Being a Pagan in 2014 is weird. I can’t imagine where I’d be without the fantastic witchy bloggers I follow or the Etsy accounts that keep me in stock with my spells and crystals. I won’t lie, I’m new to being a witch – but part of what I love about Paganism and Wicca is the rich history behind these beliefs.
Recently, LIFE Magazine re-published what they've called a “strikingly weird feature” about British Pagans in 1964. The photographs reveal a variety of people (doctors, housewives, nurses, and teachers) all celebrating their connection with the sun, moon, and Mother Nature by dancing around fires and pointing swords at the sky.
These beautiful photographs shed light on certain rituals that many Pagans have tried hard to keep secret, for fear of being judged or cast out of (an arguably still-Puritanical) society. I’m lucky to live in a time where admitting to being a Pagan typically results in an eyebrow raise, rather than trial and the threat of being burned at the stake.
And it seems that the group of Pagans above were especially forward-thinking for their time. Mrs. Ray Bone, a British housewife and Pagan high priestess, commented on nudity in the original article: “It seems obvious to me that people can be just as immoral with their clothes on as with them off," she said.
You go, Mrs. Bone. You go.
Photos Courtesy of Terence Spencer for LIFE Magazine
Mary Rockcastle is a florist, illustrator, and craftswoman living in Rochester, New York. She’s the sole founder of Little Lamb Studios, and #1 biggest fan of all dogs.