Martello, Leo Louis (1931–2000)
Contemporary Wiccan priest. Martello was born on September
26, 1931, in Dudley, Massachusetts. He attended Assumption
College and Hunter College and went on to become a
Spiritualist minister. In the early 1960s he founded the Temple
of Spiritual Guidance and the Spiritual Independents Movement.
Through the 1960s he concentrated on his skills as a psychic
reader and wrote a series of short booklets Your Pen Personality
(1961), Its in the Cards (1964), and How to Prevent Psychic
Blackmail (1966).
By the end of the 1960s, however, he had begun to identify
with the slowly emerging neopagan witchcraft movement. In
1970 he founded the Witches Liberation Movement and the
Witches Anti-Defamation League as instruments to demand religious
rights and reparation payments for the Wiccan community.
That same year he organized a Halloween ‘‘witch-in’’ in
New York City’s Central Park.
Martello was quickly recognized as a leader in the Wiccan
community and soon turned out a string of books that were
widely read in the community, which had at the time produced
only a few texts of its own. His 1973 book Witchcraft The Old Religions
was standard reading for young Wiccans through the rest
of the decade and was frequently cited as an authoritative presentation
of the beliefs and practices of modern witches. He
also began to publish a periodical that flourished through the
early 1970s, the WICA Newsletter, and the Witchcraft Digest.
Martello identifies himself as a traditionalist Wiccan with Sicilian
roots. His coven operates under the name Witches International
Craft Associates. He also founded and heads Hero
Press, a small publishing operation. Martello died in June
Martello, Leo Louis. Curses in Verses. New York Hero Press,
———. Weird Ways of Witchcraft. New York HC Publishers,
Melton, J. Gordon. Religious Leaders of America. 2nd edition.
Detroit Gale Research, 1999.

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