oberon zell-ravenheart
oberon zell-ravenheart

Chronology of Oberon Zell

1960s

  • 1961 I begin freshman year at Westminster College, Fulton, MO, where I meet Lance Christie and Martha McCance.

  • 1962 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.

  • 1966 I quit graduate school, begin working for Human Development Corp as Head Start Counselor. Star Trek premiers on TV (Sept. 8).

  • 1967 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 of CAW.

  • 1968 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 in Sept.

  • 1969 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…

1970s

  • 1970 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.”

  • 1971 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.

  • 1972 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…

  • 1973 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.

  • 1974 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 “most primal.”

  • 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.”

  • 1976 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.

  • 1977 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.

  • 1979 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.”

1980s

  • 1980 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.

  • 1982 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.

  • 1984 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.

  • 1985 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.”

  • 1986 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.

  • 1987 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.

  • 1988 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.

1990s

  • 1990 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 Quechua shamans.

  • 1991 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.

  • 1992 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 in Australia.

  • 1993 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.

  • 1994 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.”

  • 1995 In April, I meet Liza Gabriel at Craftwise Festival in New England; begin serious relationship. In Nov. Wolf moves from Houston to join MG and me.

  • 1996 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.

  • 1998 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.

  • 1999 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 Arthur.

2000s

  • 2000 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.

  • 2001 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 officiate.

  • 2002 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.

  • 2004 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.

  • 2005 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.

  • 2006 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 in this.

  • 2007 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 in November.

  • 2008 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.

  • 2009 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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