In the early 1990s, six Elders of Traditional Craft Wicca recognized that they and the groups they led did not enjoy the same basic rights, benefits and privileges extended to other religions, denominations and churches by society and secular governments. There was no suitable organization, on either side of the Atlantic, that could provide the legal and ecclesiastical recognition and protection that they believed was needed for the continuance of their faith and practice.
The Sacred Well Congregation was born out of the vision of these six Elders. On Midsummer day of 1994 in Hainin, Belgium, the Covenant of Five Tenets and the Covenant of Intent of Faith and Practice were issued, and the Sacred Well Congregation was established. The Greencraft Tradition of Wicca, a tradition evolving from the Alexandrian Lineage, with significant contributions from the European Danann and the American Elven Traditions, was designated as the Tradition of the Clergy of the Congregation. Membership in the General Congregation (Praefect Congregation) was opened to all who embrace the Five Tenets and request to join.
In 1995, two of the founding Elders returned to the United States and began work on organizing the Sacred Well under the Laws of the State of Texas. On August 17, 1996, by Charter issued by the Secretary of the State of Texas, the Sacred Well Congregation was incorporated as a Church and non-profit religious organization.
The Sacred Well Congregation of Texas is a universalist, independent, non-evangelical Wiccan Church. We are organized for the purpose of conducting and promoting religious worship on alternative Spiritual paths. Our Church provides open, public venues for the practice of the Old Religions; we promote community benevolence efforts, spiritual counseling, and educational programs.
We believe that there are many paths leading to the same Spiritual Province, and we affirm the right of any individual to choose his or her own path, and the right of any group to worship the Divine in any lawful manner they may choose. Our beliefs are embodied in our Five Tenets. While we honor and embrace as Kith all religious orientations, our Clergy and Kindred practice Traditional Craft Wicca (TCW) as an earth-based Mystery Religion. Though we are chartered by the State of Texas, branches of our family tree extend far and wide. Our Kindred reside all across Texas and in seventeen foreign countries and forty-one States as well. We are formally affiliated with the v.z.w. Greencraft in Belgium and the Netherlands. We work in harmony and purpose with a number of like-minded individuals all across Europe and the United States to promote tolerance, understanding, and love for all Paths Sacred. We are, in concept and in fact, a Church without Walls.
The Kindred Clans are led only by Ordained Clerics of this Congregation. The several Clans are practicing Traditional Craft Wicca Covens and are initiates of the Greencraft Wicca. At their discretion, and upon advisement of the IEC, they may conduct, host, sponsor, or support Provisional Congregations, Open Circles, or Affiliated Study Groups. From time to time they will conduct, host, sponsor, or facilitate seminars, workshops and gatherings. Provisional Congregations
The Provisional Congregations are led by an Ordained Cleric, or an Ordained Deaconess or Deacon, or any combination thereof. Provisional Congregations follow Traditional Craft Wicca and their leaders are trained in the Greencraft Tradition. At their discretion, and with the endorsement of the International Executive Council (IEC), they may conduct, host, sponsor, or support Open Circles or Affiliated Study Groups. From time to time they may host, sponsor or facilitate seminars, workshops and gatherings.
The Open Circles are led by an Ordained Cleric, an Ordained Deacon or Deaconess, a Congregational Emissary, or any combination thereof. Open Circles closely follow Traditional Craft Wicca, and their leaders are trained, or are in training in the Greencraft Tradition. At their discretion, and with the endorsement of the International Executive Council (IEC), they may conduct, host, sponsor, or support Affiliated Study Groups. From time to time they may host, sponsor or facilitate seminars, workshops and gatherings.
Affiliated Study Groups
Affiliated Study Groups are led by an Ordained Cleric, an Ordained Deaconess or Deacon, a Congregational Emissary, or any Supporting Member approved by the IEC. Affiliated Study Groups focus on Traditional Craft Wicca, and their leaders are trained, or are in training in the Greencraft Tradition. The Affiliated study groups are recognized and supported, but not formally sponsored by the Sacred Well Congregation.
The General Congregation is dispersed among thirteen countries and twenty-seven States. Many of our Members gather in informal study groups, or practice as solitaries, either by choice or by circumstance. One principal purpose of this Congregation is to build an International Kinship so that wherever our Members sojourn, they may find kindred spirits and camaraderie.
History of the Greencraft Tradition as related by Arghuicha and Taniquetil
The Greencraft Tradition of Craft Wicca descends directly from the Alexandrian line. Elsy and Korbus were initiated into an Alexandrian coven in Holland that soon became defunct. They then decided to travel to England, where they trained directly with Alex Sanders and Maxine Morris. They received their second and third degree initiation in the coven of Alex who appointed Elsy as High Priestess and Witch Queen for the Benelux. They established Ursa Major, the first Alexandrian coven on the Continent destined to survive. They trained and initiated several people including Hera and Arghuicha, both of whom had come from a long occult/ceremonial magic background. Kobus left Ursa Major, and the Coven reformed as The Wheel. Elsy selected Arghuicha as her High Priest. After a few years, Elsy appointed Lady Bara as her successor and she reverted to solitary practice. The Coven reformed as The Silver Moon. After a little over a year, Lady Bara moved away, and Hera became High Priestess. The Coven reconstituted in Amsterdam as Corona Borealis in the late 1980s. Corona Borealis began evolving from a strict orthodox Alexandrian into a more Celtic/Northern European style, nature-based practice, while maintaining the critical elements distinct to the parent Tradition. In the early 1990s It‡rilde and Taniquetil, coming from the American Elven Tradition, and Odinda and Gayomard, from the Danann, joined Corona Borealis. Corona Borealis adopted some elements of both the Elven and Danann Traditions, and by 1994 was firmly established as the Greencraft Tradition of Craft Wicca.
In 1995, Itárilde and Taniquetil formed Yára Silmárilde, with Hera, Odinda, Gayomard and Arghuicha as Elders Emeriti, hived off Corona Borealis and brought the Greencraft Tradition to the United States. Elfin (Merel and Raven) hived off Corona Borealis in the fall of 1995, as did one other coven no longer active in the Greencraft.
In 1996 Corona Borealis closed and became the Mother Coven of the Greencraft Tradition. At Yule in the Ardennes, Corona Borealis hived into five covens:
- Aurora Borealis, led by Hera and Arghuicha
- The Silver Ring, led by Odinda and Gayomard
- The White Horse, led by Wanna and Korsan
- Orion, led by Charon
- The Pleiades, led by Slyphe and Ram (no longer active)
In January 1997, Yára Silmárilde (Ancient Shining Ones) formed Coirë Aldarin (Awakening the Trees of Remembrance) as an at-Large training Coven. This Coven is led by Itárilde and Taniquetil.
In January 2001, Aurora Borealis formed Formen Kalarie (Crown of the North) as an at-Large training Coven. This Coven is led by Hera and Arghuicha.
All Greencraft Covens in Europe trace their lineages directly back to Corona Borealis. All Greencraft Covens in the United States trace their lineages back to Corona Borealis through Yára Silmárilde.
Evolution of the Sacred Well Congregation and the Greencraft v.z.w.
The Sacred Well Congregation is an international Wiccan Church chartered by the State of Texas. The Greencraft v.z.w. is a religious non-profit corporation chartered by the federal government of Belgium.
In the early 1990s six Elders of the Greencraft Tradition of Craft Wicca recognized that they and the groups they led did not enjoy the same basic rights, benefits and privileges extended to other religions, denominations and churches by society and secular governments. There was no suitable organization, on either side of the Atlantic, that could provide the legal and ecclesiastical recognition and protection that they believed was needed for the continuance of their faith and practice.
The Sacred Well Congregation (SWC) was born out of the vision of these six Elders.
On Midsummer Day of 1994 in Hainin, Belgium, the Covenant of Five Tenets and the Covenant of Intent of Faith and Practice were issued, and the Sacred Well Congregation was established. The Greencraft Tradition of Wicca was designated as the Tradition of the Clergy of the Congregation. Hera, Arghuicha, Odinda, Gayomard, It‡rilde and Taniquetil were appointed in tenure as the International Executive Council (IEC) of the Clerics of the Sacred Well Congregation. Membership in the General Congregation (Praefect Congregation) was opened to all who embrace the Five Tenets and request to join.
On April 17, 1996, Tama Oringderff (Itárilde), David Oringderff (Taniquetil), and Dewey Oringderff Chartered the Sacred Well Congregation as Church (Non-profit Corporation) in the State of Texas. The Incorporators were appointed as the permanent Executive Committee of the Board of Deacons; Ida Burkey and Mary Nichols were appointed as Statutory Members of the Board of Deacons. The IEC was designated as the governing body of all spiritual and religious functions of the Congregation; the Board of Deacons was designated as the corporate executive of the Congregation in secular business. The IEC appointed Arghuicha as the IEC Executive Agent for Europe and Taniquetil as the IEC Executive Agent for the North America. By Charter, the SWC was established as a “Church” and was authorized to ordain a Clergy and a Deaconry to steward the Congregation. In April 2001 the SWC received its 501c3 Letter of Determination as a non-profit Church from the US Internal Revenue Service with an effective date of April 17, 1996.
In February 1997 the Greencraft v.z.w. was Chartered in Belgium as a Non-profit Corporation to oversee the Greencraft Tradition of Wicca. Under Belgian law, the Greencraft v.z.w. could not be designated as a “Church,” and therefore cannot ordain clergy and deacons. The secular clergy and deaconry of the Greencraft Tradition of Wicca draw ordination and ecclesiastic recognition from the Sacred Well Congregation, which is recognized under Belgian law.
The IEC of the Sacred Well and the Permanent Board of the Greencraft v.z.w. share two common members. The two organizations, though separate and with distinct functions, are inextricably related through common bonds and the Greencraft Tradition of Craft Wicca.
- Ynis Witrin led by Freya and Finbar hived off Avalon
- Ys led by Gwydion and Iris hived off Gwynvyd
- Gwynvyd reconstituted as Irinjelo led by Sara and Apollo
- The Bear led by Wiyaka and Rainman joined Greencraft after Wiyaka and Rainman were adopted into Greencraft. Wiyaka was the High Priestess of Magnus who first started TCW in the Netherlands after being trained and initiated in Great Brittain a few years before the first Alexandrian (Elsy and Kobus) and the first Gardnerian (Merlin and Morgana) coven in the Netherlands started.
- Sidhe Tintagel led by Wolf and Alexandra hived off Aurora Borealis
- Ki-Lin led by Zazoo and Geronimo hived off Aurora Borealis
Training-groups / covens-to-be:
- Alumnae Kerridwinis led by SinBret and Hekate daughtergroup of Aurora Borealis
- StoneDance led by Stor and Ela daughtergroup of Aurora Borealis
- Lemuria led by Merlyn and Willow daughtergroup of Aurora Borealis
- WanuPura led by Kara and Lupus daughtergroup of Irinjelo
- Ellhorn (in Paris, first French speaking group) led by Melusine daughtergroup of Aurora Borealis.