~Originally, in the USA~
The Church of all Worlds was founded in 1962 by Tim and Martha Zell (now known as Oberon and Morning Glory Zell), and Lance and Penny Christie. Incorporating in Missouri in 1968, CAW became the first of the (Neo) Pagan Nature/Earth religions to obtain full Federal recognition, and was best known in the 1970s for publishing “The Green Egg”, one of the first and foremost pagan journals at the time.
The Church of All Worlds (Australia) was first formed in March 1992 by Fiona Judge and Anthorr Nomchong. It became the first Australia-wide legally recognized (Neo) Pagan Nature/Earth religion in November 1992, and is presently incorporated in New South Wales as a religious education organisation. It is administered by a National Management Council.
The Book that started it all!
The Church of All Worlds is loosely based on the book by Robert Heinlein “Stranger in a Strange Land”. In the novel, a stranger, Valentine Michael Smith, was an Earthman born on Mars and raised by Martians. Among his many adventures upon being brought to Earth was the formation of the “Church of All Worlds”. This ‘Church’ was built around ‘nests’, a combination of a congregation and an intentional community. A basic concept was ‘grokking’, that is, the ability to fully encompass anything in a wholistic manner.
CAW originally emphasised the experience of non-possessive love and the joyous expression of sexuality as divine union. Today, this is a lesser part of CAW, as we each make our own choices regarding our relationships and relations with others.
There is also the acknowledgement of water as being the source and sustenance of Life, with a ritual sharing of water being the most fundamental rite of CAW. As recognition of immanent divinity in each person, the common greeting of “Thou art Goddess; Thou art God”. There is also the precept of “growing closer” in all ways and forms.
The current generation of the Church of All Worlds Australia, Inc, is also very much inspired by Starhawk’s book “The Fifth Sacred Thing” which presents a vision of a future society that would mirror CAW’s philosophies, aims and objectives.