After spending two episodes in the 1790s, we decided to fast forward and cover a new religious movement from the twentieth century. The Church of All Worlds (CAW) took its name from a church founded by Valentine Michael Smith, the protagonist of Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land.
Heinlein, Robert A. Stranger in a Strange Land. New York: Berkley Publishing Corporation, 1961.
Stranger in a Strange Land also gave real life church co-founders Richard Lance Christie and Tim Zell the inspiration for rituals based around water and the concept of "grok." Water sharing was especially important to Atl, the precursor to CAW. While Zell (who later changed his name to Otter G'Zell and, ultimately, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart) became a major figure in CAW, Christie moved back and forth as Atl continued to operate in a limited capacity.
Zell-Ravenheart, Oberon, ed. Green Egg Omelette: An Anthology of Art and Articles from the Legendary Pagan Journal. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books, 2009.
CAW was paramount to the spread of discourse on neo-paganism starting in the 1960s. It was able to do this through its widely read magazine, Green Egg. In 2009, Zell-Ravenheart edited a collection of early Green Egg articles that we consulted for our podcast. The magazine has gone through several incarnations, but exists today as a digital publication. You can find it online here.
We also used the following secondary sources:
Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.
Ben-Yehuda, Nachman. Deviance and Moral Boundaries: Witchcraft, the Occult, Science Fiction, Deviant Sciences, and Scientists. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1985.
Cusack, Carol M. "Science Fiction as Scripture: Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land and the Church of All Worlds," Literature and Aesthetics 19, no. 2 (2009). Available online here.
Patterson, Jr., William H., and Andrew Thornton. The Martian Named Smith: Critical Perspectives on Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Sacramento, CA: Nitrosyncretic Press, 2001.
CAW continues to operate to this day and maintains a website which you can visit here. Keeping true to its aquatic motif inherited from Heinlein's novel, the website invites you to "Enter and Drink Deep." Zell-Ravenheart also has his own website which you can visit here. You can learn more about the Grey School of Wizardry he later founded here. Pictured below is Zell-Ravenheart with one of the "unicorns" he bred in the 1980s.