Bonewits, P(hilip) E(mmons) I(saac)
(1949– )
A Pagan priest who has attained some measure of fame as
America’s first ‘‘academically accredited’’ practitioner of magic.
He holds the first (and only) Bachelor of Arts degree with a
major in magic from the University of California, Berkeley.
Bonewits (pronounced Bon-a-wits) was born October 1, 1949,
in Michigan, and came to Berkeley from Laguna Beach in
1967. He originally studied psychology, but found this limiting,
and succeeded in finding a professor who agreed to sponsor a
major in occult science. This degree was granted June 16, 1970,
after which Bonewits published a very successful book about his
academic sojourn under the title Real Magic (1971).
While at Berkeley, Bonewits roomed with Robert Larson,
who had previously attended Carleton College. In the 1960s
Carleton was the site for the formation of the Reformed Druids
of North America. The idea of Druidism appealed to Bonewits,
and he and Larson formed a Druid grove in Berkeley. Bonewits
was ordained as a Druid priest in 1969.
In 1974 he moved to Minneapolis to become editor of the
occult journal Gnostica (1974–75). He also established a Druid
group in Minneapolis and founded the Aquarian AntiDefamation
League, a short-lived Pagan defense organization.
In 1976 Bonewits returned to Berkeley. He finished the compilation
of the Druid holy writings, which he published as the
Druid Chronicles (Evolved), and in 1978 he established the periodical
Druid Chronicles (later Pentalpha Journal).
In the early 1980s Bonewits separated from the Druids and
was initiated as a priest in a Gardnerian Pagan group, the New
Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (no relation to
the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). In 1983 he moved
to New York, where he and Shenain Bell founded Ar nDraiocht
Fein (Gaelic for ‘‘Our Own Druid Faith’’). Bonewits was named
Archdruid. In 1988 he married Deborah Lipp, a Gardnerian
priestess. Together they run a Pagan Way group, and Bonewits
remains as head of Ar nDraiocht Fein. A national leader in the
PaganWicca community, Bonewits is a major advocate of formal
theological training for Pagan leaders.
Sources
Bonewits, P. E. I. Authentic Thaumaturgy. Albany, Calif. The
CHAOSium, 1978.
———. Druid Chronicles (Evolved). Berkeley, Calif. Berkeley
Drunemetron Press, 1976.
———. Real Magic. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1971.
Rev. ed. Berkeley, Calif. Creative Arts Book Co., 1979.

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