Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 21,895,286

February 1st. 2019 ...

Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media

September 25th. 2018 ...

Understanding the Unseen

August 25th. 2018 ...

A Little Magickal History

Men and the Goddess

Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces

Kitchen Magic and Memories

Magic in Daily Life

Why the Faeries?

Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light

On Preconceived Pagan/Wiccan Political Affiliations

The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives

The Lady on the Stairs

July 26th. 2018 ...

The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity

May 29th. 2018 ...

Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess

April 20th. 2018 ...

Nazis Made Us Change Our Name

November 15th. 2017 ...


August 31st. 2017 ...

The White Goddess: A Seminal Work in the Neo-Wiccan Movement.

July 31st. 2017 ...

Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers

July 2nd. 2017 ...

On Cursing: Politics and Ethos

A Distant Thunder: Should You Care?

June 1st. 2017 ...

The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions

April 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles

March 30th. 2017 ...

Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords

January 10th. 2017 ...

The Gray of 'Tween

Becoming a Sacred Dancer

December 9th. 2016 ...

A Child's First Yule

November 10th. 2016 ...

A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities

What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)

On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans

September 11th. 2016 ...

The Shadow of Disgust

September 3rd. 2016 ...

Nature’s Reward

August 12th. 2016 ...

Hungarian Belief in Fairies

Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament

Past Midnight

July 13th. 2016 ...

What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses

Magic With A Flick of my Finger

An Open Mind and Heart

June 13th. 2016 ...

Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia

My Father, My First God

May 15th. 2016 ...

Faery Guided Journey

Working with the Elements

Magical Household Cleaning

April 2nd. 2016 ...

The Fear of Witchcraft

Magic in Sentences

March 28th. 2016 ...

Revisiting The Spiral

Still Practicing

Spring Has Sprung!

January 22nd. 2016 ...

Coming Out of the Broom Closet

Community and Perception

December 20th. 2015 ...

Magia y Wicca

October 16th. 2015 ...

Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts

September 30th. 2015 ...

The Other-Side

August 6th. 2015 ...

Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale

July 9th. 2015 ...

The Magic of Weather

June 7th. 2015 ...

A Pagan Altar

A Minority of a Minority of a Minority

The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?

May 6th. 2015 ...

13 Keys: The Crown of Kether

March 29th. 2015 ...

A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft

March 1st. 2015 ...

Choosing to Write a Shadow Book

February 1st. 2015 ...

Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader

January 1st. 2015 ...

Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft

Pagans All Around Us

Broomstick to the Emerald City

October 20th. 2014 ...

Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits

October 5th. 2014 ...

The History of the Sacred Circle

September 28th. 2014 ...

Creating a Healing Temple

August 31st. 2014 ...

Coven vs. Solitary

August 24th. 2014 ...

The Pagan Cleric

August 17th. 2014 ...

To Know, to Will, to Dare...

August 10th. 2014 ...

As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?

August 3rd. 2014 ...

You Have to Believe We Are Magic...

July 27th. 2014 ...

Did I Just Draw Down the Moon?

July 6th. 2014 ...

The Lore of the Door

Leaves of Love

June 15th. 2014 ...

Becoming Your Own Wise One

June 1st. 2014 ...

13 Keys: The Wisdom of Chokmah

May 25th. 2014 ...

Some Differences Between Priestesses and Witches: Duties and Trials

May 11th. 2014 ...

Breaking the Law of Return

Mental and Emotional Balance- I CAN Have it!

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 15221

VoxAcct: 164010

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 2,576

Times Read: 2,924

RSS Views: 9,842
Dianic Roots in the Neo Pagan Movement

Author: Janice Van Cleve
Posted: November 18th. 2012
Times Viewed: 2,924

The modern manifestation of Paganism is called the Neo Pagan Movement to distinguish it from the great mass of ancient or aboriginal religions that are also lumped together as Pagan. The distinguishing feature of the Neo Pagan Movement is that it can trace its roots through the publications of various authors beginning in the 19th Century. There are, of course, writings before that time dealing with the occult but these Neo Pagan writings were motivated or energized in large part with the stated intention of the authors to “recover” ancient truths.

The 19th Century was a century of disillusionment. The Industrial Revolution brought sweeping changes in the methods of production, the consumption of resources, the concentration of people into cities, and the pollution of the landscape. The political revolutions in France and America upset political realities and bases of power and spread their doctrines of populist government across Europe and the New World. The social revolution emancipated slaves, and went on to advocate for women and workers. Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792 and Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital in 1867. The scientific revolution ushered in by Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and others completely overturned our understanding of who we are and where we came from. It is no accident that the sciences of archeology and geology were founded at this time. These studies vastly expanded our view of the past.

Added to all this intellectual ferment were the creation of world empires and a revolution in the methods and speed of travel. These latter two innovations opened access to the entire world and exposed societies to totally different cultures and ideas. The English especially were exposed to Eastern philosophies via their dominion of Egypt and India. In this confusing, chaotic, totally disrupting time, it is only natural that there should also be a religious revolution as well.

And there was. The old corrupt Catholic Church and its many Protestant children had thoroughly discredited themselves in the religious wars and persecutions of the 16th-18th centuries. They did not have answers for the upheavals happening all around them. They sought to slow down, resist, or ignore the changes in the world and thus revealed themselves less and less in touch with the realities that most people were experiencing. Thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and reformers stepped forward to fill the worldly gap. It is not surprising that some of them would turn their attention to the spiritual gap as well.

Seeking spiritual comfort and inspiration outside the Bible was a radical concept for 19th Century Europeans and Americans. The authors and thinkers listed below generally sought legitimacy for their ideas in four different ways:

·Lineage. Several Neo Pagan pioneers claimed that the old Pagan practices still lived in secret in the modern world. They claimed they had survived from the religious wars and “burning times” and had been passed on faithfully from one witch to another down through time. They claimed to have inherited this lineage either through self-initiation or actual face-to-face initiation. This is often called “traditional Wicca” and Gerald Gardner is a good example.

·Revelation. Other Neo Pagan pioneers claimed to have seen a vision or received a message from the Otherworld. They claim to have been visited by a spirit who revealed to them the secret mysteries. Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon in 1830 on the basis of such a revelation. Aleister Crowley wrote the whole Book of the Law in three days as he says it was revealed to him while he was in Egypt in 1904.

·Evidence. Those of a scientific or cynical nature based their Neo Pagan theses on the basis of accumulated facts and interpretations. Since evidence is hardly ever complete and thinkers sometimes leap to answers, not all the interpretations were correct, but they did bring a continuous supply of fuel to the Neo Pagan movement. Marija Gimbutas, Robert Graves, and Margaret Murray are all examples.

·Invention. Then there are those few brave souls who created worldviews from their own personal experience and observation and unashamedly created Neo Pagan “traditions” on that basis alone. Starhawk accomplished this by applying feminist principles to ecology to produce her brand of Neo Paganism.

Dianic Wicca really started in the United States in the 1960’s during the Feminist Movement. While it can claim roots all the way back to Stone Age matrilineal cultures – and while Goddess worshipping/women focused religions can easily be identified across the ancient world – it was really the combination of Starhawk and Z. Budapest that launched what is know today as the Dianic “tradition.” However, they stood on the shoulders of the Neo Pagan revival of the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

The following list of publications and events does not pretend to be all-inclusive. This thread, however, highlights many of the most important developments in the Neo Pagan movement and the roots of Dianic Wicca.

1529 - Cornelius Agrippa published Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex. Four years later, he published Three Books Concerning Occult Philosophy. Agrippa accepted what was called “natural magic” which at the time included astrology, alchemy, botany, and herbs. He denounced ceremonial magic, which at the time included communication with spirits, necromancy, and witchcraft. This put him at odds with John Dee, mathematician and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, who trained England’s sailors and who coined the term “British Empire” Dee and Edward Kelley, an alchemist who used a crystal ball to summon angels and spirits, developed Enochian magic which focuses on evocation and commanding of spirits.

1801 - Francis Barrett published The Magus, a handbook of ceremonial magic, cribbing much of the material from Cornelius Agrippa.

1860’s - Eliphas Levi published Transcendental Magic, Its Doctrine and Ritual, The Science of Spirits, and The Great Secret, or Occultism Unveiled (1898) . He avoided weirdness, secret societies, and snake oil scams. His mainstream magic was accessible to a broad number of people and greatly influenced The Golden Dawn Society. Levi incorporated the Tarot into his work.

1859 - Charles Darwin published The Origin of the Species.

1848 - Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx publish The Communist Manifesto.

1867 - J.J. Bachofen publishes Mother Right: an investigation of the religious and juridical character of matriarchy in the ancient world.

1884 - Friedrich Engels publishes The Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State in which he made use of Bachofen’s theories.

1874-1891 - H.P. Blavatsky published The Secret Doctrine and launches the Theosophical Society.

1870’s - Heinrich Schliemann finds Troy and gives proof of the ancient past. He is a bridge between the antiquarians, treasure hunters, and modern archeology.

1888 - Golden Dawn established. Hermetic order with roots in Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism. Founded by William Westcott with early rituals by Samuel Mathers.

1890 - James Frazier published The Golden Bough, which promoted the idea of a solar deity who married to the earth Goddess and then died each year to be reborn. He characterized the basis of Pagan religions as fertility cults.

1898 - Mathers publishes The Book of Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage based on Levi’s work.

1898 - Aleister Crowley joined the Golden Dawn and was expelled two years later. Breakthrough in Egypt results in 1904 with The Book of the Law. Then he went mountain climbing and it was not until 1907 that he founded Argenteum Astrum. He began drug addition soon after divorce in 1909. In 1910, he joined the Ordo Templi Orientis. In 1920, he set up the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily. In 1925, he became leader of OTO worldwide and in 1929 published Magick: In Theory and in Practice.

1899 - Charles Leland published Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches.

1903-1905 - Golden Dawn splinters because of infighting.

1900-1940 - Sigmund Freud created science of psychology.

1921 - Margaret Murray published The Witch Cult in Western Europe.

1920-1940 - Dion Fortune published many novels that dealt with magical themes. She inspired Doreen Valiente and knew Aleister Crowley.

1936 - Gerald Gardner publishes Keris and Other Malay Weapons, which gained him academic respect as a cultural anthropologist. He was initiated into Dorothy Clutterbuck’s coven in 1939. He met Aleister Crowley in 1946 and became a member of Ordo Templi Orientis. He published High Magic’s Aid in 1949. In the 1950’s, he publicized Paganism much to the distress of most Pagan covens, which preferred secrecy. In 1954, he published Witchcraft Today. Gardiner compounded his version of Wicca from Freemasonry, Ceremonial Magic, and Crowley. Doreen Valiente smoothed and corrected his version.

1948 - Robert Graves published The White Goddess, which proposed that the Goddess of Life, Death, and Rebirth underlay the ancient European Pagan religions. He authored the Maiden, Mother, and Crone symbolism.

1951 - Witchcraft Acts repealed in Britain.

1953 - Doreen Valiente initiated into Gardnerian Wicca by Gardner, became high priestess and rewrote much of his book of shadows. She also wrote the Charge of the Goddess, The Witches Rune, An ABC of Witchcraft (1972) , Natural Magic (1975) , Witchcraft for Tomorrow (1978) , and The Rebirth of Witchcraft (1989) . She courageously challenged Gardner over his publicity seeking and left his coven in 1957. Valiente joined Robert Cochrane’s coven (Tubal Cain) in the 1960’s but later challenged him for promoting witch wars and left his coven.

1958-1991 -Marija Gimbutas published many findings on Eastern European archeology and demonstrated the scientific record of ancient matrifocal cultures. Her investigations provided a historical underpinning to the feminist movement.

1963 - Alex Sanders initiated into Gardnerian Wicca but added ceremonial and eclectic features to become the Alexandrian tradition. A self-promoter, Sanders sought and got media attention, which led other Gardnerians to view him as an ego tripper.

1970 - Janet and Stewart Farrar initiated into Alexandrian tradition by Sanders. They published the Eight Sabbats of Witches in 1981, followed by The Pagan Path and The Healing Craft. They left Alexandrian tradition to become Reformed Alexandrian. Gavin Bone was their polyfidelious third partner and co-author and with the passing of Stewart, Bone and Janet became members of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, headquartered in Index, Washington.

1976 - Merlin Stone published When God was a Woman.

1987 - Riane Eisler published The Chalice and the Blade.

1979 - Starhawk published Spiral Dance and launched the eco-feminist movement.

1979- Z. Budapest published The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries and launched the Dianic Wiccan tradition in the United States.

The best resource for the Dianic tradition of Wicca today is Ruth Barrett’s Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries (2004) .

Copyright: Copyright Janice Van Cleve, 2012.


Janice Van Cleve

Location: Seattle, Washington

Author's Profile: To learn more about Janice Van Cleve - Click HERE

Bio: Janice Van Cleve is a priestess with the Women Of The Goddess Circle in Seattle, Washington. The website is: Copyright 2012.

Other Articles: Janice Van Cleve has posted 29 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Janice Van Cleve... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Janice Van Cleve ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2019 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections
(including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.)
are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc.
TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).