The actual timeline I have for our history is 25 pages long and spans from 15,000 B.C. to the current date! I'll just give you the most recent events that have shaped us into a real people with just as much faith as you think you have.
The British Order of the Druids revives the practice of Wicca.
Crowley meets a leader of German Masonic order called the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), a combination of Masonic rites and the traditions of the Rosicrucians, the Templars, the Illuminists, and Bengali Tantrism. Crowley was soon initiated into the order and progressing through the degrees of the order.
Crowley is named Grand Master of the O.T.O. for Great Britain and Ireland.
British archaeologist Margaret Murray writes The Witch-Cult in Europe, sparking an interest in witch covens.
Birth of Alexander Sanders, founder of Alexandrian Wicca.
Margaret Murray published her article “Witchcraft” in the 14th edition of Encyclopedia Britannica.
The O.T.O. in Germany is effectively dissolved by the Nazis.
Gardner joins the Folklore Society and presents a paper on witchcraft.
The year Gerald Gardner claims he was initiated into a witch cult called the New Forest Coven, led by Dorothy Clutterbuck.
Zsuzsanna Budapest, feminist writer and leader of Dianic Wicca, is born January 30.
Gardner begins work on High Magic's Aid, a fictional novel partially based on those of his Southern Coven. The witches of his coven opposed making their rituals public, which is why it was presented as fiction and filled out with rituals from other sources. (A wonderful book I suggest reading)
Gardner and Edith Woodford-Grimes start a company called Ancient Crafts Ltd.
Gardner meets Crowley at Crowley's home in Hastings for the first time on May 1, and visits him again several times during May.
Gardner becomes a member of the O.T.O. in May and is authorized by Crowley to found an O.T.O. encampment and initiate new members.
Crowley dies on December 1.
On December 27, Gardner writes a letter claiming to have been designated as successor to Crowley as leader of the O.T.O. Karl Germer assumed leadership instead, and held it until his death in 1962.
Gerald Gardner publishes High Magic's Aid under the pseudonym Scire.
Gardner begins distancing himself from Crowley and the O.T.O. in favor of Wicca.
Gardner states in a letter that Crowley had participated in the witch cult but left in disgust due to the leadership of the High Priestess and the nudity.
Anti-witchcraft laws of 1735 are repealed by the British Parliament.
English writer Gerald B. Gardner declares himself a witch.
Gardner founds the "Northern Coven" in London and holds a small rite at his home near the British Museum on May Eve.
Doreen Valiente is initated by Gardner, and soon became High Priestess.
Gardner publishes Witchcraft Today, an event which many regard as the founding of Wicca.
Wicca splits into two factions, one that supports Gardner's growing publicity of the religion (led by Gardner) and one that opposes it (led by Doreen Valiente).
Gardner publishes The Meaning of Witchcraft, in which he first uses the term "Wica."
Neo–paganism spreads throughout North America and Europe.
Gardner winters in Lebanon to help his failing health.
Gardner dies of heart failure on the SS Scottish Prince in the Mediterranean. His body is buried at the next port of call, Tunis.
The Council of American Witches (which no longer exists) formulated a kind of basic Wiccan creed.
The Covenant of the Goddess is formed to incorporate hundreds of separate Wiccan covens. It is officially recognized as a church in the United States.
The District Court of Virginia declares that Wicca is a legitimate religion protected by the First Amendment.
A federal appeals court ruled that Wicca was a legal religion. Wicca is therefore now protected by the U.S. Constitution as are other religions.
Valiente publishes The Rebirth of Witchcraft, a first-hand account of the history and development of Wicca.
Aiden A. Kelly publishes Crafting the Art of Magic, Book I, which aims to show that Gardner's Book of Shadows could be entirely traced to earlier sources.
A Wiccan vernal equinox celebration starts a controversy at Fort Hood, Texas.
The Bush Administration votes to allow the pentacle (5 pointed star inside a circle) to be engraved on the headstones of fallen pagan soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery and other U.S. military burial grounds.
Please note the dates 1985 and 1986 Erin. Wicca (witchcraft) is a federally protected religion under the constitution of the United States of America. So yes, it is a real religion with historic dates in many countries going back to 15,000 B.C. The Druids, Egyptians, and many other countries in the world have polytheistic beliefs that include the use of magic and nature worship.