Selena Fox

Fox, Selena (1949- )

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 Tarot cards. 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 of campus.

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 healing services.

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 Amendment.

Fox founded Wiccan Shamanism, an ecumenical blend of the Wiccan religion, shamanic practices from tribal societies around the world and humanistic psychology. A.G.H.

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