Neo-Paganism Timeline: 1940s

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Before the 20th century  |  early 20th century  |  1940s  |  1950s   

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[Note: Dates in the same year are not listed in chronological order.]


1940s: Gerald Gardner joins the naturist (nudist) group, The Fiveacres Country Club.

1940s: Victor Anderson begins initiating others into what will become his Faerie (later “Feri”) witchcraft tradition. He later initiated Gwydion Pendderwen and Starhawk.

1946: Gerald Gardner joins Ancient Druid Order and its governing council.

1947: Gerald Gardner is introduced to Aleister Crowley and becomes a member of the O.T.O. Crowley dies the same year.

1946: Gerald Gardner may have been initiated by Edith Woodford-Grimes (“Dafo”) and founded his first coven this year.

1947: (approx.) Gardner begins writing his pseudographical grimoire, Ye Bok of Ye Arte Magickal, which later becomes the Book of Shadows.

1948: Robert Graves publishes The White Goddess. Graves Triple Goddess later becomes a central motif in Wicca and feminist witchcraft. In his mythology, Graves splits Frazer’s Dying and Rising God into the gods of the waxing and waning year, which fight for the favor of the Triple Goddess. Graves’ conception of the seasonal interaction between these gods and the Goddess became integrated into the Neo-Pagan festival cycle.

1948: Gertrude Levy publishes The Gate of Horn, a study of archeological evidence for the worship of a mother goddess in Neolithic Europe.

1948: Our Lady of Endor Coven is organized by Herbert Arthur Sloane in Toledo, Ohio. The cult is Satanist and Gnostic. Sloane was influenced by Murray’s The God of the Witches and corresponded with Gerald Gardner.

1949: Joseph Campbell publishes The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell’s Journey of the Hero monomyth is foundational for the Neo-Pagan mythos.

1949: 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 male deity of fertility, with no mention of the Goddess.

1949:  Aldo Leopold publishes A Sand County Almanac in which he sets forth his “land ethic”, the notion that right action “tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.”


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