Neo-Paganism Timeline: 1970s

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

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 witches 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 Julia 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: 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 to 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: Starhawk founds her Compost coven.

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 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.

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

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

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

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. Starhawk’s and Adler’s books 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.

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