The NROOGD began as a project for a graduate class in ritual at San Francisco State University in 1967 (it was named in honor
of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and especially of William Butler Years). The group of friends who had worked on
the project (and who included Sarah T., Aidan A. Kelly, Glenn Turner, and Judy G.) proceeded to transform themselves into
an occult study group during the next year, and then into a Gardnerianistic coven, which later came to be called the Full
Moon Coven, by the end of 1969. A periodical, The Witches Trine, was founded by Alta Kelly in 1971, and was published semi-quarterly,
then quarterly, through 1976. The mailing address for TWT was Box 23243, Oakland, CA 94623; that is, the only reason the
NROOGD had a mailing address was because Alta decided to start a newsletter -- and it must work that way for most covens.
By 1972 the Full Moon coven had begun training candidates for a new coven; its members decided to call themselves the
Spiral Dance Coven (from which Starhawk derived the name for her book). In 1973, when the surviving five members of this
training coven were invested with the Red Cord, the badge of full initiation in the NROOGD system, there had thus come to
be Red-Cord Witches in two different covens. Hence the members of the Full Moon Coven decided to form a Red-Cord Council,
to consist of all those with Red Cords, and to allow it, rather than the Full Moon Coven, to direct the overall affairs of
the Order. The Full Moon coven, realized of its original function, then dwindled in size until it was disbanded in December
1974. The Spiral Dance Coven continued on until 1978.
Another coven, the Stone Moon Coven (later the Moonlit Cauldron
Coven), also hived off from the Full Moon coven in 1972. It was headed by Glenn A. Turner, who is still the reigning High
Priestess of the NROOGD covens.
By 1976 there were so many covens, and so many Elders holding the Red Cord, that the
meetings of the Red-Cord Council had become thoroughly unwieldy. Rather than create yet another level of government, the
Elders in May 1976 dissolved the NROOGD as an organization, leaving it as only a "tradition" with which covens could
be affiliated if they were descended from the original Full Moon coven and met a few other criteria.