The Fellowship of the Sacred Grove was established at Imbolc of 1989, when six members of a Northern Virginia coven hived off to pursue a more explicitly religious approach to Paganism. The early years of the Fellowship were shaped by a regimen of study, meditation, prayer and ritual — including the presentation of large public rituals at several Pagan gatherings.
By 1993, Sacred Grove’s membership had grown to the point that a need was felt to set down in writing the distinguishing features of the Fellowship’s approach to Wicca and Paganism. At Samhain of 1993, the following self-definition was adopted.
- The Fellowship of the Sacred Grove is a mystical, theistic religious fellowship.
- Each member of the Fellowship is expected to commit themselves to the following goals:
- Pursuit of an individual connection with the Divine
- Support of fellow members’ pursuit of connection with the Divine; and
- Sharing the Divine’s gifts of insight and inspiration with others.
- The Fellowship considers many different ways of understanding the Divine to be valid but does not consider all ways to be of equal value. The Fellowship is cautious in judging the path of another and understands that different people need different paths at different stages in their spiritual growth. The Fellowship has been led by its own members’ experience of Deity to address the Divine as Lord (Father) and Lady (Mother).
- The following statements represent the current understanding (1993) of the Fellowship. They do not constitute a test for admission, or a creed to which Fellowship members must conform; rather they define the system which the Fellowship members are exploring together. A member of the Fellowship should be open to coming to believe these things. Likewise, the Fellowship as a whole remains open to its understanding changing as a result of its continuing interaction with the Divine.
- The Divine is real, personal, and important to human lives
- The spiritual essence of the individual continues after death.
- There is no eternal punishment; Deity never gives up on any individual.
- Moral evil exists and should be opposed.
- The Fellowship selectively combines elements from different traditions to create a whole which reflects its collective experience of the Divine more fully than does any individual tradition. The Fellowship places no great religious importance on dress or undress, and therefore normally works robed so as not to create a barrier to anyone’s participation.
The Fellowship of the Sacred Grove contributed strongly to the spiritual depth and expression in the mid-Atlantic Pagan community, extending eventually to include branches in Florida. Its members have carried the tradition with them in expanding circles, and the remaining Dedicants continue in small, scattered circles in northern Virginia.
In 2011, on her own authority as a third degree high priestess of the College of Dedicants, Sandy Harris, HPs (Khalila RedBird), established Sacred Grove SWC as clan and open circle of Sacred Well Congregation to serve as a nexus of civic and spiritual involvement in Fairfax County, Virginia and in national venues, to carry on the legacy of the Sacred Grove and the Bhakti Wiccan Tradition and abide by the Covenant of Five Tenets of SWC.
The liturgical resources offered on these pages for Sacred Grove SWC are based on the Bhakti-Wiccan Tradition of the Fellowship of the Sacred Grove, with thanks to Dan Holdgreiwe, founding High Priest.