Pendderwen, Gwydion

Pendderwen, Gwydion (1946-1982)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Pendderwen was born in Berkeley, California, on May 21, 1946. At the age of 13 he met the poet Victor Anderson. They became friends, and Anderson and his wife, Cora, initiated him into their form of Witchcraft, which was closer to Hedge Witchcraft than to the Wiccan traditions of today. Later, Pendderwen and Anderson founded a Faery tradition, motivated by Anderson's reading of Gerald Gardner's books.

Pendderwen studied at California State University at Hayward. He was drawn to Robert Graves's theories regarding the goddess and the sacred king; from corresponding with Deri ap Arthur, a friend in Wales, he was inspired to learn the Welsh language. With Alison Harlow, a fellow Wiccan of the Faery tradition, in 1970 he founded the organization Nemeton, the name being Welsh for "sacred grove." Nemeton was a Pagan networking organization that merged, in 1978, with the Church of All Worlds. In 1972, Pendderwen issued his first recording of songs for the seasons and the sabbats: Songs of the Old Religion.

After a visit to Wales, Pendderwen returned to the United States, quit his job with the Internal Revenue Service, and began homesteading on a piece of land in Mendocino County. In 1979 he published a songbook, Wheel of the Year, followed at yearly intervals by two musical fantasies, The Rites of Summer and The Faerie Shaman.

In 1977 Pendderwen founded Forever Forests for the ritual planting of trees and to encourage ecological consciousness. This merged with the Church of All Worlds in 1978. In 1982 Pendderwen was killed in an automobile accident.

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