A lot of people have been reading and circulating the recent articles that were written by my fellow Patheos.com blogger, Jason Mankey, about the “25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism”. He wrote an “American Wing” article and a “European Wing” article, and I thought they were excellent, but the sum total of his mention of those of us north of the 49th Parallel was “sorry, Canada!” Well, naturally that got my dander up a little. It gives the impression that what goes on up here is an appendix to the greater American scene. But in the founding of modern Paganism, in many cases it was the other way around. Here’s my list of 25 Canadians who helped mold the modern Pagan world; without whom, nothing would be as it is. If you ranked them along with the members of the other two lists to create a list of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (All-Time Champions,)” some wouldn’t make the cut . . . but many of them would. Just as Mankey did, I’ll list them in alphabetical order, since prioritizing is very difficult. Mankey said that the American list was harder than the European one because everyone was “second generation”; I find that my list consists of either proto-Pagan contributors, or people who are doing very interesting things right now; perhaps a third generation, still active.
Brother XII (Edward Arthur Wilson) (1878-1934,) Proto-Pagan Cult Leader – Colourful cult-leader Brother XII founded one of the first spiritual communities in North America, in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. His organization, the Aquarian Foundation, was a proto-Pagan one, founded in Theosophy but speaking of the Osiris/Isis male/female polarity as gods within. Eventually personality conflicts with his followers led to investigation, criminal charges, and fleeing to Switzerland after destroying the colony, where he may have feigned his own death.