Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Written and compiled by George Knowles
That is the road to
Heaven, my love,
From the old British folk-song attributed to Thomas the Rhymer
Alison Harlow was a feminist and political activist supporting civil rights activities in efforts to find peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. As a practicing Witch and Feri Priestess, she was an early influence in the modern neo-pagan movement of America. She founded the “Vanthi” line of Feri witchcraft, was a co-founder with Gwydion Penderrwen of “Nemeton” an early pagan magazine and networking organization, a co-founder with Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart of the “Holy Order of Mother Earth” (HOME) a monastic sanctuary dedicated to nature, and a founding member of the “Covenant of the Goddess” an international organization of Witches.
Susan Alison Harlow was born on the 29th of August 1934 in New York City. Her education began at the City and Country Grammar School in Greenwich Village, before moving on to New Lincoln High School were she graduated in 1952. To further her education she then enrolled in Bard College, but in 1953 eloped with one of her professors and spent the next 5 years in Bogotá, Columbia. While there she enrolled in Columbia University studying Cybernetics, from where she gained a Master’s degree in Mathematics in 1958. This started her on career in computers working for IBM as a programmer and systems analyst in Hawaii and California. Later in life she put her professional skills to good use in the health care area of computer programming.
In 1962 Alison met her second husband Randall Garrett, an American science fiction and fantasy author. Garrett was a long time contributor to Astounding SF and other science fiction magazines during the 1950s and 1960s. A prolific author he was best known for his Lord Darcy books and the novel Too Many Magicians. Alison and Garrett were married in New York City in 1963. When his father died later that same year, they moved to Austin, Texas, and lived in his house for several years before moving to San Francisco in the mid 1960’s. In 1966 both Garrett and Alison became founding members of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). Shortly after they divorced and went their separate ways.
Through her involvement with the SCA, Alison met with Gwydion Penderrwen an early founding member of Victor Anderson’s “Feri Tradition of Witchcraft” during the early 1960’s. Alison was initiated into the Feri tradition in 1970 and trained by Victor and Gwydion, later in 1975 she hived off to form her own coven called “Wings of Vanthi”, thus creating her own line of the Feri tradition. Later still Alison became a third degree initiated Gardnerian and incorporated certain aspects of Gardnerian practice into her Feri tradition. As such her line of the Feri tradition considers itself to be a modern form of Wicca (unlike most other Feri lines), and adheres to the Threefold Law of Return.
In 1972, together with Gwydion Penderrwen she co-founded Nemeton (Welsh for Sacred Grove), an early pagan magazine and networking organization on the west coast of America, which quickly grew to regional offices all across the United States. Nemeton played an important key role in the early growth and spread of Pagan and Wiccan networking in America. Later in 1978 Nemeton merged with the Church of All Worlds and became its publishing arm, and continues to function as such today.
Gwydion Penderrwen - Victor Anderson
In the early 1970’s Alison bought a 220-acre plot of natural woodland situated on Greenfield Ranch near Ukiah in California. Greenfield Ranch was a huge 5600-acre parcel of land that had been subdivided into a number of plots in the 1950’s. Through the 1960’s early 1970’s as plots of the land were sold off, it quickly developed into a large “New-Age” homesteading community. Alison called her own plot of land “Coeden Brith” (Welsh for Speckled Forest), which she intended to turn into a natural nature sanctuary.
In 1975 sponsored by Alison as a founding member, the “Covenant of the Goddess” (CoG) was founded and organised from Coeden Brith. Elders from many diverse traditions met together at Coeden Brith in response to the rise of interest in Witchcraft, feminism and environmentalism. The elders drafted a lasting covenant between each other and formulated bylaws for the new organisation. The bylaws were ratified by 13 member covens during the Litha summer solstice celebration that year. Later that same year at Samhain on the 31 October, the COG was incorporated as a non-profit religious organisation. Today the COG is one of the oldest and largest nondenominational organizations supporting Witches in the United States.
Situated adjacent to Coeden Brith is another 55-acre plot of land that was bought by Alison’s friend and Feri mentor Gwydion Pendderwen in 1976. Gwydion called his plot of land “Annwfn” (Welsh for Underworld) on which with Alison’s help he co-founded “Forever Forests”, an ecological mission aimed at healing the planet by planting trees. A year later in 1977 Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart of the Church of All Worlds (CAW) moved onto Coeden Brith as caretakers, and together with Alison co-founded the “Holy Order of Mother Earth” (HOME), a monastic sanctuary dedicated to nature.
Oberon and Morning Glory with a unicorn bred at Coeden Brith
Aside from Coeden Brith, Alison lived in Oakland and Palo Alto during the 1970’s, before moving in 1982 onto a 32-acre plot of land in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Scotts Valley, California. There she created a residential cooperative community called “Eclectia”, where she resided until her death on the 13th June 2004. She had served on the Women’s Commission of Santa Cruz County for the last 8 years of her life, and was an active member of The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), The American Association of University Women (AAUW), The National Organization for Women (NOW) and WomenRise for Global Peace.
Alison was a beloved and respected member of many pagan communities. She was a craft practitioner of Feri tradition of witchcraft for over 30 years and remained a staunch defender of women’s rights and civil liberties throughout her life. On the 13th June 2004 after a brief battle with cancer, Alison Harlow passed away into the Feri land of her ancestors. She died surrounded by her blood and magical family, among them: her sister Linda, her beloved niece and nephew-in-law, Rebecca and Doug, and their children, and several members of her Feri tradition.
Drawing down the Moon – by Margot Adler
First published on the 25 August 2007 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
The Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) / Esbats & Full Moons / Links to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft Resources / What's a spell? / Circle Casting and Sacred Space / Pentagram - Pentacle / Marks of a Witch / The Witches Power / The Witches Hat / An esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism / Pow-wow / The Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / A history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope Innocent VIII / The papal Bull / The Malleus Maleficarum / An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum / The letter of approbation / Johann Nider’s Formicarius / Jacob Sprenger / Heinrich Kramer / Stefano Infessura / Montague Summers / The Waldenses / The Albigenses / The Hussites / The Native American Sun Dance / Shielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Festivals:
The Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Rituals contributed by Crone:
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder
Rocks and Stones:
Stones - History, Myths and Lore
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:
Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Wisdom and Inspiration:
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murdered by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A Kelly / Albertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred / John Michael Greer / John Score / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot - "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" / Monique Wilson / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellars / Mrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" / Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) / Rudolf Steiner / Sabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough" / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - (includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) / Thomas Ady / T. Thorn Coyle / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest /
Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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