Magick Family: Intrafaith Organizations
Magick Family: Intrafaith Organizations
Alliance of the Phoenix
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Alliance of the Phoenix is an umbrella organization of independent houses (centers/groups) dedicated to the Netjer (Egyptian gods). Alliance was formed in the mid-1990s to provide a supportive forum for all who worship the Netjer by promoting fellowship and encouraging ongoing education. It is closely associated with the House of the Open Eye, a San Francisco-based Egyptian Neopagan group.
Membership: Not reported.
American Council of Witches
While several Pagan-wide ecumenical fellowships had formed in the early 1970s, there was a felt need by some NeoPagan witches for a similar group based in the Gardnerian witchcraft or Wiccan movement. Taking the lead in building such a structure was Carl Weschcke, owner of Llewellyn Publications and publisher of Gnostica magazine. In 1974 he called together a meeting of Wiccan leaders and members to be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At that meeting the council was formed and officers elected. Weschcke was chosen to head the council.
Possibly the most important work of the council was the issuing of a lengthy statement, the "Principles of Wiccan Beliefs," which summarized the consensus of belief of those groups that had emerged out of the Gardnerian Witchcraft revival. It affirmed witchcraft as a nature-oriented religion based in rites attuned to the natural rhythms of life exemplified in the phases of the moon and the seasonal movement of the sun. Wiccans seek to live in harmony with nature. They believe the Creative Power of the universe is manifested in polarity, male and female, and they value sex as pleasure, the symbol and embodiment of life, to be utilized as a source of energy in worship and magical practice. The statement went on to emphasize the non-hierarchial nature of the Wiccan movement and their non-belief in "absolute evil" or the concept of "Satan" or the "devil."
The council immediately ran into the fierce independency of Wiccans, many of whom saw any attempt to organize above the coven level as an attempt to control. While many gave tacit approval to the council, it was never able to function as it was designed. It survived into the early 1980s.
American Vinland Association (AVA)
537 Jones, Ste. 2154
San Francisco, CA 94102
The American Vinland Association (AVA) is fellowship of Pagans following the traditions of northern and central Europe. A very similar Paganism, popularly termed Norse, was practiced from Iceland across Scandinavia to Poland, Russia, and Siberia. They are united in following the same deities, the old gods of the Aesir and Vanir, but have a wide range of beliefs and practices and use some very different terminology.
The association is headed by a board of directors, the Jafner. It functions as a licensing board for priests, priestesses, and elders. Regional coordinators have been appointed for Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Oregon, and New Mexico.
Membership: In 1998, the AVA reported some 100 members in 19 member groups in the United States and 20 members in two groups in Canada.
Periodicals: Yarbok. • Yogdrasil Update. Available from 1200 Madison, 657, Denver, CO 80206.
Council of Themis
The Council of Themis was an early attempt to form a cooperative ecumenical organization among the new Neo-Pagan groups which were emerging around the United States. It was founded by Fred Adams and Richard Stanewick of Feraferia in January 1969. They had previously received correspondence about such an organization from Tim Zell, the founder of the Church of All Worlds (CAW) and editor of possibly the most popular Pagan periodical at the time, Green Egg. Feraferia and CAW cojointly administered the council. Among the early members of the council were the Dancers of the Sacred Circle, The Ordo Templi Astarte, the Delphic Fellowship, the Psychedelic Venus Church, the Church of the Eternal Source, a variety of Wiccan covens, and the Hellenic Group, a member of the council in the United Kingdom.
The council, named for the Aegean goddess Themis, conceived of itself as a trans-sectarian council of Nature religions and had as its goal to serve as a forum for the exchange of information. It accepted as a common basis of association a belief in polytheism, worship of Nature focusing on the goddess and god as divine lovers, and reincarnation. It advocated freedom of worship, an openness to eroticism, non-violence, and a mythic approach to reality.
The council prospered for several years. Most of the member groups were located in Southern California, but its active leadership was offered by the St. Louis, Missouri-based Church of All Worlds, the largest Pagan group in terms of membership. Then in 1972, the council moved to expel two members, the Psychedelic Venus Church and the Hellenic Group. The former was accused of public advocation of the use of illegal drugs and the public exploitation of sexual practices. The Hellenic Group had advocated a public "bloody sacrifice" of a lamb. The actions provoked intense debate within the council, which led to its splitting; those members who left formed the Pagan Ecumenical Council. While the Council of Themis survived for several more years, it was an ineffective organization and for all practical purposes had ceased to exist.
An account of the Council of Themis, highly disputed as to its accuracy, appeared in The New Pagans by popular occult writer Hans Holzer (Doubleday, 1972). More accurate information can be found in the several official publications of the council and the pages of the Green Egg.
℅ Clonegal Castle
The Fellowship of Isis is an international association of goddess followers that operates both as an ecumenical fellowship and a primary religious home for individuals with pagan and other goddess worshipping beliefs. It was founded in 1976 by author and painter Olivia Robertson to revive worship and communion with the feminine principle in deity in the form of the goddess and to promote knowledge of the world's matriarchal religions. To this end, Robertson and her brother and coleader in the fellowship, Lawrence Durdin-Robertson (d. 1994), authored a number of books on goddess worship. Olivia Robertson wrote a liturgy that is used by many Lyceums and Iseums groups referred to College of Isis and Hearths of the Goddess respectively.
The fellowship is organized on a democratic basis, and there are no vows of secrecy. It accepts religious toleration, as a wide variety of New Age thought coexists in the fellowship. Communication between members is maintained through literature and correspondence and its more than 600 centers worldwide. The fellowship includes the College of Isis, through which it offers a structured course in the fellowship's liturgy; the Order of Tara, an order of chivalry which works to save the environment; and the Druid Clan of Dana, whose primary work is the development of psychic gifts. Helper of Isis offer practical social and healing work, including animal welfare.
The group's Internet site is at http://www.fellowship/of/isis.com.
Membership: In 2002 the loosely organized fellowship had a total combined membership of approximately 20,758 individuals in groups located in 96 countries. In 2002 the College of Isis had 117 lyceums in 13 countries; the Druid Clan had 71 groves in 17 countries; and the Order of Tara had 45 priories in 12 countries.
Educational Facilities: Lyceums, Spiral of the Adepti.
Periodicals: Isian News.
The College of Isis Manual. Enniscorthy, Erie: Cesara Publications, n.d.
Durdin-Robertson. The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria and Egypt. Eniscorthy, Erie: Cesara Publications, 1975.
Durdin-Robertson and Lord Strathloch. The Fellowship of Isis Directory for 1980. Enniscorthy, Erie: Cesara Publications, 1979.
Robertson, Olivia. The Call of Isis. Enniscorthy, Erie: Cesare Publications, 1975.
——. Dea: Rites and Mysteries of the Goddess. Enniscorthy, Erie: Cesara Publications, 1996. 71 pp.
——. The Handbook of the Fellowship of Isis. Enniscorthy, Erie: Cesara Publications, 1996. 11pp.
Frigga's Web Association
PO Box 143
Trimble, MO 64492
Frigga's Web, named for one of the Norse deities who is thought of as the spiritual mother of all Heathen people, is an ecumenical organization founded in 1995 and designed to further the cause of the Heathen society and promote Heathen solidarity. Founder Alissa Sorenson saw the Web as a fruitful space for pro-Heathen interaction by focusing upon the commonalities rather than differences. She emphasized the fact that most of the issues that divide the Asatru folk do not affect the great majority of Heathen existence. The association's website is at www.friggasweb.org.
Membership: In 1997, the Web reported 70 members in the United States, two in Canada, and 10 in other countries.
Periodicals: Lina: The Quarterly Journal of Friga's Web
Order of Napunsakas in the West (O.N.)
PO Box 1219
Corpus Christi, TX 78403-1219
The Order of Napunsakas in the West (O.N.) was founded in 1996 as a special interest group (SIG) associated with the Servants of the Star and the Snake. It was inspired by the writings of the late Alain Danilou (author of such books as The Gods of India: Hindu Polytheism; Shiva and Dionysus; and While the Gods Play). The Hindu word "napunska" designates some 16 categories of non-heterosexual, gender variant types mentioned in the Sanskrit dictionary of V. S. Apte. Members of the O.N. seek to reestablish the natural, divine order found in pre-Aryan Shaivism, but the emphasis is on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Tantra. The Outer Order is open to all napunskas; affiliates are considered as associate members. An Inner Order, the Cultus Skanda-Karttikeya(C.S.-K.), is open to gay males only, and only upon formal, in-person diksha, or initiation. The focus of the C.S.-K. is on gay Tantra with special emphasis on the sadhana (or worship or more properly, adoration) of the Hindu Deity Skanda as patron of gays, in His many forms (Kumara, Marugan, etc.).
The current head of the O.N./C.S.-K. is Sahajananda Skanda-Das.
Membership: Not reported.
Pagan Ecumenical Council
The Pagan Ecumenical Council was an early, short-lived Pagan ecumenical association founded in 1972 following a split in the Council of Themis. The council, possibly the earliest of the Neo-Pagan efforts to build a cooperative body, expelled two members for un-Paganlike activities. Both the method and legality of the expulsion were questioned by various members of the Council of Themis, some of whom accused co-founder Fred Adams of Fereferia of assuming dictatorial powers. They left and founded the rival Pagan Ecumenical Council. Leading members of the new council included the Church of All Worlds, Church of the Eternal Source, the Rainbow Coven (a Wiccan group), the Dancers of the Sacred Circle, and popular writer Ed Fitch, associated with the Pagan Way. The new council was to be democratically organized and within the first year grew to include some five member groups.
The council continued to function for a few years but soon died as the Pagan movement, especially in Southern California, changed and developed.
Pagan Federation/Federation paienne—Canada (PFFC)
Box 32, Stn. "B"
Ottawa, ON, Canada K1P 6C3
The Pagan Federation/Federation paienne—Canada (PFFC) was formed in 1994 based upon the model of the Pagan Federation (UK), founded in 1971 in the United Kingdom. Originally named the Pagan Front, the federation had functioned as an umbrella organization for the groups that emerged from the revival of pre-Christian Paganism initiated by Gerald B. Gardner in the 1950s. Some of those who resonated to the Gardnerian impulse called themselves Witches or Wiccans; others preferred the name Pagan. It functioned to provide communication between various British Pagan groups and new seekers; contact between British Pagans and those in other European countries; and information on Paganism, which was often parodied and defamed in the press, to the British public.
The need for a Pagan Federation in Canada emerged as many Canadian Witches and Pagans began to change their strategy of assuming a low profile in Canadian religious life to one of assuming a visible and recognizable place in the larger religious community. That change has been prompted in part by the open acknowledgement of Pagans by various government and religious authorities. In addition, some Pagan leaders have seen the need to provide religious services for Pagans in various institutional settings (prisons, hospitals, the armed services) and hence the need for chaplaincy services. Chaplains are usually appointed from recognized religious groups whose officials can interact with institutional authorities. Finally, there remains a need to fight for the religious rights and freedoms of Pagans and others in Canada's various new religions.
An opening for interaction with authorities was provided in 1994 when Lucie DuFresne of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa was asked by the Canadian Association of Pastoral Education to lead a training session on Wicca and goddess worship. While at the meeting, she realized some of the major problems that would arise as chaplains attempted to relate to hospitalized Pagans.
Membership in the federation is open to anyone who accepts the Pagan minimal principles: Love for and kinship with Nature; the Pagan ethic: "That ye harm none, do what thou will"; and acceptance of deity as both male and female.
Membership: Not reported.
Periodicals: Hecate's Loom, Box 5206, Sta."B," Victoria, BC, Canada V8R 6N4.
Du Fresne, Lucie, Adrienne Slater, and Dave Slater. "Pagan Federation/Federation Paenne—Canada." Hecate's Loom 27 (Imbolc 1995): 9-10.
Universal Federation of Pagans
Athens, GA 30604
The Universal Federation of Pagans (UFP) was founded in the mid-1990s as an international association of Pagans promoting the cause of Paganism in the world and the larger religious community and providing fellowship among Pagans of varying beliefs and practices. Inspiration for the federation came from the 1993 World's Parliament of Religions, which gathered in Chicago and at which Pagans were a highly visible presence. It accepts members from paths (equivalent to a denomination in Christianity), circles (equivalent to a congregation), or individuals. Affiliated paths (which must be legally incorporated and have at least five circles) are granted two seats on the UFP Council of Elders and in the UFP General Assembly, which guide the work of the federation. Member circles are granted one seat in the Council of Elders and representation in the General Assembly. Individual members (remembering that many Pagans operate as solitaires) are granted representation in the General Assembly.
Members of the federation are expected to be knowledgeable concerning Pagans, to conduct themselves in an ethical manner, and to promote actively the cause and ideals of Paganism in their daily life and in their relations with others. Members are generally expected to accept a basic consensus of Pagan belief and be in general agreement with the "Declaration of a Global Ethic" as formulated and promulgated by the 1993 World's Parliament of Religions.
Membership: Among the original supporting members of the federation are the Church of All Worlds and the Avalon Isle Foundation.
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