Today I honor my beloved dead.
Since last Samhain, many whom I have loved have crossed over. It has been a difficult year. Today, I will try not to grieve, and instead, simply to honor and to love. I don’t know if I will succeed.
Donald Michael Kraig: March 28, 1951 – March 17, 2014
Don Kraig was a one of the people who really mentored me as an author. He always encouraged my writing and teaching. In fact, way back in the 1990s, perhaps before, he would say “When are you going to write a book?” every time he saw me. Don was quite dear to me. He was funny, smart, and really on fire: passionate about Paganism and magic.
His influence on the magical community should not be underestimated. Modern Magick is a classic; the book to read on Ceremonial Magic if you read only one, and the book to start on if you’re cutting your teeth. Don was the first author to insist on tearing down what was then a wall between Paganism and CM. He taught simply and straightforwardly, cutting through bullshit with ease.
I miss him.
Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart (left): May 27, 1948 – May 13, 2014
Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart was another passionate, no bullshit person. She loved life, she loved the Goddess, she loved people, she loved sex, horseback riding, fencing—things that celebrated the body and the spirit. She loved people and animals. She was a force of nature, knocking you over with her sheer presence. I cherished her. This picture was taken at Winterstar 1989, a particularly wonderful time for me with both Morning Glory and Jeff Rosenbaum.
I miss her.
Margot Adler: April 16, 1946 – July 28, 2014
Margot Adler was arguably the most “famous” person I grieve this year. She was enormously influential on many Pagans, including me.
Margot had a radio show on WBAI New York in the 1970s. My mom, from that day to this, has talk radio on almost constantly, and Margot’s show was on around the time I got home from school. She delighted me. Sometime later, when I began my search for Wicca, I was scared and intimidated by all the spooky stuff, and when Margot’s name was given to me as a contact, I was thrilled. She and I corresponded for a while—this was when I was a teen. Eventually I had a boyfriend who was terrified of witchcraft and I dropped the correspondence at his insistence. A few years later, that boyfriend was my soon-to-be ex-husband. I was in Barnes and Noble, and there was Drawing Down the Moon. Once again, the familiar name helped me get through a tangle of creepy-looking books. The husband shot dagger-eyes at me when I bought the book, but I was done with that crap by then.
It was through Drawing Down the Moon that I entered the Craft. Years later, when I met Margot, I was starstruck and tongue-tied. Eventually, though, we became friendly. I was very moved when she came to Isaac’s memorial service and sang “Be Pagan Once Again” in a rich and evocative voice.
I miss her.
Jeff Rosenbaum (left): August 29, 1955 – August 31, 2014
Jeff Rosenbaum was very special to me. The co-founder of ACE and one of the primary organizers of the Starwood festival, I first met him in the mid-1980s. Jeff was an incredibly hard worker on the behalf of the consciousness and magical communities, creating events and spaces for people to come together and celebrate. I probably knew him for several years before I realized what a great guy he was. Working his ass off at Starwood, he was hyper-focused, rushed, and exhausted. It was only when I got a chance to spend time with him away from “work” that I found out how sweet, thoughtful, and insightful he was. Not to mention hilariously funny. I mean, lots of people were funny, but Jeff was an endless stream of excellent comedy. I’m not sure exactly when we became lovers—definitely by the time the picture here was taken, also
at Winterstar 1989. Jeff was someone I saw once or twice a year, and spoke to occasionally on the phone, yet there was always rapport and connection, and I treasured him.
I miss him.
The picture that kills me is the one below. It was taken at that same Winterstar, and it was taken by Isaac Bonewits. To sit with it now and realize I’m the only one still living is heart-rending.
Morning Glory, Jeff, me
I honor my beloved dead. I miss them. I remember them. May they be born again to those who love them.