Updated May 2006
A Brief History Of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel
This is a work in progress and will be expanded, refined, and corrected periodically.
In September, Jim Welch and Ivo Domínguez, Jr. post a flyer at their store Hens Teeth in Wilmington, DE to form a study group. Hens Teeth was an alternative bookstore with a large occult section. Ivo had begun his esoteric studies in earnest in 1974 and connected with the Wiccan/Pagan community in 1978.
The study group begins in October and meets every other week in different members homes, mostly in the Newark, DE area.
Keepers of the Holly Chalice is founded in March and celebrates its first ritual that Beltane at Paula & John Fasbenners house in Newark, DE. Several Members of Keepers later go on to found the three other covens in the Circle of Pisces and one member helps to found the first coven of the Circle of Aquarius.
The initial group of people in Keepers had worked with and/or attended workshops and rituals from a broad range of traditions including: Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, Witchcraft of the Keepers of the Ancient Mysteries (KAM) style, the Sabian Society, Sun Bears teachings, Patricia Hayes teachings, Masonry, and the Golden Dawn system as described by Regardie.
Ivo Domínguez, Jr. and Paula Fasbenner are elected to serve as High Priest and High Priestess by the members of Keepers based on their skills and knowledge.
Keepers sets up its ritual space in Jim Welchs Grandmothers woods near Stanton, DE.
August, several members of Keepers go to the Harvest Gathering in Maryland sponsored by Silver Web. Our first trip to an event as a group. We coordinate the community potluck at the Gathering and also in 86 & 87. Jim Welch and Ivo Domínguez, Jr. attend their first sweats here with Black Eagle (Wohali Agvnige).
On October 5th we hosted a business meeting for Earth Song Community /Silver Web (a Mid-Atlantic pagan organization) at Jims Grandmothers farm. Unbeknownst to us, we had been asked to host this meeting because we were neutral territory. There was great conflict at this meeting that centered on the groups leader Jeremiah (Rick Allen) and we witnessed the end of this group and learned valuable lessons.
At Samhain, Keepers performs a ritual written by Ivo that is its first full blending of Qabala and Wicca.
Late in the year Jim Welch and Coibhieh of Way of the Raven (Glen Burnie, MD) are asked to mediate the conflict in Earth Song Community /Silver Web. The various parties do not agree to the terms of mediation.
In March, the Free Spirit Alliance comes into being in response to Earth Song Community's troubles. The first Free Spirit Gathering is held in August. We choose to be supportive but do not join as members.
The Holly Chalice is created by David Shallcross Ferguson a non-pagan longtime friend of Ivo. David is a distant descendant of Charlamagne. He was also a virgin at the time he made the Chalice. The coven blessed his tools and workshop, aligned his lathe North-South, and put a stained glass star charged with visions of the Chalice in his window. The holly came from a tree from one of Davids neighbors.
Ivo Domínguez, Jr. creates the Modality castings.
Keepers consecrates the Holly Chalice (the first tool) at the Full Moon during the Summer Solstice. This is also the first Bonding (Ivo Domínguez, Jr., John Fasbenner, Paula Fasbenner, Nancy G. Stewart, & James C. Welch) that solidifies the pattern of the Group Mind.
Ivo Domínguez, Jr. creates the method of Aspecting that the Assembly uses, and first teaches it in March of 87.
Helena Domenic (later Anderson) wrote Keepers Brigid ritual. This was the first ritual she wrote for the group. Many years later she becomes an Elder on Brigid.
On August 2nd, Keepers holds a ritual to disconnect and move their astral temple from the circle in Jims Grandmothers woods because the land was being sold. Four cobble stones and five crystals are used to anchor the astral temple. These stones and crystals are now in Keepers circle in the woods of Seelie Court.
Ivo Domínguez, Jr. creates the Triangle of Stillness casting.
In March, Keepers creates the first set of guidelines for its initiations. It is based on a 3 degree pattern.
On April 30th, Keepers holds a Grand Covening in Carpenter State Park in Newark, DE as an effort to build community and encourage the formation of other covens.
On June 18th, Keepers performed its first initiation and this was the first use of the Njalk Pillars. This was for Jim Hoyt who was soon to move to the midwest and we wanted to honor him before he left.
In July, Keepers offers a very powerful open circle for rain that breaks the drought. This was our first use in a significant working using sigils created on a magick square as well as the evocation of an Elemental Monarch.
In January Keepers holds a planning and visioning meeting that speaks to future growth. Summation from the minutes of the meeting-
KHC will have a distinctive and identifiable magical style or tradition, functioning as a resource to the magical community.
Seelie Court (102.5 acres of woods in Southern, DE) is purchased by Ivo Domínguez, Jr., Nancy G. Stewart, and James C. Welch. They move to it in 1990. This becomes the stead of the Assembly and the future site of the New Alexandrian Library.
Keepers offers the first Walking The Tree Ritual at the Free Spirit Gathering. This ritual presents the Qabala from a pagan perspective.
In December, Keepers performs a 1st degree initiation for Michael Slaughter (Noonstar) using the pattern that is still used for ASW initiations.
Early in the Spring, the first Sweat Lodges at Seelie Court are poured by Diane Duggan at Nancy G. Stewarts invitation.
In August, Ivo makes a formal proposal to grow Keepers of the Holly Chalice into a Tradition.
In August the Bonded Group of Keepers (Janice Chalas, Ivo Domínguez, Jr., John Fasbenner, Paula Fasbenner, Nancy G. Stewart, & James C. Welch) performs a ritual to confirm that each of them has done the work of a 3rd degree. This paves the way for future hivings and provides a root for this lineage.
In September members of Keepers attend the Covenant af the Goddess' Merry Meet . We carpool to this event with members of Osprey Coven (Protean Gardnerian) of Smyrna, DE. We consider joining COG, but ultimately decide not to join but to pursue our own 501(C)3 status.
Nancy G. Stewart (of Keepers) announces that she wishes to hive-off to form the Earth coven of the Circle of Pisces.
At Diane Duggans urging, early in the year, several ASW members attend a workshop and ritual at Shakmah Winndrums sanctuary in Philadelphia. This is the beginning of a deep connection between our groups.
In April, Nancy G. Stewart starts the formation of Coven of the Sacred Drum (later renamed Coven of the Rowan Star). Jim Dickinson (of Keepers) joins her shortly thereafter as High Priest. They hold their first ritual at Beltane.
In June, the Assembly offers the Main Ritual at the Free Spirit Gathering: Calling Forth The Faery Child.
In September, Keepers host the first Autumn Magick as a one day event of workshops and rituals. it is held at Lums Pond near Newark, DE. This becomes a 2 day event Assembly function that continues thereafter with a hiatus in 1996 and 1998-2000 then resumed in 2001.
In November, Paul Cunzeman (Apollo) writes a letter indicating his desire to hive-off from Keepers.
Over the course of a year, Diane Duggan (Shevierah Stonewater) offers Sweat Lodge training at Seelie Court. This was a mixed group that also included non-ASW people. The first Pourers in our Tradition came from this training and they are James E. Dickinson, Ivo Domínguez, Jr., Michael G. Smith, and James C. Welch.
In May, Keepers hosts the first Spring Magick as a one day event of workshops and rituals. it is held at Lums Pond near Newark, DE. This becomes a 1 day event Assembly sponsored function the next year and thereafter. Spring Magick has a hiatus in 96 begins again in 97 then stops until 02 when it is restarted by Bill Anderson of Oak & Willow.
Jim Scroggs and Paul Cunzeman begin to form an Assembly coven in the DC area. Nancy Stewart was assigned as their proctor. Our friendship with Katrina Hopkins (Messenger) springs from this connection. Their group withdraws the request to be an ASW coven that Summer over differences of opinion in the structure of the Assembly. This group becomes Dark Flame Coven.
Michael Slaughter offers a series of full moon rituals starting in June to begin to form Weavers of the Moonfire. Jim Welch is assigned as his proctor.
Bill & Helena Anderson begin the study group to form Oak & Willow in the Summer.
Jim Welch and Ivo Domínguez, Jr. attend The Re-Membering of Osiris (an SOL conference) on August 5-8, at the Phoenicia Pathwork Center. This is where a solid connection to Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki is formed and where we first meet Aeptha and Eushahn of Light Haven.
First Festival of Hecate is held on August 21st at Seelie Court.
The Charter and the Bylaws are approved on October 3rd.
The Pentacle is consecrated on October 26th. The rowan log that Nancy had brought to each of Sacred Drum/Rowan Stars rituals was taken to an Amish sawmill to make the board that was the raw material for the Rowan Pentacle. The disk cut from the rowan wood and the pentagram design routed into it by Doug Mooberrys shop of Lancaster, PA.
Moonfire holds its Ritual of Commitment as a coven on October 30th.
Assembly is incorporated in Delaware on December 16th at 1:00 pm.
Oak & Willow holds its first ritual as a coven study group on Brigid.
First issue of The Water Wheel our in-house newsletter is published at Ostara.
Code of Ethics proposed by Jim Welch approved in April.
First public Sweats using our Wiccan 5 Parts of Self protocol in March.
Oak & Willow holds its Ritual of Commitment as a coven on June 5th.
On June 5th, Jim Welch and Ivo Domínguez,Jr. attend a meeting in Rockville, MD to form a Mid-Atlantic Wiccan Confederation. While this does not work, we re-connected with Lady Alexandria Foxmoore and others from KAM that we had not seen in years.
In March, William Anderson (Oisin) receives his 3rd degree from Keepers of the Holly Chalice.
The Assembly is recognized as a 501(c)3 by the IRS on April 11th.
Keepers offers Chalice of the Four Waters ritual at the 10th Free Spirit Gathering.
In June, Keepers begins the process of having a silver insert made for the Holly Chalice. The artisan was Billy Bardo of Shamandala Studios. He hammers the insert out of a single flat piece of silver that he carefully fit to the Holly Chalice. The process is completed in June of 1996.
In June, the Rowan Pentacle has a silver inlay added into the routed pentagram by Hal Doscher of Wilmington, DE. He also set the central emerald into the Pentacle in July of 1995. The emerald was chosen for properties including inspiration, aid to memory, raising consciousness and physical and emotional equilibrium.
August 9th, Lisa Webster (Adaire) receives her 3rd degree from Keepers.
Oak and Willow's sword was created using a sword purchased at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire from the artisans of La Forge. The sword was then altered by Helena, who burned a bind rune and Oak and Willow's sigil into the sword's hilt, and engraved astrological and planetary glyphs along the blade
At Samhain Paula Fasbenner and Ivo Domínguez, Jr. step down as the founding High Priest/es/es of Keepers. Jim Welch and Shari Goettel become the High Priest/es/es of Keepers.
At the Winter Solstice, Paul Cunzemans ashes are scattered by Dark Flame Coven and friends in the place that thereafter becomes the memorial grove at Seelie Court.
On March 14th, Moonfire consecrates its Staff.
In late March, we visit Four Quarters Farm for the first time. We pour sweats there by their invitation as a part of a healing of troubles within their staff. Our delegation consisted of Jim Dickinson, Ivo Dominguez, Jr., Diane Duggan, Michael G. Smith, and James C. Welch.
Oak & Willow consecrates its Sword on April 12th.
In May at Four Quarters Farm, The Assembly sponsors one of the Stones (the East gate Stone with the hole) at Stones Rising II and offers rituals as well.
First Ritual For Cernnunos offered in June.
Castings: The Creation Of Scared Space by Ivo Domínguez, Jr. is published in June.
In the Summer, Paula Fasbenner (Wolkind) moves to Colorado, accompanied by her ex-husband John Fasbenner and her future husband George Wolkind. Although Paula and Johns official separation from the Assembly occurs in 1997, this move marks the end of their active involvement.
Michael Slaughter leaves the Assembly and his position as HP of Moonfire in July. Fred DiCostanzo becomes High Priest. Damiara continues as the High Priestess.
Ivo is made the first Elder at Lughnasadh. The artisan for his Elders Amulet was made by Merlin (Kirk McLaren).
The first Between The Worlds conference is held October 24th-27th in Wilmington, DE. The guests of honor are Andras Corban Arthen, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Ian Corrigan, Flo Aeveia Magdalena, and Shakmah Winddrum.
At Samhain, Shari Goettel steps down as High Priestess of Keepers and Lisa Webster assumes the role.
April 4-6, the Assembly offers rituals at Four Quarters Farm to energetically anchor the East Gate and the other gates that were yet to come. The Four Tools of the Circle of Pisces are used in this process.
The Assembly offers the Main Ritual at the Free Spirit Gathering: Cauldron Of Changes.
At Brigid, Nancy Stewart, the founding High Priestess, steps down as High Priestess of Sacred Drum/Rowan Star and Sue Clauss assumes the role.
In February, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki teaches Persephone & Pluto & Walking Between The Worlds at Seelie Court. This is her first visit to Seelie Court.
Jim Dickinson (Gaelan Brightflame) receives his 3rd Degree from Sacred Drum/Rowan Star in July.
In June, Helena Anderson begins her work to become the next Elder.
Fred DiCostanzo (Evenstar) receives his 3rd Degree from Moonfire on August 7th.
Coven of the Sacred Drum renames and rededicates itself as Coven of the Rowan Star on August 28th.
In July, Lisa Webster steps down as High Priestess of Keepers and leaves the Assembly. Janice Chalas (Daniana), one of the original 3rd Degrees, becomes Keepers High Priestess.
Jim Welchs Harvest & Gratitude Sweat Protocol is poured for the first time in the Autumn. He had begun work on this sweat protocol in Autumn of 1997.
October 23-45, we offer the Climbing The Tree ritual at Seelie Court as the focal point of a Qabala weekend.
In January, Michael Glen Smith (Gwydion Stormcrow) receives his 3rd degree initiation from Coven of the Rowan Star.
In March, Damiara (Eala Clarke) leaves Moonfire to form a coven outside of the Assembly. Damiara is given a 3rd degree by former ASW member Lisa Webster. Fred DiCostanzo continues as High Priest.
In June, Ivo Domínguez, Jr. pours the Sauna Sumbel for the first time at the Free Spirit Gathering. This sweat is a Norse Sweat Protocol that is written at the request of Astruar who had contacted Tyrtle (Mary Rooker) the FSG sweat coordinator at that time. Ann (Groa) Sheffield works with Ivo to create this protocol. This is the beginning of a bond of friendship with the Asatru community that is later strengthened by Michael Smith and Kitty Bronson (Vandisflame).
Audience With The Ancestors ritual has its first performance. This was at Stones Rising.
In September, Helena presents her design for the Cauldron at the Retreat where it is accepted.
In October, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki offers the Herne The Hunter weekend at Seelie Court.
Lady Morganna Davies, an Alexandrian and Celtic High Priestess and one of the founders of KAM teaches at Seelie Court on March 11th & 12th. This event is made possible through Lady Alexandria Foxmoore.
The Cauldron, which was made by Peter Siegal (ex-husband of Kitty Bronson of Moonfire), is consecrated on May 3rd during the Great Conjunction in Taurus at 10:30 am.
The second Between The Worlds conference is held May 25th-28th at the Wyndham in Wilmington, DE. Our guests of honor are Kvelddulfr Gundarsson, Russell House, Arawn Machia, and Ellen Cannon Reed.
The New Alexandrian Library Project is officially launched at the Between The Worlds conference by a presentation given by Jim Dickinson.
The Assembly is instrumental in the survival of the Sacred Space conference in Maryland.
Sue Clauss completes her sweat training with Diane Duggan (Shevierah) and is granted permission to pour. She also goes on to create the Mother Earth Sweat protocol.
At Samhain, Jim Dickinson steps down as High Priest of Rowan Star and Michael Smith assumes the role.
The Assembly offers the Consecration Ritual at Stones Rising as well as the Cernunnos ritual (Labor Day Weekend).
In March, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki teaches Mysteries of the Grail at Seelie Court.
Mike Smith, Karen Bishop (Eponarune) , and Ivo Domínguez,Jr. represent the Assembly at the first Regional Pagan Leadership Conference in Norfolk, VA August 24th-26th.
A Dream Whose Time Is Coming a chants audio cd is created as a fundraiser for the NAL Project. Recorded on Labor Day weekend and available at Autumn Magick on October 12-14.
The crew for this cd:
ASW members- Helena Anderson, Jim Dickinson, Ivo Domínguez, Jr., Gretchen Emery, Rhonda Goetter Mike Smith, and Jim Welch.
Friends- Brian & Eala Clarke.
In September, Brenda Sue Clauss (Artemedia Lodgekeeper) receives her 3rd degree initiation from Coven of the Rowan Star.
A year long program of Wiccan Sweat Lodge training offered by Ivo Domínguez, Jr. begins and runs until October of 2002. This is the first time the ASW style of Sweat is formally taught.
In October, Robin Fennelly receives her 3rd Degree and later assumes post of High Priestess for Oak and Willow.
At Samhain, Helena Anderson leaves her post as High Priestess of Oak & Willow to become the High Priestess of Moonfire. This is a part of her preparation towards becoming an Elder of the Assembly.
At Samhain, Sue Clauss steps down as High Priestess of Rowan Star and Karen Bishop assumes the role.
Of Spirits: The Book Of Rowan by Ivo Domínguez, Jr. is published in December.
At the December Coven Leadership Meeting, Sue Clauss and Jim Dickinson are given final approval to form the first coven of the next circle (Circle of Aquarius): Guardians of the Windsword.
On January 6th, Keepers meets with a group of people that are requested to join as a group with the intention of hiving off as an ASW coven at a later date. They are: Jim Scroggs (former member of Keepers), Mark & Leanne Pemburn, & Gwen Pffeifer.
On February 3rd, the forging of the Sword for Guardians of the Windsword is begun. The artisan for this work is Tim Kemp. On the 12th they hold their first public workshop to begin their process of creating a coven.
On May 11th Spring Magick is held in Bryn Mawr, PA as a one day fundraiser for the New Alexandrian Library Project. Bill Anderson of Oak & Willow coordinates this event.
Helena Anderson and Karen Schlechter represent the Assembly at the second Mid-Atlantic Pagan Leadership Conference in Norfolk, VA August 23th-25th.
The Assembly offers a full day of rituals and classes culminating with the Consecration Ritual; Temple Of The Open Sky at Stones Rising (Labor Day Weekend).
We also have a very successful store/booth for the New Alexandrian Library Project coordinated by Adam Murta.
Although there had been participation in previous Pagan Pride Days; in 2003 ASW takes a more active role in Pagan Pride in Philadelphia and Dover.
Bill Anderson steps down as High Priest of Oak & Willow and goes on sabbatical at the Fall Equinox. Robin Fenelley continues as High Priestess.
Guardians of the Windsword officially becomes the 5th coven of the Assembly and the first coven of the Circle of Aquarius at Samhain.
In November, a series of lectures sponsored by the Crescent Moon Coffee Klatch begin. These are taught by teachers from the Assembly as a fundraiser for the New Alexandrian Library and as a food drive for SOME (so others may eat). This series of six lectures runs till May of 2003 at the Paint Branch UU Church in Adelphi, MD. The organizer for these lectures is Jennifer Graham (Chrionna) of Moonfire.
In January, Helena Anderson attended the North Carolina Pagan Leadership Conference with Bob Bruhin of the Delaware Valley Pagan Network and Darryl Kummerow and Eric Eldritch of the DC Radical Faeries, The purpose of the trip was to learn how to hold a local Pagan Leadership Conference. Good ties were formed between the Assembly, DVPN, and the DC Radical Faeries.
On February 1st, Helena Anderson (Aislin) receives her 4th Degree and becomes the second Elder of the Assembly. The ceremony takes place at Hernes Hollow.
In February, Helena Anderson becomes a member of the Board of Directors of the Delaware Valley Pagan Network and begins serving in March.
In June we offered Calling The Fire Of The Moon as the main ritual at the Free Spirit Gathering in Maryland. Despite the rain, or perhaps because of it, the ritual was especially meaningful. The central fire burned for long after the ritual was done.
Over the course of the Spring and Summer a number of people, including Sue Clauss and Diane Duggan leave the Assembly. This was a very painful time period for all involved, but these departures were necessary to stay true to the vision of the Assembly.
October 10-12, we offer the Climbing The Tree ritual at Seelie Court as the focal point of a Qabala weekend. This is shortly after the passing of Ellen Cannon Reed and we honor her in a toasting circle. Her writings are a great influence on our work. The weekend was incredible.
At Samhain, the Assembly Memorial Grove was dedicated. This work was a part of Teri Foster Grays 2nd degree work. Unfortunately, work takes Teri to Oregon before completing her 2nd degree.
December, 2003- Helena Domenic graduates from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA with a Master of Arts in Art Education. The title of her thesis was Neo-Pagan Rituals as a Model for Developing Community. The thesis was about the ways in which ritual creates community in schools and other organizations, using the Philadelphia area Pagan community as an exemplar for the study.
In January, Bill Anderson leaves the Assembly to pursue his own path and his healing.
March 20th, Keepers of the Holly Chalice celebrates its 20th year as a coven. A powerful ritual involving the five covens is followed by a party and a dance at Seelie Court.
March 27, the ASW holds a combined Spring Magick and Cernunnos ritual in Media, PA.
In May, R.J. Stewart teaches at Seelie Court on the 5th Nameless Goddess along with some discussions of faerie teachings.
In May, work was begun on planning the Hecate Labyrinth at Seelie Court as a part of Darleen Aragons 2nd degree work.
June 3-6, Jim Dickinson and Mike Smith represent the ASW at Trothmoot, working to strengthen the relationship with the Asatru community.
In June, Orion Foxwood teaches at Seelie Court continuing the influx of faerie teachings.
In July, Michelle Mueller of Moonfire attends the Parliament of World Religions in Barcelona under a scholarship from the Covenant of the Goddess.
September, 2004 - The Elders ask Jennifer Graham to begin the study group, Fellowship of the Ancient White Stag, in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In September, Jim Dickinson, Michael Smith and Kitty Bronson attend the East Coast Thing to continue developing the relationship between the ASW and the Asatru Community.
The Assembly takes an active part in Pagan Pride Day in Philadelphia, PA and in Dover, DE in September.
October, 2004 - Kitty Bronson leaves Weavers of the Moonfire and unbonds from the Staff to become Acting HPS of Guardians of the Windsword, in DE
In November, Vanadisflame became acting High Priestess for Guardians of the Windsword.
November 4-7 - Between The Worlds conference
January, 2005 - The first class of the Fellowship of the Ancient White Stag is held, 27 students attend.
On February 27, the first meeting was held at Hernes Hollow to form the Warrior guild within the ASW.
April 21-24, ASW attended the Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance Beltane Gathering and offered the Cernunnos ritual.
August 27th -the Hecate Labyrinth is completed.
The Assembly takes an active part in Pagan Pride Day in Philadelphia, PA and in Dover, DE in August and September.
September 2-4 - Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki teaches Ritual With Purpose at Seelie Court. Dolores gifts the land with a crepe myrtle that is planted by the Labyrinth.
October 1-2 Annual Retreat: Jennifer Graham is voted unanimously to receive her Third Degree elevation and also to officially hive off from Weavers of the Moonfire, thereby creating the 6th coven of the ASW out of the study group: Fellowship of the Ancient White Stag. The coven tool will be the staff; this will hold the aspect: Fire of Air as the 2nd coven within the Circle of Aquarius.
Jim Welch receives permission to begin the process of creating the 7th coven in the Assembly (Pentacle, Circle of Aquarius).
On October 18, the Warrior Guild performed its first major working, establishing an astral fortress, to begin the great work of the group.
On November 12-13, the ASW offered the annual Autumn Magick gathering at Seelie Court.
January, - Oak & Willow begins the process of redesigning its Sword to remake its coven Tool.
January 21, - Jim Welch leaves Keepers of the Holly Chalice and Mark Pemburn becomes acting High Priest. On the same day Jennifer Graham leaves Moonfire to continue her work in creating Fellowship of the Ancient White Stag.
February 2, - The first meeting to form Troupe of the Starry Door, the Earth coven of the Circle of Aquarius begun by Jim Welch.
February 11, Caroline Kenner is initiated as the first member of the Assemblys Order of the Wandering Stars. Members of this Order move between the covens like the Planets.
March 25 - Fellowship Of The Ancient White Stag dedicates as a coven and consecrates its Staff at Seelie Court 9 am,
April 29 - The Assembly offers the main ritual at MPA Beltane in New Jersey.