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Joseph 'Bearwalker' Wilson
Type of Passage: Death
Date of Passage: August 4th. 2004

Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: August 19th. 2004
Times Viewed: 9,521

Composed by Aisling
also see: Wren's Nest

Joseph "Bearwalker" Wilson, Founder of the 1734 Tradition of Witchcraft, Metista American Shamanism, TOTEG (Temple Of The Elder Gods) in California, Toteg Tribe, and publisher of the first Pagan newsletter in the United States, passed into the Otherworld on August fourth, 2004, from complicaitons of COPD.

Joseph Wilson was born in 1942. His earliest spiritual influence was his grandmother's church meetings. After High School Joseph enlisted in the Air Force, where he met Sean, who began to teach Joseph to listen to nature. Under Sean's influence, Joseph participated in several nature-based activities that gave him direct experience with spirit. In 1963, Joseph was inspired to start a witchcraft publication, which he titled "The Waxing Moon." This was the basis for the first Craft-related contact circles in the United States. An ad in Pentagram (a British publication) for The Waxing Moon put Joseph in contact with Robert Cochrane (Roy Bowers) , with whom Joseph studied through correspondence during the last six months of Robert's life.

By 1969 Joseph "had something of a national reputation." After the publication of Witches USA, contributors Ed Fitch, John Hansen, and Joe, along with Gwydion Penderwen (Tom DeLong) created a publication of practices, which later evolved into three sister groups: "Nemeton" on the west coast of the USA (Gwydion) , "Pagan Way" on the east coast of the USA (John and Ed) , and the "Pagan Movement In Britain and Ireland" in England (Joe) . In 1969 Joseph moved to England, where he worked with Ruth Wynn-Owen of Plant Bran, who was to become the third major influence on his practice. There he was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca through three degrees by an HPS he calls "Lady Alice." Ruth also introduced Joseph to Norman Giles, who continued Robert's teaching, and explained to Joe about Robert's tendency to mix "truth with falsehood." Joe also met Tony Kelly in Wales, who urged Joseph into natural themes. After retiring from the Air Force in 1973, Josephmoved to Los Angeles, where he participated in many circles, and was initiated into Ordo Templi Astartes. During this period, he created the 1734 tradition. He also participated in the formation of the Covenant of the Goddess until their insistence on the acceptance of the Wiccan Rede forced him out. Joe was a periodic contributor to Gnostic News as well.

In 1977 Joseph met Ernie (Longwalker) Peters, who pointed out the importance of listening to nature over ritual and tools. Suddenly Joseph saw that Sean, Ruth, and Robert had all tried to tell him the exact same thing. The immediate result was formation of the Temple Of The Elder Gods (TOTEG) . An attempt was made to "connect directly with our ancestors and the Gods and to discover ways that were appropriate to them based on where we lived." In 1988 TOTEG was dissolved and Joseph left the neopagan community entirely. In 1994 Joseph began participating in Usenet group soc.religion.shamanism. In 1996 he met Starrhawke, with whom he wrote the Declaration of Metista, and later maintained a website for Metista - a uniquely American, primarily shamanic evolution of the original TOTEG - along with an internet based community. In 2003 Joseph and Starr went their separate ways, and Joseph continued along his path of promoting and teaching natural spirituality through Toteg Tribe

Joseph had been diagnosed with COPD many years ago, and fought the disease far longer than his doctors had expected him to do. Several months ago he was put on morphine to help cope with the pain he endured, but the medication caused him to fall into short naps. On August 4, 2004 sometime between midnight and 7 AM, it he passed away during one of these naps. Joseph will be sorely missed.

A memorial site will be set up by the Tribal Council of Toteg Tribe, and the URL will be posted on the Toteg Tribe page at

All requests for information or attempts to give assistance to the family should be addressed to


8 August 2004

Community Thoughts: The week we all learned of this passing the memorial above was posted on Wren's Nest where many stopped by to offer up their thoughts and remembrances. You can experience those thoughts by surfing to Wren's Nest News.

Article Specs

Article ID: 8673

VoxAcct: 13

Section: passages

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 5,541

Times Read: 9,521


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