The Fellowship, also known as Spiral, was founded in 1986 as an association of pagan groups, succeeding the Center for Non-Traditional Religion that had operated out of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s garage. Spiral is a neo-pagan association that acts as an umbrella for a number of smaller circles located in the Oakland/Berkeley area in northern California. Its member groups include circles for women and co-ed activities, and it sponsors classes and public rituals as well. If you are in the Berkeley area, check our website for upcoming events.
Marion Zimmer Bradley and I started the first Spiral Circle, Darkmoon, in 1978. This is the group mentioned by Marion in the introduction to The Mists of Avalon. For several years after the novel appeared , women would appear at our meetings looking for the priestesses of Avalon–not without some reason, as a lot of the atmosphere of the community of Avalon in the book reflects the energy of Darkmoon Circle. Our membership has remained remarkably stable over the years and we are still going strong. My work with the goddesses for Darkmoon has given me a great deal of background for my Sagewoman goddess articles, and of course the articles have enriched my work with Darkmoon. Darkmoon is also affiliated with the Covenant of the Goddess, in which I am an Elder.
During the 80s Darkmoon and Spiral were my main focus. It was an exciting time, when the neo-pagan and Goddess-spirituality movements were evolving rapidly. During this period I studied Western Esoteric Kabbalah and Core Shamanism in addition to everything I could learn about Wicca and the Native European traditions. One of my major projects for Spiral was developing a Clergy Training Program. The Kabbalah class I put together in 1985 started a tradition that has been developed by several other Spiral members and continues today. I currently serve Spiral as Secretary and Newsletter Editor, and from time to time do a workshop or ritual for the Liturgy or the Gateway series.
One of the first results of my involvement in Spiral was the creation of the Liturgy of the Lady, a ritual for the Goddess and goddesses in three versions, focusing on the aspects as Maiden, Mother, and Wisewoman. The ritual adapts further depending on which specific goddess is being honored. My feeling was that the male gods had received a lot of attention over the past thousand years, and it was time to reclaim the beauty of what some have called “high church episcopagan” ritual for the Goddess. Since we first celebrated the Liturgy in 1981, it has been regularly presented on the last Sunday of the month. The current time and place are 5 pm at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists hall. It was published by MZB Enterprises in 1987. Ask for it at the Ancient Ways and Sacred Well stores in Oakland.