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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Margot Adler



Written and compiled by George Knowles


Margot Susanna Adler was a Wiccan High Priestess, writer, journalist, lecturer and author of the now classic book “Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and Other Pagans in America Today” (1979) an early seminal study of contemporary nature religions.  She was also a member the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) and an elder in the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG).  She had this to say about Witches, Wiccans and Pagans:


“We are not evil. We don't harm or seduce people.  We are not dangerous.  We are ordinary people like you.  We have families, jobs, hopes and dreams.  We are not a cult.  This religion is not a joke.  We are not what you think we are from looking at TV.  We are real.  We laugh, we cry.  We are serious.  We have a sense of humour.  You don't have to be afraid of us.  We don't want to convert you.  And please don't try to convert us.  Just give us the same right we give you, to live in peace.  We are much more similar to you than you think”.

Margot Adler


Margot Adler was born the only child to a non-religious family in Little Rock, Arkansas on the 16th April 1946.  Shortly after her birth the family moved to New York, where she was raised within the city’s intellectual community.  Her Viennese father Dr. Kurt Alfred Adler was a psychiatrist and a self-professed atheist, while her mother Freyda Nacque Adler was a Jewish agnostic and a radical educator (she died in 1970).  Her grandfather Alfred Adler (1870–1937) was a renowned Viennese psychiatrist considered by many to be the father of Individual Psychology.



Dr. Alfred Adler


Margot’s early education was spent at the City and Country Grammar School in Greenwich Village, where during her fifth grade one of her teachers taught the class about the May Day festivals of old and how people used to dance around a Maypole singing in the May with songs.  The teacher arranged for a class outing to the country home of a sister and early on the 1st of May as the sun began to shine they sang the songs of May and picked flowers from the fields.  Later they took flowers back to school and decorated a Maypole, which they danced around while singing.  Ever since then Margot had been fascinated by rituals.


Later while in 7th grade, Margot spent the whole year studying myths of ancient Greece.  She was particularly drawn to the Greek deities Artemis and Athena, and could imagine their feminine strengths and powers.  As part of a school project she wrote a play about the Trojan War, which was part musical as it included hymns to Zeus and poems sung by Hera and other gods.  Coming from a fairly atheistic family of no particular persuasion, Margot mentally identified the ancient Greek religions as part of her own primal religion.


After graduating from City and Country Grammar School, Margot next studied at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art in Hamilton Heights.  While there she began to question and research her own beliefs about religion.  As her family had no particular interest, she started to explore various churches and denominations in her neighbourhood.  She was particularly taken with the Quakers for their belief in pacifism, social equality and education, but was also mightily impressed with the rituals she witnessed in the Catholic Church.


In 1964 Margot interests in religion was put on hold for while as she started a politically active life at University.  As a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, she joined the Freedom of Speech Movement (FSM), and as a member of the Executive Committee was among 800 protesters arrested during a massive sit-in protest at Sproul Hall.  This was Berkeley’s campus administration building, which they took over to promote the rights of student groups to support off-campus issues, and student rights to free speech and academic freedom.


In the following year she helped to register black voters rights in the civil protests taking place in Mississippi, and in 1968 was an activist against the Vietnam War and demonstrated at the Democratic convention in Chicago.  Later in 1968, Margot received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Berkeley with a “Phi Beta Kappa” for outstanding scholarship.  She then went on to earn a Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York.  Much later in 1982 Margot was awarded a prestigious one-year Nieman fellowship at Harvard University.


After graduating from Berkeley in 1968, Margot worked for Pacifica Radio, where she started as a volunteer at KPFA.  She then became a reporter, then a producer, and later Head of Pacifica’s Washington News Bureau.  From 1968 to 1977 she hosted three radio talk shows:  Hour of the Wolf”, “Unstuck in Time” and “The Far Side of the Moon”.  Her talk shows dealt with cutting-edge topics and ideas about science, psychology, feminism, ecology, parapsychology, religion and spirituality.


In 1979 she next joined National Public Radio (NPR) as a general assignments reporter working in their New York News Bureau.  There she helped to create and host the radio shows:  All Things Considered”, “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition”.  Margot was always keen to document issues of national and societal importance, and covered such controversial issues as:  the confrontation between radicals and the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, North Carolina, AIDS in San Francisco, homeless people living in subways, and the state of the middle classes in society.  She also reported on the Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo in 1984, and again in Calgary in 1988.


On the 19th June 1988 Margot married her long time companion John Lowell Gliedman in an out-door handfasting ceremony held at Lambert’s Cove Inn on Martha's Vineyard in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.  Selena Fox the founder of Circle Sanctuary performed the ceremony inside a circle of flowers, after which they jumped the broom, in keeping with old Pagan traditions.  Their wedding was the first Pagan handfasting to be written up in the society pages of the prestigious New York Times.



Lambert’s Cove Inn


Gliedman was a psychologist and science writer, and co-author of a report for the Carnegie Council on Children called:  The Unexpected Minority:  Handicapped Children in America”.  Raised in Lutherville, Maryland, his father the late Dr. Lester H. Gliedman was a psychiatrist.  Gliedman attended Park School in Baltimore, before moving on to Harvard University from where he earned a B.A. degree with a Magna Cum Laude (“with great praise”) as a mark of excellence.  He later received a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  After their marriage, Margot who retained her maiden name for professional reasons gave birth to their only son Alexander Dylan Gliedman-Adler in 1990.


Throughout the 1990’s Margot continued work as a Bureau Chief and Correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) in New York, as well as hosting “Justice Talking, a weekly one-hour show recorded before a live audience in Philadelphia.  During the show Margot would introduce key cases and controversies being dealt with in the nation’s justice system, and examine the impact of their consequences on society as a whole.  The show was then broadcasted nationwide.


After the 9/11 terrorists attack on New York in 2001, Margot spent much of her time reporting on its aftermath, and documenting the human side of the tragedy.  In her reports Margot looked deeply into issues affecting those people directly involve, like those who have been deprived of their homes, or who have lost their jobs, the trauma of grieving relatives and those involved in relief efforts.  She also co-produced an award-winning radio drama called “War Day.


Away from her busy life as a news correspondent and radio host and while living in New York in the early 1970’s, Margot took time out to visit England.  While there she was inspired to investigate the history of the Druids, during which she discovered a number of evolving Witchcraft and Pagan organizations, one of which was being spearheaded by a fellow American called Joseph B. Wilson.  Wilson who was on a US Air Force posting in the UK had founded the “Waxing Moonmagazine, the first of its kind devoted to Witchcraft in America.  While in the UK, Wilson had began collaborating with John Score the founder of The Wiccan”, the UK’s equivalent magazine and its background organization “The Pagan Front” in efforts to set up a similar organization in the USA called the Pagan Way.


On her return to New York, Margot subscribed to the Waxing Moon” magazine, which led to her introduction and long time interest with Witchcraft and Paganism in America.  She first became involved when she attended a study group led by the New York Coven of Welsh Traditional Witches headed by Ed Buczynski.  Then in 1973 she left the study group and took a more active role in a practicing Gardnerian coven called Iargalon, through which in 1976 she was elevated to the status of High Priestess and took the title of Lady Morvoren.


By this time Margot was also running a Pagan Way grove in Manhattan, and was conducting Sabbat rituals at her own home.  At the time there was still very little information about the new age of Wicca and Witchcraft being published, except for magazines like “The Waxing Moon” by Joseph B. Wilson, “Nemeton” by Gwydion Pendderwen and Alison Harlow, and the “Green Egg” magazine by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart.  As such Margot’s journalistic instincts triggered in, and she started to explore outside her own immediate environment.


It was about this time that Margot was introduced to a literary agent called Jane Rotrosen, who suggested she write a book.  With Rotrosen’s help Margot wrote and sold a proposal for the book to Viking Publishers who liked what they saw.  She was awarded a $7.500 advance minus ten percent to Rotrosen, to cover her research and expenses.  Margot spent the next 3 years writing, traveling, interviewing and researching her book, the result being “Drawing Down the Moon”, first published in 1979.  Initially outside of academic circles it received a medico reception, however updated and re-issued in 1986 and again in 2006, over the years it has become a classic best seller.




Drawing Down the Moon  -  Heretic's Heart


In 1982 after taking a year out from her coven practice to concentrate on her Nieman fellowship at Harvard University, Margot returned to New York but decide not to rejoin her coven, preferring to practice as a solitary.  She later joined the Church of All Souls, a Unitarian Universalist church in New York, and for the following ten years acted as an adviser on the board of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS).  In 1997 Margot published her second book “Heretic's Heart:  A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution”, a fascinating memoir of her time during the 1960’s.


Sadly on the 02nd February 2010 at the age of 67, Margot’s husband of 35 years, John Lowell Gliedman passed away shortly after being diagnosed with an inoperable stomach cancer.  The official New York Times obituary published on the 14th February 2010 reads:


“GLIEDMAN--John Lowell, on February 2, 2010 in New York City.  He was a man with a brilliant, sparkling mind. Stargazer, runner, there was never a boring thought or conversation.  He co-authored with William Roth, The Unexpected Minority; a classic work on disability, difference and civil rights.  An academic without portfolio, he meditated on the many worlds hypothesis of quantum physics, free will and determinism.  He published three books of non-fiction and articles on science and computing.  He loved science fiction because it best described our future possibilities in work, play and love.  Funny, deep, soulful: a true partner.  He will be missed by his wife Margot Adler and his son Alexander.”


The Memorial Service was later held on the 10th March 2010 at the Church of All Souls, 80th and Lexington in New York.



Margot with her husband of 35 years, John Lowell Gliedman


After the death of her husband Margot continued to work as a NPR Correspondent at their New York Bureau from where she regularly broadcasted reports in programs such as:  All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.  She also began a 3 years epic study of Vampirism.  After reading over 260 novels from their earliest publications, such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), to viewing more recent film dramatisations like Interview with the Vampire (1994) by Anne Rice, she also studied scholarly works on the genre and its histories.  The results of her studies provided the material for her last two books Out for Blood (2013) and Vampires Are Us (2014).


During the last decades of her life Margot remained one of the most visible and available leaders of the Pagan community in North America.  Based in New York where she lived with her only son Alexander, she traveled regularly around the country presenting lectures, workshops and rituals in her efforts to educate people about Wicca/Witchcraft and Paganism.   Her rituals, many of which involve ecstatic singing, chanting and seasonal celebrations, where a delight to all those who attended.


Sadly in early 2011, Margot was diagnosed with endometrial cancer, which slowly metastasized over the following three years.  Margot Adler died at 10:30am on the 28th July 2014 at the age of 68.  


May she rest in peace.





1979 – Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today by Margot Adler

1997 – Heretic's Heart: A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution by Margot Adler

2000 – Our Way to the Stars by Margot Adler & John Gliedman

2013 – Out For Blood by Margot Adler

2014 – Vampires Are Us by Margot Adler


She also contributed to the following:


1989 – Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism – Judith Plant (editor, New Society Pub)

1994 – Return of the Great Goddess by Burleigh Muten (Shambhala)

1995 – People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out by Ellen Evert Hopman (Lawrence Bond, Inner Traditions)

2001 – Modern Pagans: an Investigation of Contemporary Ritual (Re/Search)

2002 – The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s – Edited by Robert Cohen and Reginald E. Zelnik (University of California Press)

2003 – Sisterhood Is Forever: the Women's Anthology for a New Millennium – edited by Robin Morgan (Washington Square Press)

2005 – Cakes and Ale for the Pagan Soul: Spells, Recipes, and Reflections from Neopagan Elders and Teachers – Patricia Telesco (Celestial Arts)





My grateful thanks to Margot Adler who personally viewed and corrected some minor points in the above during my recent visit to the Michigan Pagan Fest in 2013



Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft  - By Raven Grimassi

The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft  - By Rosemary Ellen Guiley

The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-paganism - By Shelley Rabinovitch



Plus to many others to document.


Written and compiled on the 09th March 2008 – updated 29th July 2014 ©  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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