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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others

Edain McCoy

Written and compiled by George Knowles

Edain McCoy was a writer on modern contemporary Paganism/Wicca/Witchcraft, an elder of the Wittan tradition and a priestess of Brighid.  She became a self-initiated Witch in 1981 and underwent formal initiation in 1983 with a large San Antonio coven.  After the publication of her first book “Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition” in 1993, she became a prolific author with over 20 titles to her credit, plus a huge number of articles published through most major Pagan/Wicca/Witchcraft orientated magazines and other assorted medias.

Edain McCoy was born Carol Louise Taylor in South Bend, Indiana on the 11th August 1957.  She was the daughter of Donald Byron Taylor and Billie Doralyn Taylor (nee Mitchell), and had a brother called Richard.  Their parents were very keen on education and encouraged both of their children to learn everything they could about subjects of interest to them.  Her father had spent most of his working life as a minister of the liberal Protestant Church, but he always remained supportive of his children’s spiritual choices.  Indeed after his retirement, her father often enjoyed showing his daughter’s books to former members of his congregation, stating with pride:  My daughter wrote that”.

When questioned about her ancestry, Carol claimed to be related to the famous hatchet-wielding temperance leader Carrie Nation, the former American President Richard Nixon, the famous clown Emmett Kelly, and the 17th century English religious dissenter Sir Roger Williams, all related from different branches on her diverse family tree.


Carrie Nation  -  Richard Nixon  -  Emmett Kelly

Sir Roger Williams

Carol’s early education was spent at Evansville Central High School in Indiana, from where she first put pen to paper as a High School reporter for the town’s local paper, before moving to finish her senior graduate year at Ashland High School in Ohio.  Sometime after finishing High School, Carol changed her middle name to Mackenzie becoming known as Carol M. Taylor with the middle name abbreviated (date and reason not known?).  By this time she had already been researching alternative spiritualities and was earlier introduced to the Kabbalah, (Jewish mysticism).  She spoke about her early researches during an interview...

I first learned about Witchcraft as a teen from a book called “The Grimoire of Lady Sheba.  At the time I wasn’t interested in pursuing this further because I recognized the Craft as a religion, and at that time I was exploring a variety of religious paths trying to determine which was right for me.

When I was about twenty I found a book by the late Sybil Leek and began to seriously get interested in Witchcraft.  What I found most appealing at that time was the emphasis on the Goddess.  As I uncovered Christianity’s roots and found Judaism, I was moved to uncover Judaism’s roots to find the old Pagan faiths of the Middle East and deities such as Isis and Inanna.  I wanted to worship in a setting where the feminine aspect of divinity was not relegated to a lesser role.  If we truly believe we are created in their image, then we must accept that it takes both male and female to spark creation.  One aspect should not be seen as lesser than the other.”

... After which she continued to study various other magickal paths, including:  Celtic, Appalachian folk magick and Curanderismo, a Mexican-American folk tradition.

After graduating from High School in 1975, Carol moved on to higher education and entered Lynchburg College in Virginia studying History, Political Science and Music, at the same time she joined the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra as a flute player.  She also studied History, English/Creative Writing and Creative Dance at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana; she then took further studies in History, Music and English at the University of Texas/San Antonio.  During all this, in her spare time she continued to research different spiritualities related to Paganism and Wicca.  To put herself through College and University Carol spent most of her summers working mundane jobs, managing fast food outlets and full service restaurants as a waitress, serving as a ride hostess at a popular amusement park, and working the graveyard shift in a packaging factory.


Ashland High School Diploma  -  Lynchburg College ID Card

Later in 1981, Carol became a self-initiated Witch, and in 1983 underwent a formal initiation with a large San Antonio coven assuming the pseudonym Edain McCoy to protect her legal name.  This also became the pen name she used for her later professional writing career.  Since then she began to play an active part in her Pagan community, visiting events and festivals, attending coven meeting and meeting new people.  One of her favourite pastimes during this period was Ballroom Dancing for which she collected a number of competition trophies:


The photographer did not catch the best moment of this waltz during a Pro-Am Ballroom Showcase in 1998, but a well-built man in black tie and tails is sometimes elegant enough to make all but the harshest judge overlook a few missteps.

In 1990 Edain completed her formal education with a BA degree in History from Lynchburg College in Virginia, and a MA degree in Fine Arts from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.  After this she spent a number of years working as a teacher at Arsenal Tech and Crispus Attucks, Public High Schools in Indianapolis, holding down positions related to the hand scoring of standardized testing, substitute teaching, music education and private tutoring.

Edain receiving her MA from Butler University

Although Edain always considered Indianapolis, Indiana, her home State, at various times she also lived in Ohio, Virginia, Texas, Illinois and New York, while travelling extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.  In Mexico she and a friend spent eight months teaching in a rural elementary school by day and being couched by the local Curandera in the evening.  Later as she continued to work and travel through Central America she agreed be a summer research assistant for her Latin American history professor.

Edain owned an impressive collection of vintage memorabilia from one of her personal heroines, “Eva Perón, the First Lady of Argentina from 1946-1952”, about whom she says:  “To me Evita has similar qualities to Queen Maeve, Queen Elizabeth I, Boudicea of the Iceni, Harriet Tubman and Helen Keller.  Strong women who attain unprecedented accomplishments against all obstacles, and do it with a single-minded drive that ignores the naysayers and all the improbabilities of success, absolutely fascinated me.”  Edain loved Argentina, and actually wanted to move and live there after she retired.  She loved their food and culture.

Eva Perón

In the early 1980’s Edain became a licensed stockbroker and financial advisor, and for approximately the next 10 years worked for international investment firms in Wall Street, New York, while at the same time writing and researching her first book “Lady of the Night: A Handbook of Moon Magick & Rituals (Llewellyn Publications - 1990).  By this time however the strain was beginning to wear on her and eventually led to some long-term health problems.  She was working in the hectic atmosphere of a busy Wall Street brokerage firm, while writing and researching her books at night and weekends, and then thrown into the mix she was also giving workshops on metaphysical and New Age topics while attending festivals and book signings.  Something had to give and her health began to suffer.

In 2005 Edain was asked to go to Buenos Aires and put together a book on the ghosts that haunt the city.  In late 2006 she made that trip about which she states:  At first it was very hard to get people to open up,” she says.  There’s a stigma attached to having paranormal experiences even though - as a native told me over and over - everyone believes.  I collected a massive amount of information and photographs with the help of my friends Jon and Judy (, and I hope the book will be released in both countries either in late 2007 or very early 2008”??

Wearing a black Witch cape to avoid the chill of the Buenos Aires spring night

In 2006 Edain received her Paranormal Investigator Certification from Flamel College, an online teaching site created for occultists of all paths and spent a number of years investigating haunted sites in the US and Argentina.  She also pursued a Certificate in Translation Studies (English-Spanish) through the University of Toronto.  Later she began training in Reiki (the art of using focused energy for healing), and in December 2008 received a Reiki Master Attunement in the Dr. Mikao Usui lineage.

As well as writing books, Edain was a past president and past media chair of Central Indiana Professional Writers, and is listed in such reference books as:  Contemporary Authors, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who Among American Women.  Articles by Edain have appeared in:  Llewellyn’s Magical Almanac, The Witches’ Datebook, The Llewellyn Spell-a-Day Almanac, The Llewellyn Herbal Almanac, The Tarot Almanac and The Llewellyn Witches’ Calendar since 1996. 

Also during 1996 she wrote a column on magick called:  The Grimoire for Out of This World”, published in the newsletter of the “Romance Writers of America” - Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal sub-genre group.  She has written for the periodicals:  Fate Magazine, Circle Magazine, Enlightenments, Branches and for several newspapers.  She was also affiliated with several professional writers’ organizations including:  The Authors Guild”, the “Romance Writers of America”, and a small and close group of writers who called themselves “Witches-in-Print”.

Edain’s other interests included reading anything she could get her hands on, journaling, playing the piano, working with tarot cards, past-life work, astral projection, listening to and playing vintage music, ballroom dancing, Argentine Tango, and absolutely anything at all to do with dogs, “I think I was born loving dogs way too much”, she once said.  For a number of years she was involved with the “Sheltie Rescue of Central Indiana”, and used to love showing off her spunky Shelties in AKC Obedience competitions.  Sadly when she passed away in 2019, she left behind two fur babies Scamper and Casey (both shelties).

In her final years Edain continued to live in her home State of Indianapolis, Indiana, where after a short illness battling with Influenza A, she sadly crossed over to slumber land on the 21st March 2019.

May she rest in peace.

A Select Bibliography:

1990 - Lady of the Night: A Handbook of Moon Magick & Rituals (Llewellyn Publications)

1993 - Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition” (Llewellyn Publications).

1996 - Entering the Summerland: Customs and Rituals of Transition into the Afterlife (Llewellyn Publications)

1997 - Mountain Magick: Folk Wisdom from the Heart of Appalachia (Llewellyn Publications)

1999 - Astral Projection for Beginners (Llewellyn Publications)

2000 - Bewitchments: Love Magick for Modern Romance (Llewellyn Publications)

2000 - Witta: An Irish Pagan Tradition (Llewellyn Publications)

2001 - The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways (Llewellyn Publications)

2001 - Magick & Rituals of the Moon (Llewellyn Publications)

2001 - Enchantments: 200 Spells for Bath & Beauty Enhancement (Llewellyn Publications)

2002 - Spellworking for Covens: Magick for Two or More (Llewellyn Publications)

2002 - Making Magic for Witches and Pagans (Llewellyn Publications)

2002 - Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring (Llewellyn Publications)

2002 - Celtic Women's Spirituality: Accessing the Cauldron of Life (Llewellyn Publications)

2002 - How to Do Automatic Writing (Llewellyn Publications)

2002 - Celtic Myth & Magick: Harness the Power of the Gods and Goddesses (Llewellyn Publications)

2002 - A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk: Reclaiming Our Working Relationship with Invisible Helpers (Llewellyn Publications)

2003 - Inside a Witches' Coven (Llewellyn Publications)

2003 - The Witch's Coven: Finding or Forming Your Own Circle (Llewellyn Publications)

2004 - Past-Life & Karmic Tarot (Llewellyn Publications)

2004 - Advanced Witchcraft: Go Deeper, Reach Further, Fly Higher (Llewellyn Publications)

2004 - If You Want to be a Witch: A Practical Introduction to the Craft (Llewellyn Publications)

2004 - Three Witches Dead & the Last One Said (Publish America)

2008 - The Healing Power of Faery: Working with Elementals and Nature Spirits to Soothe the Body and Soul (Provenance Press)





My grateful thanks to Yvonne Trejo from Indianapolis, Indiana, and Diane Lonsway from Michigan, both long time friends of Edain for their extra information and pic’s.


Plus to many other websites to mention.


First published on the 04th June 2020  ©  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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