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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


T. Thorn Coyle



Written and compiled by George Knowles


T. Thorn Coyle is an American author, activist and musician, and a highly respected teacher/speaker on esoteric, spiritual and magickal subjects.  She is the founder of the Solar Cross Temple and Morningstar Mystery School based in San Francisco, and author of Evolutionary Witchcraft (2004), Kissing the Limitless” (2009) Crafting a Daily Practice (2012) and Make Magic of Your Life (2013).  She has also penned a number of articles featured in a variety of related anthologies.  As a musician she has produced a number of CDs and DVD recordings containing Dance, Chants and Sacred music.


T. Thorn Coyle was born in Whittier, California, on the 24th September 1965.  She was raised in a large but poor working class Catholic family with seven older brothers and sisters.  Growing up she loved to sing, dance and act in plays, and on Saturday evenings was an active member of a local Church folk group.  By the time she was 11 years old, she was also performing in plays at the Whittier Junior Theatre.


Thorn first discovered Witchcraft when I was 13 year old, about which she has stated:  Some friends had a kooky book, but we couldn’t figure out how to find a temple who’s floor we could whitewash before painting a nine foot pentagram on it!  Then I got scared off for a few years, finally starting to study at age 16.  Like most Pagans, it felt like “coming home.”  The idea of animism and immanent deity was what I found most attractive.  Goddess In All Things made more sense to me than God Out There.  Plus, a religion that honoured the body, sexuality and multiplicity was very appealing.  I quickly discovered ways into my own strength, which I needed badly.


After dropping out of High School at age 16, Thorn started in College, but at the age of 18 left for San Francisco to pursue more esoteric studies and concentrate writing.  There she began to study the Feri Tradition with Gabriel Carrillo.  After breaking with Carrillo, she joined the Reclaiming Collective (founded by Starhawk and Diane Baker 1978–1997), and taught with Reclaiming for many years.  During that time she also trained with the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes and studied with a Gurdjieff group, before returning to the well and studying directly with Victor and Cora Anderson, founders of the Feri Tradition.


In her 30’s, Thorn returned to higher education at San Francisco State University, from where she graduated with honours gaining a Bachelors of Art degree in Philosophy and Religion.  Later in 2003 she was inducted into the University Phi Beta Kappa honours society.


Thorn today proudly sports a significant number of tattoos about which she explained in 1997: “Tattoos are spiritual markers for me. When I started getting them ten years ago, it came from a need to have rites of passage that included spiritual reminders and physical markers. All my tattoos have a spiritual meaning to me, and layers of meaning that shift over time.”



Thorn is the founder of the Solar Cross Temple and Morningstar Mystery School.  According to her website, “The Solar Cross is a symbol that celebrates the turning wheel of the year, the light that burns in the dedicated heart and mind of the seeker, the calling in of gnosis, and the dance of the seasons as they pass.  The temple is dedicated to pan-magical practice, worship, education, outreach and bringing justice to the world through spiritual service.  It welcomes Pagans, Heathens, Witches, Ceremonial Magickians, Mystics, and other sincere seekers.  Their Mission is to spread the light of gnosis and provide a spiritual home for magic workers and Pagans for the purpose of spiritual direction, education, service, ritual, and worship.


As a writer Thorn has contributed to a number of anthology publications including:  The Pagan Book of Living and Dying (Harper, 1997), Circle Round (Bantam, 2000) and Celebrating the Pagan Soul (Citadel, 2005).  She was also featured in Modern Pagans (Re/Search, 2001) and Women Called to the Path of Rumi (Hohm, 2001).  She has appeared regularly on Radio programs and been interviewed by numerous newspapers and magazines.  She has also written and contributed articles to the web-based Patheos and Huffington Post publications.


Thorn has worked with Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews and Atheists on justice issues, and is an outspoken critic of homelessness and the death penalty.  She has led services at Sojourner Truth, the first African American Unitarian congregation in Washington DC, and presented workshops at the National Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans.  She travels widely and is a popular speaker and presenter at numerous conferences nationwide, although today more and more of her time is devoted to writing and social justice issues.


In 2008, Thorn began producing a series of Podcasts called Elemental Castings in which she interviews practitioners of a variety of magical and mystical traditions.  In the following year on Friday the 4th December 2009, she was invited to present a dance workshop (entitled Dancing the Seven Sacred Directions) at the Parliament of the World’s Religions Convention in Melbourne, Australia, about which the program guide for the event stated:


“In this workshop participants will move, dance, breathe, and celebrate the sacred all around them.  Using sacred movements, together we will call upon Air, Fire, Water, Earth and the Spirit that connects them all.  These movements address the Seven Sacred Directions (East, South, West, North, Above, Below and Centre) used by many Pagan traditions.  In connecting the sacred directions and elements of life to our bodies, we are placed in a direct, flowing relationship with the sacred earth.  By including the physical, we make a connection with all that is sacred to us, transforming ourselves and our relationships.  The movements are simple, repetitive meditations designed for non-dancers.”


Together with members of her Solar Cross Temple, Thorn also presented at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah.  With Crystal Blanton, they led a Restorative Justice Circle to address “Violence in Our Communities.”  Solar Cross Temple also led a ritual entitled:  Calling the Ancestors Home.”


Having been a political and social justice activist since her teens, Thorn has worked at a San Francisco soup kitchen serving the homeless for more than 20 years.  More recently she has worked to help families of those affected by police violence.  Together with members of her Solar Cross Temple, and other groups such as Heathens United Against Racism and the Anti Police-Terror Project, working with local families affected by police violence and brutality they have held vigils and contributed to protest marches and civil disobedience actions in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Sacramento.  Solar Cross Temple is also active in raising funds for those affected by natural and human-made disasters, often sending goods to help those in need.


Thorn’s latest book releases include:  Sigil Magic: for Writers and Other Creatives (Lvx/Nox Press 2015), and two books of Fiction:  Like Water (PF Publishing 2015) and Alighting on His Shoulders: Ten Tales from Sideways Worlds (PF Publishing 2015).









Evolutionary Witchcraft (Tarcher - 2004)

Kissing the Limitless (Weiser Books - 2009)

Crafting a Daily Practice (Sunna Press 2012, currently only available on Kindle)

Make Magic of Your Life: Purpose, Passion, and the Power of Desire (Weiser Books 2013)

Sigil Magic: for Writers and Other Creatives (Lvx/Nox Press 2015)

Like Water (PF Publishing 2015)

Alighting on His Shoulders: Ten Tales from Sideways Worlds (PF Publishing 2015)




Face of a New Day (A Pagan rock CD)

Give us a Kiss! (A Pagan rock CD)

Devotional Dance (An instructional DVD)

Songs for the Waning Year: A Collection of Chants to Celebrate the Dark Time of the Year (With Sharon Knight, an album of pagan devotional music)

Songs for the Strengthening Sun: A Collection of Chants to Celebrate the Return of the Sun (With Sharon Knight, an album of pagan devotional music)





Private communication with Thorn herself (my grateful thanks)

Modern Pagans: An Investigation of Contemporary Pagan Practices by V. Vale and John Sulak (Re/Search 2001)

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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