top of page

Elders of the Craft – Selena Fox

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Selena Fox is a Wiccan High Priestess, an Interfaith minister, environmentalist, author, a psychotherapist and is widely seen as an elder of the Craft, or witchcraft. Born on October 20th, 1949 in Arlington Va, she is also the founder and co-director of Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan Church and Nature Preserve set in 200 acres of land near Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. She is also a founding member of one of the oldest neo-pagan festivals in the United States, the Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG), which is held annually at Litha (Midsummer).

Her hometown, having a wealth of the wonders of nature, Selena spent a good deal of time as a child in the nearby woods, learning of the various plants and wildlife that abounds there and developing a deep respect of it. This love of nature has been and still is a main theme of her life and spirituality.

Majoring in psychology at The Collage of William & Mary, she also found time to be involved with student politics as well as helping to organize events for the first Earth Day. This is now an international event. In 1971, she graduated with a B.Sc. (Cum Laude) in Psychology and soon was taking post-graduate studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. It was here that she met a practicing hereditary witch who introduced her to witchcraft, very similar to her own nature-based form of spirituality.

Selena soon moved to Madison, Wisconsin where she met many like-minded folk and was initiated into several Wiccan traditions. She met her first husband, Jim Alan, and they were handfasted soon thereafter. They founded their own tradition and coven, Circle Wicca, and began to hold public as well as private rituals. Circle Wicca was incorporated as a non-profit Wiccan Church in 1978 in the state of Wisconsin and was then known as the Church of Circle Wicca and assumed the organizational structure of a traditional church: a corporate organization with a Board of Directors and Ordained Ministers.

Time magazine ran an article in 1979 reporting a handfasting ritual Jim and Selena performed at a festival in Indiana. This article raised the public profile of Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism across the USA considerably. This sparked the interest of other news sources and outlets in this new phenomenon. This included T.V. shows like: The Today Show, Larry King Live, Donahue and Sally Jesse Raphael as well as radio networks such as: NPR, BBC, ABC, CBS and several prestigious magazines and newspapers.

After years spent raising the funds, in 1983, Selena was able to purchase a 200-acre piece of land near Mt Horeb, Wisconsin which was named “Circle Sanctuary,” the first land purchase project in the US to be solely used as a pagan spiritual retreat and nature preserve. Many local residents were not happy with the idea of having a pagan sanctuary nearby, and started a smear campaign to force them out. Local zoning officials and other such officials investigated Circle Sanctuary, convinced that they would find some way to push them out. 4 years later, and with the help of the ACLU, Circle Sanctuary won Church-zoning rights and the legal legitimacy to allow them to stay as the first pagan/witchcraft church in the United States.

Some contention and ill-feelings remain to this day within the pagan community at large, as Circle Sanctuary is not open to all pagans. Even though most of the money raised to buy and establish the Sanctuary was through voluntary donations by people unconnected to Circle Sanctuary, people who expected that it would be open for use by all, it is not. The land is privately held and access to it is strictly controlled. For the most part, people can only enter the Sanctuary by appointment or to attend open festivals, classes or rituals.

After 10 years, Jim Alan and Selena parted ways and Jim moved on to pursue a career as a full-time writer. Two years later, Selena married Dennis Carpenter, a Wiccan High Priest a former school psychologist at Eagle Cave Campground near Blue River, Wisconsin. They continue to work as co-directors of Circle Sanctuary.

Selena and her various organizations have worked extensively with the military, providing information and support on religious freedom issues. For instance, they were instrumental in the battle to allow the families of fallen soldiers to have symbols of their faith (pentagrams etc.) placed on their grave markers.

Working with the ACLU, they were also part of the effort to defeat several proposed anti-Witchcraft legislations that may have sought to strip Wiccan churches of their tax-exempt status, zoning status or infringe on practitioner’s rights while incarcerated, such as Dettmer v. Landon 1985 in Virginia where prison officials denied Herbert Dettmer access to candles, incense, a robe and salt, claiming that Wicca was not a real religion. The court found otherwise and ordered the prison to make the required accommodations.

Selena continues to travel, lecture, advocate, teach, guest minister and educate on eco-spirituality as well as on Wicca and other pagan religions. Circle Sanctuary and Selena maintain an active presence on social media: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter as well as their website. They hold monthly Live-Stream Full Moon rituals on YouTube open to all.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments, suggestions, requests for post subjects and anything else in the Comments. And Subscribe down below to be notified of new posts, events and anything else that might be happening.

Blessed Be

Sterling Knight


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page