Pagan Way

Pagan Way is a contemporary Pagan movement that emerged in America in 1970 in response to a rapidly rising interest in Paganism, Witchcraft and Magic. Existing Witchcraft covens, with traditional intensive screening programs and “year-and-a-day” probationary periods, were unable to accommodate the large number of inquiries and applicants. Pagan Way provided an alternative with an open, nature-oriented system that emphasized celebration of nature over magic and that had no formal Initiation or membership requirements.

One of the central figures in the development of Pagan Way was Joseph B. Wilson, an American witch who founded a popular journal, The Waxing Moon, in 1965. While stationed with the U.S. Air Force in England in 1969, Wilson began and coordinated correspondence among 15 to 20 groups and persons interested in establishing an esoteric form of Paganism. Among other key figures were Ed Fitch, an American and high priest in the Gardnerian tradition, at the time stationed with the U.S. Air Force in North Dakota; Fred and Martha Adler, American witches in California; John Score (also known as “M”) of England, who wielded considerable influence on both sides of the Atlantic through his newsletter, The Wiccan; the leaders of the regency and Plant Bran covens in Britain; Tony Kelly, British poet; and Susan Roberts, journalist and author of Witches U.S.A.

After four to five months of round-robin correspondence, the founders decided upon basic principles for the new movement and conceived ideas for rituals. Fitch and kelly began writing introductory materials. Fitch composed group and solitary rituals based on Celtic and European folk traditions, with some Gardnerian influence. In addition, he composed material for an Outer Court, an introduction to Witchcraft. The material first appeared in The Waxing Moon, the publication of which Wilson turned over to Fitch and Thomas Giles, of Philadelphia, in 1969.

Fitch and Giles set up mailing centres in Minot, North Dakota, and Philadelphia. The Pagan material was so enthusiastically received that Fitch and Giles approved the establishment of additional, independent mailing centres.

The rituals, lore and background material were never copyrighted but were placed in the public domain in order to gain the widest possible distribution. Over the years, they have been republished several times by various occult houses as The Rituals of the Pagan Way, A Book of Pagan Rituals and perhaps under other titles as well.

In the 1970s Pagan Way groves spread across the United States, primarily in major cities but also in some small communities. many followers were solitaries. Pagan Way appealed to two main audiences: those just getting started in Witchcraft, and those interested in attending Pagan ceremonies and structuring social and civic activities around them, much like mainstream churches. According to Fitch, the movement never was intended to address the esoteric audience of mystery seekers. Eventually, adaptations were made for those who wanted more esoteric aspects: initiation rites were added by Cole, Enderle and others, and secret, closed Outer Courts were formed which gave more emphasis to magic.

In 1971 Wilson resumed editorship of The Waxing Moon; Fitch and Giles renamed their journal The Crystal Well and published separately.

Pagan Way groves thrived during the 1970s. The founders and early organizers let the movement take its own course. No central organization was formed; the groves and mailing centres remained autonomous and loosely affiliated. By 1980 what little there was of the organization had fallen apart, and groves dwindled in size and number. An ever-changing scene of new groups emerged out of Pagan Way. The Pagan Way rituals, however, endured, and continue to be used and adapted by numerous succeeding Pagan groups.

In the United Kingdom, the movement evolved separately from the American movement with the founding in 1971 of the Pagan Front, which later changed its name to the Pagan Federation.

Source:

The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.

See also

You may be also interested in :

The Temple of High Witchcraft: Ceremonies, Spheres and The Witches' Qabalah - Christopher Penczak
Witchcraft in the Middle Ages – Jeffrey Burton Russell
Traditional Witchcraft : A Cornish Book of Ways - Gemma Gary
The Witch’s Eight Paths of Power: A Complete Course in Magick and Witchcraft – Lady Sable Aradia
Witch Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic. - Lisa Lister
An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present - Doreen Valiente
Witchcraft and Demonology in South-West England, 1640–1789 - Jonathan Barry
Witchcraft Continued: Popular Magic in Modern Europe - Willem De Blécourt & Owen Davies
Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America - Margot Adler
Witchcraft: A Concise Guide or Which Witch Is Which? - Isaac Bonewits
Witches Investigating An Ancient Religion - T. C. Lethbridge
HausMagick: Transform Your Home with Witchcraft - Erica Feldmann
Irish Witchcraft and Demonology - St. John D. Seymour
The Modern Guide to Witchcraft: Your Complete Guide to Witches, Covens, and Spells - Skye Alexander
Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want - Deborah Castellano
Witchcraft and Demonology in Hungary and Transylvania - Gábor Klaniczay (Ed.), Éva Pócs (Ed.)
Charge of the Goddess: The Mother of Modern Witchcraft - Doreen Valiente
The Witches’ Book of the Dead – Christian Day
Power of the Witch: The Earth, the Moon, and the Magical Path to Enlightenment – Laurie Cabot, Tom Cowan
The Hedge Druid's Craft: An Introduction to Walking Between the Worlds of Wicca, Witchcraft and Druidry - Joanna van der Hoeven
Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande (Abridged Edition) - E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Eva Gillies
The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit – Arin Murphy-Hiscock
The Hammer of Witches: A Complete Translation of the Malleus Maleficarum - Christopher S. Mackay
Helping Yourself with White Witchcraft - Al G. Manning
Wiccapedia: A Modern-Day White Witch’s Guide  - Shawn Robbins, Leanna Greenaway
The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation and Psychic Development - Christopher Penczak
The Witchcraft Sourcebook - Brian P. Levack
Witchcraft on a Shoestring: Practicing the Craft Without Breaking Your Budget - Deborah Blake
Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within -  Juliet Diaz
Out of the Broom Closet: 50 True Stories of Witches Who Found and Embraced the Craft  - Arin Murphy-Hiscock