Richard Lance Christie

Submitted by Wug on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 07:19

Richard Lance Christie (April 7, 1944 – Oct. 28, 2010)

Role(s): Co-Founder, Council of Elders, Priest (deceased)

     A member of the Grey Council, Lance was a Polymath who co-founded Atl, the Church of All Worlds, Earth First! and the Association for the Tree of Life.

      Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to John Richard Christie and Dorothy May Hamilton, Lance entered Westminster College in 1961, where he met Oberon (then Tim) Zell.After reading R.A. Heinlein’s science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, the two of them shared water on April 7, 1962, creating a water-brotherhood they called Atl (Aztec for “water”). Lance married Penryn, and their daughter Michele was born Dec. 2, 1965. After graduation, Atl branched into two divisions: the Neo-Pagan Church of All Worlds (CAW), incorporated in 1968; and the Atlan Foundation, which eventually became the Association for the Tree of Life (ATL), incorporated in 1986. Lance remained Director of ATL throughout his life.

      Lance earned an M.A. in Experimental Social Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where he met his soulmate, LaRue Crocker. LaRue earned her Ph.D. from UCLA in Developmental Psychology, and they were married Aug. 15, 1975. Lance was a research associate to the UCLA Longitudinal Marijuana Study, a co-author of the California Marijuana Initiative, and a regular contributor to Green Egg magazine. In 1974 he was recruited by the New Mexico Health & Environment Department and spent the subsequent decade living in Santa Fe and working in NM state government, culminating his career as Chief of the Alcoholism Bureau.

      Lance and LaRue retired to Moab, Utah, in 1985, where they were colleagues and partners in their unflagging commitment to the preservation of the natural environment. When not dancing to country-western music, they camped, hiked, and ran rivers together for more than three decades with their beloved golden retriever, Buddha, who died six days before LaRue died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on July 31, 2008.

      During Lance’s erratic career he did psychoacoustical, altered states of consciousness and hallucinogen research, designed and operated management information and computer systems, helped launch several Neo-Pagan and environmental organizations and served on their boards, designed and built renewable energy systems, and managed behavioral health care systems.

      In his later years Lance was a principal in the “Spine of the Continent” continental-scale environmental restoration initiative; the Relocalization Network initiative to relocalize community economies internationally; was principal author of the “Renewable Deal” which is the core of the Earth Restoration Portal on the Internet; worked as an organic crop, livestock, and processing inspector part time; and served in various appointed and elected local government positions in Southeastern Utah. With his unconquerable spirit, he survived pancreatic cancer for two years, allowing him to complete his book, The Renewable Deal, which can be viewed at He died at Samhain of 2010, leaving 80 unpublished proto-books and articles still in process.

  [-OZ. RLC.]

     Photo taken at Oljato, Fall 2009, by Linda Buchser