Like Heinlein's fictional church, the early CAW was organized around nests. The church had nine circles of advancement, each named after a planet. One advanced by fulfilling reading and writing requirements and participating in psychic training systems such as a martial arts discipline. The process was intended to be continuous.
The basic dogma of the CAW was that there was no dogma; the basic belief was the lack of belief. The only sin was hypocrisy, and the only crime in the eyes of the church was interfering with another. The unofficial goal of CAW was to achieve union with all consciousness.
By 1970, CAW was placing greater emphasis on ecology and nature. The term Pagan was used less to identify non-Christians than to identify nature lovers of all religious persuasions. In 1970, Zell formulated and published what he called "the thealogy [sic] of deep ecology," concerning the interconnection of all living things to each other and to Mother Earth, a sentient being in her own right. Humankind's reconnection with nature is critical to the survival of the planet as a whole. Four years later, James Lovelock popularized this idea with his independent publication of the Gaia hypothesis.
Zell expresses impatience with contemporary religions because the sole interest of their followers is personal salvation, something he feels to be unworthy of primary attention in the greater context of the evolution of humanity—and all life—toward universal sentience. In Zell's own words:
Religion means relinking. It should be about connecting one with everything else, integrating the individual into the greater scheme of things, the life flow, the universe, the cosmic vision. The connectedness of each individual with the whole of everything is in essence the religious quest, and this is what a religion should be about. This is what the Church of All Worlds is about.
Rather than personal salvation, people should be concerned with salvation of the planet and endangered species.
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