Last week, the ever press-hungry WitchSchool sent out yet another press release. It announced that Don Lewis (head of the Correllian Tradition) was the new President of Witch School. I didn’t think this internal shift was a newsworthy item and went about my daily blogging duties. But then I found out that this seemingly innocuous personnel change was the result of a much deeper schism within the Correllian Tradition. A tale that involves financial issues, power struggles, looming litigation, and Satanism!
It seemed to start back in September of this year when Don Lewis, current head of the Correllian “mother church” announced that he and everyone associated with him were breaking away from the larger legal body of the Correllian Nativist Church International, Inc. over different visions for the future.
“I have this day resigned from the CNCI and its Board of Directors because of irreconcilable differences of vision. The CNCI has a definite vision for itself, which has departed from that of the main body of the Correllian Tradition, and the core values of Correllianism. The CNCI wishes to be more exclusive, emphasize more rigorous academic quality, and operate a seminary on the model of Collegiate Academics as the sole path to clergy credentials. The Correllian Tradition is and has always been first and foremost a popular movement dedicated to the idea of Wiccan spirituality for everyone who wants it…In addition I am at this time dissolving the Correllian Directorate as a body of the Correllian Tradition and eliminating the office of First Director. The former duties of the First Director will be absorbed back into the office of First Priest from which the originally came.”
Don Lewis and Davron Michaels
That former “First Director” and current CNCI board member Davron Michaels then released a statement of his own on the whole situation. In it he accuses Don Lewis and Witch School of financial mismanagement and unethical behavior.
“As a tax exempt organization, the Church must be extremely cautious with all financial transactions. In the case of donations, our records must also match the records of individual contributors who report these donations to the IRS on their personal income tax returns. Unfortunately, however, no donations or other funds intended for the Church received in the former Hoopeston office [Witch School] have ever been forwarded to the Chief Financial Officer for recording and deposit to the Church’s account…at the height of this dispute the Church’s records systems were moved without authorization from Albany to Hoopeston, which made audit and reconciliation of records after that period impossible…This unfortunate matter remains under investigation and we are consulting with our attorneys regarding next steps. We remain optimistic, however, that a suitable resolution can still be achieved.”
Then Don Lewis fires back, accusing Davron Michaels of being a secret Satanist and drawing a line in sand saying that the entire Pagan community must pick between his Correllian Church and Michaels’ Correllian Church.
“Mr. Morrell [Davron Michaels] and all groups he heads, as well as the for profit store, Magic Source, run by Astral Light members, has been linked to Satanic groups and churches in the Albany , NY area…It is the will of the Witan Council and Correllian Council of Elders that Davron Michaels be removed from our Tradition forfeiting all status formerly held therein – to whit Elder, Temple Head, High Priest, member-and regarded hereafter as a Warlock. As a Warlock, we must ask those who remain true to the Correllian Tradition – as defined by the leadership of the Witan and the Council of Elders, and by the Correllian lineage – to avoid further contact with Davron Michaels, and to eschew events he hosts or at which he appears. In this we also ask the support of other Traditions. If you wish to continue to support Davron Michaels, it will not be possible for you to attend any further Correllian event, circle, or receive any form of blessing or ritual on your behalf.”
Can a Correllian implosion be in the making? If litigation is sought against Lewis and WitchSchool will the for-profit school (currently looking to become non-profit) organization fold? Will this Witch-War spread to opportunistic onlookers now that Lewis has declared Michaels anathema? Whatever the outcome, it seems that the Correllians (from both factions) face some tough times ahead.