The McFarland Dianics—A Chronology

What is now known as the McFarland Dianics began in 1971. At that time, Morgan McFarland, who had been practicing her personal rituals solitaire for several years, met Mark Roberts through a mutual friend. Mark was then also, according to him, practicing solitaire. He told Morgan that he had only practiced within a coven with his first wife from whom he was divorced. She had initiated him into her family tradition, that of the Melhuish family from England.

This meeting led eventually to a Craeft partnership between Morgan and Mark, and it opened doors to them both within the next few years. Mark introduced Morgan to various neo-Pagan and Craeft contacts, and Morgan was willing to become a public spokesperson on radio and TV talk shows and in the written media for their mutual beliefs. This reciprocity introduced them both to seekers from all over the country. It also created a safe path and physical "safe house" to seekers in Texas who wanted training into the Mysteries and, often, just camaraderie. This was a valuable alliance for both Morgan and Mark at this point in their lives and for the future.

It was Mark who pointed out to Morgan the reference to "Dianic cults" in Margaret Murray's The Witch Cult in Western Europe. It spoke to Morgan's beliefs and practices, and she adopted the designation "Dianic" as that of her tradition. Up to this point, her beliefs had never had a name. Morgan said simply, from then on, that she was a Dianic Witch.

[Because of Morgan's dedication to feminism and her work within the Women's Movement, and because her tradition focuses upon the Threefold Goddess as the Supreme Creatrix, the term "Dianic," when adopted by other dedicated circles, has become synonymous with women-only or radical-political feminist circles. Although McFarland Dianic covens espouse feminism as an all-inclusive concept, the exclusion of men from any coven is solely the choice of singular priestesses. People of all genders are welcome initiates to McFarland Dianic covens.]

In the late summer of 1971, Morgan began for the first time to write down her oral lessons. The rituals and Mysteries that the McFarland Dianics continue to copy from each High Priestess' book are Morgan's. Although Mark has stated on several occasions to many people that he practiced similar rituals when he was the erstwhile husband of a Melhuish Family Priestess, Morgan was never privy to those Melhuish practices and never saw any written Melhuish (or other Dianic) rituals. Whether or not oaths were taken by Mark, Mark could not and did not initiate Morgan into a coven with which Mark was no longer affiliated. The Covenstead of Morrigana wherein Mark was the High Priest for several years was based upon, and passed on with, Morgan McFarland's Mysteries alone.

The first "McFarland" coven was simply Morgan, her Maiden, and Mark. As the covenstead grew over the years, it became three separate active circles. The original coven was made of both women and men. The second was an all-female coven. The third was originally made up of married folk and their children although it later included single parents. This third coven was more flexible about the time of day or night it held its moons, and about how the moons were presented, so that the initiates' children could be a part of the circle as often as possible. All three covens, nonetheless, were united with each other by the same Mysteries and sometimes by mutual sharings.

From its beginning, Morgan's original covenstead was meant to train women to become High Priestesses who would then hive and create their own covens. These new circles were meant to encompass folk from the Covenstead of Morrigana and new initiates. Eventually, Morgan believed that the Covenstead of Morrigana would dissolve into constantly evolving circles that would maintain the Mysteries but nevertheless become more and more diverse in their celebration.

Mark Roberts served as High Priest for Morgan McFarland until early 1977. Their last ritual together was held before Spring Equinox of that year. At that time, Mark announced his leaving the physical and metaphysical covenstead so that he could move on to another, personally evolved path.

This decision had begun a year or so earlier when Mark began to create a written, mail order series of lessons for seekers based on both Dianic pre-initiatory sessions called Grove lessons and upon more Nature-oriented ideas based on the concepts of Findhorn. Mark called his instruction "Footsteps on a Dianic Path." The original sharings, published by Mark and edited by several priestesses of the Covenstead of Morrigana, including Morgan McFarland, remain some of the most fundamentally basic neo-Pagan learning tools extant. They should not, however, since Mark Roberts was their sole author, be considered McFarland Dianic.

Therefore, when Mark decided in 1977 to dedicate his life to his new path that he called "Hyperborea," he and Morgan discontinued both their personal and Craeft-neo-Pagan relationships. Hyperborea was to be the training ground for the Faerie Faith Tradition, which he later claimed to have been given to him in England in 1963 by Margaret Lumley-Brown. Unlike the Melhuish Family Tradition, he had never mentioned the existence of this tradition.

Morgan retired as of Summer Solstice 1979, turning over the last existing Coven of Morrigana to one of the High Priestesses she had created. Later, when the women of that coven had each hived off, Morgan became a solitaire. Still solitaire, she now serves as advisor to the McFarland Dianic Council and as matriarch.

Spring Equinox—2000

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