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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Amber K



Written and compiled by George Knowles


Amber K is a prominent Wiccan High Priestess, teacher and best selling author of a number of books about Witchcraft and Magick.  She is the Executive Director of Ardantane, a Pagan learning centre and seminary founded in 1996, and a Grey Council member of the online Grey School of Wizardry founded by Oberon Zell Ravenheart in 2004.


Born in Bronxville, New York, on the 09th July 1947, Amber spent most her childhood growing up in Chicago, Illinois.  Her father was a Roman Catholic and her mother Episcopalian, and so from an early age she attended each on alternate Sundays.  After completing her formal education, Amber attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins and graduated in 1970 with a BSc. degree in Social Sciences.


By this time Amber had joined a local chapter of the Unitarian Church and rose to become their Director of Religious education.  Part of her job was to research religious curricula, which led her into a study of ancient religions.  As a result, she became attracted to Goddess-centered religions and after more research found contemporary Wicca.  However, making contact and finding teachers in those early days wasn’t easy, and the only commonly available books for study were those by Gerald B. Gardner, Sybil Leek and Leo Martello.


It was not until 1978 during a visit to a Pagan festival in Chicago that Amber finally made contact with a teaching coven based on the Gardnerian Tradition called “The Temple of the Pagan Way."  The Pagan Way was formed in the early 1970’s in response to the high demand of people wishing to join established covens, and in this they provided an alternative to the intensive screening programs and year-and-a-day probationary periods required by traditional covens.  After joining and advancing through four of their five degrees, in 1980 Amber moved to Wisconsin with her then partner Catelaine and was later ordained a Wiccan High Priestess in a separate ritual.


After moving to Wisconsin, Amber worked first with the Pool of Bast and then with New Earth Circle before co-founding with Catelaine the ‘Coven of Our Lady of the Woods’ in 1982.  The coven thrived for a while in Wisconsin but is now located in Los Alamos and incorporated as a Church in the State of New Mexico.  Since then a number of covens have hived off and evolved into the Ladywood Tradition of Wicca.  Ladywood covens are mainly initiatory teaching covens and provide an eclectic mix of training drawn from various Pagan traditions, including the provision of Wicca 101 courses.  Covens celebrate the Esbats (Full Moon celebrations) and Sabbats (Seasonal celebrations), which are generally open in their efforts to educate the general public about the Craft.


While in Wisconsin, Amber also joined Circle Sanctuary as an editor for their Circle Network News and later the Covenant of the Goddess (COG) for which she served as Publications Officer and National First Officer for three terms.  She then became a member of the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess (RCG) and taught classes in their Priestess training program.  RCG was founded in 1983 as part of the Dianic Wicca network formed by Zsuzsanna Budapest in the early 1970s.  Today the RCG is an international women’s organisation in its own right and was incorporated in Wisconsin as a non-profit, tax-exempt religion.  The main aims of the RCG are to provide the same benefits and recognition for its women members, as do all other legally recognised religions.


In 1991 Amber’s first book True Magick: A Beginner’s Guide was published by Llewellyn Publications and immediately hit the Best-sellers list with sales of over 200.000.  Initially written after she first entered the Craft and self-published as a 32-page booklet called Beginning True Magick, it was her attempt to explain how “magick works” when few other books on the subject were available.  Later when Llewellyn publishers picked up a copy, they invited her to write an expanded version.  Since then it has become a standard textbook used by many teachers of the Craft.  She later followed it with another best-selling book Covencraft: Witchcraft for Three or More (1998).


In 1992 while teaching a Wicca 101 course through her Coven of Our Lady of the Woods, Amber met her life mate Azrael Arynn K.  Azrael at the time was an experienced police officer with a law degree, and had also worked as a stockbroker, architectural designer and racing car driver.  After studying Wicca with Amber, Azrael later became a third degree Priestess in the Ladywood Tradition.  They were handfasted in 1994 and have a son called Starfire.  As well as writing books together, Amber and Azrael travel frequently to teach and present workshops at festivals, events and conferences all across the USA.



Amber and Azrael Arynn K


In the mid 1990s Amber and Azrael bought 25 acres of land in the Jemez Mountains of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and there founded a Pagan learning centre and seminary called ‘Ardantane’ (a Celtic term meaning “Light of the Fire” or “Sacred Fire”).  Registered in 1996 as a non-profit corporation in the State of New Mexico, Ardantane now provides a unique educational venue for anyone interested in Pagan studies.



Ardantane located in the Jemez Mountains northwest of Albuquerque


The Centre is governed by a Board of Directors selected from prominent members of the Pagan community, and operates with Amber as the Executive and Dean of the School of Pagan Leadership.  She also coordinates the work of the ‘Blessed Beavers’, their weekend volunteers who help in building and improving the campus facilities.  Her partner Azrael is the Facilities Director (and the primary designer of the campus); she also serves on the teaching faculty as Dean of the School of Sacred Living.


Approved and appointed by the Board of Directors, study courses designed and directed by faculty 'Deans' include among other subjects:  the Healing Arts, Magic and Witchcraft, Pagan Leadership, Pagan Spirituality, Sacred Living and Shamanic Studies.  Teachers and guest speakers at Ardantane are all experts in their own fields and among the more notable is the best selling author Kristin Madden.


When not working or writing Amber enjoys walking in the mountains and forests, dolphins, travel, science fiction, collecting large antique keys, art, reading, and all things magickal.  Her role models include Doreen Valiente, Lao Tse, Xena the Warrior Princess and the cartoon character Snoopy, about which she claims, "He is definitely my spiritual mentor and life coach".






True Magick: A Beginner's Guide (1991) Llewellyn Publications

Covencraft: Witchcraft for Three or More (1998) Llewellyn Publications

Pagan Kids' Activity Book (1998) Horned Owl Publishing

Preámbulo a la Magia (1999) Llewellyn Espanol

Candlemas: Feast of Flames (with Azrael Arynn K) (2001) Llewellyn Publications

Heart of Tarot: An Intuitive Approach (with Azrael Arynn K) (2002) Llewellyn Publications

RitualCraft: Creating Rites for Transformation and Celebration (with Azrael Arynn K) (2006) Llewellyn Publications

How to Become a Witch: The Path of Nature, Spirit & Magick (with Azrael Arynn K) (2010) Llewellyn Publications




My grateful thanks to Amber K for reviewing and correcting this bio.



Written and compiled on the 22nd April 2011 © George Knowles


Best wishes and Blessed Be



Site Contents - Links to all Pages


Home Page


A Universal Message:


Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?


About me:

My Personal PageMy Place in England / My Family Tree (Ancestry)


Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


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 GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




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 SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A 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 DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   


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:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




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


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


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 StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


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:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia 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 HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir 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 LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna 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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