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American Wiccan and high priestess who is renowned for her role of leadership
in the Wiccan-Pagan community. She founded the Circle Sanctuary (also known
as the Circle), a legally recognized Wiccan church with a worldwide ministry.
Fox, born on October 20, 1949, in Arlington, Virginia, grew up in a fundamentalist
Southern Baptist family. As a child, she had mystical experiences, out-of-body
travel and psychic visions. In her teens, she followed her interest in dreams,
the psychic and parapsychology and learned to give psychic readings with
During high school she left the Southern Baptist church citing several reasons
including the church's disapproval of dancing and it prohibition to allows
women to become ministers.
She attended the College of William and Mary, in Virginia, and graduated
cum laude in 1971 with a bachelor of science degree in psychology.
When 21 she led her first Pagan ritual as president of Eta Sigma Phi, the
classics honor society. She led the society in the re-enactment of a Dionysian rite of spring, which occurred outdoors in the center
Working on an archaeological dig, after college, in Hampton, Virginia Fox
met a woman who was a hereditary Witch. During this friendship Fox realized
her own spiritual orientation had much in common with this woman's Craft.
She embraced the Wiccan religion, and later became initiated as high priestess in several traditions.
Fox took other jobs following the archaeological work including being a
photographer and a publications editor for a large corporation.
It was in October 1974 that Fox conceived the name, logo, and central spiritual
focus for the Circle. Fox, and her partner Jim Alan, accompanied by a group
of friends formed the beginnings of the Circle by holding periodical meetings
at the Fox-Alan home in Sun Prairie, near Madison, Wisconsin. In 1978 Fox
made the decision to devote herself full time to the Wiccan ministry. In
the same year, the Circle Sanctuary was incorporated as a Wiccan church.
A prejudiced landlord evicted Fox and Alan from their Sun Prairie farmhouse
in 1979. After a course of moves to several farmhouses in the Madison area,
they finally settled on land near Barneveld and Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. The
site, now owned by the Circle Sanctuary, is a nature preserve, organic herb
farm and church headquarters.
The common-law relationship between Fox and Alan ended in 1984. Alan eventually
left the Sanctuary Circle to devote himself to a full-time writing career.
Fox, in 1986, married David Carpenter a Wiccan priest and former school
psychologist. Now Fox and Carpenter work together to coordinate the Sanctuary
Circle's various activities and responsibilities.
Fox prefers to be referred to as a Wiccan priestess rather than a Witch
because she feels it better describes her activities and responsibilities.
She travels extensively throughout the Unites States giving lectures, workshops,
and seminars on Paganism and spiritual growth and psychology to various
audiences at colleges and universities, learning centers, conferences, churches
and Pagan gatherings. She does nature therapy, psychic healing, Tarot readings,
dream work, guided creative visualizations, and other types of spiritual
She is a prominent spokesperson on Wicca and
Paganism to the media. Her activities include being involved with local
and international networking efforts and occasionally speaking in Christian
and other mainstream religion churches. Also, she has participated in many
ecumenical efforts working for world peace.
She is one of the prominent religious freedom activists in the Pagan movement.
She has worked successfully on cases involving the rights of Wiccans and
Pagans to worship; allowing Wiccan priestesses to minister as clergy in
prisons; securing paid pagan holidays for a Canadian employee; and helping
Native American Indians to protect sacred burial grounds in Kentucky. In
1985, Fox was a leading opponent of the Helms
Fox founded Wiccan Shamanism, an ecumenical blend of the Wiccan religion, shamanic
practices from tribal societies around the world and humanistic psychology.
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