Neo-Paganism Timeline: Pre-1967

late 1700s/early 1800s

The German Romantic Movement begins.

1792

Thomas Taylor publishes his translation of The Hymns of Or­pheus. He went on to publish translations of numerous Greek philosophers and works on the Greek mystery religions. Taylor practiced his own private reconstruction of classical pagan reli­gion.

circa 1820

Romantic poet, Leigh Hunt, corresponds with Percy Bysshe Shel­ley and Thomas Jefferson Hogg about a revival of pagan reli­gion.

1836

Ralph Waldo Emerson publishes his essay “Nature,” setting forth the foundation of Transcendentalism.

1854

Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden.

1855

Walt Whitman publishes Leaves of Grass.

1861

J. Bachofen publishes Mother Right, a study of matriarchy in the ancient world.

1862

Iolo Morganwg publishes his forgeries, which were to inspire the emerging Neo-Druidic movement.

Jules Michelet publishes La Sorcière, which describes witchcraft as a form of rebellion against feudalism and Catholicism.

1870s

An alleged “Cambridge Coven” may have performed rituals based on Apuleius’ Golden Ass.

1878

The Folklore Society is founded, advancing the idea that folk cus­toms are survivals of pagan religions.

1889

Edward Carpenter publishes Civilization: Its Causes and Cure, in which he promotes a pagan revival.

1890

James Frazer publishes the first edition of The Golden Bough.

1890s

W.B. Yeats, a member of the Golden Dawn, plans to revive an ancient pagan mystery religion.

1897

The Cosmic Circle is formed by Alfred Schuler, Ludwig Klages, Stephan George, and Karl Wolfskehl, after reading J. J. Bacho­fen’s Mother Right. They conduct rites to worship the Great Earth Mother.

1899

Godfrey Leland publishes Aradia, or The Gospel of the Witches, which later inspires the Witchcraft revival.

1902

Ernest Seton founds the Woodcraft Movement in the United States.

1905

The Neo-Druidic group, the Ancient Order of Druids, makes use of Stonehenge to perform a mass initiation ceremony.

1908-1912

A small group of intellectuals and artists calling themselves the “Neo-pagans” gather around the young poet, Rupert Brooke, to rebel against Victorianism.

1915

Aleister Crowley writes to an adept, Frater Achad, urging him to revive a pagan nature religion.

1916

Ernest Westlake founds the British Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, a Quaker-inspired, pacifist alternative to Baden-Powell’s Scout­ing movement, and seeks to revive the worship of the old gods of paganism.

1921

Margaret Murray publishes The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, which later inspire Wicca’s founder, Gerald Gardner.

1922

Harry (“Dion”) Byngham takes over the Order of Woodcraft Chiv­alry, introducing phallic worship, a ritual circle with four quarters corresponding to the four elements, three degrees of initiation, a horned god and Moon goddess, and ritual nudity.

James Frazer’s single-volume, abridged edition of the multi-volume The Golden Bough is published, making it more accessible to the general pub­lic.

1931

Ella Young founds the “Fellowship of Shasta” in California, cele­brating four annual rites and worshiping the Celtic goddess Brigid.

1933

Eranos is founded as an intellectual discussion group dedicated to the study of spirituality as it relates to depth psychology.

Margaret Murray publishes The God of the Witches.

mid-1930s

A student group at Cambridge purportedly tries to reconstruct pagan witchcraft from Murray’s Witch-Cult in Western Europe.

1937

The secret traditions and rituals of the Golden Dawn Society are made public by Israel Regardie.

1938

Gleb Botkin founds the Church of Aphrodite in New York, wor­shipping the Great Goddess.

1939

Lady Raglan coins the term, “Green Men,” for foliated faces in church sculp­ture, which she links to folk traditions of the King of the May, etc.

Gerald Gardner joins the Folklore Society. Gardner later claims to have been initiated into the New Forest coven in the home of “Old Dorothy” this year.

1940s

Victor Anderson begins initiating others into what will become his Faerie (later “Feri”) Witchcraft tradition.

1946

Gerald Gardner joins the Ancient Druid Order and its governing council. Gardner may have been initiated by Edith Woodford-Grimes (“Dafo”) and founded his first coven this year.

1947

Gerald Gardner is introduced to Aleister Crowley and becomes a member of the O.T.O. Crowley dies the same year. Gardner may have begun writing his pseudographical grimoire, Ye Bok of Ye Arte Magickal, which later becomes the Book of Shadows this year.

1948

Robert Graves publishes The White Goddess.

Gertrude Levy publishes The Gate of Horn, a study of archeologi­cal evidence for the worship of a Great Mother Goddess in Neo­lithic Europe.

1949

Joseph Campbell publishes The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Gerald Gardner publishes High Magic’s Aid, which describes a form of Witchcraft dissimilar to modern Wicca, and more closely resembling the witch religion of Murray’s God of the Witches, wor­shiping a single masculine deity of fertility, with no mention of the Goddess.

1951

Gerald Gardner announces the existence of his Witch coven to the press. The modern revival of Witchcraft begins.

1953

Doreen Valiente is initiated by Gerald Gardner. She becomes his High Priestess and works to revise his Book of Shadows.

1954

Mircea Eliade publishes The Myth of the Eternal Return.

Gerald Gardner publishes Witchcraft Today, the first publication describing the purported origins of his Witchcraft revival.

1955

Erich Neumann publishes The Great Mother, which traces the Jung­ian Mother archetype from prehistoric times to the present.

Esther Harding publishes Women’s Mysteries, Ancient and Mod­ern, a Jungian interpretation of the feminine principle in ancient myth.

1956

Following a mystical experience of the Divine Feminine, Fred Adams founds the Fellowship of Hesperides, which later evolves into Feraferia.

1957

Doreen Valiente splits with Gardner over his insistence on the priority of the God over the Goddess and his belief that the High Priestess must be young.

1958

The eight stations of the Wheel of the Year are established in Gard­ner’s coven.

Aidan Kelly discovers Gardner’s Witchcraft Today in the San Fran­cisco public library. Kelly will later be instrumental in the founding of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (NROOGD).

1960

Carl Weschke purchases Llewellyn Publishing Co., which grows into the largest publisher of Pagan titles in the world.

Irving Hallowell coins the phrase, “other than human beings.”

The world human population reaches 3 billion.

1961

Robert Heinlein publishes A Stranger in a Strange Land, which later inspires the Church of All Worlds.

Approximate date of Alex Sanders’ initiation.

1962

The Esalen Institute is founded in Big Sur, California and be­comes a center for the human potential movement.

Doreen Valiente publishes Where Witchcraft Lives.

Oberon Zell founds the Church of All Worlds. The group origi­nally derived its ideas from Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein, but later becomes Neo-Pagan.

Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, which is credited with starting the environmental movement.

1963

Raymond and Rosemary Buckland begin initiating Americans into Gardnerian Witchcraft in New York.

The Reformed Druids of North America is founded as a protest against a requirement that students at Carleton College attend religious services.

Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique.

Robert Greenway coins the term, “psycho-ecology,” (which later becomes “ecopsychology”).

1964

The first Pagan periodicals, the Pentagram in the UK and the Wax­ing Moon in the U.S., are published.

Gerald Gardner dies.

The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids (OBOD) is founded by Ross Nichols.

The Wilderness Act is passed to ensure that lands are designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition.

The American psychedelic movement begins.

1965

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is published in paperback edi­tion in the U.S.

Adlai Stevenson gives a famous speech to the UN in which he describes the Earth as a spaceship with limited reserves of air and soil. The phrase “Spaceship Earth” is popularized by Buckmin­ster Fuller in 1968.

1966

The Sierra Club succeeds in preventing the damming of the Grand Canyon.

Robert Cochrane (Roy Bowers), founder of the Clan of Tubal Cain, dies by suicide.

Robert Graves’ White Goddess is republished by an American pub­lisher in a revised and enlarged edition.

The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is begun as a back­yard party at the home of Diana Paxton in Berkley.

 

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