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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
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Carl Llewellyn Weschcke—Father of the New Age

This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig on February 01, 2011
posted under Father of the New Age

The New Age has been defined as the "Name for a movement covering a wide variety of practices that were alternative to traditional Western practices, although many have become normative. Included concepts are holistic thinking, mysticism, environmental issues, non-traditional spiritual systems." If that's what it is, how did it manifest? 

There are several people who have written books that have been called a trigger for starting this New Age. Years ago I described Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, current Chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, as the "Father of the New Age" even though, at the time, he hadn't written a book. I think that title is still valid and I want to explain why.

First, however, I have to set the stage. World War II had ended. The result was an amazing number of new births, the so-called Baby Boom. The middle class in the US had expanded and an increasing number of people were receiving higher education. As the "Boomers" became adults, they were looking for new directions and new purpose in their lives. They were ready for something new. They wanted a new age for the world. The 1960s began and John F. Kennedy was elected president. We had the Peace Corps. We were going to go to the Moon. Sure, there were problems, but nothing was impossible for the new generation.

At the beginning of this decade a gentleman from Minnesota, Carl Weschcke, purchased a small publishing company known as Llewellyn. At the time, the "publishing company" only had a few titles and was basically a print shop in Culver City, California (just a few miles from where I was raised). I still remember seeing the neon sign, "Read the Moon Sign Book," that advertised its one popular title. (Today that sign is rusting in the back yard of the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood, California.) Weschcke brought all the titles and rights back to his Minnesota home.

So what did Weschcke do to earn his title?

  • He published the first modern books on astrology.
  • He republished Israel Regardie's books, including The Golden Dawn
  • He published the first printing of Crowley's Thoth Tarot
  • He published important books on Aleister Crowley, including the essence of Crowley's massive Equinox journals (in Gems from the Equinox) and Regardie's classic psychobiography of Crowley, The Eye in the Triangle
  • He published the first books in the US that were on real Wicca and Witchcraft
  • He published the first books in the US by Ray Buckland, who brought Gardnerian Witchcraft to the US
  • He published the first version of a genuine Book of Shadows (by Lady Sheba)
  • He started a school for spiritual studies in 1970 (The Gnostica School)
  • He republished many of the rare and out-of-print books by Dion Fortune
  • He presented the first modern Pagan festivals (Gnosticons)
  • He published the first modern books on practical sex magick
  • He published the first modern practical books on Tantra
  • He published some of the first modern books from a channeled spirit (using a special talking board or Ouija® electronically linked to a typewriter)
  • He published books on creative visualization, the Kabalah, palmistry, past lives, chakras, healing, magick, astral projection, Wicca, Witchcraft, esoteric Christianity, shamanism, crystals and gems, spirituality, graphology, aliens and UFOs, and every topic that is considered part of the New Age.
  • He published the first books revealing the secrets of the Aurum Solis, showing that there were magickal traditions other than the better-known ones
  • He published early software giving Tarot readings and astrological readings
  • He published numerous books on Wicca and Witchcraft by authors such as Scott Cunningham, Ray Buckland, Raven Grimassi, Silver RavenWolf, Christopher Penczak and others, many of which are considered standards and classics.
  • He has been one of the most prolific publishers of astrology books ever.

In short, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke has been responsible for making so many topics that were once considered "occult" part of the mainstream. The books he has published have been part of virtually every development of what has come to be called the New Age. Some authors from other publishers may have achieved more notoriety than Llewellyn authors, but without the interest created by Llewellyn, under the guidance of Carl Weschcke, it is likely that they would have never been published.

It is for all these reasons, and more, that I believe Carl Llewellyn Wesckcke is the Father of the New Age.


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