by Kira April
The CAW is the first Pagan Church founded in the US. It was incorporated in 1968 by Tim Zell (now Oberon Zell) and recognized by the IRS in 1970. Oberon read Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein and was so inspired by the vision of a Nest -- a close-knit group seeking a deep knowing of each other -- that he brought his vision alive with the CAW. He continued his vision of forming community by founding Green Egg Magazine and the Mythic Images statuary company.
In the years since its founding, CAW has worked with this myth and many others: Oberon's Theagenesis vision (a vision of Gaia as a living entity), the Greek Eleusinia (a sacred cycle of descent and return) and the May Royalty (who carry the energies of the Church from their crowning until Winter). Our rites are held on Annwfn, our sacred land in North California, or on other sacred sites across the country.
While CAW members express a broad spectrum of personal magicks and beliefs, what brings us together is a shared set of values: immanent divinity (expressed as "Thou art God/dess"); self-knowledge and personal responsibility; deep friendship and tribal intimacy; positive sexuality; living in harmony with the natural world; and appreciation of the diverse nature of human beings.
We express our connections with each other with our most sacred rite of Watersharing. On a general level, it signifies our connection in the web of life. As we grow closer, it can be a reflection of a chosen kinship. At its deepest level, it can symbolize an intimate connection, be it erotic or one of sacred, bonded brotherhood.
For more information, see the Articles.