house of the goddess (Religious Movement)

The House of the Goddess (HOG) was, in its own words, ‘a modern Pagan clan and temple’ based in South London, England. Founded in 1985 by Shan Jayran, its Clan Mother or Priestess, to provide ‘contact, support, learning and celebration to Pagans and the like-minded’, HOG’s emphasis was in teaching generic Paganism, particularly at an introductory level.

Although the temple was originally founded and built by women, when it opened as House of the Goddess it was for both women and men, emphasizing the importance of the masculine role within what many saw as a female-orientated religion—that they should be ‘neither bully nor wimp, but powerful, wild, loving, sexual and supportive with room for doubt and uncertainty’—and experimenting with parallel women’s and men’s covens, masculine/God power chants, and men’s workshops.

At the centre of HOG was Circlework, a practical workshop for newcomers to Paganism. The course introduced people to Paganism through small-group discussion and practical work, with the aim that they could then go on, if they chose, to pursue it in greater depth either within HOG itself or in any other tradition.

HOG also established a national contact network for Pagans, later to become Paganlink. It ran large seasonal festivals, both indoors and outdoors, across southern England and Wales, including an annual Pagan Halloween Festival, a national public weekend gathering of Pagan art, music, crafts, and community networking, culminating in a large public ritual.

HOG published several small books by Shan Jayran, including Circlework, The Pagan Index, a comprehensive listing of Pagan resources, groups and events in Britain, and Which Craft?, an introduction to the Craft, which included sections on the history of Paganism, and on its present-day beliefs.

Although House of the Goddess came to an end in 2000, it played a significant part in the wider development of Paganism in the 1980s and 1990s, in introducing Paganism to new followers, and in broadening public awareness of Paganism as a contemporary spiritual path, working, along with others, in national media representation of Pagans, especially addressing the moral panic over ritual child abuse. Its website is still available at

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