Ed Fitch is an American Wiccan high priest and key founder of the Pagan Way. Born in Roxboro, North Carolina, to a family with Russian roots, Ed Fitch grew up in various locations around the country because of the moves required of his father, who worked in the construction trade. At age nine, he and his father sighted a UFO over their ranch in northern California. Fitch remembers that a circular object about 50 feet in diameter, with an aura of orange flames, rose up from a nearby mountain and cruised silently over the ranch.
Fitch spent four years at the Virginia Military Institute, where he began a lifelong research into the paranormal. After graduation, he entered the Air Force and was sent to Japan, where he ran a courier station, carrying secret documents from a spy organization that evesdropped on Soviet activities in Siberia. While there, he delved into Buddhism and Shinto.
After three years, Fitch returned to civilian life in the United States, working as a technical writer and electronics engineer in Washington, D.C. It was now the 1960s, and contemporary Witchcraft and Paganism were spreading around the country. Fitch was initiated into the Gardnerian tradition of Witchcraft by Raymond and Rosemary Buckland (see Raymond Buckland) and rose to the rank of high priest. He also was trained in trance channeling by Spiritualist mediums from the Church of All Worlds.
The Air Force called him back to duty during the Vietnam war and stationed him in Thailand, which provided him with another opportunity to learn about Eastern religions and mysticism. He obtained a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, which introduced him to Zen thought and action, a discipline that has stuck with him throughout life.
In Thailand, Fitch wrote two books the were never formally published but that later circulated in the Pagan community and became “underground classics”: The Grimoire of the Shadows, a book of magical training techniques, and The Outer Court Book of Shadows, which reconstructs the magical and seasonal rituals of ancient Crete, Greece and Druidic Europe (see also Book of Shadows). Material from these books continues to be in new traditions and rituals, sometimes being labeled as an “ancient Celtic tradition from Ireland and Scotland.”
After Thailand, Fitch was reassigned to North Dakota to work on the redesign of Minuteman rockets. During this time he became part of a informal group that created the Pagan Way. Fitch composed introductory and back- ground materials and public rituals and was instrumental in the forming of the first Pagan Way grove, in Chicago.
The Air Force sent Fitch next to southern California. He left the military as a captain and obtained a master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California. He went to work for a major aero- space firm as a research and development engineer.
In the growing Pagan movement, Fitch helped to organize and chair two Pagan Ecumenical Councils, which established the Covenant of the Goddess as an international umbrella organization for Pagans in 1975. Fitch also published for a time The Crystal Well, a magazine of neo-romantic Paganism, which resulted in a published book, Magical Rites from the Crystal Well (1984).
In the 1980s Fitch remained active as a Gardnerian high priest and became involved in Odinism, a form of Norse Paganism that stresses conservative, family-oriented values. Fitch's other books are Castle of Deception: A Novel of Sorcery and Swords and Other-worldly Matters, with Seven Short Essays on the Reality of Matters Super- natural (1983), The Rites of Odin (1990), and A Grimoire of Shadows: Witchcraft, Paganism & Magic (1996).
During the 1990s, Fitch held various jobs as a private detective, Disneyland shopkeeper and editor of a small publisher. He moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the Federal Aviation Administration. In 1997, he returned to southern California to work in the aerospace industry again. Fitch turned his creative efforts to the dark Goddess, shamanism, dance magick and Goth and to television and film projects.