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A (very) brief history of Blue Star and how Aurora Coven and Grove came to be.

by Niamh

Blue Star Wicca is a Craft tradition practiced across the United States and touching the lives of hundreds of people as it has evolved and grown. Commonly associated with the simple pleasures of music and family ties among its membership, its history is rich, diverse, and sometimes curiously contradictory.

What would develop into this tradition emerged out of the Coven of the Blue Star, established in Philadelphia circa 1975. It later became prominent in the New York City area. The foundation of this coven had been laid down by Franque D. (“Franque the Wizard”), a peace act

Blue Star Wicca began as not a tradition, but as a single coven – “The Coven of the Blue Star” – in 1974.  Franque the Wizard (as he was known), who had received his 2nd degree in the American Welsh tradition via Eddie Buczynski and “Lady Kay,” began holding open circles and fora in his Norris, PA occult shop, “The Wise One.”  As a product and piece of the 1970s American pagan movement, there was influence from other traditions; for example, Lady Pamela, a Gardnerian from the Philadelphia Pagan Way, was adopted as an Elder.  Tzipora Katz, who would go on to be foundational to the tradition’s birth and growth, joined in 1975.

In 1980, the Coven of the Blue Star became the 39th coven of the Covenant of the Goddess (COG) – listing itself as practicing “Great American Nontraditional Collectic Eclectic Wicca”.  

During the ’80s, the tradition began to expand beyond a single coven. Kenny Klein joined the group, and Franque began to step away from the tradition he’d founded.  The first coven hived in 1983,  with Crystal Blue Star maintaining practice closer to Franque’s original teachings and Kenny and Tzipora moving in slightly different directions.  Lady Iris is among their early students and founds Starsong Coven/Grove.  

In 1986, Kenny and Tzipora began touring as entertainers on the Ren Faire circuit, bringing Blue Star Wicca across the country.  In order to support the far-flung study groups, Tzipora and Kenny began making teaching tapes, which George copied and sent out around the country.  Members of all levels met up at annual festivals, such as  Free Spirit Gathering.  In an effort to create greater tradition-wide unity, the first Family Gathering was held at Camp Kiwanee in Hanson, MA in 1991.  Bill and Beth, attendees of that gathering, sent a letter out to the people who attended that gathering the Beltaine edition of what came to be known as the B3s,  The B3s became a newsletter linking the tradition throughout the 90s and into the mid-2000s.  It included not only columns and articles by members of the tradition but ‘family gossip’ that helped bring the tradition and its members closer.  

1992 brought the dissolution of Kenny and Tzipora’s marriage, resulting in both of them leaving the tradition for some periods of time, and the rise of the coven autonomy that is central to the practice of Blue Star today. Key to this time period was the move away from the “Cult of Personality” of Kenny and Tzipora to a focus on Blue Star as a tradition that would survive beyond their leadership. During this time, it also became clearer that different groups had received different trainings, and that there was variation in how even basic practice was conducted.  The 1990s also saw a number of early members raised to 3rd degree, expanding the diversity of covens.  Lady Iris is among those at the time, receiving 3rd degree in 1999.

Gender and sexuality and gender-specific-officiant roles became part of the discussion in some groups as LGBTQIA members and their allies explored traditional wiccan practice beyond the hetero- and binary system.  Groups such as Braided Stream in New Jersey and Evergreen in Massachusetts experimented either through desire or necessity with moving beyond gender-specific roles, though to what extent this was accepted tradition-wide or recognized as Blue Star practice at the time varied.

In April 2000, the first Initiates’ Gathering was held in Caledonia State Park, PA.  Coven autonomy and the differences in initial training had led to subtle (and not so subtle) differences in practice across the tradition, resulting in strife.  At said gathering, there was discussion and agreement to enjoy ‘Regional Differences” while still maintaining a central framework – agreement carried back throughout the country. The central framework continues to serve as the core of Blue Star and permits experimentation and adaptability. There is no universal agreement about exactly what is core; this continues to be a topic for ongoing and rich conversation. There were several general regions by this time – New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Minnesota, and – with the foundation of Rose and Antler in Los Angeles, the West Coast.  The freedom covens enjoyed (and still enjoy today) was key to Blue Star’s first initiation of a trans person, Siobhra DeWar, in 1996 by Cat and George of Balefire Coven.  

Lady Euterpe joined Starsong in 2002 and began to study under Lady Iris, and was initiated in 2003, taking 3rd degree herself in 2007.  The following year, she and her partner at the time hived from Starsong to create Starlight Coven and Grove.  Niamh joined Starlight in 2015, becoming an initiate in 2019.

Regional differences with regard to gender and sexuality continued to flourish through the 2000s and 2010s, with some coven/groves maintaining gender roles as part of their practice and some teachers primarily teaching officiant roles without respect to gender.  Same-sex initiations are practiced, though same-sex rituals dated back to 1998 when Dove gave Cat her 3rd degree. Lord Jack was elevated to 2nd degree in 2016, the first transman* to be recognized as a High Priest in the tradition. 

In 2014, Kenny Klein was arrested for possession of child pornography.  He was tried, convicted, and incarcerated.  Keith Campbell passed away in 2015, highlighting a pressing need to establish Blue Star’s funerary and ancestralization practices. Kenny Klein died in 2020, and Lord Odin of Crystal Blue Star died in 2021.

In 2020, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the first Virtual Family Gathering was held on Zoom.  This resulted in increased use of electronic media as a way for members of the tradition to stay connected, share knowledge, and teach classes.  Lady Euterpe and Niamh Officiated the opening ritual at that Gathering with folks from covens and groves from across the tradition.

With changes in coven membership and direction, Lady Euterpe retired Starlight Coven and founded Aurora Coven on Samhain, 2020.

At present, the more than 200 Blue Star Initiates and even more grove members keep in touch both with in-person practice (when practical, advisable, and safe) and through a variety of electronic and social media.  Blue Star counts members across the United States, Canada, and Europe.  It continues to enjoy a culture of connection and experimentation.

*There were other transfolk elevated to 2nd and 3rd degree prior to Lord Jack, but they were not ‘out’ at the time.

Written by Niamh, 2nd Degree, Aurora Coven, 20 February 2021

Posted June 7, 2015 by Tigira

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