Neo-Paganism Timeline

Entire Timeline

Before the 20th century  |  early 20th century  |  1940s  |  1950s   

1960s  |  1970s  | 1980s  | 1990s  |  21st century

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[Note: Dates in the same year are not listed in chronological order.]

Before the 20th century

1752: On Walpurgis Night, Sir Francis Dashwood founds a “Hellfire Club” called the Brotherhood of the Friars. Its practice was outwardly pagan, worshiping Bacchus and Venus. An inner circle performed rituals and initiations, which they referred to as the “British Eleusinian mysteries”.

1792: Iolo Morganwg founds the Gorssedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain

1792: Thomas Taylor publishes his translation of The Hymns of Orpheus. He also published The Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries in 1790. Taylor practiced his own private reconstruction of Classical pagan religion.

1800s: The German Romantic movement begins. Romanticism valued emotion and nature over reason and science. Out of this milieu came the seeds of modern Neo-Paganism.

circa 1820: Romantic poet Leigh Hunt associates and corresponds with Percy Bysshe Shelley, Thomas Jefferson Hogg, and others about the revival of pagan religion.

1836: Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes his essay “Nature”, setting forth the foundation of Transcendentalism.

1854: Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings which was to inspire generations of future conservationists and environmentalists.

1855: Walt Whitman publishes Leaves of Grass.

1859: Darwin publishes On the Origin of the Species.

1861: J. J. Bachofen publishes Mother Right, an investigation of matriarchy in the ancient world. Bachofen’s theory later influences early neo-pagans and feminists.

1862: Iolo Morganwg’s forgery, the “Barddas”, is first published.

1866: The term “ecology” is coined by Ernst Haeckel, from the Greek oikos, meaning house or dwelling, and logos, meaning discourse or the study of.

1868: Francis McDowell forms the Patrons of Husbandry, a farming fraternity devoted agrarian deities (Ceres, Flora, Pomona) and employing agricultural symbolism. He was made the first High Priest of Demeter.

1869:  John Muir enters the Yosemite Valley.

1870s: The alleged “Cambridge Coven” may have performed rituals based on classic tradition, including Apuleius’s Golden Ass.

1872: The world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park, is created.

1872: Arbor Day is founded in the U.S.

1878: The Folklore Society is founded, which helped advance the idea that folk customs are survivals of old pagan religions.

1882: Friedrich Nietzsche publishes The Gay Science, which declares that “God is dead”.

1885: W. H. Seddon, the vicar of Painswick, England, begins an annual procession in honor of Pan and has a statue of Pan erected near the Church tower. The tradition survived until 1950.

1889: Edward Carpenter publishes Civilization: It’s Causes and Cure, in which he promotes a vision of a pagan revival.

1890: James Frazer publishes the first edition (2 vols.) of The Golden Bough. The second edition (3 vols.) is published in 1900. The third 12-volume edition was published between 1906 and 1915. Frazer theorizes that ancient peoples believed in a dying and rising god, representing the animating spirit of vegetation, represented in human form as sacral kings, who are sacrificed after a term or when their power of mind or body failed, in a cyclical renewal of life. Frazer influenced later writers including T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Robert Graves, and D. H. Lawrence. The archetype of the Dying and Rising God becomes central to the Neo-Pagan mythos.

1890s: W.B. Yeats, a member of the Golden Dawn plans to establish an alternate form of spirituality to Christianity, including mysteries like those of Eleusis and Samothrace. Looking back, he wrote “I had created a new religion, almost an infallible church of poetic tradition, of a fardel [bundle] of stories.”

1892:  The Sierra Club is founded by John Muir.

1897: The Cosmic Circle is formed by Alfred Schuler, Ludwig Klages, Stephan George, and Karl Wolfskehl, after reading J. J. Bachofen’s study of matriarchy, Mother Right. They conduct ceremonial invocations and rites to worship the Great Mother Earth. George later formed an artistic mystery cult of his own. Schuler and Klages joined with other volkisch forms of German neo-pagan spirituality.

1899: Godfrey Leland’s Aradia, Or The Gospel of the Witches is published. It later influences Gerald Gardner’s conception of the goddess of the witches.

Early 20th century

1902: Ernest Seton founds the neo-pagan Woodcraft movement in the United States.

1903: John Muir spends the night camping with President Theodore Roosevelt in Yosemite. Considered the most significant camping trip in conservation history, Muir persuaded Roosevelt to return Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to federal protection.

1905: The Neo-Druidic group, the Ancient Order of Druids, makes use of Stonehenge, performing a mass initiation ceremony there.

1908: Kenneth Grahame publishes The Wind in the Willows, containing the episode, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” which describes a benevolent and awe-inspiring figure of Pan.

1908-1912: A small group of intellectuals and artists who called themselves the “Neo-pagans” gather around the young poet, Rupert Brooke, with the intent of rebelling against Victorianism. The group practiced intellectual-equality for women, co-ed campouts, and bathing together. 

1915: Aleister Crowley writes to an adept, Frater Achad, about the revival of a natural pagan religion.

1916: Ernest Westlake founds the British Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, a Quaker-inspired pacifist alternative to the militaristic Baden-Powell scouting movement. Westlake sought to revive the old gods of paganism, including Pan, Dionysus, Artemis, and Aphrodite. He did not view this religion as antithetical to Christianity.

1921: Margaret Murray publishes The Witch-Cult in Western Europe. She theorizes that an underground pagan resistance to the Christian Church survived across Europe until exposed by the Inquisition. They organized in covens of 13 people, dedicated to a male god, and held ritual sabots.  Murray’s conception of the witch cult was foundational for Gerald Gardner’s revival of witchcraft.

1922: Harry (“Dion”) Byngham takes over the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. He introduces phallic worship and naturism (nudity). It also included ritual circle with four quarters corresponding to elements; three degrees of initiation; a horned god and moon goddess; and practiced ritual nudity — in these ways closely resembling Gerald Gardner’s Wicca. Members referred to its practice as Witancraft (“Craft of the Wise”). He was influenced by Aleister Crowley.

1922: James Frazer’s a single-volume abridged edition of The Golden Bough is published, making it more accessible to the general public.

1923: Rolf Gardiner writes “Youth and Europe” in the October volume of Youth, describing the rise of a new culture and a new religion, driven by an impulse to reconnect with our bodies, with the tangible world of sense, and with the sensual rhythm of life.

1930: Somerset Maugham retrospectively describes the rise of Pan in literary circles in 1910.

1931: Ella Young, co-founder with Yeats and Maud Gonne of the “Fellowship of the Four Jewels” founds the “Fellowship of Shasta” in California, celebrating four annual rites and worshiping the Celtic goddess Brigid.

1933: Eranos is founded as an intellectual discussion group dedicated to the study of spirituality as it relates to depth psychology, comparative religion, folklore etc., which met annually in Switzerland, and included Karl Kerenyi, Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Erich Neumann, and Joseph Campbell.

1933: Margaret Murray publishes The God of the Witches in which she claims that the witch cult she had described in in 1921 dated back to prehistoric times. Murray describes the god of the witches as a Horned God. This archetype becomes central to the Neo-Pagan mythos.

Mid-1930s: A student group at Cambridge is purported to have tried to reconstruct pagan witchcraft from Murray’s The Witch-Cult in Western Europe.

1937: The secret traditions and rituals of the Golden Dawn are made public by Israel Regardie, former secretary to Aleister Crowley.

1938: Gleb Botkin founds The Church of Aphrodite in New York, worshipping in monotheistic fashion a female goddess who gave birth to the universe. One of Botkin’s followers, W. Holman Keith, went on to found a Neo-Dianaic Faith in Los Angeles.

1939: Lady Raglan, a member of the Folklore Society, coins the name “Green Man” to describe the leaf- or vine-covered faces peering out from many medieval European cathedrals. She links these to folk traditions of Jack-in-the Green, Robin Hood, King of the May, etc. Later writers link these images to the Frazer’s Dying and Rising God archetype.

1939: Gerald Gardner joins the Folklore Society.

1939: Gerald Gardner later claims to have been initiated into the New Forest coven in the home of “Old Dorothy” this year.

1940s

1940s: Gerald Gardner joins the naturist (nudist) group, The Fiveacres Country Club.

1940s: Victor Anderson begins initiating others into what will become his Faerie (later “Feri”) witchcraft tradition. He later initiated Gwydion Pendderwen and Starhawk.

1946: Gerald Gardner joins Ancient Druid Order and its governing council.

1947: Gerald Gardner is introduced to Aleister Crowley and becomes a member of the O.T.O. Crowley dies the same year.

1946: Gerald Gardnder may have been initiated by Edith Woodford-Grimes (“Dafo”) and founded his first coven this year.

1947: (approx.) Gardner begins writing his pseudographical grimoire, Ye Bok of Ye Arte Magickal, which later becomes the Book of Shadows.

1948: Robert Graves publishes The White Goddess. Graves Triple Goddess later becomes a central motif in Wicca and feminist witchcraft. In his mythology, Graves splits Frazer’s Dying and Rising God into the gods of the waxing and waning year, which fight for the favor of the Triple Goddess. Graves’ conception of the seasonal interaction between these gods and the Goddess became integrated into the Neo-Pagan festival cycle.

1948: Gertrude Levy publishes The Gate of Horn, a study of archeological evidence for the worship of a mother goddess in Neolithic Europe.

1948: Our Lady of Endor Coven is organized by Herbert Arthur Sloane in Toledo, Ohio. The cult is Satanist and Gnostic. Sloane was influenced by Murray’s The God of the Witches and corresponded with Gerald Gardner.

1949: Joseph Campbell publishes The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell’s Journey of the Hero monomyth is foundational for the Neo-Pagan mythos.

1949: Gerald Gardner publishes High Magic’s Aid, which describes a form of witchcraft dissimilar to modern Wicca, and more closely resembling the witch religion of Murray’s God of the Witches, worshiping a single male deity of fertility, with no mention of the Goddess.

1949:  Aldo Leopold publishes A Sand County Almanac in which he sets forth his “land ethic”, the notion that right action “tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.”

1950s

1950: Beginning of the Anthropocene.

1951: Gerald Gardner announces the existence of his witch coven to the press. The modern revival of Neo-Pagan witchcraft begins.

1953: Doreen Valiente is initiated by Gerald Gardner and becomes his High Priestess. Valiente works to revise Gardner’s Book of Shadows and her influence is seen in his book Witchcraft Today.

1954: Mircea Eliade publishes The Myth of the Eternal Return. Later, in 1958, he publishes Patterns in Comparative Religion. Eliade’s theories of religion later influence many Neo-Pagan authors.

1954: Gerald Gardner publishes Witchcraft Today, the first publication describing the purported origins of his witchcraft revival.

1955: Jungian Erich Neumann publishes The Great Mother, which traces the Mother archetype from prehistoric times to the present.

1955: Esther Harding publishes Women’s Mysteries, Ancient and Modern, a Jungian interpretation of the feminine principle in ancient myth.

1956: Following a mystical experience of the “Mysterious Feminine”, Frederick Adams founds the Fellowship of Herperides in Sierra Madre, California, which later evolves into Feraferia. He had been reading Eliade’s Myth of the Eternal Return at the time of his experience. Adams is also influenced by Robert Graves, Carl Jung, and J. J. Bachofen.

1957: Robert Graves publishes a short story, “An Appointment for Candlemas”, which shows his awareness of Gardnerian witchcraft.

1957: Doreen Valiente splits with Gardner over his insistence on the priority of the god over the goddess and his belief that the high priestess must be young.

1957: Frederick Adams founds the Fellowship of the Hesperides, later called Feraferia, in southern California, a wilderness mystery religion, inspired by Robert Graves, Thoreau, archetypal psychology, and naturism (nudism). He also had contact with British pagan groups. He emphasized the Kore (erotic/maiden) aspect of the Goddess trinity, celebrating an erotic union with nature through an annual ritual cycle. Adams met with Robert Graves in 1968.

1958: The eight stations of the Wheel of the Year are established in Gardner’s coven.

1958: Aidan Kelly discovers Gardner’s Witchcraft Today in the San Francisco Public Library and recognizes the witchcraft described in Leland’s Aradia. Kelly later draws on the writings of Leland, Gardner, Murray, and Robert Graves when he creates the rituals of NROOGD.

1960s

1960: Carl Weschke purchases Llewellyn Publishing Co. and develops it into the largest publisher of Pagan titles in the world. Today, Llewellyn has generally synonymous for many Pagans with amateurish beginner’s books.

1960: A. Irving Hallowell coins the term “other than human beings” to describe the understanding by the Ojibwa people he studied that many more things could be a person for them than for most Westerners. The phrase is later adopted by many neo-animists.

1960: World human population reaches 3 billion.

1961: Robert Heinlein publishes A Stranger in a Strange Land, whichlater inspires The Church of All Worlds.

1961: Idries Shah takes Gardner to visit Robert Graves at the poet’s home on Majorca.

1961: Approximate date of Alex Sanders’ initiation. Sanders goes on to found a Wiccan tradition separate from Gerald Gardner’s, later called the Alexandrian tradition.

1962: The Esalen Institute is founded in Big Sur, California. The community is a center for the human potential movement and draws influential teachers like Alan Watts, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Fritz Pearls (Gestalt therapy).

1962: Doreen Valiente publishes Where Witchcraft Lives.

1962: Tim (Otter/Oberon) Zell founds the Church of All Worlds (CAW) in Missouri, a Neo-Pagan religious organization modeled after the fictional organization in the novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, including polyamory, sacraments (“Never Thirst”; water-sharing), immanent divinity (“Thou art God”), and pantheism (“all that groks is God”). The group originally derived its ideas from Ayn Rand and Heinlein, but later became more clearly Neo-Pagan.

1962: Rachel Carson, the “mother of the environmental movement” publishes Silent Spring, in which she calls for balance between human needs and the needs of the environment. The book is credited with starting the global ecological movement.

1963: Raymond and Rosemary Buckland begin initiating Americans into Gardnerian witchcraft in New York. According to Fred Lamond, Gardnerian Wicca did not arrive on the West Coast until a decade later, in 1973. However, Aidan Kelly puts this date earlier at 1967.

1963: The Reformed Druids of North America begins as a protest against a requirement that students at Carleton College, in Minnesota, attend religious services. Since any religious service would count, some students, including Robert Larson, started RDNA as a humorous way to test the system. The founders were Jewish, Christian and agnostic and did not intend to start a new religion. However, it subsequently evolves into one and spreads.

1963: Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique.

1963: Aidan Kelly writes a “Goddess Wedding” for two friends, several years before NROOGD is organized in San Francisco.

1963: Amendment to the Clean Air Act.

1963: Robert Greenway coins the term “psycho-ecology” (which later becomes “ecopsychology”).

1963: John Carver, assistant secretary to the U.S. Department of the Interior, which supervises the National Park Service, likened the Park Service to the Hitler Youth Movement. Later, conservatives came to label environmental activism as “ecofascism”.

1964: The Pentagram periodical is first published in the UK. The Waxing Moon periodical is first published in the U.S., created by Joseph Wilson. These are the first Pagan periodicals.

1964: Gerald Gardner dies.

1964: The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids (OBOD) is founded by Ross Nichols.

1964: The Wilderness Act is passed to ensure that lands are designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition.

1965: Justine Glass publishes Witchcraft, the Sixth Sense and Us. It includes in interview with Robert Cochrane.

1965: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is published in paperback edition in the U.S. Some have read environmentalist themes in the series, including nature loving elves, nature despoiling orcs, and sentient tree “shepherds” called Ents.

1965: Adlai Stevenson gives a famous speech to the UN in which he describes the earth as a space shop with limited reserves of air and soil. The following year Barbara Ward coins the phrase “Spaceship Earth”. The phrase is popularized by Buckminster Fuller in 1968, the year of the Apollo 8 crew photographs “Earthrise”. In 1971, United Nations Secretary-General U Thant spoke “Spaceship Earth” on the second Earth Day.

1966: The Californian psychedelic counterculture peaks.

1966: The Sierra Club succeeds in preventing the damming of the Grand Canyon.

1966: Robert Cochrane (Roy Bowers), founder of the Clan of Tubal Cain, dies after ingesting belladonna on Midsummer’s Eve. Other traditions were influenced by Cochrane, including the Roebuck Tradition, and Joseph Wilson’s 1734 Tradition. Doreen Valiente was also a member of Cochrane’s coven for two years until shortly before Cochrane’s death.

1966: Robert Graves’ The White Goddess is republished by an American publisher in a revised and enlarged edition.

1966: The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is begun as a backyard party at the home of Diana Paxton in Berkley, California. Marion Zimmer Bradley is also an early member who coined the name of the Society.

1966: Samuel N. Kramer publishes his findings that the Sumerian Dumuzi (counterpart to the Babylonian Tammuz and consort to Inanna/Ishtar) in fact rises from the dead annually. This provides additional support for James Frazer’s Dying and Rising God theory.

1966: The occult soap opera “Dark Shadows” airs. The series continues until 1971.

1967: Frederick Adams’ Feraferia is incorporated. Sarah Pike marks this, together with the founding of NROOGD, as the beginning of the Neo-Pagan movement.

1967: Aidan Kelly, E.l.f. Silverlocke, Glen Turner, and Judy Greenwood found the New Reformed Order of the Golden Dawn (NROOGD) in San Francisco, California.  The group begins as a class project and then continues, according to Kelly, as an attempt to recreate the ecstatic experience of the rock dances of San Fransisco. They write an original Book of Shadows, by experimentation and library research, without any direct contact with an existing craft tradition, drawing on Gerald Gardner’s writings, as well as Robert Graves’ The White Goddess. NROOGD was later influenced by Victor Anderson’s Faerie Tradition of witchcraft. Sarah Pike marks the organization of NROOGD, together with the founding of Feraferia, as the beginning of the Neo-Pagan movement.

1967: Tim (Otter/Oberon) Zell files for incorporation of the Church of All Worlds as a “church”. Official status was granted in 1968, making it the first Neo-Pagan state-recognized “church”. Zell begins using the term “Pagan” to describe the new religion. CAW was influenced by Frederick Adams’ Feraferia cosmology and Wiccan ritual forms.  CAW was formally chartered on March 4, 1968.

1967: Lynn White publishes “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis” in the periodical Science. The essay examines the effect of Christianity on humankind’s relationship with nature.

1967: Rhuddlwm Gawr and Dynion Mwyn establish The Gathering of the Tribes in Maryland.

1967: The Environmental Defense Fund is founded.

1967: Amendment to the Clean Air Act.

1968: The Roman Polanski film, “Rosemary’s Baby”, starring Mia Farrow, premieres. The film wins many awards and helps further cement the conception of witchcraft as Satanism in the popular mind.

1968: Apollo 8 crew crew photographs the famous “Earthrise photo”. This view of the living Earth rising from the horizon of the dead moon helped many humans realize the fragility of their home. Another iconic photo “Blue Marble”, the first photograph in which Earth is in full view, was taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew.

1968: Carlos Castaneda publishes The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowing. Together with Mircea Eliade’s Shamanism, published in 1964, it stimulated interest in shamanism and indigenous spirituality.

1968 Isaac Bonewits joins the RDNA. The organization becomes more explicitly Neo-Pagan.

1968: W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) in New York stages an ironic “hexing” of Wall Street in the form of street theater mixed with protest.

1968: The Church of All Worlds begins publishing the Green Egg newsletter. It becomes the most important Neo-Pagan forum for many years. The publication is instrumental in the formation of a emerging identity around the word “Neopagan” (later just “Pagan”).

1968: The height of the American Counterculture movement. According to Theodore Roszak, the Counterculture was a response to a sense of deep-seated alienation and disillusionment felt by many Americans brought on by modernity, secularization, industrialization, bureaucratization, and capitalism.

1968: Monica Sjoo exhibits her painting “God Giving Birth”, displaying a large woman, with a face half-black and half-white, in the act of childbirth.

1968: Sybil Leek publishes Diary of a Witch.

1968: Central Valley Wicca, a Gardnerian variant, is founded in California.

1968: The Whole Earth Catalog begins publication and serves as a bible for the back-to-the-land movement.

1968:  The term “biological diversity” was used first by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond Dasmann. The term is not widely adopted until the 1980s.

1968: Paul R. Ehrlich publishes The Population Bomb.

1968: The term “biological diversity” was used first by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond Dasmann.

1968: Edward Abbey publishes Desert Solitaire.

1969: Andrew Fleming publishes “The Myth of the Mother-Goddess” in World Archaeology. He demonstrates that the archaeological evidence cited in favor of prehistoric Goddess worship was susceptible to other interpretations. This brought an end to about 30 years of scholarly fascination with the subject. In the meantime, the writings of Murray continue to dominate the popular consciousness.

1969: Donna Cole (Shultz) is initiated into a Gardnerian coven in England. Shortly thereafter, Donna returned to Chicago where she and Herman Enderle formed the first Pagan Way grove, eventually called the Temple of the Pagan Way, which adopted Ed Fitch’s new Pagan Way materials.

1969: Hans Holzer publishes The Truth about Witchcraft. Holzer was one of the early writers to promote Paganism and Wicca. Three years later, in 1972, he publishes The New Pagans: An Inside Report On the Mystery Cults of Today.

1969: Wiccan traditions begin to multiply over the next decade. Examples include the Mohsian/American Eclectic Traditional Wicca founded by Bill and Helen Mohs, the Georgian Tradition founded by George Patterson, the American Welsh Tradition founded by Ed Buczynski, Algard Wicca founded by Mary Nesnick, Blue Star Wicca founded by Frank Dufner, the Lothlorien tradition founded by Paul Beyer, and the Odyssean tradition founded by Richard and Tamarra James.

1969: David Brower resigns as executive director of the Sierra Club and founds Friends of the Earth.

1969-1970: Anticipating Susan Roberts’ publication of Witches U.S.A., Ed Fitch, together with Joseph Wilson, Thomas Giles, Tony Kelly, and others begin circulating Fitch’s “Outer Court Book of Shadows”, which initially was intended as an introduction to Gardnerian Wicca, and his Pagan Way materials, which ultimately were used as an exoteric alternative to traditional Wicca. The Pagan Way became a tradition in itself, with autonomous Pagan Way groves spreading across the country. In the UK, the movement was called the Pagan Movement, which later split into the Pagan Front in 1971, and was later renamed the Pagan Federation. On the West Coast, Gwydion Pendderwen’s Nemeton was to perform the same function. Nemeton later became part of the Church of All Worlds.

1970s

1970: The first Earth Day is celebrated. 20 million people came out for the event, 1 million in New York City. The environmental movement gains rapid speed around the world.

1970: The Church of the Eternal Source is founded in Burbank, California, by Donald Harrison and Harold Moss as an Egyptian-revivalist Pagan group.

1970: The Church of All Worlds shifts to a Neo-Pagan style organization and it becomes the first Neo-Pagan group to be given non-profit status by the IRS. In contrast to Wicca or witchcraft, which Tim (Otter/Oberon) Zell saw as a magical craft or occult society, the Church of All Worlds was intended to function as a public religion.

1970: NROOGD conducts the first Eleusinian ritual on the autumnal equinox.

1970: Aidan Kelly publishes a Pagan-Craft Calendar using the names “Litha” and “Mabon” for the summer solstice and fall equinox. The names were picked up by the Green Egg and became standard among Pagans.

1970: The Los Angeles Times publishes an article entitled “Witchcraft Bubbles, Boils. Old Black Magic Casting New Spell” (5/5/70), which is one of the first of many positive articles about witchcraft and Paganism to appear in newspapers across the country over the next decade.

1970: Mother Earth News is founded, promoting sustainable living practices.

1970: The Clean Air Act is significantly expanded.

1970: Central Park is the site of a Witch-In attended by over 1000 people.

1970: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is created.

1971: Aidan Kelly and other members of NROOGD meet Victor and Cora Anderson and the Faerie Tradition and NROOGD begin to influence each other.

1971: Witches U.S.A. is published by Susan Roberts.

1971: The first American Aquarian Festival of Astrology and the Occult Sciences, later called Gnosticon, is organized by Carl Weschcke and attended by many of the best-known Wiccans and Pagans. It is held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This led to the creation of the American Council of Witches.

1971: Fred Adams begins publishing the newsletter of Feraferia, “Korythalia”.

1971: Following a vision the year previous, Tim (Otter/Oberon) Zell publishes his article, “Theagenesis: The Birth of the Goddess” in the Green Egg, which articulates a Gaia-like theory several years before James Lovelock popularized the idea. The Church of All Worlds becomes more Neo-Pagan in orientation.

1971: Janet and Stewart Farrar leave Alex Sanders’ coven to found their own coven. They become two of the most influential Wiccan authors, starting with the publication of What Witches Do in 1971.

1971: Morgan McFarland and Mark Roberts create the Dianic witchcraft tradition in Texas, now called McFarland Dianic, and distinguished from Z. Budapest’s feminist Dianic witchcraft. Unlike Z. Budapest’s Dianic tradition, the McFarland tradition was gender-inclusive, both in its practice and in its theology.

1971: Zsuzsanna Budapest founds the Susan B. Anthony Coven No. 1 in Los Angeles, California, founding feminist Dianic witchcraft, an exclusively women’s tradition. In 1975, she publishes The Feminist Book of Light and Shadows, later republished as The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries. From this point on American Wicca is inextricably tied with the feminist spirituality movement.

1971: Llewellyn publishes a version of the hitherto secret Gardnerian Book of Shadows provided by Jessie Bell (“Lady Sheba”), making it available to all would-be Wiccans.

1971: A talk given by Julie Carter (Zell) of the Church of All Worlds to a women’s group at the Worldcon science-fiction convention in Los Angeles, California is the beginning of the Goddess religion movement.

1971: The UK-based Pagan Federation is organized.

1971: Pictures of a NROOGD Beltane ritual appeared in a Look magazine article entitled “Witches Are Rising”.

1971: A series of articles appears in The New Yorker called “Encounters with the Archdruid”, describing wilderness journeys of former head of the Sierra Club, John Brower, known pejoratively by his enemies as a “druid”.

1971: Greenpeace is founded.

1972: Arne Naess coins the term “deep ecology” to express the idea that nature has intrinsic value apart from its usefulness to human beings.

1972: Leo Martello publishes his Weird Ways of Witchcraft. The following year, he publishes Witchcraft: The Old Religion.

1972: Gloria Steinem describes the prehistorical matriarchal origins of society in her book, Wonder Woman.

1972: The original NROOGD coven (the Full Moon Coven) hives off the “Spiral Dance Coven”. According to Aidan Kelly, Starhawk’s later books shows the influence of NROOGD.

1972: Arnold Toynbee publishes “The Religious Background of the Present Environmental Crisis”.

1972: TIME publishes an issue titled “The Occult Revival: A Substitute Faith”, with a cover depicting Anton LaVey. In addition to LaVey’s Satanism and other forms of occultism, the article features Aidan Kelly’s NROOGD and contrasts “white witches” who “celebrate life” from LaVey’s Satanic witches.

1972: The Council of Themis is organized by the Church of All Worlds, Feraferia, and other Pagan groups. The Council was the first attempt at a Pagan ecumenical organization.

1972: In August and September, Tim (Otter/Oberon) Zell and Julie Carter (Zell) begin a tour of Californian Pagan groups. They meet Ed Fitch, Fred and Svetlana Adams,  Isaac Bonewits, Aidan Kelly, Victor and Cora Anderson, and many other leaders in the emerging Pagan community.

1972: The Limits to Growth is published by The Club of Rome, an association of scientists and political leaders. The book is about the computer modeling of exponential economic and population growth with finite resource supplies. Five variables were examined, including world population, industrialization, pollution, food production and resource depletion. Two of the three scenarios saw collapse of the global system by the mid- to latter part of the 21st century.

1972: The UN’s first major conference on international environmental issues, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Conference) is held.

1972: The insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT ) is banned in the U.S.

1972:  The Clean Water Act is passed.

1972: Christopher Stone publishes the law review article entitled, “Should Trees Have Standing?”

1972: Deforestation of the Amazon accelerates following the opening of highways deep into the forest like the Trans-Amazonian highway.

1973: The Council of Earth Religions is formed. The membership of this council was less somewhat diverse than that of the Council of Themis. Like its predecessor, the Council of Themis, it does not survive.

1973: Mary Daly publishes Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation.

1973: Alex Dobkin releases her album Lavender Jane Loves Women, which contains the track, “Her Precious Love”, “a religious tribute to the Mother-Goddess-Creator-Protector of life, love and joy”.

1973: Robin Morgan, one of the founding members of W.I.T.C.H., comes out as a Dianic witch at a feminist conference in Los Angeles, California. She concludes her keynote address by quoting from the “Charge of the Goddess”.

1973: At the Gnostic Aquarian Festival, Lady Sheba claims to be the rightful “Queen Witch” of America. She is ignored by other witches.

1973: Joseph Wilson creates the 1734 Tradition based on correspondence he had with Robern Cochrane during the last year of his life.

1973: May Daly publishes Beyond God the Father, in which she stated “if God is male then the male is God”, connecting patriarchy and the male image of God.

1973: The Endangered Species Act is signed.

1973: The Wicker Man film is released.

1973: OPEC announces an oil embargo against the United States.

1973: E. F. Schumacher publishes Small Is Beautiful.

1973: Paul Shepard publishes The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game. In this and other books, like Nature and Madness (1992), The Others: How Animals Made Us Human (1996), and Coming Home to the Pleistocene (1998), Shepard explores the the role that sustained contact with nature has healthy human psychological development.

1973: The Secret Life of Plants is published by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.

1974: Tim (Otter/Oberon) Zell and Morning Glory are married in a public Pagan handfasting in Minneapolis. Isaac Bonewits and Carolyn Clark officiate. Margot Adler sings Gwydion’s songs.

1974: The First Ecumenical Pagan Council is founded. Like its predecessors, this third ecumenical Pagan council does not survive.

1974: Raymond Buckland publishes The Tree: The Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft, in which he reverses his earlier (1970) position on self-initiation. It is the first of many books to offer a means for performing a “self-initiation”.  Buckland ironically claims his is the “youngest tradition”. The same year, the Green Egg publishes an article entitled “How to Form Your Own Coven”. This marks the beginning of the end of the hegemony of traditional Wicca in America.

1974: Selena Fox founds Circle Wicca in Madison, Wisconsin, which becomes incorporated in 1978. It also begins the Pagan sanctuary movement.

1974: The Council of American Witches adopts a document titled “Principles of Wiccan Belief” that defined the central belief system of Wicca/Witchcraft for the general public. The Council is spearheaded by Carl Weschcke of Llewellyn in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Principles are incorporated into the U.S. Army Handbook for chaplains. It is the only such statement to achieve any degree of Pagan consensus since.

1974: WomanSpirit is first published, including articles, poetry, and rituals, exploring the Divine Feminine. The journal was published until 1984.

1974: Marija Gimbutas publishes The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe (republished in 1982 as The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe), which popularizes the theory of matriarchal prehistory.

1974: The first warnings of damage to stratospheric ozone due to chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) are published.

1974: World human population reaches 4 billion.

1974: Annie Dillard publishes Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  She is called the “female Thoreau”.

1974: Gary Snyder publishes Turtle Island. The call “Back to the Pleistocene!” is first heard. Snyder joined Edward Abbey in inspiring some of the earliest extralegal environmental resistance.

1975: Isaac Bonewits founds the Aquarian Anti-Defamation League.

1975: Doreen Valiente publishes An ABC of Witchcraft. She states that initiation is not necessary to become a witch (one year after Buckland). Three years later, in 1978, she publishes Witchcraft for Tomorrow, a complete Book of Shadows of her own composition, including a ritual for self-initiation.

1975: According to Margot Adler, by this year, many Wiccans had begun to regard the question of the origins of Neo-Pagan witchcraft as unimportant.

1975: Starhawk founds her Compost coven.

1975: The Covenant of the Goddess is formed in California by approximately ten covens in California. It is less diverse in its membership than previous Pagan ecumenical organizations, open only Witches. The original signers of the Covenant of the Goddess include Aidan Kelly, Glenn Turnder, Ed Fitch, Gwyddion Pendderwen, Alsion Harlow, and Z. Budapest. The original member covens included members of NROOGD, Anderson’s Feri tradition, and Starhawk’s Compost coven. The CoG becomes a national organization dedicated to encouraging networking among covens and providing credentials for priests and priestesses. Membership was eventually extended to solitaries. Alison Harlow is elected the first First Officer. Other prominent officers in the 1970s included Aidan Kelly, Starhawk, Victor Anderson, Z. Budapest, George Patterson, Amber K, Margot Adler, and Judy Harrow.

1975: Thomas deLong, aka Gwydion Pendderwen, releases his first album, Songs for the Old Religion.

1975: The Greenpeace vessel, the Phyllis Cormack, sails from Vancouver to face Soviet whalers on the coast of California. Protesters place themselves between the harpoons and the whales. The footage of the encounter spreads across the world.

1975: Edward Abbey publishes The Monkeywrench Gang, which inspires the radical environmentalism movement.

1976: The Aquarian Tabernacle Church is founded by Pete Davis.

1976: The Midwest Pagan Council is formed.

1976: The Pan Pagan Festival is held in Indiana, the first national outdoor Pagan festival. 80 people attend. Within four years, the attendance had grown to 600. Pagan festivals have since proliferated and led to the formation of a decentralized community with shared songs, dances, rituals, and culture.

1976: Merlin Stone publishes When God was a Woman. It was published earlier in the U.K.  as The Paradise Papers: The Suppression of Women’s Rites.

1976: NROOGD disbands as an organization, but continues as a Neo-Wiccan tradition.

1976: The Fellowship of Isis is formed, dedicated to promoting all Goddess traditions.

1976: Morgan McFarland, of the McFarland Dianic tradition, leads 1,000 women in the opening ceremony of the Women’s Spirituality Conference in Boston, Massachusetts introducing many women to Neo-Pagan witchcraft.

1976: The Green Egg dissolves.

1976: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are banned from production in the U.S.

1976: Earth Religion News is published by Herman Slater.

1977: The Minoan Brotherhood, a Pagan tradition for gay men, is founded by Ed Buczynski.

1977: The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) publishes “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven”, a 10-session workshop in feminist spirituality.

1977: Mary Beth Edelson’s play, Your Five Thousand Years Are Up, premieres in California.

1977: Catholic priest, Matthew Fox, founds the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality in Mundelein College in Chicago and later in Oakland, California, with Starhawk as a faculty member.

1977: Joseph Wilson founds the Temple of the Elder Gods (TOTEG) as an attempt to discover locale-specific ways to worship one’s ancestors and gods. The group is dissolved in 1988, but reconstituted in 1996 as Toteg Tribe, a Neo-Shamanic tradition.

1977: The Clean Air Act is significantly expanded.

1978: Darkmoon Circle is founded by Diana Paxson and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

1978: The US Army publishes “Religious Requirements and Practices of Certain Selected Groups: A Handbook for Chaplains”, which includes chapters on Wicca and Witchcraft.

1978: Doreen Valiente publishes Witchcraft for Tomorrow, which includes a complete Book of Shadows and a ritual for self-initiation.

1978: Carol Christ gives the keynote address at the University of California at Santa Cruz Extension Conference, which was later published as “Why Women Need the Goddess” in WomanSpirit Rising (1979). It is considered the single most influential article in the Goddess movement.

1978: The Love Canal contamination is revealed.

1978: Susan Griffin publishes Women and Nature.

1978: Mary Daly publishes Gyn/Ecology.

1978: Amoco-Cadiz oil spill off the coast of France.

1979: Theodore Roszak publishes Person/Planet: The Creative Disintegration of Industrial Society.

1979: Naomi Goldenberg publishes The Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religions, coining the term “thealogy”.

1979: Starhawk publishes The Spiral Dance. The tradition it describes is a variant of Victor Anderson’s Faerie Tradition.  It becomes a Neo-Pagan classic.  Starkawk’s book together with Margot Adler’s become catalysts for the American Neo-Pagan movement.

1979: Margot Adler publishes Drawing Down the Moon. Adler’s book together with Starhawk’s become catalysts for the American Neo-Pagan movement. They also marked a shift in Pagans’ self-conception of legitimacy from one based on claims of historical continuity with the past to one based more on Jungian psychological claims to universality.

1979: Selena Fox’s Circle is covered by TIME magazine in an article entitled: “Religion: Preaching Pan, Isis, and Om”. The article opens with an account and a photo of a handfasting performed by Selena Fox at the 1979 Pan Pagan Festival. The article quotes J. Gordon Melton’s estimate of 40,000 practicing pagans. Selena Fox and other Pagans are later featured in a PBS documentary, People magazine, and other other media. Coverage is positive.

1979: James Lovelock publishes Gaia, which popularized the Gaia Theory.

1979: Carol Christ publishes “Why Women Need the Goddess” in Womanspirit Rising.

1979: Circle publishes Paganism’s first networking sourcebook, The Circle Guide to Wicca and Pagan Resources, which contains names and addresses of groups and individuals from many paths, plus a bibliography and other information. It stimulates contact and community building within and across geographical areas and traditions of the Wiccan religion and other forms of Paganism.

1979: The EarthSpirit Community holds the Rites of Spring. The celebration is held every May until the present.

1979: In the aftermath of the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, the worst nuclear power accident in U.S. history, mass anti-nuclear demonstrations.  The largest one was held in New York City and involved 200,000 people.

1979: Atlantic Empress oil tanker collides with the Aegean Captain oil tanker in the Caribbean causing he largest ship-based spill on record.

1979-1980: Starhawk and Diane Baker found Reclaiming in San Francisco, a tradition which draws on Anderson’s Feri Tradition, Z Budapest’s Dianic witchcraft, and the feminist, peace, and environmental movements.

1980s

1980: The largest Pagan festival to that time is held in Indiana, the Pan-Pagan Festival, sponsored by the Midwest Pagan Council and the Covenant of the Goddess. Almost 800 people attended the four-day festival. Th festival is attended by Raymond Buckland, Isaac Bonewits, Z Budapest, Margot Adler, and Selena Fox. Z. Budapest leads an all-women’s circle which creates controversy and confrontation. The governing council then split, forming three different organizations and festivals, including the Pagan Spirit Gathering led by Circle.

1980: Michael Harner publishes The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing, the first practical text on shamanism, which argued that shamanism and the shamanic journey were legitimate Western practices connected with an altered state of consciousness and entrance into another reality. Harner is largely credited with the introduction of shamanic practices into Neo-Paganism.

1980: Carol Merchant publishes The Death of Nature, which identifies the Enlightenment as the beginning of the paradigm shift to viewing nature as inert, rather than vital.

1980: EarthSpirit is founded by Andras Corban Arthen to provide networking for Pagans and others following an Earth-centered spiritual path.

1980: Earth First! is founded.

1980: The Superfund or Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act o(CERCLA) is passed to clean up contaminated sites.

1980: Jean Auel publishes Clan of the Cave Bear.

1981: Paul Winter composes the “Missa Gaia” or Earth Mass for the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The mass was recorded in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and in the Grand Canyon, combining human voice and instruments and non-human voices of whales, wolves, and the wind, in order to create an experience of a more-than-human community.

1981: Janet and Stewart Farrar publish the Alexandrian Book of Shadows as The Witches’ Bible: The Complete Witches’ Handbook.

1981: Pagan Spirit Gathering, which eventually becomes one of the oldest and largest of the Pagan festivals, holds its annual gathering, a week long festival over the summer solstice.

1982: Thomas deLong, aka Gwydion Pendderwen, dies in a car accident.

1982: The Georgia Supreme Court rules, in Roberts v. Ravenwood Church of Wicca, that Wicca is a religion and that the Ravenwood church was entitled to tax exempt status.

1982: Archeologist Marija Gimbutas republishes her 1974 book The Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe with the new name The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe. She later publishes The Language of the Goddess (1989) and The Civilization of the Goddess (1991). With these books, she becomes the archaeologist most closely linked with the Goddess Movement.

1982: Explosion of a pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, causing methyl isocyanate leakage.

1983: The Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess–International is incorporated and became the first legally recognized religion serving the women’s spiritual community.

1983: Isaac Bonewits forms Ar nDraiocht Fein (ADF) (“Our Own Druidism”), which eventually became the largest Neo-Druidic organization in North America.

1984: Arne Naess and George Sessions go on a camping trip in Death Valley where they articulated the deep ecology platform.

1984: E. O. Wilson coins the term “biophilia” to describe the biological drive of human beings to seek connection with the rest of life.

1984: Marion Zimmer Bradley publishes The Mists of Avalon, a feminist and pagan retelling of the myth of King Arthur.

1984: Janet and Stewart Farrar publish The Witches Way, which fleshes out some of the philosophy of Wicca. It is strongly influenced by Jungian psychology.

1985: Three pieces of federal legislation, including the Helms Amendment, are introduced in both houses of Congress which would have taken away tax exempt status for Wiccan churches.  Lady Liberty League emerged as a result of the nationwide networking that emerged and successfully defeated this legislation.

1985: The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) is organized. CUUPS provides education and credentials for Pagan clergy. This signals the growth of Pagan membership in the Unitarian Universalist, which had been predominately humanist/atheist.  CUUPS received its charter from the UUA in 1987.

1985: Robert Graves dies.

1985: John and Caitlin Matthews begin publishing on Ceremonial magic, Arthurian and Celtic myth, and Neo-Shamanism. This could be considered the beginning of a non-denominational Neo-Paganism.

1985: The use of the terms “Paganism”, “Wicca”, and “Magick” in published works begins a gradual increase which continues until around 2003. This marks the blossoming of what has been called “Generation Hex”, a subgroup of Generation X.

1985: Roger and Crystal Tier change the the name of their New York Coven of Caerlleuad (Castle of the Moon) to the Gaia Group, reflecting its transformation into a more universal tradition, including changing the names of its deities from Welsh names to the “Great Earth Mother” and “Great Sky Father”. Its practices shift from the magickal to the devotional, and the group becomes increasingly concerned with political, social, and environmental concerns. Gaia Group ceased to exist as a functioning entity in 1998.

1985: Lady Liberty League is founded by Selena Fox and others. Sponsored by Circle Sanctuary, LLL is a resource center which promotes the religious freedom of Neo-Pagans and others.

1985: Antarctic ozone hole discovered.

1985: Joanna Macy and John Seed hold the first Council of all Beings in a camp near Sydney, Australia. The Council of All Beings is a ritual process which helps participants to see the world from the perspective of non-human beings.

1986: The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determines, in Dettmer v. Landon, that Wicca is a religion for the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause, in a prisoner’s rights case. Although ultimately denying the prisoner’s claim on the grounds of safety, the Court determined that “the Church of Wicca occupies a place in the lives of its members parallel to that of more conventional religions. Consequently, its doctrine must be considered a religion.”

1986: The UK band, the Pretenders, releases “Hymn to Her” which becomes #8 in the UK. The song, written by Meg Keane, is a Wiccan ode.

1986: Margot Adler publishes a revised and expanded edition of Drawing Down the Moon.

1986: Witches League of Public Awareness is created by Laurie Cabot in Salem, MA to help correct the misconceptions surrounding Witches and Witchcraft.

1986: The World Wildlife Fund brought together religious authorities representing the five major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism to prepare declarations identifying the responsibilities towards the care of nature expected of followers of each religion thus providing spiritual motivation for environmental action.

1987: Charles Arnold, formerly a member of the Wiccan Church of Canada, wins a legal battle in a Canada which results in the ruling that Wicca meets the definition of a religion.

1987: World human population reaches 5 billion.

1988: Scott Cunningham publishes Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, which becomes one of Llewellyn’s best-selling publications. He credited with making solitary practice respectable.

1988: The year following Joseph Campbell’s death, PBS broadcast a series of interviews with Campbell by Bill Moyers, which presented his theories regarding myth and psychology to a much wider audience.

1988: Alex Sanders dies.

1988: Tim (Otter/Oberon) Zell revives the Green Egg, 12 years after it became defunct.

1988: The hottest summer in history. Global opinion begins to change about climate change.

1988: The term “biodiversity” first appears in a publication by sociobiologist E. O. Wilson. The term may have been coined by W.G. Rosen in 1985.

1988: Atmospheric CO2 levels exceed the upper safety limit of 350 parts per million. This upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point is identified by James Hansen in 2007, almost 20 years after the fact.

1989: Elan Shapiro, one of Robert Greenway’s (the “wilderness effect”) graduate students organizes a psychoecology discussion group that met every other week at Berkley.  In 1990, Theodore Roszak asks to join the group.

1989: Starhawk publishes a revised and updated edition of The Spiral Dance.

1989: The Canadian National Film Board’s documentary Goddess Remembered premiers. Starhawk and Merlin Stone are featured.

1989: The Exxon Valdez creates the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

1989: Edward Abbey, author of Desert Solitaire, dies. In his last act of desert consecration, he arranged for his body, unpolluted by embalmer’s artifice, to be spirited away and illegally buried in the desert that was sacred to him.

1990s

1990: Earth Day mobilizes 200 million people in 141 countries.  Approximately a million gather in Central Park in New York City.

1990: The first ecopsychology conference is held in Cambridge, titled “Psychology As If the Whole Earth Mattered”.

1990: Warwick Fox publishes Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism.

1990: Panthea becomes the first Pagan congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA). (It was the first time the UUA board was not unanimous in its decision to accept a congregation.) Crista Landon and Phaedra Christine Heyman (later Bonewits) founded Panthea as a Pagan temple in Chicago in 1986. The congregation lasted until around 2003.

1990: The Starwood festival includes a workshop by Dr. Halim El-Dabh, an Egyptian musicologist, who taught the skills and culture of drumming to Pagans. This was followed the next year with workshops on Native American drumming by Don Waterhawk. Thanks to these men, and Jeff McBride, drum circles are now ubiquitous at Pagan festivals and many other Pagan events.

1990: The Captain Planet animated series airs and lasts until 1996.

1991: The World Wide Web begins to be popularized. An increase in the use of the Internet leads to the creation of many Pagan websites. The rapid increase in the availability of information on Paganism drives the growth of non-traditional, eclectic, and solitary Paganism, as well as teen Paganism.

1991: Aidan Kelly publishes Crafting the Art of Magic which casts serious doubt on the legitimacy of Gerald Gardner’s claims to have been initiated into a survival of an ancient witchcraft religion. Kelly’s book represented one of the first academic studies into the origins of Wicca. The book was heavily criticized by traditionalists.

1991: The Pan Pacific Pagan Alliance is founded by Julia Phillips and others, which later became The Pagan Alliance Inc., with a newsletter The Pagan Times, and branches in every state of Australia.

1991: The term “nature religion” is coined by the American religion studies scholar Catherine Albanese in her work Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age.

1991: The world’s worst oil spill in history occurs in Kuwait during war with Iraq. Kuwaiti oil fires burn a billion barrels of oil.

1992: Theodore Roszak coins the term “ecopsychology” in his book The Voice of the Earth.

1992:  The Church of All Worlds becomes the first legally incorporated Pagan church in Australia.

1992: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. The International Convention on Biological Diversity is also held.

1992: The term “ecological footprint” is coined by William Rees.

1992: Daniel Quinn publishes Ishmael, which uses a Socratic dialogue with a telepathic gorilla to deconstruct the cultural myth that humans are the pinnacle of biological evolution. Ishmael and its sequels inspired proponents of the deep ecology and anarcho-primitivism movements.

1993: Re-imagining Conference held in Minneapolis, MN. A “Blessing over Milk and Honey” is performed, reimagining the Eucharist in terms of feminist spirituality.

1993: The Covenant of the Goddess is represented at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago. The then-First Officer, Phyllis Curot requests permission of Roman Catholic Archbishop Bernardinto to hold a circle ceremony at a nearby park, which was granted, resulting in national press coverage for Pagans. The Greek Orthodox delegation departs the Parliament proceedings in protest over the very presence of Pagans.

1993: Scott Cunningham dies.

1994: The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twin Cities Metropolitan area has been dubbed “Paganistan” by Steve Posch.

1994: The journal of the Pagan Federation changes its name from “The Wiccan” to “Pagan Dawn”, reflecting a broader Pagan membership.

1995: The Unitarian Universalist Assembly votes to acknowledge “earth-centered” spirituality in its by-laws as a major source of UUA beliefs. Two years earlier, in 1993, the UUA included Goddess and earth-centered songs in its new hymnal.

1995: Actress Cybill Shepherd comes out as pagan at the 1995 Golden Globe Awards, stating “And I want to thank the Great Mother Goddess of the gift of righteous anger and for all her strength and inspiration. Blessed be!” She later explains that she is a “Christian Pagan Buddhist Goddess worshiper” and a feminist.

1996: Witchcraft becomes televised with Sabrina: the Teenage Witch (a sort-of modern-day teenage Bewitched). The movie The Craft is released the same year, and is credited with bringing many adolescents into Pagan Witchcraft.  In 1997 and 1998, the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed airs. In 1997, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published. Also in 1998, Practical Magic appears in theaters. These television series, movies, and books portray characters who are (more or less) openly witches, but not stereotypically evil. This also marks the beginning of an increasing commercialization of witchcraft.

1996: Toteg is reconstituted by Joseph Wilson.

1997: Wren Walker and Fritz Jung found WitchVox to be a Pagan resource center on the World Wide Web. The site grows to be the largest Pagan Internet site.

1997: Pomegranate, the first academic journal of Pagan studies, is created.

1997: Five cardinals send a letter petitioning the Pope to declare a fifth Marian dogma, proclaiming Mary as the “co-redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer” and “mediatrix of all graces with Jesus”.

1997: The first non-Wiccan president of Pagan Federation is elected.

1997: The Australian Pagan Awareness Network is founded to correct misinformation, raise awareness and educate the general public about Paganism.

1997: The Kyoto Protocol is negotiated in Kyoto, Japan as an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases. The U.S. rejects the Kyoto Protocol in 1999.

1998: The first Pagan Pride Day is held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1998: Madonna’s “Frozen” video premieres, with Madonna portrayed as a gothic witch figure.

1999: Ronald Hutton publishes The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Hutton has been called a “gentle iconoclast”. His work arguably ends the controversy regarding Gerald Gardner’s myth of the origin of Neo-Pagan witchcraft.

1999: Starhawk publishes a 20th anniversary revised and updated edition of The Spiral Dance.

1999: Doreen Valiente dies.

1999: World human population reaches 6 billion.

2000: Cynthia Eller publishes The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won’t Give Women a Future. Although only declaring what many Pagans and feminist Goddess worshipers had already concluded, the publication of a book with so bold a title reflected the end of the historicism which marked the early phases of the Pagan revival.

2000: Stewart Farrar dies.

2000: A Dallas City Council invites a Wiccan to offer the invocation.

2000: The Wiccan ritual site at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas is desecrated. The Wiccan army group had been the focus of conservative political animus for the past year or so.

21st Century

2001: Victor Anderson dies.

2001: The term “fluffy” (later “fluffybunny”) is popularized by the author of the internet essay, “Why Wiccans Suck”. The essay is little more than a personal rant against non-traditionalism, eclecticism, and sloppy-thinking among Wiccans. However, the term caught on, and now a debate continues in the Wiccan community over what is really Wiccan and what is “fluffy”. In general, the epithet “fluffy” is applied to portrayals of Wicca that have been watered down to make it palatable for mass (or teen) consumption.

2001: Jerry Falwell puts the blame for the 9-11 attacks on Pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians, the ACLU and others.

2002: The Complete Idiot’s Guide To … Paganism is published.

2002: Rev. Angie Buchanan, director of Gaia’s Womb, is elected to the Board of Trustees for for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, one of the most respected interfaith organizations in the world. In 2006, Andra Corban-Arthen, director of the EarthSpirit Community was elected. Then in 2009, Phyllis Currot, pagan author and attorney was elected.

2002: Australian Census figures show rapid growth of Wicca and Paganism. Wiccans in Australia grew from fewer than 2,000 in 1996 to nearly 9,000 in 2001. The number of Pagans more than doubled over the same interval to 10,632. Most of the major Christian denominations lost followers over the same period.

2002: In June, modern organized devotion to Antinous under its own rubric begins with the foundation of the Ecclesia Antinoi by Tony Subia, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, and Sadaaya; the first Foundation Day ritual on October 30th (the date of the original foundation of Antinous’ cultus in 130 CE) occurs simultaneously in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cork, Ireland with the three founders and a small group of people of various other (as well as no) religions.

2002: The UN Earth Summit is held in Johannesburg.

2003: Canada releases religious data from the 2001 census which shows that Wiccans and other Pagans experienced the greatest percentage growth of all religions in the country. They numbered 21,080 members in 2001, an increase of 281% between 1991 and 2001. The percentage of Canadians identifying with Christianity dropped from 90% in 1981 to 72% in 2001 — about one percentage point per year. This drop is almost exactly the same as for the U.S.

2003: The Druid Network is organized in the UK to promote Druidry as a religion.

2004: The Wild Hunt blog is relaunched by Jason Pitzl-Waters and becomes the lead voice for analysis and insight into how modern Pagan faiths are represented within the mainstream media.

2004: Joseph Wilson dies.

2004: “Episcopagan” controversy breaks out when Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk and her husband W. William Melnyk, two Episcopalian ministers, were outed as members of a Druidic group after Ruppe-Melnyk submitted a rite to the Episcopal Church’s Women’s Ministries website called “A Women’s Eucharist”.

2004: Alta Mira Press launches the Pagan Studies series with Researching Paganisms, to be followed by Chas Clifton’s Her Hidden Children in 2006 and Barbara Davy’s An Introduction to Pagan Studies in 2007.

2005: An Indiana trial judge that prohibited divorced parents, both of whom were Wiccan, from exposing their nine year old son to “non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals” is overturned on appeal.

2005: Bron Taylor publishes the 1900-page Encylopedia of Religion and Nature with over 250 contributors.

2006: Margot Adler publishes her revised edition of Drawing Down the Moon.

2006: An Inconvenient Truth premiers about former United States Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide show.

2007: Cherry Hill Seminary is granted tax-exempt status. The seminary had been conducting online classes since 2000. It now offers several graduate degrees, certificates, and courses for general interest.

2007: The US Veteran’s Administration approves the pentacle as a symbol on headstones for fallen soldiers in military cemeteries. The pentacle becomes #37 on the list of approved religious symbols.

2007: In June, after theological difficulties with the original group caused a schism, the Ekklesía Antínoou is formed from the Ecclesia Antinoi by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus and a group of collaborators. Both groups and their associated traditions continue to the present.

2007: James Hansen identifies 350 parts-per-million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere as the safe upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point.

2009: The Sacred Paths Center opens in Minnesota. At the time, it was the only full-time non-profit Pagan community center in the U.S.

2009: Ehoah (an offshoot of RDNA) is founded by Rua Lupa.

2009: James Cameron’s film Avatar appears in theaters. Set in the future on a lush planet occupied by aliens called the Na’vi. The Na’vi dwell in trees,  live in harmony with nature, and worship a goddess called Eywa, who is identical with the planet itself. The Na’vi are threatened by the imperialistic and militarily advanced humans who want to mine the planet.

2009: “The National Parks: America’s best idea”, a multi-part documentary, airs on public television.

2010: Mary Daly dies. She was the author of The Church and the Second Sex, Beyond God the Father, and Gyn/Ecology.

2010: Isaac Bonewits dies.

2010: The New Jersey Board of Education is the first to accept Pagan holidays as excused absences.

2010: Brendan Myers and Jason Pitzl-Waters lead the way in creating a Pagan Community Statement on Sexual Abuse.

2010: Deepwater Horizon is the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

2011: Merline Stone, author of When God Was a Woman, dies.

2011: Debates surrounding transgender inclusiveness in Pagan spaces marks the beginning of a shift in Pagan consciousness of gender issues.

2011: World human population reaches 7 billion.

2011: The Fukushima nuclear reactor melt-down.

2012: A druid liturgy is included in the 2012 London Paralumpic Games closing ceremony.

2013: Wicca and Paganism leave the Occult/New Age/Mind-Body-Spirit section of bookstore and move to the Religion section following a change in how the books are coded.

Wicca and Paganism Leaving the Occult Section, Heading For Religion: So the occult section (hence the “OCC” prefix code), which in time became known as the “New Age” section, and finally, the “Mind, Body, Spirit” section, will soon see an exodus of Wiccan and Pagan books to the religion section. For most of us who still visit brick-and-mortar stores that most likely means your local Barnes & Noble (or possibly Books-A-Million) will soon be seeing some changes. How quickly these changes will happen remains to be seen, and it may take some time as stock rotates in and out of the stores.” For more, read Elysia Gallo’s reporting. Quote: “Wicca, in the eyes of the book selling industry, is now a religion. It crossed over from OCC026000 Body, Mind & Spirit / Wicca and Witchcraft, to two separate BISAC codes. One remains in the occult section – OCC026000 is now simply Body, Mind & Spirit / Witchcraft. But Wicca itself is now REL118000, or Religion / Wicca. […] there’s more. The BISAC code that used to be OCC036020 Body, Mind & Spirit / Spirituality / Paganism & Neo-Paganism (a relatively recent addition on its own) is also now listed in Religion, as REL117000, or Religion / Paganism & Neo-Paganism.” – See more at: http://wildhunt.org/?s=top+stories+2013#sthash.EcgiPYb7.dpuf

2013: Thor’s Hammer is approved for use on military headstones and grave markers.

2013: Lady Olivia Robertson dies.

Thor’s Hammer Approved for Use On Military Headstones and Grave Markers: “In 2007, after a decade-long struggle, Pagan and Wiccan organizations succeeded in getting the Pentacle approved for military veteran headstones and markers. After that victory, in July of 2007, a rally was held to start the push for two more symbols: the Druid Awen and the Heathen Thor’s Hammer. Two Heathen organizations, The Troth and the Asatru Folk Assembly, were represented at that rally, and from it a wider movement to get the Thor’s Hammer approved emerged. Now, after a six-year journey which included some inter-organizational tensions within the Heathen community and a U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs rule change, it appears the symbol has finally been approved.” More on how this came about here. Quote: “We know that the listing went up on May 2nd, and thanks to a statement sent to The Wild Hunt from the Guardian of The Northern Winds Hearth we now know the circumstances of the emblem’s approval.” – See more at: http://wildhunt.org/?s=top+stories+2013#sthash.EcgiPYb7.dpuf

2014: Morning Glory-Zell dies.

2014: Judy Harrow dies.

2014: Margot Adler dies.

2014: The Covenant of the Goddess publishes a formal position statement on the environment.

Select Bibliography

Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979, 1986, 2006)

Burnett, David. Dawning of the Pagan Moon (1991)

Circle Sanctuary. “History of Circle Sanctuary” [http://www.circlesanctuary.org/aboutcircle/timeline.htm]

Clifton, Chas. Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Paganism and Wicca in America (2006) (includes timeline)

Downey, Kathryn. “Spiritual Dandelions” in Feminist Foremothers in Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Mental Health (1995)

Ellwood, Robert, and Partin, Harry. Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America (1988)

Ellwood, Robert. “Notes on a Neopagan Religious Group in America”, History of Religions, Vol. 11, No. 1 (1971)

Fitch, Ed. A Grimoire of Shadows (1996), especially “Preface”, excepts by Sylvana SilverWitch in “Ed Fitch: Revealing the Craft”, Widdershins, vol. 1, no. 2 (1995)

Gruagach, Ben. The Wiccan Mystic: Exploring a Magickal Spiritual Path (2007) (includes timeline)

Howard, Mike. “Gerald Gardner: The Man, the Myth & the Magick”

Hutton, Ronald. “The Roots of Modern Paganism”, in Harvey, Graham, Paganism Today (1996)

Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (1999)

Kelly, Aidan. “Notes on Gardnerian History” (1994)

Kelly, Aidan. Hippie Commie Beatnik Witches: A History of the Craft in California, 1967-77 (1993)

Kelly, Aidan. “History of Neopagan and Magickal Groups in the USA and Canada

Lamond, Frederic. Fifty Years of Wicca (2005)

Lewis, James R. Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions (1999) (includes timeline)

Lipp, Deborah, and Bonewits, Isaac. The Study of Witchcraft: A Guidebook to Advanced Wicca (2007)

Muntean, F. D. “Wicca After Starhawk” (1995)

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance [http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_news.htm]

Orion, Loretta. Never Again the Burning Times: Paganism Revived (1995)

Pearson, Jo. “Demarcating the Field: Paganism, Wicca, and Witchcraft” in DISKUS, vol. 6 (2000)

Pike, Sarah. New Age and Neopagan Religions in America (2004) (includes timeline)

Rabinovitch, Shelley, and Lewis, James. The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism (2002)

Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess (1979, 1999, 2009)

“The McFarland Dianics–A Chronology” [http://www.mcfarlanddianic.org/a-chronology.php]

Waldron, David. The Sign of the Witch: Modernity and the Pagan Revival (2008)

Waldron, David and Sharn. “Jung and the Neo-Pagan Movement”, Quadrant, vol. 34, No. 2 (Summer 2004)

Wilson, Joseph. “Warts and All” (autobiography) (2003) [http://www.shadowdance.org/toteg/warts.html]

Updated 5/27/14

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20 thoughts on “Neo-Paganism Timeline

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  2. I’m afraid you’ve started the 21st Century on the wrong year. Hint: without the year 2000, it can’t have been the “20th” century.

  3. Pingback: Neo-Paganism Timeline Project: Your help needed!

  4. This is quite excellent, and I certainly haven’t read it all. However I did notice a typo after the mention of Wind in the Willows: “containing the the episode”

    Also, Ananta is correct. The 21st century starts with 2001.

  5. From the 1960’s on, the overwhelming huge monster majority of entries in this timeline are about American personalities and events. One gets the impression that this is really a timeline of American neo-pagan history, plus a few British personalities and events who influenced American paganism.

  6. 1972: Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson founds Germanic Pagan group Ásatrúarfélagið in Iceland.
    1972: Odinic Rite established in England.
    1973: Ásatrúarfélagið recognized as an official religion in Iceland.
    1993: Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson passes away.
    (There’s a derth of Asatru on this list, not sure what all ought to be included/what’s significant enough.)

  7. Panthea in Chicago was founded in 1986. It was 1990 when the already-existing temple was accepted by the UUA as a member congregation. It was the first time the UUA board was not unanimous in its decision to accept a congregation.

  8. The terms “fluffy” and “fluffy bunny” were in use long before 2001. I first heard them in the mid-1980s. The original context was “worshiper of the Fluffy Bunny Goddess” who is always sweet, kind, and beneficent, never mess, bloody, or death-dealing.

  9. Hi, John, thank you so much. Hope the following is helpful.
    Mid-1930s: A student group at Cambridge tries to reconstruct pagan witchcraft from Murray’s The Witch-Cult in Western Europe. (Do you know of any objective evidence that such a group existed? I don’t know of any.)

    1940s: Victor Anderson begins initiating others into what will become his Faerie (later “Feri”) witchcraft tradition. (I think this is probably Victor living in mythic time; there’s no evidence he did this.)

    (You really need to include Philip Heselton’s Witchfather and the fact that “Dafo” (Edith Woodford-Grimes) was Gardner’s first High Priestess, probably his initiator, and the co-founder of his first coven in about 1946.)

    1961: Idries Shah takes Gardner to visit Robert Graves at the poet’s home on Majorca. (The Gardner on this visit was Ava, not Gerald. Graves wrote a gushing essay about the visit. I’m pretty sure she slept with him.)

    1970: The Church of the Eternal Source is founded in Burbank, California, by Donald Harrison and Don Moss as an Egyptian-revivalist Pagan group. (It’s Harold Moss.)

    1971: A talk given by Morning Glory Zell (of the CAW) to a women’s group at the Worldcon science-fiction convention in Los Angeles, California, is the beginning of the Goddess religion movement . ((No, the talk was given in September 1972 by Julie Carter, Oberon’s previous partner, during their tour of the West. He did not meet Morning Glory until September 1973.)

    1975: The Covenant of the Goddess is formed in California by approximately ten covens in California. It is less diverse in its membership than previous Pagan ecumenical organizations. (See, it wasn’t a “Pagan ecumenical organization” at all. It was only for Witches, because we finally realized that Pagans in general had too little in common to form a viable organization.)

    1993: The Covenant of the Goddess is represented at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago. The then-First Officer, Phyllis Curot requests permission of Roman Catholic Archbishop Bernardinto to hold a circle ceremony at a nearby park, which was granted, resulting in national press coverage for Pagans. (No, she did not ask the Cardinal’s permission. She blackmailed him on live TV into intervening to get the Parks Dept. to issue the permit for the circle.)

    (You should include Judy Harrow’s passing as well.)

    The three sources of mine in your list are out of date. Hippie Commie etc. has been updated; the other two are being incorporated into the three-volume A Tapestry of Witches, of which Volume I has now been released.

    I continue to be very grateful for your good opinion of me.

  10. A timeline is a great ideal – I hope this helps.
    1985 – Lady Liberty League is founded by Selena Fox and others. Sponsored by Circle
    Sanctuary, LLL is a resource center dedicated to those in need of assistance with
    matters that concern the religious freedom of Pagans, Wiccans and other Nature based
    religions. http://www.circlesanctuary.org/index.php/lady-liberty-league/lady-liberty-league
    1986 (May) Witches League of Public Awareness, a ‘proactive educational network’, is created
    by Laurie Cabot in Salem, Massachusetts to help correct the misconceptions
    surrounding Witches and Witchcraft. http://www.celticcrow.com/
    1988 – The groundbreaking book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott
    Cunningham is published.
    1993 (March 28) is the date of Scott Cunningham’s passing.

  11. I just love how people embellish the facts in order to justify what they think happened when there are still people walking around who helped make them happen. So much emphasis on the west coast when they were stealing stuff from the Midwest who in turn stole it from the east coast. Not a single mention of the Keepers of the ancient ways from Maryland nor all the hard and dangerous work that prevailed out of east Texas. Still just goes to show people like to blow there own horn to sell a book and forget about the fact that there was a real and present danger to being out in the open.

  12. Here are some of the pre-1752 items I had in mind:
    1018 – 1078 Michael Psellos, Byzantine monk and philosophy teacher, advocates Platonic and Neoplatonic ideas.

    c. 1355–1452 George Gemistos Plethon advocated Neoplatonism, including re-introducing the Olympian Gods.

    1433 – 1499 Marsilio Ficino establishes a new Platonic Academy in Florence under the protection of Cosimo de’ Medici. Ficino translates the complete works of Plato, The Corpus Hermeticum, and various Neoplatonic texts into Latin.

    1464 – 1494 Giovanni Pico della Mirandola continues Ficino’s work, and pioneers the connection of Kabbalah with Hermeticism.

    1462 – 1516 Johannes Trithemius authors various treatises on magic (and cryptography); teaches Agrippa and Paracelsus.

    1533 Three Books of Occult Philosophy, by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, printed in Cologne.

    1600 Giordano Bruno burned at the stake for advocating an infinite universe and practicing magic.

  13. Corrections
    1992: The Church of All Worlds becomes the first legally incorporated church in Australia. needs to be changed – it was the first legally incorporated PAGAN church in Australia.

    Isaac Bonewits founded the Aquarian Anti-Defamation League in 1975, not 1973. He was in Minneapolis at the time, and he was here 1974-1976.

    1994: The Twin Cities Star Tribune reports that it has been dubbed “Paganistan” by Pagans. – The newspaper is the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the area dubbed Paganistan is the Twin Cities Metropolitan area, and the person who named it that is Steve Posch.

  14. No, Actually Isaac came up with the idea for the AADL in 1973, after the debacle with the Evangelicals filming him and Victor, but I don’t think he tried implementing it until he was in St. Paul.

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