Academy of Arcana

The Academy of Arcana


Calendar of Events

Join us on Sept. 7 in celebration
of 50 Years of Modern Paganism!

Academy of Arcana
428-A Front St., Santa Cruz
From 1:00 to 6:00 pm.
Bring munchies!

50 years ago—on Sept. 7, 1967—I was the first person to claim the terms "Pagan" and "Neo-Pagan" as self-descriptive—both for me personally and the Church I'd recently co-founded (Church of All Worlds). Prior to my proclamation of myself and CAW as "Pagan," the word was invariably used as a pejorative to refer to other people--"those damned pagans" (with a small "p")--who needed to be "saved" by Xian missionaries. But at my first public talk about CAW, someone asked me what kind of a church this was. I said, "We're Pagans." And the rest is history (or more properly, Mystery).

Of course, way back in the 19th century, there had been many inspired individuals, such as William Wordsworth, Algernon Swinburne, Percy Bysshe Shelly, and Norman Lindsey, who expressed in their poetry, art and writings a nostalgic longing for the “good old days” of Classical Paganism:

"Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea
, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn"

~~William Wordsworth, "The World Is Too Much With Us"

But actually founding a modern Pagan Church made all the difference between a mere personal nostalgic spiritual longing, and the tangible manifestation of an established contemporary religion.

Six months later (March 4, 1968), the Church of Worlds was legally incorporated, and the first issue of Green Egg was printed that Spring Equinox. Promoting the identity of “Pagan” through Green Egg inspired other early groups to adopt the designation as well, and thus a movement of “Green Religion” was launched, embracing Nature worship, pantheism, polytheism, feminine divinity, Goddesses, Priestesses, the Gaea Thesis, the Wheel of the Year, sexual diversity, polyamory, and many other features rejected by the mainstream religions. Foundations were laid, memes were established, and a legacy was created.

Here's the basic definition of the term that I have been using for the past 50 years:

Paganism (meaning “of the country”) is a collection of diverse spiritual paths which are rooted in or inspired by indigenous (native) and classical (ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, etc.) traditions worldwide. Paganism is often referred to as “The Old Religion”—meaning pre-Christian and pre-Islamic. Today is may best be considered "Green Religion:"

Oberon Zell

Monthly Magickal Movie Night ~ 7:00PM 
old films & new ideas
Sept 6: "Ponyo"

The first Wednesdays of each month at 7:00PM we view a film and afterwards discuss its import as Magickal Lore. Your generous donation of $5-$10 supports this evening of visual imaginings and intelligent review. Bring friends and enjoy good company. Popcorn, tea and other goodies!

Reading and consultation may be arranged using Skype if you are not in the Santa Cruz, CA area.
Send a email to and a staff member will get in touch to arrange your time with Oberon.

If you like to contribute
to the Fundraiser for the Academy of Arcana,
visit the donation page here.