The McFarland Dianics -- A Chronology - Spring Equinox, 2000
What is now known as the McFarland Dianic Tradition began in 1971. At that time, Morgan McFarland, who had been practicing her personal rituals solitaire for several years, met Mark Roberts through a mutual friend. Mark was also solitaire, stating to Morgan that he had only practiced within a coven with his first wife into whose family tradition she had initiated him.
This meeting, and the eventual Craft partnership, between Morgan and Mark, opened doors for both of them for the next few years. Mark introduced Morgan to his many neo-Pagan and Craft contacts, and Morgan was willing to be a public spokesperson on radio, TV, and in the written media for their beliefs. This reciprocity introduced them both to seekers from all over the country who wished training and, often, just camaraderie. It was a valuable alliance for both Morgan and Mark at this point in their lives.
It was Mark who pointed out the reference to "Dianic cults" in Margaret Murray's THE WITCH CULT IN WESTERN EUROPE. It spoke to Morgan's beliefs and practices, and she adopted it as the overt designation of her tradition -- which had, to this point, never had a name. Morgan said simply, from then on, that she was a Dianic Witch.
Because of Morgan's dedication to Feminism and work within the Women's Movement and because her tradition focuses upon the Immortal Threefold Goddess as the Supreme Creatrix, the term "Dianic" has been adopted by others. Some of these have created traditions that are synonymous with women-only or radical feminist circles but which are not McFarland Dianic. This began after a visit to Dallas in the mid-seventies by Z Budapest who compared her beliefs with Morgan’s. It was shortly thereafter that Z, too, began to call her tradition Dianic. Although McFarland Dianic covens espouse feminism as an all-important concept, the exclusion of men from any coven is solely the choice of its individual High Priestess. People of all genders have always been welcome initiates to Old Dianics, a designation used by some to separate the two Dianic philosophies.
In 1971, Morgan wrote down in ritual form, literally for the first time, her oral tradition and teachings. The rituals and Mysteries that the McFarland Dianics continue to copy from each High Priestess' book are Morgan's. Although Mark has stated in several places that he practiced similar rituals when he was the married partner of a priestess of a British Family Tradition, Morgan was never privy to those rituals and Mysteries. Whether or not oaths were taken by Mark, Mark could not and did not initiate Morgan into a coven with which he was no longer affiliated. The covenstead that they began was based on Morgan McFarland's Mysteries alone.
The first Texas Dianic coven was simply Morgan, a Maiden, and Mark. As the covenstead grew, it became three active covens: the original coven was both men and women; the second was an all women's coven, and the third originally was made up of partners with children. The last coven was more flexible in the time of day or night it held its moons, and how they were presented so that the initiates' children could be a part of the circle on occasion. All covens were united with each other by the same Mysteries and sometimes by overlapping circles and mutual sharings.
From its beginning, Morgan's Covenstead of Morrigana, the original McFarland Dianic covenstead, was meant to train women to become High Priestesses who would then build their own circles. These circles were to be made up eventually of both initiated Morrigana folk and new initiates. Morgan believed that the Covenstead of Morrigana would ultimately be dissolved and become a part of constantly evolving circles that would maintain the Mysteries but more and more diverse in Their celebration.
Mark Roberts served as the High Priest for Morgan McFarland until early 1977. Their last ritual together was held before the Spring Equinox that year. At that time, Mark decided to leave the covenstead and to move on to another, more personal, path.
A year or so earlier, Mark had begun to create a written and mail-order series of lessons for Seekers who had no immediate nearby contacts. These lessons were based on pre-initiatory lessons to the McFarland Dianic circles. Mark called them FOOTSTEPS ON A DIANIC PATH. The original lessons, published by Mark and edited by the Priestesses of the Covenstead of Morrigana, remain some of the most fundamentally basic neo-Pagan learning tools around. They should not, however (since Mark Roberts was their sole author), be considered McFarland Dianic.
In 1977, when Mark decided to dedicate his life to a new Path that he then called "Hyperborea," he and Morgan discontinued both their personal and Craft/Pagan relationships. The Covenstead of Morrigana continued for two more years, joined by over half a dozen descendent covens.
Morgan retired as of the Summer Solstice of 1979, turning over the last existing Coven of Morrigana to other Dianic High Priestesses. Morgan then became a solitaire.
In 1999, the decision to set apart our tradition from both the Hyperborean Path and from other groups using the designation Dianic for their more eclectic teachings was made. By naming ourselves McFarland Dianics, we declare our participation in Old Dianic beliefs.
Still a solitaire, Morgan served as an advisor to the McFarland Dianic Council and as the matriarch of our tradition until her passing On Wednesday, December 7, 2015, at 6:40 pm