3.4 The growth of Wicca
Wicca began to spread more quickly in the 1960s. Alex Sanders, calling himself the ‘King of the Witches’, led a coven in Manchester in the early 1960s which attracted a lot of attention – and younger initiates – due to Sanders’ knack for courting controversy and publicity. The first coven in the US was started by Raymond Buckland in 1963, and Wicca was firmly established in the US by 1970. Besides a number of different strains of Wicca, many other forms of Paganism began to appear, often drawing from local pre-Christian traditions, notably Heathenism (or Ásatrú) which uses Norse mythology and Druidism based on the Celts. Rather than ancient sources, The Church of All Worlds drew upon Robert Heinlein’s 1961 science fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, for their strongly ecological version of Paganism. The Pagan Front (later renamed the Pagan Federation) was founded by Wiccans in 1971 to advocate for all these forms of Paganism under a single umbrella.