Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
2016 photo by Frater Servitor Lucem
and compiled by George Knowles
Ivo Domínguez Jr. is a professional
Astrologer and the author of several books on various esoteric
disciplines. He is a founding
member of the “Keepers of the Holly
Chalice”, the first
coven of the “Assembly of the Sacred Wheel” (ASW) a Wiccan tradition
based in Delaware, USA, to which he currently serves as an Elder.
Aided by members of the ASW, he is one of the main driving forces in the
creation of the “New Alexandrian Library” (NAL), a modern
state of the art library facility located in the State of Delaware dedicated
to preserving the history of esoterica, spirituality, magick and religion.
Ivo has been active in the Wicca and Pagan community since 1978 and
teaching since 1982. He is also a noted ritualist and travels regularly to teach and present
workshops at gatherings, conferences and venues across the United States.
Ivo Dominguez Jr. was born Ivo Dominguez Barrueco in Palma
Soriano, Cuba on the 09th December 1958. During skirmishes between rebel forces led by Fidel Castro
against government troops from Santiago, in the middle of a raging fire-fight close
to their home Ivo’s devout aunt Lydia ran out into the street with a
kerosene lamp to ask the rebels and soldiers to stop shooting as her sister was
having difficulties in childbirth. The
gunfire was stopped and Ivo’s mother was taken to hospital where she gave
birth via c-section under lights powered by hand cranked generators turned by
his father and uncles. Three years
later in 1961 his family fled Castro’s communist Cuba and moved briefly to
Madrid in Spain, before moving on to New York City in the USA. Not
happy there, they moved again to
Florida where they lived in various cities before finally settling in the State
In Delaware, Ivo attended the Newark High School where in 1974
he began researching occult and esoteric subjects, he explains in an interview
with the TWPT: “As a child I
had a number of undeniable psychic and spiritual experiences so that by the time
I was in High School I was already seeking magickal knowledge.
I read “The Secret Lore of Magic” by Idries Shah when I was a
sophomore, which was quickly followed by every book that I could find. My
father was a professor of Spanish literature at the University of Delaware so I had access to a real
library. Nonetheless, the selection
of books available to me was somewhat limited and tended towards the ceremonial
magick end of things.”
Ivo’s initial contact with the Wiccan/Pagan community came
through the fencing club of the University of Delaware where he met an
Alexandrian practitioner who put him in contact with the “Keepers of the
Ancient Mysteries” (KAM). KAM
was founded in the early 1970’s by Elders from five different craft traditions
and was led by Morganna Davies an American Alexandrian High Priestess.
Through them he became involved in several early Pagan networking groups
and attended gatherings throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
Although he professes to be primarily self-taught, he acknowledges
Dolores Ashcroft- Nowicki (b.1929-)
and Shakmah Winddrum (1931–2010)
as physical, practical teachers who had a deep impact upon his own future work
and teachings. Other influences
included the writings of Idries Shah (1924-1996), Dion Fortune (1890-1946) and
Israel Regardie (1907-1985).
Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki and Shakmah Winddrum
- Dion Fortune -
Ivo graduated from Newark High School in 1976 and attended the
University of Delaware from 1976-1980 studying Geology, Psychology and English
Literature. There in 1978 after
meeting in a local bar in Newark, Ivo began dating James C. Welch in an openly
gay relationship. A year later on
the 21st February 1979 they made spiritual pledges to each other
cementing their permanent relationship, but it was not until the 4th
of January 2012 that they were finally able to legally marry.
After living together for a year in Newark, they bought a two-story house
on West 28th Street, Wilmington, DE, which they shared with two dogs
and a cat. To help support and buy
their new home, Ivo quit his academic studies to take a full-time position as a
computer programmer/systems analyst in the Office of Computer Based Instruction
at the University of Delaware.
This was around the time that rumours of a homosexually
associated virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) began
spreading. HIV is a slow acting
virus that attacks the body’s immune system leaving it defenceless against
infections and illnesses such as pneumonia; tuberculosis and various forms of
cancer that eventually lead to death. This
final stage of HIV is called AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
In 1981 investigators in New York and California reported the first
official cases of AIDS in the USA, and fear and panic ensued particularly among
In 1982, Ivo and James founded the “Gay & Lesbian
Alliance of Delaware Inc.” (GLAD), through which they established a Health
Issues Committee and a Statewide help hotline.
Ivo became the organization’s first president. In 1983 they initiated talks with the Division of Public
Health and the Blood Bank of Delaware to warn them of the upcoming epidemic and
discuss definitions of risk behaviours and future testing options for the State,
thus helping both parties to form policies regarding this new threat to public
health. However the State of
Delaware waited until 1985 to take action.
James being a qualified Registered Nurse with recent experience working for the “Peace Corps” in Ethiopia,
became the States first “AIDS Program Director” helping to administer
tests and counsel people worried about exposure to and catching the HIV/AIDS
virus. “It was rough in the
beginning,” said James, “There was so much fear back then.”
In 1984, GLAD hived-off its Health Committee to form the “Delaware
Lesbian and Gay Health Advocates” (DLGHA), Delaware’s first AIDS service
organization, which eventually became known as “AIDS Delaware”. ”
Ivo serving on its Board became the Executive Director and continued to
work in the HIV/AIDS field until 1990. A
year later in 1985, Ivo and James bought and renovated a three story building at
214 N. Market Street in Wilmington, DE, to create “The Griffin Community
Centre”. The first and second floors of the building became home to
GLAD, DLGHA, and the Immanuel Metropolitan Community Church, while Ivo and James
occupied the third floor and attic as their own home. The Centre also became a meeting place for Gay and Lesbian
community groups to take part in 12-step support meetings, while various other
pagan groups also used the downstairs meeting space and backyard garden for
public rituals and workshops.
The building that
became “The Griffin Community Centre”
Later James was instrumental in establishing the “Christiana
Care HIV Wellness Clinic” in Georgetown, DE, a cooperative venture with
Christiana Care and the Division of Public Health, then together with Ivo, they
were both involved in the formation of CAMP Rehoboth, a Guy and Lesbian
resource centre in Rehoboth Beach, DE. They
also helped to organize the first “AIDS Gala” held at the Grand Opera
House in Wilmington, DE, a “Die In” at
Rodney Square also in Wilmington, and the first “AIDS
Walk” fundraiser called “A Walk for Life.” Today more than thirty years on Ivo and James continue to
advocate for and support Gay and Lesbian communities whenever they can.
Wilmington news article from 1986.
As well being a gay activist during this period, since 1978 Ivo
had also been active in the Wicca and Pagan community, and in 1982, specialising
in Astrology, he began teaching.
In 1983 he and James opened an alternative bookstore called “Hen’s
Teeth”, located at 406 Market Street Mall in Wilmington,
DE. The store, which
contained a large occult section, soon became a meeting place for local Wiccans,
Witches and Pagans, as well as Gays, Lesbians and other progressive thinking
Inside the Hen’s
Teeth circa 1983-1984
In September 1983, they posted a flyer at their store inviting
interested peoples to join a Wiccan study group. This led to the formation of the “Keepers of the Holly
Chalice” coven, to which in March of 1984 Ivo and Paula Fasbenner were
elected to serve as their first High Priest and High Priestess.
Later as members hived off and founded similar covens based on their
teachings, they collectively became bonded as the “Assembly of the Sacred
Wheel” (ASW), a Wiccan tradition that draws inspiration from Astrology,
Qabalah, Western magical traditions and the folk religions of Europe.
The Assembly today
currently consists of 13 member covens, they are listed here in their order of
creation: Keepers of the Holly
Chalice, Coven of the Rowan Star, Oak & Willow, Weavers of the
Moonfire, Guardians of the Windsword, Fellowship of the Ancient
White Stag, Troupe of the Starry Door, Chalice of Living Stars,
Tenders of the Earth Temple, Order of the World Tree, Grail of
the Birch Moon, Coven of the Mystic Path, and Archers of the
In 1990, Ivo, his partner James and Nancy Stewart, a fellow
member of the Assembly, purchased 102 acres of woodland called “Seelie Court” located near
Georgetown, DE. Shortly thereafter
two more members of the Assembly, James Dickinson and Michael Smith joined them
as stewards on the land. The name
“Seelie Court” is a Scottish term for “the good fairies”,
while the word “seelie” is an old Saxon word meaning “blessed”.
Seelie Court now acts as
the Assembly’s home base and tradition-stead, the land of which has been consecrated to the purpose of deepening all
Pagan paths. On the 16th
December 1993, the Assembly was incorporated in the State of Delaware, and on
the 11th April 1995 gained recognition from the IRS as a 501(c) 3
non-profit organisation. Ivo today
serves as one the three Elder’s of the Assembly.
With the support of members from the ASW, in 1996 Ivo started
the first in a series of interfaith “Between The Worlds” (BTW)
esoteric conferences, this first one was held in Wilmington, DE on the 24th-27th
October. The main guests of honour
included: Andras Corban Arthen,
Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Ian Corrigan, Flo Aeveia Magdalena and Shakmah
Winddrum. BTW conferences are held
irregularly at about every 3-6 years, or as determined by astrological events
that support the esoteric work being undertaken at each conference. Other BTW conferences occurred in: 2000, 2004, 2007, 2012 and 2015.
The next is scheduled to take place in 2020.
Aside from the magical and ritual aims of these conferences,
workshops, lectures and presentations are offered by some of the nations leading
scholars, authors, teachers and experts in esoteric subjects and practises from
all around the world and from many differing paths.
These conferences also act as a major fundraiser to benefit the ASW’s
next interfaith project, the “New Alexandrian Library” (NAL), a
modern, state of the art facility, comparable to the quality of a university
library, which will house specialty collections centred on esoterica,
spirituality, magick and religion.
The NAL is located on the 102 acres of Sacred Land at Seelie
Court, purchased earlier by members of the ASW, a third of
which (approx 33 acres, valued at $300, 00)
has been donated and deeded free of any lien or debt,
along with architectural plans for a specialised geodesic Dome
building that will eventually house the NAL.
The first announcement of the project was made to the larger Pagan
community at the BTW Conference in 2000, and after a presentation given by
Jim Dickinson, one of the land stewards at Seelie Court and the buildings
Project Manager, an official fundraising campaign was started to raise the
estimated $250.000 needed to begin the building stage of the project.
plans for the geodesic Dome
- Groundbreaking ceremony
Initially targeted to be
completed and open by 2010, the project was delayed some what by the financial
Banking crises in 1998, during which sponsoring donations from businesses was
drastically reduced. However after
persevering through these difficulties, a groundbreaking ceremony was
held in December 2011 and the foundations for the initial building was poured in
July 2012. They then received a
Certificate of Occupancy in December 2014. So, from the first announcement to completion of initial
construction it took 14 years.
Building completed December
Here are some quoted extracts from the same TWPT interview
above as Ivo explains what they hope to achieve through the NAL:
“The New Alexandrian Library will be primarily a research
and reference library; there will be a small lending collection. The rare
material won’t leave the building, but there will be many duplicate copies of
more common books and these we will lend out. We will also engage in
interlibrary loan with other similar libraries. It will provide onsite workstations and other facilities.
We are also planning housing options for people who will be spending a
weekend or a week at the facility.
Books, periodicals, special collections, music, media,
digital data, etc., will all be carefully catalogued and cross-referenced to
ease the work of research. The
Library will work to restore and to preserve rare and damaged documents.
The history of our magickal communities will also be collected for the
future. In addition to its physical
presence, the New Alexandrian Library will have an Internet component to
maximize its utility. Over time, as
much material as is possible, within the limits of logistics and legalities,
will be available online.
... Like many
academic libraries, the New Alexandrian Library will have a museum/educational
component to its programs. This
means that it will make meeting space available for appropriate community
activities. Moreover, The New
Alexandrian Library will also host exhibits, talks by authors, lectures, etc.
There will also be a garden that will be available for outdoor rituals
and events such as handfastings. The New Alexandrian Library will to a certain
degree, act as a centre to build the community.
... The plan is
for the New Alexandrian Library to be a world-class facility.
This does not mean that you need to be a world-class scholar or a student
working on an advanced degree to use it, just a desire to do more in-depth
study. There are many types of
people who use university libraries or institutions like the Library of Congress
who are not members of the academic elite but who derive great benefit from
their studies. Perhaps it is a
question of empowerment, or the lack thereof, that makes phrases like
"doing research" seem daunting. In
truth just about anyone who stays on their spiritual/magickal path is or becomes
a seeker of deeper knowledge.”
Ashcroft Nowicki donates rare painting by Dion Fortune to the NAL
Among the many gifts and donations the NAL had already received
to begin it’s collection of books, manuscripts and artefacts, in 2011 Dolores
Ashcroft Nowicki donated four framed
paintings of Archangels. Painted by
Dion Fortune, the famed 20th century occultist and author of the now
classic books: “The
Secrets Of Dr Taverner” (1926), “Psychic Self Defence”
(1930) and “The Sea Priestess” (1938) among others, these paintings
had once decorated the temple room of
the “Society of the
Inner Light” in “The Belfry”, a
West London property she had leased for her followers in 1939 and
dedicated to the “Mysteries of Isis”. After
Dolores acquired them, they have graced the
walls of the “Servants of the
Light”, today still one of the UK’s leading esoteric schools
with roots going back to the earlier “Society
of the Inner Light” founded by Dion in
More recently the Victor
& Cora Anderson Archive has also been added to the NAL’s special
collections. This collection
contains materials and artefacts relating to the lives of Victor
and Cora Anderson, preserving their work as founders and teachers of the Feri
Tradition of American Witchcraft. This
is still a work in progress as the NAL continue to process, catalogue and
digitise all the collections with plans to make them available and searchable
on the Internet via WorldCat. They anticipate this will
take until the end of 2017. However
they plan to begin scheduling a series of lectures with exhibits of art and
artefacts in the Autumn/Fall of 2017. In
the long term they also aim to provide onsite housing for visitors needing
extended stays for research.
Victor & Cora Anderson
In the meantime, in 2001
Ivo and his partner James moved on from
their initial “Hen’s Teeth”
bookstore to became co-owners of the “Bell, Book and Candle”,
one of Delaware’s largest metaphysical shop’s located at 115
Loockerman St, Dover, DE. From
there they continued to sponsor in-house Craft workshops, Sabbat and Esbat
celebrations, author presentations and fundraising events etc.
Sadly as a physical bricks and mortar shop, and as the internet explosion
continued to expand, they were increasingly unable to compete with big name
companies like Amazon Books, Ebay and others selling similar products at much
reduced prices, so after serving the Pagan community for 14 years they were
forced to close the shop on Friday the 24th July 2015.
The Bell, Book and
Ivo is also one of the creative forces behind “Awakening
The Dream” and “A Dream Whose Time Is Coming”, and “Dreams
Sung True” three chant CDs containing
chants for specific rituals and devotional ceremonies, and which he has
recorded to aid the fundraising efforts of the New Alexandrian Library Project.
To-date he has written over 80 chants, which he is currently uploading to
an online Pagan Chant resource. See:
Over time Ivo has also developed many ritual castings, of which
the “Triangle of Stillness” and the “Sword and Staff” are
the most loved. He is well known
for his skill in divine embodiment and the aspecting techniques he has created.
He also travels frequently to demonstrate and teach at many gatherings,
conferences and venues across the United States, about which he states: “My
teaching techniques and insights are rooted in a synthesis of traditional
metaphysical teachings, modern science and memories from past lives.”
He is the author of: “Beneath
the Skins”, “Of Spirits: The Book Of Rowan”, “Spirit
Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and
the Divine”, “Casting Sacred Space: The Core Of All Magickal Work”
and “Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans”.
His next book is to be: “Keys
to Perception: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development” and will be
available in September of 2017.
Beneath The Skins: The New Spirit And Politics Of The Kink
(Daedalus publishing - 1994)
Of Spirits: The Book Of Rowan - (published in
New Page Books -
01st April 2008)
Castings: The Creation Of Sacred Space
- (self-published as SapFire
Productions in 1996, re-published by Weiser Books - 01st February
Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans
- (Weiser Books - 01st
My grateful thanks Ivo for
taking time out from his busy schedule and responding to my persistent queries.
Thank you Sir.
Alexandrian Library Project
& Pagans Magazine
Witchcraft Today by James R. Lewis (ABC-CLIO - 1999)
Plus others to numerous to mention.
and compiled on the 12th October 2016 © George Knowles
wishes and Blessed Be