan and Pagan periodicals from which I gleaned the data about the existence of … [Read more...]

Goddess Murder, 29: North to Sonoma, 3

XXXI. North to Sonoma, 3 “Dotty sounds like a fascinating character," I said, "but that is one of the most improbable biographies I’ve ever heard.”Andy frowned. “Take any thread in history and it will seem improbable. So many other things could have happened. And perhaps they did. Even physicists believe there could be alternative histories. There may be a universe in which the Nazis won World War Two. There may be one in which the Padres didn’t push north to found Mission Santa Theresa. The … [Read more...]

Goddess Murder, 27: North to Sonoma, Part II

XXIX. North to Sonoma II “That’s enough about me,” I said. “What kind of hereditary Witch are you?”She laughed. “It’s our family tradition. We believe we’ve always followed our own religion, not Christianity, though sometimes we had to pretend in order to survive. It was our enemies who labeled us Witches—that’s not what we called ourselves—but many communities have adopted the name used by their critics: Quakers, Mormons, Cathars, perhaps even the term Christian itself. Our tradition is car … [Read more...]

A Prayer That I Hope Many More Can Say

After I came to AA in September 1976, I began to assemble a litany of morning prayers as a tool for maintaining myself in a fit spiritual condition. I began that litany with the “Lord’s Prayer,” the “Our Father,” the Paternoster, because I know it is a truly Jewish prayer, as taught by that tragic Rabbi. I have found every thought in it stated in other words somewhere in the Talmud.AA is a simple program, simple but not easy. All you need to do is change yourself, change everything you have e … [Read more...]

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 b … [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 first o … [Read more...]

A History of the Craft in America: The Council of Earth Religions and the Green Egg Yellow Pages

[I apologize to my dedicated readers. It has been rough. I plan to resume posting something almost every day.]Tim Zell’s discussions with the groups he had visited in California in August 1972 established the basis for dividing the Council of Themis into two separate organizations; hence various groups formed the new Council of Earth Religions on August 31, 1972. COER represented a continuation of the effort to find a way to create a national networking organization for Pagan religions. The C … [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 fol … [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...]


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