The Temple of the Rising Phoenix is an active, Atlanta-based Wiccan Temple formed in 1982 by its current High Priestess, Lady Magdalena. With its roots deep in the soil of spirituality the Temple and its members have been committed to living by and teaching the Wiccan and Pagan lifestyle for over three decades. Since 1997, the Temple of the Rising Phoenix has been affiliated with the Covenant of the Goddess and an active member of the Dogwood Local Council. Its Third Degree Initiates are credentialed legal ministers through this organization. We participate in local Pagan events, both private and public to support our local Pagan community, lend our voices and spend time with like-minded witches.
As with most prolific covens, the Temple of the Rising Phoenix rose up from the humble beginnings of one person searching for a life path. In 1979, Lady Magdalena began her journey with the Grove of the Unicorn, an eclectic Wiccan grove based in Atlanta.
"When I first started taking classes, I had no idea that the Craft would define over half my life. My home became a Covenstead, attracting numerous people who, over the years, have enhanced my life with friendship, love and devotion. These strangers have become our family; bringing a wealth of experience and support to our lives", remarks Lady Magdalena, High Priestess and founder of the Temple of the Rising Phoenix.
With her husband in the military, it wasn't long before Lady Magdalena was forced to leave Atlanta. She finished her early initiatory work from nearby South Carolina. However, his career eventually landed them much further away, in Austin, Texas. And, in the days before email, printers and cell phones, keeping up with her advanced studies proved difficult. Lady Magdalena assumed the distance from Austin to Atlanta would be too great to continue her lessons. Consequently, she was resigned to staying a 2nd degree witch.
However, in seeking out a pagan sympathetic community, she found much more than she anticipated. She found students. And, Austin proved to be the beginning of a journey and not the end.She took on the challenge of organizing a group of wayward pagans into a cohesive unit. With the blessing of her High Priestess, Lady Galadriel, she committed herself to completing her 3rd Degree work and flew to Atlanta to be initiated as a Wiccan Priestess.
From this initial struggle and perseverance, the Temple of the Rising Phoenix, originally named The Grove of Phoenix Rising, was born in October of 1982. In following years, Lady Magdalena wrote and led regular seasonal rituals, taught classes and, eventually, began initiating new members, including her own mother, son and husband.
"Just when I thought that the Temple was stabilizing, Myrddin came home one day with the news of another transfer. We were moving to Germany. In 1984, after much preparation and many tearful goodbyes, we flew to Deutschland," recalls Lady Magdalena
With the close of every door, a new one opens and the possibilities are once again surprisingly unlimited. Such was the case in 1985, when an expected opportunity arrived in the form of a letter from a prominent American Wiccan leader, Starhawk. She asked Lady Magdalena to attend a women's self-development workshop at a Women's Center in Stuttgart.
Impressed by Lady Magdalena's experience with the Craft, the organizer asked Lady Magdalena to teach a Wiccan course at the Center for interested German-speaking women. And, so it began, Lady Magdalena was once again beginning the Wiccan journey with new students. Despite frustrating language and cultural barriers, she had eight excited new dedicants by 1985. And, as a result, they formed a group called Der Hain dem Regenbogen Hexen or the Grove of the Rainbow Witches.
"By mid-1987, the time had come to return to the United States. During our final ritual, my eyes were filled with the sad tears while my heart was bursting with love and pride for what we had accomplished together," remembers Lady Magdalena.
In the years after they left, the Regenbogan Hexen Hain became quite large with both public rituals and very extensive classes. In 1990, they decided to change their name to embrace a new vision. Incorporating both their interest in light energy and the Ancient Goddesses who spun the fates of humankind, they renamed themselves Lichtspinnen, or the Light Weavers.
While parting was difficult, Myrddin was granted his request to be reassigned to Austin. In 1987, Lady Magdalena was reunited with the Temple of the Rising Phoenix. And, as was their vision, Lord Myrddin, now an initiated Priest, assumed the role of High Priest alongside Lady Magdalena. Two years later, her group gave birth to yet another daughter coven, Earth Haven.
However, Austin was not to be the final resting ground of the Phoenix. Due to job restrictions, Lady Magdalena and Lord Myrddin were once again forced to move. However, eventually life comes full circle. They were finally returning to Atlanta, the place where their journey had begun. Before leaving, she prepared to leave the Grove of Phoenix Rising, as it was called then, at its birthplace of Austin in the capable hands of its initiates.
By May of 1990, Lady Magdalena and Lord Myrddin set up a new temple space in their Atlanta home for personal use. By the end of 1992, their beloved Austin Grove was struggling. Initiates had moved away or had children. Nobody wanted to take on the role of leader. As a result, the Phoenix' energy was dissipating. Finally, its remaining members asked to be relieved of their duties. At yet another crossroads, Lady Magdalena made the decision to keep the Phoenix flying in Atlanta.
"Only when I knew that the Temple of the Rising Phoenix was irrevocably and forever dissolved in Austin, did I feel it was my right and responsibility to revive, care for and serve the Phoenix, the Guardians and the Egregore in a new Temple. Therefore, I finally drew the energy field to our active Temple in Atlanta," adds Lady Magdalena.
In 1993, Lady Magdalena began teaching a small group of interested people. Shortly after, the new Atlanta-based Grove of Phoenix Rising expanded past Pagan classes with its first initiation. Another chapter had begun for the Phoenix. Since the Atlanta rebirth, the Temple has thrived and grown birthing several new covens and several dozen initiates. Recently, the group changed its name to the Temple of the Rising Phoenix in order to begin a new chapter in its history.
Specifically, over the years, Lady Magdalena and Lord Myrddin have initiated several dozen people to First Degree, a couple dozen to Second Degree and thirteen, to Third Degree. In 2008, Lady Magdalena, herself, received special recognition and was crowned as "Witch Queen" for birthing five daughter covens and two granddaughter covens in her linage.