Carl “Llewellyn” Weschcke (1930 - ).
Written and compiled by George Knowles.
Carl Weschcke is president of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd, one of the largest publishers of occult and New Age books in the world. He is also a Magician, a Tantric practitioner, a Pagan and a former Wiccan High Priest who played a leading role in the rise and spread of Wicca and Neo-Paganism in America during the 1960’s and 70’s.
Weschcke was born into a Roman Catholic family on the 10th of September 1930 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Early in his life his paternal grandfather, who at the time was vice-president of the American Theosophical Society, exposed him to metaphysics and the occult. For his 12th birthday he presented the young Weschcke with his own astrological chart, after and guided by his grandfather, he became fascinated with astronomy, religion, the occult and reincarnation. His parents were vegetarian naturalists who practiced mind reading techniques, and were happy to discuss occult subjects with him. Even one of the houses they lived in had strange and mysterious thumps and bangs in the night, which were attributed to the ghosts of the deceased former owners. Such were the influences that shaped Weschcke’s early life and future path.
Weschcke was educated at the St. Paul Academy and graduated in 1948. He then went on to study at the Babson Business Institute in Massachusetts graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. After graduating he went to work in the family’s Pharmaceutical business, but found the work unfulfilling. He had a dream of becoming a publisher, which led him back to school studying for a doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. However, his longing to get involved with publishing caused him to leave the university before completing his course, and in 1960 he purchased the little known Llewellyn Publishing Co.
The Llewellyn Publishing Co. was the brainchild of the Welsh astrologer, Lewellyn George, who founded the Llewellyn Publishing Co. in Portland, Oregon during 1901. At that time it was a small mail order business with a limited focus specializing in selling three Astrology books and Calendars. Lewellyn George later moved the company to Los Angeles where he died in 1954. Weschche purchased the business in 1960 and moved it to St. Paul in Minnesota where he began to rebuild it. He quickly expanded the business to include a complete line of books on Astrology and the Occult, and within a decade was publishing some thirty to fifty titles a year, including audio and videotapes. He also launched a series of magazines including: New Dimension, Gnostica, Astrology Now, New Times and New World.
During the late 1950’s and early 60’s Weschcke became actively involved with the civil rights and liberties movements. He held office in the St. Paul’s branch of NAACP (The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) and the ACLU, (Minnesota’s Civil Liberties Union) where he played a major role in bringing about fair-housing legislation in St. Paul.
Weschcke reported in the St Paul's Recorder 1959
In 1964 Weschcke bought a large stone mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul and used it as both home and a place of business. The house was reputedly haunted and Weschcke had numerous odd experiences there. He was often wakened at night by cold drafts coming in from open windows, windows he knew he had closed before going to sleep. He also heard strange noises and footsteps in the dead of night and saw apparitions of a man and woman. These he believed were not true ghosts but the vibrations of former occupants that had been recorded in the woodwork of the building. A newspaper article about the hauntings created an avalanche of public attention and paved the way for his media prominence in the emerging Wicca and Paganism movements.
476 Summit Avenue in St. Paul
In 1970 Weschcke opened the Gnostica Bookstore in Minneapolis from which he also incorporated the Gnostica School for Self-Development. The bookstore quickly became a popular gathering place for Pagans and others interested in the occult and alternative religions, and established the Twin Cities as a major centre for New Age resources. A year later in 1971, a local convention centre manager suggested that Minneapolis could benefit from a Woodstock style annual festival. Weschcke thought it a good idea and took the opportunity to host it. The first of several festivals was staged later that year; called the "First American Aquarian Festival of Astrology and the Occult Sciences". The festival attracted many of the best known Witches, Wiccans, Magicians and Neo-Pagans from all around the world. Witchcraft rituals were conducted and Weschcke led meditations for peace and the healing of the earth. Later festivals were re-named and became known as 'Gnosticon'.The following year in 1972 Weschcke himself was initiated into the American Celtic Tradition of Witchcraft by Lady Sheba, the tradition’s founder. Holding coven meetings in his Summit Avenue home, Weschcke rose to High Priest and is now an Elder in that tradition. The same year he met 'Sandra Heggum', a High Priestess in the same tradition. They later married in a heavily publicized handfasting ceremony conducted under a full moon. They wrote their own vows taken from old Witchcraft rituals, and guests drank from a large cauldron filled with fruit, wine and flowers.
In 1973, Weschcke helped to form and organize the 'Council of American Witches' and became its first Chairman. During his brief tenure as Chairman he drafted the now famous 'Thirteen Principles of Belief' statement, which he considers his proudest accomplishment for the Craft. The statement was later incorporated into the U.S. Army’s handbook for Chaplains. That same year his wife gave birth to their son who they named Gabriel.
By the mid-1970’s Weschcke began to wind down his public activities, feeling his publishing business was starting to stagnate. Weschcke believed his constant media publicity and its resulting attention was the cause of it, and so resolved to do something about it. Selling the haunted mansion on Summit Avenue he moved the family to the country where he could spend and devote more time to them. He restructured the business by closing the bookstore, dropping the festivals and increasing the number of book titles they were publishing. He also included computer software to his range of audio and videotapes.
The Weschckes continue to support the Wiccan and Pagan communities primarily through their publishing, and many of their authors are sent to organized conferences and activities. Today, most of their time is taken up by the demands of their business, which by the mid 1990’s had grown into a medium sized publishing house issuing about 100 new titles a year spanning the general spirituality and New Age markets. Their son, Gabriel, having graduated from Pace University, New York, with a master’s degree in publishing science also works for the company as a regional sales manger. Into the new millennium as the company continued to expand, their old premises in St Paul could not contain them, and so in 2005 they moved into a new custom-built facility in Woodbury, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. Since then they have increased the number of their employees from from 38 to 100 and doubled the size of their warehousing capacity.
Weschcke holds two honorary doctorates, one in magick, and was for a time the Grandmaster of Aurum Solis, an international magickal Order originally founded in England in 1897, but now based in St. Paul. He withdrew from the Order in 1991 and is currently not affiliated with any group. His media prominence during the 1960's and 70's did much to bring Wicca and Paganism into the light of acceptability in a skeptical American society.
Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft - by
Rosemary Ellen Guiley.
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft - By Raven Grimassi.
First published on the 18th November 2001, up-dated 30th January 2009
© George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
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 God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
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
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
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. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder 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:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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