OBERON ZELL-RAVENHEART, (1942- ) is a Founder of the Church of All Worlds and a leading figure in the Neo-Pagan community. A modern Renaissance man, Oberon is a transpersonal psychologist, metaphysician, naturalist, thealogian, shaman, author, artist, sculptor, lecturer, teacher, and ordained Priest of the Earth-Mother, Gaia. He sums all this up in the designation of "Wizard."
Oberon is also an initiate in the Egyptian Church of the Eternal Source, a Priest in the Fellowship of Isis, and an initiate in several different Traditions of Witchcraft. He holds academic degrees in sociology, anthropology, clinical psychology, and theology. Oberon has a son, Bryan, born in 1963, and raised in the Church of All Worlds.
Oberon was born Timothy Zell on November 30, 1942, in St Louis, Missouri--a Sagittarian with Aquarius rising. As a child he had a natural affinity with the creatures of Nature and spent much of his time alone in the woods. His early attunement to Nature contributed to the emergence of psychic abilities, including the gift of telepathy. He was introspective and read a wide range of literature, including various works of science fiction and fantasy.
Oberon attended Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri from 1961-'65. There, together with Richard Lance Christie, he founded the Church of All Worlds on April 7, 1962, inspired by Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land.
After attending graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, Oberon went on to shape the Church according to his vision of religion as a connective system that joins one with time and space through the oneness of all things. The Church of All Worlds filed for incorporation in 1967 and was formally chartered in 1968. The CAW received its 501(c)(3) exemption from the IRS on June 18, 1970, becoming the first Pagan church to do so.
First to apply the terms "Pagan" and "Neo-Pagan" to the newly emerging Nature religions of the 1960s, and through his publication of the award-winning Pagan magazine, Green Egg (1968-1976; 1988-1996; he is currently Publisher Emeritus), Oberon was instrumental in the coalescence of the Neo-Pagan movement, which for the last third of a century has been reclaiming the religious heritage of pre-Christian Europe.
Oberon's work through the Church of All Worlds has played a major role in the unity of the Pagan movement and helped many Pagans focus their energies into environmental issues. He has initiated and been involved in numerous Pagan ecumenical alliances and projects, including the Council of Themis, the Council of Earth Religions, the Covenant of the Goddess, the Universal Federation of Pagans, and the Papal Apology Project.
In 1970, Oberon formulated and published the thealogy of deep ecology which has become known as The Gaea Thesis. He met and married his soulmate, Morning Glory, at the Llewellyn-sponsored Gnostic Aquarian Festival in 1973, where he was a keynote speaker on that topic. They were legally married April 14, 1973, in a spectacular public Pagan handfasting ceremony in Minneapolis, which was shown on TV in Japan!
From 1977 to 1985 Oberon and Morning Glory lived in a 5,600-acre intentional community (Greenfield Ranch) in the mountains of northern Califia, creating a rural homestead and Pagan retreat center.
Oberon and Morning Glory co-founded the Ecosophical Research Association in (ERA) 1977, and their research into arcane lore and ancient legends resulted in the Living Unicorn project, begun in 1980 and culminating with the lease of several of their Unicorns to the Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus.
During much of this period Oberon traveled around the country exhibiting Unicorns at Renaissance Faires, and was largely inaccessible for public Pagan appearances, though he continued to exercise a considerable influence in the Pagan community through the large festivals, vision quests, ceremonies, and ritual events held on the land.
In Feb. 1985, Oberon organized an ERA video diving expedition to Australia and New Guinea which identified the species of the mysterious "Ri" and solved the ages-old mystery of the Mermaid. In 1987 he conducted a research tour of ancient oracles and archaeological sites throughout Mediterranean Europe. Other magickal journeys have taken Oberon to Peru, Hawaii, Alaska, back to Australia, and, in 1999, to France and England for the total Eclipse of the Sun.
Oberon is the author of numerous published articles on history, Gaian thealogy, magic, shamanism, mythology, anomalies, dinosaurs, archaeology, cosmology, and related topics, and has been interviewed and quoted extensively in many books on New Age religious movements, Paganism and the occult.
With many years of theatrical experience, Oberon has been an entertaining guest on a number of radio and television talk shows around the country (and in Canada and Australia), as well as being a regular featured speaker at many Pagan festivals and conventions.
Oberon is also an accomplished ritualist, creating and conducting rites of passage, seasonal celebrations, Mystery initiations (such as the Eleusinia and the Nashville Panathenaia), Earth-healings, and other rituals for up to 3,000 people.
Oberon's artwork has illuminated the pages of various fantasy and science-fiction magazines since the late 1960's. He illustrated Anodea Judith's Wheels of Life, among other books, and he drew up an extensive Darkovan Bestiary for Marion Zimmer Bradley's science-fiction series. He created a series of God and Goddess altar posters, and his T-shirt designs may still be seen at gatherings of Pagans and environmental activists.
But Oberon's favorite art project is his ongoing sculpture series of Gods and Goddesses, and of mythological and legendary creatures, currently being produced and marketed through TheaGenesis LLC as the Mythic Images Collection. His masterwork is "The Millennial Gaia." Oberon's sculptures may be seen on the Mythic Images web site.
Oberon and Morning Glory pledged from their first meeting to maintain an open relationship, and they have always done so. For ten years (1984-'94) they were in a triad marriage with Diane Darling (editor of Green Egg, and later, Green Man and PanGaia magazines), and in 1995 they began forming their current six-person Family, the Ravenhearts. They have created a family business and legal structure called TheaGenesis, LLC. In 1997, the Ravenhearts were featured on the TV show, "Strange Universe," and in 2000 they were featured on A&E's documentary series, "The Love Chronicles: Love in the '60s."
Oberon now resides with the five other Ravenhearts in Sonoma County, Califia.
Oberon Zell-Ravenheart is referenced in the following books (listed in order of publication dates):
As Tim Zell (1962-1978): Black Magic, Satanism & Voodoo, by Leo Louis Martello (1971); The New Pagans (1972), by Hans Holzer; Witchcraft, The Old Religion, by Leo Louis Martello (1973); Pagans U.S.A., by Susan Roberts (1973); Religious & Spiritual Groups in Modern America, by Roger Ellwood (1974); Directory of the Occult (1974), by Hans Holzer; Occultism, Witchcraft & Cultural Fashions, by Mircea Eliade (1976);
As Otter G'Zell (1979-1994): Drawing Down the Moon, by Margot Adler (1979; revised and expanded edition 1987); Encyclopedia of American Religions, by J. Gordon Melton (1979; 2nd edition 1986); Do You Believe In Magic? by Annie Gottlieb (1987); Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft, by Rosemary Guiley (1989); Coinci-Dance, by Robert Anton Wilson (1990); Heaven on Earth: Dispatches from America's Spiritual Frontier, by Michael d'Antonio (1992);
As Oberon Zell (1995-present): The Pagan Path, by Janet & Stewart Farrar & Gavin Bone (1995); People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out, by Ellen Evert Hopman (1996); Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, by Raven Grimassi (2000)
Oberon was an acknowledged consultant for Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (1982) and Firebrand (1987), and illustrated Anodea Judith's Wheels of Life (1987; 1993).