7 Influential Pagans

By Corine Gatti

Original Link: http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/secular-philosophies/6-influential-pagans.aspx


Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley lived during the Edwardian era. He went to Moral Science Tripos at Trinity College where he studied Philosophy. According to history, Crowley believed that he was being guided by his own personal guardian angel. He called the angel "Aiwass." Crowly also claimed to put a curse on people as it was rumored he put a curse on a doctor after he refused to refill a prescription and the physician died. Crowley had an impact because of his "Language and poetry was borrowed by both Gerald Gardner and Doreen Valiente when assembling much of the liturgy that would come to define British traditional witchcraft," author Jason Mankey wrote.


Margot Adler

Margot Adler was a Wiccan priestess and a leader in pagan society. Adler's journey started out in England, where she became interested in the Druids and discovered a number of evolving witchcraft and pagan organizations. She became a devout follower of Joseph B. Wilson, who founded the Waxing Moon magazine. This was the first publication to serve people who followed witchcraft in America. She joined the Welsh Traditional Witches and eventually was promoted to become a High Priestess. She was the author of Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers and Other Pagans in America Today. These books encouraged more people to follow her path.


Gerald Gardner

Gerald Gardner "Simply assembled the various pieces that make up modern witchcraft then he’s the great architect, the creator of a religious tradition that has now taken a seat next to the other great religions of the world," Mankey wrote. He was the great influence of Gardnerian Wicca and helped launch this into the United States. Estimates of the number of Wiccans worldwide range from 100,000 to 800,000 because of Gardner's work. His legacy is often disputed but never forgotten. "Unlike a number of sensational writers, I do not want wish to convey the impression that there are witches at work in every corner of the land," he said.



“Beware of organizations that proclaim their devotion to the light without embracing, bowing to the dark; for when they idealize half the world they must devalue the rest," said Starhawk who is considered the most respected voices in modern earth-based spirituality. She is the author of The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, long considered the essential text for the Neo-Pagan movement. It is also a resource and a how-to on Wicca, witchcraft, spiritual feminism and also the Goddess movement, which has inspired British witchcraft to turn into paganism. Starhawk also writes on activism and calls for an intersectionality of fighting oppression that includes spirituality, eco-consciousness and sexual and gender liberation.


Philip Heselton

Historian Philip Heselton is an expert and author on earth mysteries and Wicca. He is the father of contemporary witchcraft. He was commissioned by the Center for Pagan Studies (CFPS) in association with the Doreen Valiente Foundation (DVF) to write the biography of Doreen Valiente, one of Gerald Gardner's early High Priestesses and perhaps the main inspiration for the continued growth of the Gardnerian Tradition. Heselton is considered one of the world's leading authorities on the roots of Wicca, witchcraft and neo-paganism. "I always feel grateful to that library for having books on a variety of subjects in which I have remained interested. I felt excited by Witchcraft Today, not just by what it said but by the atmosphere which it had. I was able to read between the lines to the echoes of something very deep. That has always remained with me. I thereafter read any book on witchcraft which I could get my hands on! It was, however, much, much later before I met any real live pagans." he said.


Margaret Murray

Margaret Murray wrote God of the Witches and it became part of the modern pagan revival because of it. She also published The Witch-Cult in Western Europe and this proposed that the resistance to pagans was an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church to eliminate an antagonist. She believed that "Fairies were an actual subculture of full-sized if slightly stunted by their diet human beings who lived secretively in the British Isles, persecuted along with the witches." She said that fairies were the survival of a neolithic culture. Murray redeemed and legitimized the word “witch.” "Her history of the horned god in the god of the witches is everything you want a pagan archetype to be," Mankey noted.


Helena Blavatsky

Helena Blavatsky was a Russian occultist, spirit medium and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. She published Isis Unveiled, a book outlining her theosophical views. Author Boaz Huss described it as a collection of "Mystical and occultist philosophies concerning, or seeking direct knowledge of, the presumed mysteries of life and nature, particularly of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe." Blavatsky still remained a mystery to some in her day, while teaching many to embrace theosophical ideas. With this, she became a huge player in paganism.




Author:Rev. JP Vanir
Published:Jul 30th
Modified:Jul 30th

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