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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.

Lady Sheba

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.

 

Sources 

  The 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

 

Home Page

 

A Universal Message:

 

Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?

 

About me:

 

My Personal Page My Place in England, UK / My Family Tree (Ancestry)

 

 

Wicca & Witchcraft

 

Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is WiccaWhat is Magick

 

 

Traditional Writings:

 

 Wiccan RedeCharge of the GoddessCharge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches ChantThe Witches CreedDescent of the GoddessDrawing Down the MoonThe Great Rite InvocationInvocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of ChivalryA Pledge to Pagan Spirituality

 

Correspondence Tables:

 

IncenseCandlesColoursMagickal DaysStones and GemsElements and Elementals

 

Traditions:

 

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 MoonsLinks to Personal Friends & ResourcesWicca/Witchcraft ResourcesWhat's a spell?Circle Casting and Sacred Space /  Pentagram - PentacleMarks of a WitchThe Witches PowerThe Witches HatAn esoteric guide to visiting LondonSatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  /  Part 2 Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /  The History of ThanksgivingI have a Dream, the 1963 speach by civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King /  Auras by Graham Furnell - Part 1 and Part 2 /

 

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)

 

Rituals contributed by Crone:  Samhain / YuleImbolcOstara /  BeltaneLithaLammasMabon

 

Tools:

 

Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron MagickMirror Gazing

 

Animals:

 

Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) /  AntelopeBatsCrowFoxFrog and ToadsGoat / HoneybeeKangarooLionOwlPhoenixRabbits and HaresRavenRobin RedbreastSheep SpiderSquirrelSwansWild Boar /  Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat

 

Trees:

 

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 /  ElderAlso see:  The Willow Tree (Folk Music)

 

Sacred Sites:

 

Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /

 

Rocks and Stones:

 

Stones - History, Myths and Lore

 

 Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:   / Apophyllite  / Amber AmethystAquamarineAragoniteAventurineBlack TourmalineBloodstoneCalciteCarnelianCelestiteCitrineChrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / FluoriteGarnet /  Hematite Herkimer DiamondLabradoriteLapis LazuliMalachiteMoonstoneObsidianOpalPyriteQuartz (Rock Crystal)Rose QuartzRubySeleniteSeraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodaliteSunstoneThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble

 

Wisdom:

 

Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakeningThe Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods

 

Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:

 

Murder by WitchcraftThe Fairy Witch of ClonmelA Battleship, U-boat, and a WitchThe Troll-Tear (A story for Children)Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-LanternThe Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark

 

Old Masters of Academia:

 

Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras

 

Biographies

 

Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)

 

Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)

 

Abramelin the MageAgrippaAidan A. KellyAlbertus Magnus “Albert the Great”Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” Alison HarlowAmber KAnna Franklin /  Anodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey  / Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite Austin Osman SpareBiddy EarlyBridget ClearyCarl Llewellyn WeschckeCecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey LelandCharles Walton /  Christina Oakley Harrington /  Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) /   Dion FortuneDolores Aschroft-NowickiDorothy MorrisonDoreen ValienteEdward FitchEleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” /  Dr. John Dee and Edward KellyDr. Leo Louis Martello /  Eliphas LeviErnest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry /  Fiona Horne /  Friedrich von SpeeFrancis Barrett /  Gerald B. GardnerGavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gwydion PendderwenHans Holzer /  Helen DuncanHerman Slater "Horrible Herman" /  Israel RegardieJames "Cunning" MurrellJanet Farrar & Gavin BoneJessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne John George Hohman /  John GerardJohn Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) /  John Michael Greer /  John ScoreJohannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg /  Karl von EckartshausenLaurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis Spence /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General”Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata /  Monique Wilson the “Queen of the WitchesMontague SummersNicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellersMrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-RavenheartOld Dorothy ClutterbuckOld George Pickingill /   Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsusPatricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPhilip Emmons Isaac Bonewits Philip HeseltonRaymond BucklandReginald ScotRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /  Rudolf Steiner /  Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & DruidsSabrina - The Ink WitchScott CunninghamSelena FoxSilver Ravenwolf /  Sir Francis DashwoodSir James George FrazerS.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  StarhawkStewart FarrarSybil LeekTed AndrewsThe Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather /  Thomas AdyVera Chapman /  Victor Henry AndersonVivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna 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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