Chronology of Oberon Zell
- 1961 I begin freshman year at Westminster College, Fulton, MO, where I meet Lance Christie and Martha McCance.
Lance and I read Stranger in a Strange Land and share water (April 7),
vowing to begin living the dream set forth therein. We form a Nest, and I
begin publishing The Atlan Torch.
- 1963 I marry Martha, and we have a son, Bryan (born Sept. 15).
- 1965 I graduate from college; begin graduate school at Washington University in St Louis; begin new Nest there.
I quit graduate school, begin working for Human Development Corp as
Head Start Counselor. Star Trek premiers on TV (Sept. 8).
In Sept, I first go public with Church of All Worlds, apply for
incorporation. I begin using term “Pagan” as self-identification for our
religion. I complete college for a DD, become ordained as first Priest
CAW receives corporate status; we open our first coffee house/temple; I
begin publishing Green Egg (all in March). I also obtain a Teacher’s
Certificate and begin teaching grade school. We close the first Temple
With Fred Adams of Feraferia and others, we found the Council of
Themis—the first Pagan ecumenical council. CAW Nest meeting held at
homes on Friday nights, for Star Trek. Sci-Fi Worldcon in St Louis
(Labor Day)—I attend as my first Worldcon, and meet many people…
April: We open a new storefront Temple. I do my first acid trip (at
Solar Eclipse, March 7); I meet Julie (April 1); CAW major participant
at first Earth Day (April 22). CAW gets its IRS 501(c)(3) (June 18). On
Sept. 6 I have major Vision of the Living Earth, which I write up as
“TheaGenesis.” This is the first publication of what later becomes known
as “The Gaea Thesis.”
Martha and I separate, later to divorce. Julie and I travel to East
Coast for Sci-Fi Worldcon. We meet Susan Roberts, Ray Buckland, Leo
Martello, Robert Rimmer, and many famous Witches. I begin correspondence
with Robert Heinlein.
Council of Themis dissolves due to internal dissension; Council of
Earth Religions formed. Julie and I attend Sci-Fi WorldCon in Los
Angeles; win Grand Prize in costume contest as “Cernunnos &
Cerridwen.” We meet many Califia Pagans, travel up to San Francisco and
Greenfield Ranch to see the new land being bought into…
Julie and I break up in Spring. I hitchhike to Rainbow Family Gathering
in Lander, WY. Get arrested in Colo. for hitchhiking. Meet Bonnie
Sherlock—receive initiation. I attend Gnostic Aquarian festival in
Minneapolis at Mabon, as a keynote speaker on TheaGenesis. There I meet
and fall in love with Morning Glory. She moves in with me.
MG and I are married in huge public Pagan handfasting in Minneapolis
(April 12). Isaac Bonewits & Carolyn Clark officiate; Margot Adler
sings Gwydion songs. We share water with Robert Anton Wilson. MG and I
attend Sci-Fi Worldcon in Wash. DC, win 1st prize in costume contest as
- 1975 I quite my job, rent out the house (now put into name of CAW), buy and fix up an old school bus: “The Scarlet Succubus.”
MG and I leave St Louis for West Coast. After many adventures, we end
up in Eugene, OR, where we teach classes on “Celtic Shamanism” at Lane
Community college. Our research uncovers the lost secret of the Unicorn.
Back in St Louis, GE folds. Soon, so does CAW.
Morning Glory and I move onto 5,600-acre Greenfield Ranch as caretakers
on 220-acre parcel named Coeden Brith, owned by Alison Harlow. Our
plan: to raise Unicorns! Next door neighbor is Gwydion Pendderwen. Form
Holy Order of Mother Earth (HOME) with Alison. We begin real land-based
Pagan life, transfer CAW HQ to Califia.
Total Eclipse of the Sun (Feb. 26) over full-scale Stonehenge replica
in Washington state. MG and I officiate at rites, along with many other
Pagan luminaries. 3-4,000 people attend. We clear the clouds, get much
media attention! I receive new name of “Otter.”
March—first baby Unicorns. HUGE thing! We spend most of year out in the
world doing interviews, etc. We apply for patent on Unicorn process.
Our life changes radically as we find ourselves traveling to make
appearances, do Ren Faires, etc. over next few years.
- 1981 We go on Chautauqua with performers from the Oregon Country Faire, traveling around Pacific Northwest in caravan of buses.
March: “Goddess Rising” conference in Sacramento. Many prominent pagan
leaders attend—get to meet each other. Doing Ren Faires all summer, MG
and I don’t see each other for 4 months. I meet and fall in love with
Bella Dona and Jeanné. At Samhain, Gwydion is killed in a car wreck. Our
first death. Serious grieving; begin creating darker rituals.
- 1983 In the fall, taking pottery classes at the local college, I meet and fall in love with Diane Darling.
We sign a 4-year exhibition lease for several of our Unicorns with
Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus. Diane and her son, Zack, move
in with us.
We mount a diving expedition to New Guinea to videotape and solve the
mystery of the “Mermaids” sighted there. On the way, we visit Australia,
connect with local Pagans. In the Fall, we leave Greenfield Ranch and
move to “The Old Same Place.”
Morning Glory and I create our dream store, “Between the Worlds,”
bringing in Diane Darling and several others. After a couple of years,
we pass it on to King & Joan Collins, who rename it “The Grey
Whale.” In September,we found the Ukiah Hometown Festival, and for many
years thereafter we lead the parade down Main Streetin our full Ren
Faire regalia—with a Unicorn.
In March, I go on a month-long pilgrimage with Bella Dona to Spain,
France, Italy, Greece, and Crete. In August, CAW sponsors big public
20th anniversary of Summer of Love at the park, with live bands, free
food, etc. MG & I create ritual passing of torch to next generation.
April—MG and I present at CIIS (Calif. Institute of Integral Studies)
Conf. on Gaia Consciousness. At Beltane, Diane and I resurrect Green Egg
20 years after first issue. MG and I win May Games to become King &
Queen of the May. Robert Heinlein dies May 8. At Samhain, I have vision
of recreating Eleusinian Mysteries.
- 1989 March 19—MG, Diane and I handfast as Triad.
April 20—20th anniversary of first Earth Day. We participate in major
way. In Beltane issue of GE, MG coins term “Polyamory.” Labor
Day—Heartland Pagan Festival in Kansas City hosts CAW Grand Reunion,
bringing many old CAW-folk together again. We begin conducting elaborate
annual recreations of Eleusinian Mysteries. At Samhain, I join Anodea
and others for a Magickal Mystery Tour to Peru, where we connect with
At Midsummer Gathering of Tribes in GA, Julie shows up and we
reconnect. I found the Universal Federation of Pagans (UFP). Summer—I go
on Magickal Mystery Tour to Crater Lake and lava caves, led by Richard
Ely. Labor Day—we do major presentation, opening & closing rituals,
at first big Poly-Con in Berkeley.
30th anniversary of CAW founding, we hold wonderful Grand Convocation
at 93-acre VM Ranch; create circle of magick to bring this place into
our hands as our future home. With a newly-elected all-women Board of
Directors, CAW becomes first legally-incorporated non-Christian church
We conduct recreation of ancient Greek Panathenaia at Parthenon replica
in Nashville, TN, with 42-ft. statue of Athena. We meet Wolf at Samhain
Gathering in Tenn.
Diane quits GE. Maerian comes on-board as new Editor. At Beltane MG
& I formally end our handfasting with Diane. In Aug. I drive to
Nashville with Orion & Maerian for 2nd Panathenaia. In Sept. after
serving as Hades in Eleusinia, I receive new name of “Oberon.”
In April, I meet Liza Gabriel at Craftwise Festival in New England;
begin serious relationship. In Nov. Wolf moves from Houston to join MG
Wynter Rose moves in with us in Feb., meets Wolf at Beltane. MG becomes
High Priestess of CAW. Sept. 13, GE staff members who are also Officers
of CAW BoD remove me from any control over the magazine I’d founded.
Sept. 29, MG, Wolf and I handfasted as triad, with Liza & Wynter
ladies-in-waiting. In Dec., Liza moves to Cal., and we (Liza, Wynter, MG
& I) all pull up stakes and move to VM Ranch. We commit to 2-year
lease with option to buy.
- 1997 Wolf moves in with us, and we all take family name of “Ravenheart.” In Sept., MG leads tour to Greece and Crete.
I finish creation of “Millennial Gaia” statue just in time for Beltane.
We offer her as incentive for membership renewal in CAW, raising $4,000
for our Church. In Aug. I am “impeached” as Primate by CAW BoD on what
eventually turn out to be completely bogus charges, and take 1-year
sabbatical from Primacy. MG and I return to Australia for big Pagan
festival. MG and Liza go to Hong Kong to arrange for production of Gaia
statues. MG stays there for a month.
We decide not to buy VM Ranch, due to escalating power struggles with
CAW BoD, who want to control it, although not pay for it. We find new
home for all Ravenhearts in Penngrove, supporting ourselves with our
statuary business, Mythic Images. In August, I
travel with Ariel Monserrat to England and France for final eclipse of
20th century, conducted at Boscanewen, an ancient stone circle in
Cornwall. I meet Ken Kesey there, with his famous bus, “Furthur,” and
give him Millennial Gaia “On The Bus.” Ariel and I are knighted by King
I convene Committee of Pagan leaders and initiate “Papal Apology
Project” to ask Pope to include Pagans in his Apology for horrors of
Inquisition, etc. We gather over 6,000 signatures. Pope does apologize
for “crimes against indigenous peoples.” That Summer, major “Pagan
Leaders Summit” held in Indiana—I attend with many others.
Our entire Ravenheart Family conducts major “Mystery Play” at
Walpurgisnacht at Annwfn. We also conduct spectacular Eleusinian
Mysteries in Sept, with Wolf & Wynter as Hades & Persephone. Our
last year of involvement with CAW, whose current BoD is inimically
hostile to me personally. Wolf & Wynter are married in July; MG and I
40th anniversary of CAW. I am not invited to attend Annual Meeting.
Ohio BoD hires “secret lawyer” to abolish CAW Bylaws and replace them
with “Constitution” to consolidate all power in the hands of the BoD. At
Starwood (July) I formally disaffiliate with CAW. I am commissioned by
New Page Books to write book of Wizardry for “Harry Potter generation.” I
assemble “Grey Council” as advisory council for this project.
- 2003 Entire year spent writing Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard.
Grimoire published—enormously successful. I create online Grey School
of Wizardry www.GreySchool.com (incorporated March 14). CAW BoD in Ohio
dissolves CAW Inc., intending to transfer all assets to new org. they’ve
created: “Church of All Worlds International.” They threaten to sue me
and Starwood organizers for presenting talk at Starwood: “The Rise and
Fall of the Church of All Worlds.” I do anyway. A month later, the
entire CAW BoD in Ohio resign en masse, and CAW’s corporate status
reverts to California.
Liza gets engaged to a man who’s hostile to the Ravenhearts. She evicts
us all to sell the house, and we have to find new homes and move in
Oct. MG and I find a wonderful place in the country, outside of Cotati.
I’m writing two books, Companion for the Apprentice Wizard and Creating
Circles & Ceremonies.
Companion for the Apprentice Wizard and Creating Circles &
Ceremonies both published. MG and I travel to Australia in Jan., as
guests of honor at CAW Summer Gathering and AGM. Overwhelmed by the
stress of moving, MG’s mother, Polly, who’s been living with us, dies in
Feb. In March, MG is diagnosed with multiple myeloma (blood and bone
cancer). With CAW now back in Califia, I am now Pres. of BoD, and we
begin total overhaul of entire structure. Cat DeVille is pivotal figure
Julie O’Ryan creates personal website for me: www.OberonZell.com. Ariel
Monserrat and Tom Donohue revive Green Egg as an e-zine, publishing the
first issue at Ostara at www.GreenEggzine.com. I’m working constantly
on my latest book—A Wizard’s Bestiary. Another Magnum Opus, it comes out
Julie moves to Guerneville, and becomes my Personal Assistant. I spend
much of year working on Green Egg Omelette—an anthology of 40 years of
GE magazine. In July, right after returning from Starwood, I am
diagnosed with colon cancer, and have surgery on July 29. In October, I
begin six months of chemotherapy.
Green Egg Omelette comes out in January. CAW makes major splash at
Pantheacon (Feb.) with main ritual (“Phoenix Rising”) and hospitality
suite. Working on next book: The Witch and the Wizard OZ, with John
Sulak. I am Artist Guest of Honor at ConQuest 40 sci-fi con in Kansas
City (May), and attend with Julie. We win costume contest as “Mother
Earth & Rising Phoenix.” Morning Glory begins a series of “Great
Goddess Retreats” (June-Sept.).
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