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Church of All Worlds FAQ

[from ]

Newsgroups: alt.religion.all-worlds,alt.answers,news.answers
Subject: Church of All Worlds FAQ
Expires: Wed, 4 Jan 1995 08:00:00 GMT
Summary: This posting contains a general outline about the Church of
         All Worlds, a neo-pagan church and alt.religion.all-worlds.
         It is *not* for all religions.  It should be read by anyone
         who wishes to post to alt.religion.all-worlds.
Organization: Church of All Worlds
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU

Archive-name: church-all-worlds-faq
Alt-religion-all-worlds-archive-name: FAQ
Posting-Frequency: monthly
*Last-modified: Thursday, February 16, 1995, by Joy Williams

                      Alt.Religion.All-Worlds  FAQ

     ALT.RELIGION.ALL-WORLDS was established to be the electronic forum
of the Church of All Worlds, otherwise known as CAW. CAW is a neo-pagan
organization based primarily in the United states but with
"congregations" (know as "nests") located in Canada and Australia and
having members in other countries as well.  CAW is not a christian
church, although there may be members who still belong to such.

     This FAQ was prepared by CAW member Bill ("the rev") Graham and has
*been modified and changed by Torin, and by Joy Williams.  If there's
something wrong or something needs to be changed, complain to him at This FAQ received input and instigation from other CAW
members and such as Tony Navarra, Irv Koch and Torin along with quotes
from CAW Primate ("exalted-high-mucky-muck" (or izzat "monkey-muck"?) )
Otter Zell. It is available for ftp at in /caw/FAQ.

     While it contains quotes from CAW literature and CAW "officials" it
shouldn't be construed as an official CAW statement nor as being
anything other than an initial, clumsy attempt to provide a workable
FAQ.  For official CAW items, try CAW directly or the ftp site and/or
PODS Freq site.


I. Subject matter of the newsgroup

  A. What is encouraged and of interest to regular participants

  B. What isn't appreciated

  C. How ALT.RELIGION.ALL-WORLDS is different than ALT.PAGAN

II. What is CAW?

  A. Overview

  B. Philosophy

  C. Activities and events

III. Further information

  A. Points of Contact

  B. CAW Publications

  C. Partial CAW reading list

  D. Other news-groups and listservs

  E. Ftp archive

  F. Reprinting this FAQ

I. Subject matter of the newsgroup

  A. What is encouraged and of interest to regular participants

     Questions about CAW and about CAW and Pagan events are certainly
encouraged.  CAW members who use the newsgroup seem to enjoy discussing
CAW activities, ecology and environmentalism, PAGAN philosophical issues
involving CAW and relating CAW to the general Pagan scene and similar

     Issues and topics from "Green Egg" have provoked some interesting
discussions.  Posting of comments is encouraged but let us try not to
post copyrighted articles.

     Another fertile topic is the relationship of some current neopagan
practices to other "religions" or practices, for example, chakra and
vision quests, etc.  Some would say that this amounts to the theft of
the practices of others, others seem to feel that it is more a
recognition of the value of the "shared whatever".

  B. What isn't appreciated

     While no one individual "owns" the newsgroup, controls the
newsgroup or has any sort of proprietary authority, most users don't
appreciate bashers, flamers, trashers and cross- posters, nor
evangelizers regardless of subject or whether CAW or other religions or
individuals are being beaten about.  IMHO cross-posting is an
abomination and it is especially discouraged.

     Discussions of monotheistic issues, for example, the existence of
"god" (any and all flavors of monotheistic deity) are generally not
appreciated, if not downright resented, especially those which are
cross-posted and prolific.  If I were in charge, (and I'm not!) I would
outlaw fundie Xtian-bashing. It is my personal opinion that I have
better things to spend time on.

       Please go discuss christianity, islam, judaism, etc.  somewhere
else, say; "talk.religion", Alt.atheism, soc.religion.christianity,
talk.religion.misc, or ???

  C. How ALT.RELIGION.ALL-WORLDS is different than ALT.PAGAN

     Some, perhaps many things discussed on Alt.Pagan, for instance,
Gaia, fit just fine on Alt.Religion.All-Worlds.  On the other hand,
discussions of Wicca specific issues, arguments about specifics of
ancient traditions for modern use or to authenticate current usages or
to "validate" a specific tradition or group or whose "fam trad" outranks
whose, etc.  will find more takers in Alt.Pagan.

II. ***What*** is the Church of All Worlds???

  A. Overview

     The Church of All Worlds ISN'T a bunch of folks who read Robert
Heinlein's book _Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land_ and wanted to play act. It
wasn't started by Heinlein, nor did he belong to or benefit from it,
except perhaps in the form of new fans.  The Church does draw some of
its form and philosophy from SISL and tends to attract future oriented
people who enjoy reading speculative fiction, never-the-less, it
definitely ISN'T a trekky type grok-flock (but some of us have
tendencies towards being trekkies).

From Otter Zell:
     The Church of All Worlds is Neo-Pagan, implying an eclectic
reconstruction of ancient Nature religions, and combining archetypes of
many cultures with other mystic, environmental and spiritual
disciplines..  Indeed, we were the ones who first proposed, in 1967,
that the term "Pagan" be adopted to apply to the newly-emerging movement
of Nature-based and revivalist pre-Christian religions, including
Witchcraft as European shamanism, but also including Egyptian, Greek,
Norse, Druidic, Hindu, and various indigenous tribal traditions, such as
Polynesian, Native American, African, etc.

     But we in CAW are not trying merely to recreate a Paradise Lost; we
are actively involved in helping to save the present world as well as
working to actualize a visionary future.  With roots deep in the Earth
and branches reaching towards the stars, we evoke and create myths not
only of a Golden Age long past, but of one yet to come.

     CAW presently has about three dozen regional "Nests", which is what
we call our local congregations, or Circles.  These are indeed member
groups, as are the several subsidiary "branch" organizations that we
have created and chartered to focus on particular areas of concern.
These branches include: Nemeton --- fundraising, marketing and
publishing; Forever Forests --- treeplanting and environmental action;
Ecosophical Research Association (ERA) --- research and exploration into
origins and actualizations of myths and legends; Lifeways --- education
and personal development; Peaceful Order of the Earth Mother (POEM) ---
dedicated to children and child nurturing; Holy Order of Mother Earth
(HOME) --- developing magical and ritual structures and techniques.

     CAW is worldwide, including seven Nests in Australia, where we are
the first legally-recognized Pagan religion (as we were the first in the
US).  A third of our Nests are in California, reflecting the greatest
concentration of our members.  We have individual members in many other
countries throughout the world.

     We have created a new Tribalism, where we relate to each other as
members of a tribe, with interconnecting clans and families.  And in
turn, our tribe is one of the Nations of Earth Religions, bound together
by our common love and reverence for our Mother, the Living Earth.

(To be filled out a bit more.)
The CAW identifies as being Neo-Pagan.  There are more definitions of
this than there are Neo-Pagans.  By it, we (at least I) mean that CAW
is Nature-focused, pantheistic, and asserts immanent divinity, i.e.
all things are a part of Diety.  Note: Not all members of CAW agree
with this.  Not all of them even agree that CAW is Neo-pagan.  I've
tried to take a general cross-section that is generally true.  To find
out more about Paganism and Neo-Paganism, see XXXX.

The CAW is not a form of Satanism.  We reject the entire notion of the
Urban Legend of Satanism which involves sociopathic behaviors as
portrayed by the popular media and some religious zealots.  We also find
little common ground with Satanism as made popular by Anton LaVey and
his Church of Satan, Michael Aquino and the Temple of Set, or any other
type of which we are aware.  If you would like to find out more about
these latter types of Satanism, you may find the following references of

alt.satanism FAQ: 

(The previous paragraph and references provided by Tyagi Nagasiva

  B. What is the philosophical emphasis of CAW?

     CAW is forward looking. Many members are generally pro-science,
pro-space and pro-technology.  Most members do have concerns about
appropriateness of technology, scientific ethics and ethics in
application of science and technology, in particular as these effect
Gaia, the environment and the human condition.

From Otter Zell:
     The CAW Mission Statement is: "to evolve a network of information,
mythology and experience that provides a context and stimulus for
reawakening Gaia, and reuniting Her children through tribal community
dedicated to responsible stewardship and evolving consciousness." We are
fairly all-embracing in promoting general Pagan and Gaian lifestyles and
values.  We advocate basic feminist and environmentalist principles,
including freedom of reproductive choice, ordination of women as
Priestesses, sacred sexuality, alternate relationships, gay and lesbian
rights, legalization and utilization of hemp products, protection and
restoration of endangered species, wilderness sanctuaries, green
politics, etc.  We are also engaged in restoring ancient Mysteries and
rituals, such as the Eleusinia and Panathenaia.

     Our mythealogy is based on the Gaia Thesis --- that all Earthly
life, us included, comprises a single great organism, the living body of
Mother Earth, known as "Gaia" to the ancient Greeks.  Our Goddess is the
very Soul of Nature!  And our vision of the future evolution of this
life-stream includes what Dane Rudyar has called "the planetarization of
consciousness," and Teilhard de Chardin terms "the Omega Point."  This
implies the linking up of all sentients into a "global brain" wherein a
vast single consciousness emerges, just as we ourselves individually
attain such consciousness sometime during our first year of life.  Thus
will allow Gaia to come fully into wakefulness, where now She but
slumbers (and dreams...).

     With this ultimate vision, CAW has goals far greater than merely
establishing nice, neat, little encapsulated "nests," meeting monthly or
so and unconnected with the rest of our world.  For many Pagan groups
and Wiccan covens, that is adequate, but we Waterkin have a much larger
vision: to reunite the scattered children of Gaia, and bring the whole
Family back together again!

     Thousands of years ago, there was a messy divorce between our
Earthly Mother and the alien Step-Father Sky God who had displaced our
true Father and raped our Mother into a forced marriage.  Some of the
children sided with the Step-Father and went with Him.  Others remained
with the Mother, to be bullied and persecuted for centuries by our
former brothers (and even some of our sisters).  It is time for this
separation to end.

     The word religion comes from roots meaning "re-linking."  We have
been divided and conquered.  Our world has been split between Heaven and
Earth, matter and spirit, men and women, humanity and Nature, body and
soul, the darkness and the light.  Western civilization is intrinsically
alienating and alienated from the rest of the life-stream.  The true
function of religion is to heal that alienation, those splits, and
achieve reunification.  It is ironic that, in fact, much of the
divisiveness has actually been caused by "churchianity" acting in the
name of religion!  But Paganism isn't merely another religion among
many; Paganism is religion --- in the very truest sense of the word.
Our task is to bring together, and to heal.

     Hatred divides us; love unites us.  Thus we must forge bonds of
love and kinship with each other, even outside our own faiths.  We must
ever widen our already far-flung network of magical lovers.  Though we
must of necessity maintain a certain wary distrust of those whose
beliefs require them to subjugate all dissidents, still we must whenever
possible seek common ground upon which to build our new temples of the
spirit.  We must not merely "tolerate" diversity --- we must cherish it,
celebrate it, and revel in it!

     For after all, are we not all children of the same

     Thou art God; Thou art Goddess!

Note from Torin:
     In the above, Otter speaks of a global mind of Gaia.  This is *not*
some monolithic construct wherein all personality is lost and
individuality is crushed.  I (and at least some others) a conceive of it
as a global linking of all minds.  No longer would speech be an
impediment to voicing ones inner thoughts.  One could speak the thought
and all nuances, flavors and textures would go along with it.  Such
would be the re-linking.

  C. CAW activities and events.

       CAW Nests and Proto-nests meet monthly or more often.  Water is
shared and various rituals may be observed.  The sharing of water at CAW
meetings is a central practice and symbolizes (among other things) our
connectedness and shared life.

From Otter Zell
     In northern California, where CAW is headquartered, we hold
seasonal, annual and one-shot events, ranging from as few as 30 people
for the annual Eleusinian Mysteries, to 300 at our 30th anniversary
Grand Convocation in 1992.  Our Beltane festival is limited to 125, and
has to turn many away, while our Litha (Midsummer) festival may see
100-200 people.  75-100 people is about average for the remaining six of
the eight seasonal Sabbats.  Our Men's Gathering and other special
retreats commonly have 25-50 attendees.  We have our own private land
--- a 55 acre sanctuary called Annwfn, where we hold many of these
rites.  We also put on and/or participate in major public events, such
as be-ins, parades and rallies, which have had several hundred people
showing up.  In addition, our various Nests around the US and Australia
also put on Festivals and other events, and some of these have had over
100 attendees.

III.  Further information

  A. Points of Contact

     CAW headquarters can be contacted by telephone (voicemail) at


     Snail-mail may be sent to:

        CAW, PO Box 1542, Ukiah, CA 95482 USA.


     Church of All Worlds has a representative on the internet.  Items
from this address are official.

       National CAWntact =

     "Green Egg" has an America On-line address.  Please keep this to all
or at least mostly to "Egg" business.  For general CAW info, please send
to the general CAWntact address above or the voicemail.

        Green Egg = GEMAGAZINE@AOL.COM

     For information on the CAW ftp site or the fileserver, send mail to
torin at:

        FTP Site Maintainer =
        or Joy Williams at

  B. CAW Publications

From Otter Zell:
     We publish a number of periodicals.  The most important of these is
Green Egg, the foremost journal of the New Paganism for over 25 years.
GE is published quarterly, has 68 pages and full-color glossy cover, and
a present circulation of around 8,000 copies.  In 1992, GE was the
winner of over nine awards from the Wiccan/Pagan Press Alliance,
including the Gold Award for "Readers' Choice." (Sample $5 US postpaid
from CAW, PO Box 1542, Ukiah, CA 95482 USA.)

     We also put out a magazine for Pagan kids called How About Magic?
(HAM).  It's a 12-page quarterly with a circulation of about 400.
(Sample $2.25 US postpaid from above address.)

     Then there is our members' only newsletter, The Scarlet Flame
(quarterly), and our Inner Circle newsletter, The Violet Vision.

     In addition, about a dozen of our Nests publish their own
newsletters or magazines.  These range from small newsletters of only a
few pages to major magazines in their own right, such as our 32 pp.
Australian quarterly, Dragons Song.  (Sample $4 from CAW Draconis Nest,
PO Box 408, Woden, ACT 2606, Australia.)

     The newsletter of the SF area bunch, "The Foghorn" is usually
posted to the newsgroup.  See Green Egg or Scarlet Flame for info on
getting nest publications.

  C. Partial CAW reading list

     CAW publishes a reading list for members and interested
non-members.  No attempt will be made to list it in its entirety,
however, it includes (this is only a very biased sampling).  Check the
ftp archive for the list (Info/bibliography) and other data.

*Adler, Margot; _Drawing_Down_the_Moon_
Bonewits, P.E.I; _Real_Magic_
Callenbach, Ernest; _Ecotopia_
Campbell, Joseph; _Myths_to_Live_By_
Cunningham & Harrington; _Magical_Household_
Eisler, Riane; _The Chalice_and_the_Blade_
Gimbutas, Marija; _Goddesses_and_Gods_of_Old_Europe_
Gould, Stephen Jay; _Ever_Since_Darwin_
*Heinlein, Robert; _Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land_ (original edit)
Heinlein, Robert; _Assignment_in_Eternity_
Judith, Anodea; _Wheels_of_Life_
Murray, Margaret; _The_Witchcraft_Cult_in_Western_Europe_
Rowan, John; _The_Horned_God_
*Starhawk; _The Spiral_Dance_
Starhawk; _Dreaming_the_Dark_
Stone, Merlin; _Ancient_Mirrors_of_Womanhood_
Thomas, Lewis; _The_Lives_of_a_Cell_
Wilson, RA, & Shea; R; _Illuminatus!_ (trilogy)
Wilson, Robert Anton; _Prometheus_Rising_
Wolfe, Amber; _In_the_Shadow_of_the_Shaman_
  * items on the level 2 read-first-list

  D. Other news-groups and listservs

     There are no other specific CAW newsgroups on USENET/InterNet,
however, there are several newsgroups and at least one listserv that
deal with pagan and Wiccan issues.  These include:

     alt.pagan,, alt.magick,
alt.magick.chaos,, talk.religion.newage
talk.religion.misc and perhaps others depending on your tastes.

        There is a Church of All Worlds listserv.  This is a moderated
email list, and is considered to be an on-line "nest."  You may join the
discussion by sending a message to "subscribe
cawpagan-l .  You will then be sent a questionnaire that
you must fill out and return.  You'll then be (almost certainly)
approved and added to the list.  A warning, it is a high volume list, so
don't be surprised if you get a flood of email!  It is a warm and happy
place though, with fascinating folks, so if you are willing to wade
through lots of mail, you are sure to have a good time.  When you
subscribe, you will be sent a welcome message, explaining the ambience
of the list, if you wish to know the list policies ahead of time you can
find the policy at

     Another pagan listserv is available to people who would like to receive
a digest type publication by email.  Send your email subscription
requests to:  This one has been around for
some time.  While rumors of other lists abound, most of them seem to
come and go quickly.

     In the local BBS/FidoNet version of "reality", there is a PODS CAW
echo which is to be ported through to this newsgroup.  Experiments with
this are on-going, but don't be surprised if mail to/from folks "over
there" in fido-land gets the electronic equivalent of the USnail
treatment (ie; ends up in the bit bucket).  In other words, if you get
no answer, it may be that your mail or your post to the newsgroup never
made it past Charon and into the Fido "underworld".  Posts over 100
lines long seem to get eaten often.

     The moderators of the PODS version are Bunz in Australia and Irv
Koch (who lives at the PODS version of the FTP site).  There are no
moderators, in the Internet sense, on the Internet version, since that
would require someone to read every message and release or kill it.  The
closest thing to that are the Faq keepers ... blah blah.  The PODS
version of a moderator is a "Topic Cop" who moderates via reminding
people to behave and/or stay on topic via e-mail; he DOES have the
power, unlike on the Internet side, to request people have their access
zapped and --- failing that --- to actually demand the feed to a user's
site be cut off (RARELY used).

  E. Ftp archive

    This FAQ and other CAW materials, including an electronic
application, are available by anonymous ftp from: in
directory /caw.  Many are compressed in "Gzip" which can be obtained
from by ftp from in /pub/gnu and at other "gnu" archive
mirrors.  See the file README.gzip for other sites and machines.  Email
to if you have problems.  The PODS counterpart of the
FTP site is to Freq CA*.* from 1:109/629 aka 93:9810/12

  F. Reprinting this FAQ

     This FAQ is copyright 1993-1995 by Bill Graham and Darren Stalder.
It may be reprinted, copied and even sold (at distribution costs) as
desired so long as it is not modified in any way, it is kept in it's
entirety and reasonable effort is made to use the latest copy available
through the ftp site.  Also, you may not restrict others from
redistributing this FAQ according to this paragraph.  Finally,
notification of the FAQ authors at of redistribution or
archiving of this archiving of this FAQ would be appreciated.

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
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