Fox, Selena

Fox, Selena (1949)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Founder, executive director, and High Priestess of Circle Sanctuary, an international Nature Spirituality resource center located in southwestern Wisconsin. Circle Sanctuary is legally recognized as a Shamanic Wiccan church.

Selena Fox's approach to spirituality emphasizes Nature communion and blends ancient and contemporary Paganism, Wiccan traditions, multicultural shamanism, and transpersonal psychology. She is the founder of the Circle Craft tradition (known previously both as Circle Wicca and as Wiccan Shamanism). Fox has been a priestess since 1973 and is one of America's best-known Pagan elders, networkers, and religious freedom activists.

Fox was born on October 20, 1949, in Arlington, Virgina. Her ethnic roots extend throughout Western Europe and also include the Cherokee (Tsalagi) tribe of North America. She claims that among her ancestors are the hereditary keepers of the goddess Brigid's sacred site at Abernethy, Scotland. Although raised in a fundamentalist Southern Baptist family, Fox began her lifelong exploration of consciousness and spirituality at an early age when mystical experiences became a part of her life. She began recording her dreams and, as a teenager, did tarot card readings and began to study mysticism and the ancient Pagan religions of Europe.

Fox attended the College of William and Mary in Virgina, graduating cum laude in 1971 with a B.S. in psychology. She has continued her training in clinical psychotherapy over the years. While at the college, she led her first public ritual, which was a celebration of Spring and an honoring of Mother Earth, with invocations of Dionysus. At age twenty-five, she founded Circle Sanctuary, which today ministers to thousands of Wiccans, Pagans, and Nature Spirituality practitioners around the world.

Since the 1960s, Fox has been a social change activist for peace, gender and racial equality, and environmental preservation. She has joined with ministers of other religions to promote multicultural understanding, interfaith dialogue, and global cooperation. She has been a delegate and speaker representing Paganism and the Wicca religion at a variety of international interfaith conferences. In 1999, Fox was appointed to the Assembly of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, which meets in connection with the Parliament of the World's Religions.

Fox is best known for her work as a religious freedom activist on behalf of Pagans and Wiccans, for which she travels nationally and internationally. She was a force in the successful effort to defeat federal anti-Witchcraft legislation in 1985, and has been an expert witness in a variety of court cases involving the Wiccan religion. In 1999, she was among those working to uphold the rights of Wiccans in the U.S. military, which came under attack by a U.S. congressman, a U.S. senator, and anti-Wiccan religious right political groups. (See also Helms, Senator Jesse.)

Fox lives with her husband, Dennis Carpenter, spending her limited leisure time pursuing her interests in genealogy and archaeology. Carpenter, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, works on behalf of Circle Sanctuary.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.