Bonewits, P(hilip) E(mmons) I(saac) (1949-)

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Bonewits, P(hilip) E(mmons) I(saac) (1949-)

A Pagan priest who has attained some measure of fame as America's first "academically accredited" practitioner of magic. He holds the first (and only) Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in magic from the University of California, Berkeley. Bonewits (pronounced Bon -a-wits) was born October 1, 1949, in Michigan, and came to Berkeley from Laguna Beach in 1967. He originally studied psychology, but found this limiting, and succeeded in finding a professor who agreed to sponsor a major in occult science. This degree was granted June 16, 1970, after which Bonewits published a very successful book about his academic sojourn under the title Real Magic (1971).

While at Berkeley, Bonewits roomed with Robert Larson, who had previously attended Carleton College. In the 1960s Carleton was the site for the formation of the Reformed Druids of North America. The idea of Druidism appealed to Bonewits, and he and Larson formed a Druid grove in Berkeley. Bonewits was ordained as a Druid priest in 1969.

In 1974 he moved to Minneapolis to become editor of the occult journal Gnostica (1974-75). He also established a Druid group in Minneapolis and founded the Aquarian Anti-Defamation League, a short-lived Pagan defense organization. In 1976 Bonewits returned to Berkeley. He finished the compilation of the Druid holy writings, which he published as the Druid Chronicles (Evolved), and in 1978 he established the periodical Druid Chronicles (later Pentalpha Journal ).

In the early 1980s Bonewits separated from the Druids and was initiated as a priest in a Gardnerian Pagan group, the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (no relation to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). In 1983 he moved to New York, where he and Shenain Bell founded Ar nDraiocht Fein (Gaelic for "Our Own Druid Faith"). Bonewits was named Archdruid. In 1988 he married Deborah Lipp, a Gardnerian priestess. Together they run a Pagan Way group, and Bonewits remains as head of Ar nDraiocht Fein. A national leader in the Pagan/Wicca community, Bonewits is a major advocate of formal theological training for Pagan leaders.


Bonewits, P. E. I. Authentic Thaumaturgy. Albany, Calif.: The CHAOSium, 1978.

. Druid Chronicles (Evolved). Berkeley, Calif.: Berkeley Drunemetron Press, 1976.

. Real Magic. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1971. Rev. ed. Berkeley, Calif.: Creative Arts Book Co., 1979.