Paganism in Greater Boston

 

1936    The Original Tremont Tearoom opens on 101 Tremont Street in Boston, offering tarotTarot cards are used for meditation and divination by some Pagans. Tarot cards are usually elaborately illustrated using symbols and images from Western mysticism. Many artists have created their own variations on the Tarot, and dozens of different decks ... readings, reiki, psychic readings and spiritual healing, among many other services and products.

1979    The first annual “Rites of Spring” celebration is held for a week in May at a summer camp in the southwestern corner of Massachusetts, near the Connecticut and New York borders.

1980    EarthSpirit, a non-profit organization dedicated to earth-centered spirituality, is     established in Greater Boston, with the goal of creating an active PaganThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... community in   New England. The organization will grow to serve a nationwide network of PagansThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... and     others who recognize the sacredness of the earth, convening ecospiritual conferences and            seasonal religious observances.

 1981    The Arsenic and Old Lace opens in Cambridge as a vintage clothing store but soon after will begin to carry occult products.

1986    The Witches’ League for Public Awareness, a proactive educational network           dedicated to correcting misinformation about Witches and Witchcraft is founded in         Salem by Rev. Laurie Cabot H.Ps.

Earth’sCircle, a networking organization among Pagan-identified Unitariana belief in one God that rejects the three persons of the Trinity that has much in common with the belief in the early Christian church about the superiority of God over Jesus and the Anti-Trinitarian writing that emerged during the Protestant Reformation... Universalists,   is founded in Andover.

1987    CovenantA covenant (or brit) is a mutual promise or compact between two parties. In the Jewish and Christian traditions, covenant is of deep significance in describing the mutual relationship of God and the people of faith. The major covenants in Jewish scripture... of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS), an independently registered non-profit and an interest group within the Unitarian Universalisma belief in one God that rejects the three persons of the Trinity that has much in common with the belief in the early Christian church about the superiority of God over Jesus and the Anti-Trinitarian writing that emerged during the Protestant Reformation... Association is founded, providing resources and support to Unitarian Universalists who identify as Pagan. A chapter is founded on the North Shore, and later several chapters will to begin to meet regularly throughout Massachusetts, such the MassMass is a term used in the Roman Catholic Church for the ritual that culminates in the celebration of the Eucharist, the central rite of sharing the consecrated bread and wine in the church community. Bay CUUPS at The First ParishA parish is the geographical neighborhood or area served by a church or pastor. in Cambridge.

1988    EarthSpirit publishes its first issue of Fireheart Magazine, a journal of magicIn Paganism, “magick” refers to the ritualization of one’s spiritual intentions. It is often spelled with a ‘k’ after the usage of Aleister Crowley, a twentieth-century esotericist who wished to differentiate his practice from stage magic. Today... and spiritual transformation.

Starsong CovenA coven is a community of Pagan witches (often Wiccans) who gather for ritual. It is usually a small, intimate group of no more than thirteen that meets privately. A coven may also offer open rituals to the public., a traditionalist WiccanWicca is the name of one of the major streams of contemporary American Paganism. It is a form of religious witchcraft, sometimes simply called the Craft. Many Wiccans in America today call themselves “witches,” claiming the name under which women and ... coven in the Blue Star Tradition, begins     practicing in Cambridge. Starsong honors the GodsThe term god with a small “g” is used to refer to a deity or class of deities whose power is understood to be circumscribed or localized rather than universal, or to refer to a plurality of deities. of the British Isles and focuses on    joyful worship, seasonal celebrations, ritual experience, and teaching.

1990 Paul Cognata and Geraldine (Sherry) Bertoni establish The ChurchThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ... of Ildanach-ATC, a non-profit religious corporation, chartered as an affiliate congregation of The    Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC).

 1993    MotherTongue, EarthSpirit’s performance troupe, performs in Chicago at the centennial celebration of the World Parliament of Religions, one of the twenty programs offered by Pagans.

 Fireheart Magazine publishes its last issue; it is replaced by The EarthSpirit Newsletter.

1994    Rev. Vinnie Russo assumes ownership of Arsenic and Old Lace and establishes a Pagan Community Center as an outgrowth of the store, hosting classes, open rituals, and SabbatThe term “sabbat” usually refers to the eight seasonal celebrations observed by many Pagan traditions, but can also refer to any formal gathering of witches or Wiccans. The seasonal celebrations include the winter and summer solstices, the spring and ... celebrations.

1996    Society of Elder Faiths (SEF) is founded by the elders of five Wiccan covensA coven is a community of Pagan witches (often Wiccans) who gather for ritual. It is usually a small, intimate group of no more than thirteen that meets privately. A coven may also offer open rituals to the public. and incorporated as a Pagan religious organization by the state of Massachusetts. The purpose of the Society is to establish a formal organizational structure that could serve the local Pagan community, allowing for activities on a larger scale. Based in Marlborough, the organization will grow to serve Pagans across the state, sponsoring activities that include Sabbat services, retreats, religious education, charity events, funerary consulting, and the publication of the newsletter The MessengerCalled “Rasul” in Arabic, the messenger is a special type of prophet commissioned to lead a community and often entrusted with a major revelation from God. Moses, Jesus and Muhammad are examples of messengers in Islam. Other prophets (called nabi) int....

1997   The EarthSpirit Newsletter discontinues publication, but the organization’s As Above So Below Almanac continues its publication online.

1999    Arsenic and Old Lace closes its doors and begins to operate exclusively as an online occult store, providing products and advice to the Pagan community throughout New England and the United States.

2000    The Boston Pagan Alliance, which will eventually include over four hundred members, is established online to help Pagans in Greater Boston network with one another.

2002    Society of Elder Faiths performs a Land-Blessing ritual in Middlefield, on a plot of wooded land donated to the organization for the construction of a stone circleIn some Pagan traditions, a “circle” refers to the people who gather for a ritual. When standing in a circle, all the participants are able to see each other, with no one member elevated over any other. This practice is often felt to encourage egalita.... The Society of Elder Faiths intends this area to be a spiritual and symbolic center for the group’s activities in the future.

2004    The New England Witches Alliance (NEWA), a family-run group of witches and Pagans, celebrates its first public event in Gloucester on the holiday of SamhainSamhain is an originally Irish holiday, now commonly known as Halloween. Celebrated on October 31, it is the night of the year when the veil between the spirit and the material worlds is the thinnest. It is thought to be the best night for communicating w.... It is founded with the goal of promoting awareness and tolerance of all religions and educating the public about the mythsMyths are stories human beings tell about the nature of reality: how the order of things we know came to be and by what deep truths the this order operates. Myths may concern the events of creation, the divine dramas of God or the gods, or the discoveries... associated with modern-day Witchcraft. Along with charitable work in the Gloucester and Salem areas, the Alliance provides educational resources to people interested in learning more about the religion of Witchcraft, including online courses and classes held in Salem.

2005    The TempleA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... of Artemis at Cataleos is founded in Central Square, Cambridge, as a semi-public sacred space dedicated to Artemis. The organization will later expand into an             alliance of templesA temple is a house of worship, a sacred space housing the deity or central symbol of the tradition. The Temple in Jerusalem was the holy place of the Jewish people until its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE; now the term “temple” is used by th. Ref... called the Catalean Temples, hosting local celebrations and online        contests.

2009    The 30th annual “Rites of Spring” celebration takes place in Western Massachusetts, Gathering over five hundred participants from New England and abroad for a week-long   retreat to celebrate the sacred nature of earth.

This timeline attempts to represent a sampling of major public events in the history of         PaganismThe term “pagan” (from the Latin paganus) originally meant “peasant” or “country dweller.” For many Pagans, the term suggests a life lived close to the land. Today, nature spirituality is an important thread in contemporary Paganism. Some Paga... in Greater Boston, but due to the private nature of many Pagan practices, this     list does not comprehensively portray the history of Pagan practice and community in        Greater Boston.