Word has come to us that Lady Sintana (Candace Lehrman White) passed away yesterday after a battle with lung cancer. A former burlesque dancer in the 1960s, Lady Sintana founded the Ravenwood Tradition of Witchcraft, and started the Ravenwood Church and Seminary of Wicca, Inc. in 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. This was at a time when Paganism was not widely accepted, certainly not in the South, and she faced constant harassment.
“The burned crosses if they could get near enough, and they would come with Molotov cocktails. They would come with pickup trucks, shotguns, Doberman dogs, and gas cans. The lighthearted ones would come to do a little initiation experience like the Georgia Tech football players. They would try to piss on the Witches’ porch. They would throw rocks, bottles, coke cans, fire on the sacred circle where we did our rituals.” – Lady Sintana, “People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out”
Over the years she not only worked to gain acceptance for modern Paganism in Atlanta, but made great strides for the civil rights of all Pagans through her many court battles. She was a giant within the world of Traditional Craft, and leaves behind an impressive legacy.
“Our Lady Sintana’s life’s work was instrumental on both the local and federal level in the fight to insure the freedom for all witches to practice our religion. Through court battles, public education and continual spiritual guidance of those drawn to our faith, Lady Sintana led Ravenwood to become one of the first churches of Wicca to receive 501(c) 3 status as a not-for-profit church. Her pioneering efforts led to the granting of tax exemption rights, gathering rights and zoning rights for Ravenwood, setting critical precedents in the ongoing fight for religious tolerance. Many of the privileges that Wiccans and Pagans enjoy today are the direct result of her irrepressible will and courage.”
PNC-Georgia will be providing more information concerning Lady Sintana’s passing as it’s made available. My deepest condolences to Lady Sintana’s family, friends, and the entire Ravenwood Tradition. May she rest in the arms of her gods and return to us again.