In Atlanta, Candace Lehrman White was known simply as The Lady. Across the country, she is remembered as the person who shattered legal barriers and opened minds to the practice of the Old Religion. In 1975, Lady Sintana founded Ravenwood Church and Seminary of Wicca, Inc., Georgia’s first pagan congregation. By 1982, the Lady had successfully challenged the IRS and Ravenwood became one of the first pagan congregations in the country to be granted non-profit, tax-exempt status as a church.
The Lady made a profoundly significant impact on everyone who knew her, as well as on those who never met her in person but have benefited from the religious rights and liberties that she fought so hard to attain. Her mission in life was to bring respect and legality to the Old Religion. The Lady not only won legal battles, but she won over hearts as well. Her main purpose was not to convert people but to have a venue where people could go to learn the truth.
Trained by many in the Traditional Craft community, including Lord Sariel from the Isle of Man and Lady Circe of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Wicca in Toledo, the Lady established the first physical house of Ravenwood in the Little Five Points area of Atlanta in 1977. She hung a sign in front of her Victorian home offering education about the Old Religion to the public. While many came genuinely seeking a spiritual path, others came with less benign motives. For many years the property was guarded against physical threats and attacks.
Over the years, there were legal attacks as well on the legitimacy of Ravenwood’s beliefs and its right to receive the same treatment as other more mainstream churches. Under the Lady’s unfaltering leadership and tenacity, Ravenwood prevailed, winning numerous legal battles and establishing important precedents that defined the Craft as a legitimate religion.
In 1982, the Lady and Lord Merlin were married, and together they continued their shared mission to provide a public forum for students wishing to dedicate themselves to a path of self-discovery, harmony, balance, and spiritual practice. They continued to fight on the front lines for religious tolerance and equality for all followers of the
In 1996, The Lady left Atlanta and settled first in California, later in Washington state, and ultimately with her daughter in western North Carolina. When asked about her departure, she explained that she believed Ravenwood had come to the point where it had “to grow beyond myself.” She also reaffirmed that her interest was still in keeping the old tradition alive.
Apart from her achievements as a pioneer in religious tolerance, The Lady was a consummate teacher. She was devoted to the Goddess, and yet at the same time, to the belief that all paths are but one. Under The Lady’s spiritual leadership and training, Ravenwood developed some of the finest ritual priestesses and priests. Her traditions continue today through four active sister groups: Ravenwood Church, Myst of the Wildwood, House of Dragonwood, and Sage Moon Grove Many other groups around the country can trace their traditions and training directly to The Lady’s influence and teaching.
Although the physical location of Ravenwood has moved several times over the past thirty-five years and the roles of High Priestess and High Priest have been filled by different leaders, the one element that has remained unfaltering is the exuberant spirit of The Lady. Her love, her vision, and her courage form the brick and mortar of the spiritual house of Ravenwood. Ravenwood is her legacy and she shall live on within the hearts and minds and through the work of her Ravenwood family.
The Lady passed into the Summerland on September 17. In addition to her husband, Lord Merlin, The Lady is survived by her daughter, Lady Sybil, her grandson, and son-in-law.