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This page is dedicated to noted pagan leaders who have contributed the most to the International Pagan Movement and have passed on to Gwlad yr Hav (Summerland) We are losing a great resource of individuals who were there in the beginning of the resurgence of Paganism. Don't let any more of our elders die without recording their story. ...Rhuddlwm Gawr
Robert Cochrane 1966
Lord Cyprian - Nashville, Tennessee - 1983
Scott Cunningham - Wiccan - California - 1993
Doreen Valiente - Gardnerian - England - 1999
Gwendolyn Wynne - Welsh Gwyddon (Witchcraft) - Wales - 1999
Cecile Williamson - Neo Pagan - England -1999
Stewart Farrar - Alexandrian - Ireland -2000
Taliesin Enion Vawr (Wynne) - Welsh Gwyddon (Witchcraft) - Wales - 2000
Leo Louis Martello - Strega - United States / New York / Massachusetts - 2000
Eleanor Bone (the Matriarch of British Witchcraft) - England - 2001
Paul Tuitain - Witch - Author - United States - 2001
Pauline Campanelli - Author - Witch - United States - 2001
Victor Anderson - Faeri Witch - Author - Poet - United States/California - 2001
Ron Parshley - Pagn - Elder - Healer - United States/Midwest/Florida -2001
Paul Tuitain - Witch - Author - United States - 2001
Pauline Campanelli - Author - Witch - United States - 2001
Victor Anderson - Faeri Witch - Author - Poet - United States/California - 2001
Ron Parshley - Pagn - Elder - Healer - United States/Midwest/Florida -2001
Kay Gardner - United States - musician/singer teacher - 2002
Sam 'Bear" Gwyn - Georgia United States - April 24, 2002
Pattalee Glass-Koentop "Lady Phoenix" - Isian Wicca/Dianic Wicca - High Priestess/Teacher - United States/Texas 2002
Lady Sheba (Jessie Bell) - American Wicca - Founder - United States - 2002
Ellen Cannon Reed - Witch - Author - United States -2003
Evan John Jones - Pagan/Witch - England - 2003
Donna Cole Schultz - Gardnerian - United States - 2004
Nelson Henry White - Magician - Magickal Writer - United States - 2004
Lady Circe - Witch Elder - Ohio - USA - 2004
Lady Sintana - Ravenwood Coven High Priestess and Elder
Lady Galadreal - Unicorn Grove High Priestess
Lord Senthor - Steve Collins - Witch High Priest
Merlin Stone 1931 -2011"The Goddess is not just the female version of God. She represents a different concept," says Merlin Stone, author of "When God Was a Woman." While the Judeo-Christian God is transcendent, the Goddess is located "within each individual and all things in nature," she says. When God Was a Woman Time Magazine 1991 Merlin Stone 1931 – 2011 (born 9/27/1931 and died 2/23/2011)
In Search of Merlin Stone
by Bobbie Grennier
Marilyn C. "Merlin" Stone passed away on February 23, 2011 from complications caused by an extended illness. She was born September 27, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York.
Merlin loved education and was a devoted student. She attended New York State College where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Art Education, Albright Art School, California College of Arts and Crafts where she earned her Doctorate of Philosophy, and Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England for five years of independent studies.
Merlin Stone is best remembered for her impressive literary body of work. From 1971-1976, she traveled to Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Crete, Greece, among others, where she uncovered the lost Goddess culture. She wrote about her discoveries in two landmark books: When God was a Woman (originally titled The Paradise Papers) and Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood – Our Goddess and Heroine Heritage. She also wrote a third book called Three Thousand Years of Racism, and she was also published in many magazines and anthologies.
She was a noted American Artist and Sculptor, working her craft from 1958-1967. Merlin Stone’s artwork still stands throughout the state of New York, and she received a personal letter of thanks from Robert F. Kennedy for the loan of her art work which was on display in his New York City office.
To say that Merlin Stone changed the religious landscape is an understatement. Her work influenced the budding Women’s Studies Departments with thoughts of women’s theology and history. She fostered new thinking throughout the academic world. In the same way that Marija Gimbutas gave women their own historical record of artifacts, Merlin Stone gave women their own spiritual culture.
Merlin Stone was recognized by liberal thinkers. She once wrote, "…Yoko [Ono] and John [Lennon] had taken turns reading "When God was a Woman" to each other. I knew they had the book because I had been asked to autograph a copy for them. …it touched me deeply."
There is so much more to say about Merlin Stone’s life, much of it we are just beginning to understand because Merlin led a very private existence. With the help of her life-partner, Len Schneir, and her two daughters, Cynthia Davis and Jenny Hirst, we are creating three memorial projects.
1) a DVD documentary called "In Search of Merlin Stone" chronicling her life.
2) a book of the same title featuring remembrances, personal influences and white papers, all focused on Merlin and her body of work.
3) The Benefit Memorial Celebration on September 24, 2011 in Clearwater, Florida.
The Benefit Memorial Celebration will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 2470 Nursery Road, Clearwater, FL 33764. This celebration of Merlin Stone’s life is in production, and updated information will be posted on the www.MerlinStone.net website. You may also donate to Merlin Stone’s Memorial Fund at the www.MerlinStone.net website. All donations are thankfully welcomed!
"I want the world to remember her for the goddess she was," said her life-partner Len Schneir. "I must admit that it took me a long time to finally believe and fully trust the Goddess and Merlin; everything I am is because of her wisdom."
If you have a Merlin Stone story, photo, audio recording, video recording to share, etc. please contact Z Budapest. (www.ZBudapest.com) The September 24th Memorial will be streamed live onto the Internet; details will be announced at the www.MerlinStone.net website.
She touched the hearts of women and men globally; Merlin Stone is recognized and remembered most by her contemporaries:
Today, we are no longer spiritual orphans of the world. It was sister Merlin who gave her entire life to this sacred reclaiming. All of us stand to thank her for this very potent gift of the legitimized woman spirit. When you came back with "When God was a Woman," and enough material for its follow up, "Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood," we all knew you had found the cultural Goddess mother lode. You are much too hard to let go! -Zsuzsanna Budapest, author of The Holy book of Women’s Mysteries and Grandmother Moon
"In the beginning … God was a woman. Do you remember?" Those words still give me chills. "When God was a Woman" changed my life. I remember Merlin’s penetrating wit and intellect and her wild henna red hair. She will be missed. Blessed be! - Carol P. Christ, author of Rebirth of the Goddess and She Who Changes
Few people have inspired me like Merlin Stone and her work. Because of her I found Goddess; deity, archetype and ideal. Because of her, my life has been filled with inspiration, meaning and direction. Thank you beloved Merlin Stone. May you smile down on us and guide us from that special resting place in the arms of the Mother. - Karen Tate, author of Sacred Places of Goddess
Merlin Stone’s work brought knowledge of the Divine Feminine to the consciousness of the Western world. We are very grateful to her for her pioneering work. – Miriam Robbins Dexter, Ph.D., author of Sacred Display and Whence the Goddesses
Merlin Stone was a great inspiration when I first read "When God was a Woman" in the early 80?s. It spoke to something deep inside me and affirmed my own knowing. We all owe her gratitude for the Goddess work she did. - Kathy Jones, author of The Goddess in Glastonbury and Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess
She [Merlin] was so, so amazing. I am really saddened to learn this —as it came like a shock. I knew her pretty well in the days when my book was happening. What a terrible loss–but what a great gain for women in our time! She opened up so much for all of us—and it was because she wanted to be a sculptor and was searching for empowered images of women–that’s how she came upon all the goddess images. The story is very amazing. - Gloria Orenstein, author of Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism
I remember Merlin when we met in 1986 to film Goddess Remembered in San Francisco. She was not originally scheduled to be at the ‘dinner party’ we filmed but mysterious forces made it possible for her to arrive in SF just in time. I enjoyed Merlin’s contribution to the conversation we filmed and especially enjoyed some pleasant hours months later in New York with her. I feel her passing very much and remember her life as one of the great blessings all women have shared. In love may she return again. - Donna Read, director of Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, and Full Circle
In Memory of Lady Circe
Sunday May 30, 2004
What intrigued me most about Lady Circe was that she really lived life with a passion. She had had so many varied careers! She had such a dramatic flare for things! She was so magnetic! For me she was the mysterious door to the Craft. Open just enough to invite me to explore, but not enough to spill all the secrets. These she would dole out, one by one, as she felt her students were ready, in weekly classes. I discovered early on, though, that the best learning opportunities were in the kitchen with her or sitting around the dining room table. Inevitably, a story would start; a small adventure from her early days as a witch. Hidden in the stories were lessons, complete with catch phrases, about how to live a Wiccan life.
"Let the spider run alive, your business, then, is sure to thrive." "If you would walk the witch's way, observe with care the child at play." I never tired of the stories (there were so many) and now, I have a few of my own, including an adventure or two with her. Lady Circe was outspoken. She meant what she said, said what she meant and always meant to speak her mind! She never worried about what others thought. "(I) fear nothing from my lips". She had a way of shaking you loose from your old ways of thinking with her no-nonsense, commanding voice. She didn't have time for wimps. If she saw strength in you, she expected you to use it. Once while I waited several minutes to get her attention in her busy kitchen, she said impatiently, "Bona Dea! You are too damn polite! Speak up!
Say what you have to say!" She stressed to all of us, that: "How you carry yourself is most important." Protocol, etiquette and physical presence are what the outside world sees and they would know witches by what they see in us.
Lady Circe had a soft, motherly side, too. She would give you whatever you needed, without hesitation. People down on their luck occasionally came to her door and she would instruct us to give them food from her refrigerator (especially if there were children involved) even if that depleted her own supplies. If it was advise you needed, she would get out her tarot cards and remind you that you had the strength to deal with whatever the problem was. You left, sometimes with herbs or oils, but always with the feeling that if Lady Circe thinks you can handle it and things will turn out all right, then you can and they will! I feel her presence every time I light a candle, every time I blend incense or oil, every time I need a reminder of how strong I really am. She is still with me, as she is still with all who love her. Blessed be, Mother Circe.
Lord Cyprian was born and raised
in Nashville Tennessee. He loved nature and grew up on a small farm. He was a
loving husband and the father of 4. He loved plant life and
collected many different types of native plants. He was initiated into the wicca
lifestyle through a coven in England and until his death in 1983 served the lord
and lady well as a High Priest and teacher and mentor. He filled all these
roles well. This is one of the many articles he wrote during his time
I believe in the Goddess and her consort, the God. They have made my beautiful Earth and created me, it's guardian. I will not profane Their Creation. I am their Custodian of all life and I gladly bear my duties. The God and Goddess have given me Mind and Body and Spirit and with these I worship Them; not through fear but in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. And when this life is ended I will return to the God and Goddess for rest and strength and wisdom. When I am prepared, They will return me to my beautiful Earth to live again amongst those I love. So Mote It Be!
The Celtic Knotwork Ferret Graphic dividers below, were drawn by Alicia Folberth for an SCA publication about 15 years ago. More of her art can be found at the Panthean Temple - www.PaganCommunitychurch.org
SCOTT CUNNINGHAM - (1956 - 1993)
We will be placing a obituary for Scott here later
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Doreen was the mother Wicca, one of the fastest growing religions in the Western World. Her books introduced literally hundreds of thousands of seekers to the concepts of Wicca and Witchcraft. She brought them knowledge, love and power and taught that the Goddess is alive and well.
While many seekers claimed to be initiated by their grandmothers, and collected initiations like stamps, her honest humility prevented her from ever calling herself 'Queen of the Witches'.
Not only was she responsible for Wicca's early growth, but she created the beautiful liturgy of poetry and ritual, which most witches refer to today when they obtain their first Book of Shadows.
Goodbye Doreen, we will miss you greatly.
"Come yea as the charm is made!
Queen of heaven, Queen of hell,
Horned Hunter of the night
Lend your power unto the spell,
And work our will by magic rite!
By all the power of land and sea,
By all the might of moon and sun
I call the Earth to bind my spell.
Air to speed it well.
Bright as Fire shall it glow.
Deep as tide of Water flow.
Count the elements fourfold,
In the fifth the spell shall hold."
Valiente, Doreen; "Witchcraft for Tomorrow"; Phoenix Publishing 1985
GWENDOLYN WINN - GWYDDON - WELSH WITCHCRAFT - (1934 - 1999)
After an extended illness, Gwen Winn, the Elder of the Dynion Mwyn Welsh Family Gwyddon (Witchcraft) tradition, died quietly in her sleep. She is survived by her brother Taliesin Wynne.
Until January 1999, Gwen had lived in London, England with her daughter Sarah. Upon learning of her terminal illness, she and Sarah moved near Cardiff, Wales. The following information was supplied by her brother Taliesin and others and will serve as a Eulogy:
Patricia "Gwen" Winn, was born in Italy the 21st of December, 1934. Her father was in foreign service and the family traveled throughout europe. They returned to England in 1938, and the children were sent to live with relatives in Wales. In September, 1940, their father and mother were killed in the Blitz bombing of London during the Battle of Britain. She and her older brother were taken in and raised by an uncle and auntie in a small village near the town of Betws y Coed, Wales. It was here they learned of his families heritage of Druidism and Witchcraft as they met Y Dynion Mwyn (welsh fairies) at Fairy Ring near Betws y Coed, and swam with the water sprites in the local river.
In November 1945 her uncle and auntie decide to visit relatives in the United States and obtained a work visa for that purpose. The family including Patricia and Taliesin, moved to the state of New Jersey. They lived near Trenton until 1959. Gwen related that these were the happiest days of her life. She loved the United States, and when the family moved back to Wales, she wanted to stay.
In Wales, she continued her occult studies and spent a great deal of time with her auntie who was an herbalist and Offieriadess (something like a priestess or elder) of Dynion Mwyn. CLICK ON ORIGINS HERE She and her brother learned of the energy of the mountains while doing "Cave Workings" and hiking near Mt. Snowdonia.
In 1962 she relates that her brother met a "Roy" Bowers who he says inspired him to begin teaching. She and her brother brought together the first class from outside the family. Ruth Wynn, a cousin, studied with the family and carried the religion to London where she taught the old ways until she passed on; Sarah (Cerridwen) Wentworth, a cousin, was his Offieriadess until 1987; R. (Math) Johnson, another cousin emigrated to Australia where he passed on the tradition until his death in 1989, and D. (Gwydion) Jones took the tradition to Patagonia (a region of Argentina) where he teaches today.
In 1965 Rhuddlwm Gawr met Sarah Wentworth while on holiday in Majorca. She invited him to London and then they drove to Wales where he was introduced to Taliesin and Gwen. Rhuddlwm stayed in Wales and studied The Old Ways with the Winn family. In 1966 Rhuddlwm returned to the US and established the Coven and Church of Y Dynion Mwyn in Landover Maryland.
Taliesin taught the Old Ways until 1996 when he turned over the leadership of Dynion Mwyn to Gwen, who became chief elder until she died.
Y Dynion Mwyn sponsors the Dynion Mwyn page on the net at http://www.dynionmwyn.com/dynionmwyn/dynionmwyn23.html
Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr and Lady Cerridwen Gawr, of the United States, have inherited the leadership of Dynion Mwyn.
"Gwen, you were as wonderful lady and we will miss you very much."...Rhuddlwm Gawr
Rhuddlwm Gawr and Cerridwen Gawr - Kennesaw, Georgia USA. 13 January 2000
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On Thursday, 9th December 1999, at
10:00am., Cecil Williamson Died peacefully and passed from this world into the
care of the Old Ones, in Devon, England after a long illness aged 90 years.
An eccentric elder statesman of the Craft, he was, from the age of seven, totally committed to the furtherance of the Old Religion and its customs. Founder of the Witchcraft Research Centre, Museum of Magic & Witchcraft at Castleton on the Isle of Man and the Witches' House Museum at Boscastle, North Cornwall, he will be missed by many.
Although Cecil has gone from us to join the Ancestors, we will hold his memory in affection and respect until we meet again. At his own request there was no funeral service. All who would like to mark his passing are asked to conduct their own ritual at 10:00pm GMT Sat 18th December. They will be linked to the many friends and colleagues who will be remembering Cecil at that time.
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again
Original Obituary is at http://www.witchcraft.org/cecil.htm
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WE ARE RAPIDLY LOSING THE FOUNDERS OF THE WICCA MOVEMENT! FIRST DOREEN VALIENTE AND NOW STEWART FARRAR!!
Stewart and Janet Farrar came to our 1991 Gathering of the Tribes held at the Renaissance fairgrounds outside of Atlanta Georgia. They were very impressive and extremely knowledgeable about Gardnerian and Alexandrian Witchcraft. Stewart and Janet have been the initiating force throughout the 80's and 90s of the Witchcraft Movement, through the publishing of their many books....Rhuddlwm Gawr
The Official Stewart Farrar
memorial page can be found at
Reprinted in it's entirety from the Official Obituary at http://www.sothisfilms.com/main.htm
"The son of a bank official and schoolteacher, Stewart Farrar was born on the 28 June 1916, at 239 Winchester Road, Highams Park, Walthamstow, in what is now the London borough of Waltham Forest. Stewart Farrar's interest in the occult field came very much as a late vocation, having had little more than a passing interest in many other philosophies including communism and Marxism.
"By the time he met Alex and Maxine Sanders, the well known London witches, in late 1969 he was, in his own words, an "interested agnostic". In the process of writing his first non-fiction book, What Witches Do, having warmed to its themes and philosophy, he was initiated into the Craft on 21 February 1970. What Witches Do proved to be a milestone for the Craft for many reasons. It was perhaps the first book written from the inside as it were, with a sense of sobriety and intelligence, which many of its cloak and dagger, garbled predecessors lacked. In Stewart’s own words, it filled a gap. It combined an overall survey of the basic beliefs and practices of a modern witch with a new witch's reactions to the process of learning those beliefs and practices. It is still recommended reading for serious minded students of the Craft today.
"Stewart with his wife Janet, moved to Ferns, County Wexford, Ireland, in the spring of 1976 and it was here that they began to produce the first of their own independent writings. Here, immersing themselves in rural Irish tradition and culture, they formed a coven nucleus and worked out ritual drama for their Eight Sabbats for Witches published in 1981.
"They spent a short time in the west of Ireland before moving to a rural backwater in Swords close to Dublin City where they began working on another milestone The Witches Way (1984). From here they moved to Beltichburne near Drogheda and then on to Kells, County Meath where they produced The Witches Goddess (1987); The Life and Times of a Modern Witch (1987); The Witches God (1989) and Spells and How They Work (1990). Stewart and Janet co-authored with Gavin Bone, a qualified nurse, The Pagan Path (1995) and The Healing Craft (1999).
"Stewart also wrote seven witchcraft novels of which Omega was perhaps the most outstanding and idealistic. It depicts a world ravaged by man's corruption, his rape of the planet and the final coming to terms with a New World through the philosophy of Wicca. I think it is fair to say that Stewart Farrar did more than any Craft writer on this side of the Atlantic to expound the spirit of Wicca in its 'purest' form since Gerald Gardner.
"Certainly, he has few, if any contemporaries that can rival him for sheer volume alone. His rational, intelligent and easy to read style of writing has proved immensely popular and has given witchcraft the 'respectable' image it needed for so long. Farrar was not without his critics who were quick to dwell on his occasional misdemeanors in the field as sometime spokesman for the Craft movement. These however, with the passage of time, along with the critics, will be seen as inconsequential storms in a tea cup.
"Suffice to say that Farrar was,
is and may remain the most prolific writer on the subject of contemporary
witchcraft that perhaps the world has ever known. He more than anybody
else has put his shoulder to the wheel of the Western Mystery Tradition to make
Wicca a viable and workable path for many to tread."
VISIT SOTHIS FILMS WHERE YOU WILL FIND FARRAR VIDEOS
After an extended illness, Taliesin Winn, the sole surviving elder of the Dynion Mwyn Welsh Family Gwyddon (Witchcraft) tradition, died quietly in his sleep. This is the tradition from which Y Dynion Mwyn Welsh Witchcraft tradition derives. Taliesin always claimed that his family was related indirectly to the Gruffydd family which was that of Llewelyn, the last true prince of Wales. He also variously spelled his name Winn, Wynn, or Wynne, which would lead one to believe that if indeed this was his last name, he didn't want anyone outside a select few to know who he really was.
For the last few years, Taliesin lived with a companion, on a small island off the coast of Scotland, writing and meditating. He survived the passing of his sister by only a few months. The following information was extracted from his journals and will serve as his Eulogy:
"Taliesin Winn, was born in the forests of North Wales. During his early years, because of his father's government position, the family traveled throughout europe. They returned to England in 1938, and the children were sent to live with relatives in Wales. In September, 1940, their father and mother were killed in the Blitz bombing of London during the Battle of Britain. He and his sister were take in and raised by an uncle and auntie in a small village near the town of Betws y Coed. It was here they learned of his families heritage of Druidism and Witchcraft as they met Y Dynion Mwyn (welsh fairies) at Fairy Ring near Betws y Coed, and swam with the water sprites in the local river. He lied about his age and entered service with the British army in the early 1940s, and was part of the D-day invasion at Normandy in June 1944. On June 26th he was wounded during what he called the battle of Epsom, and was sent back to England to recuperate.
"In November 1945 his uncle and auntie decide to visit relatives in the United States, obtained a work visa, and the family including Taliesin and Patricia, his sister, moved to the state of New Jersey. They lived near Trenton until 1959. Taliesin did not like that part of the United States, but he attended classes at a nearby college and after graduation, returned to England. His sister, aunt and uncle soon followed. After a year of traveling in Europe and England, he returned to North Wales and says he was very happy to get back to his home.
"Over the next few years in between working at various jobs, he continued his occult studies and spent a great deal of time with his auntie who was an herbalist and Offieriadess (something like a priestess or elder) of Dynion Mwyn. CLICK ON ORIGINS HERE He learned of the energy of the mountains through doing "Cave Workings" and hiking near Mt. Snowdonia.
"In 1962 while visiting friends, he met a gentleman named Roy Bowers who he says inspired him to begin teaching. He says he organized the family's records and brought together the first class from outside the family. Ruth (Gwendolyn) Wynn, a cousin, studied with the family and carried the religion to London where she taught the old ways until she passed on; Sarah (Cerridwen) Wentworth, a cousin, was his Offieriadess until 1987; R. (Math) Johnson, another cousin emigrated to Australia where he passed on the tradition until his death in 1989, and D. (Gwydion) Jones took the tradition to Patagonia (a region of Argentina) where he teaches today.
"In 1965 Rhuddlwm Gawr met Sarah Wentworth while on holiday in Majorca. She invited him to London and then they drove to Wales where he was introduced to Taliesin. Rhuddlwm stayed in Wales and studied The Old Ways with the Winn family. In 1966 Rhuddlwm returned to the US and established the Coven and Church of Y Dynion Mwyn in Landover Maryland.
"Taliesin taught the Old Ways until 1996 when he turned over the leadership of Dynion Mwyn to his sister who became chief elder until she died in 1999. "
Taliesin was responsible for opening up the Welsh tradition to outsiders. His dying wish was that the basic philosophy of the Welsh tradition be available to all through the internet, and that seekers be given a "Taste of Wales" through home study classes. Y Dynion Mwyn sponsors his page on the net at: http://www.dynionmwyn.com/dynionmwyn/dynionmwyn23.html
Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr and Lady Cerridwen Gawr, of the United States, have inherited the leadership of Dynion Mwyn.
"Taliesin, we never got along, but I respect you and hope that wherever you are, you are finally happy and content."...Rhuddlwm Gawr
Rhuddlwm Gawr - Kennesaw, Georgia USA. 13 January 2000
Dr. Leo Louis Martello was a member of the Universal Federation of Pagans and was involved in the conference call which officially organized and created the federation in 1993. He had much to say about the philosophy he thought should be emphasized by the Federation. He will be missed....Rhuddlwm Gawr Co-Facilitator, UFP
From the NYC Pagan Resource Guide: http://www.waningmoon.com/guide/content/spotlight/1.shtml
January 2001 Community Spotlight
Dr. Leo Louis Martello
The first community spotlight of the NYC Pagan Resource Guide serves as a memorial to the late Dr. Leo Louis Martello who was a very active and prominent member in the local NY community until his death near the end of June, 2000.
Since the 1960's Dr. Martello has contributed much to civil and gay rights, and his 'colorful and outspoken' manner added to his reputation for being a formidable opponent in these matters.
Born in 1931 in Massachusetts and descending from Sicilian Witches (known as streghe) of which he knew nothing about, Leo was raised catholic, spending much of his early years in a catholic boarding school. Having psychic experiences at an early age, Leo began studying palmistry and Tarot with a Gypsy and by age 16 was making radio appearances and giving handwriting analysis.
At 18 Leo moved to NYC where he attended several colleges focusing on psychology. It was during this time that he learned of his ancestral heritage from cousins who claimed to have been watching him for several years as a potential candidate for the Old Religion. He was told of his grandmother, who was renown in Sicily for her magical skill, and on September 26, 1951 Leo was initiated into his cousins' secret Sicilian coven.
It wasn't’t until 1969, shortly before the publication of his first book on witchcraft, Weird Ways of Witchcraft, that Leo decided to go public as a Witch in order to promote the truth about Witchcraft. During this time he was contacted and initiated into Gardnerian, Alexandrian and Traditionalist traditions.
Among his many accomplishments, Leo was the first public Witch to champion the establishment of legally incorporated, tax-exempt Wiccan churches as well as paid legal holidays for Witches. He founded the Witches Liberation Movement and the Witches International Craft Association (WICA) to further his work in civil liberties. Leo later formed the Witches Anti-Defamation League (later renamed the Witches Anti-Discrimination Lobby), which by 1980 had chapters being established in every state of the United States dedicated to ensuring Witches’ religious rights.
One of his most well known achievements in New York occurred in 1970 when the city parks department refused to issue Leo a permit for a Samhain “Witch-in” he had organized in Central Park. After securing the aid of the NY Civil Liberties Union and threatening to file a law suit for discrimination against a minority religion, the city parks department relented and the Witch-In, attended by around 1000 people, was filmed into a documentary.
Dr. Martello worked as a writer, graphologist and lecturer, making many public appearances to educate others about the Craft and to speak at major Pagan Festivals and Gatherings. He also officiated several ceremonies at the NYC Witches Ball. He authored several articles and books, including Witchcraft: The Old Religion; How to Prevent Psychic Blackmail; Your Pen Personality; The Hidden World of Hypnotism; and Witches’ Liberation and Practical Guide to Witch Covens.
Sadly, Dr. Martello died near the end of the end of June 2000. Following Leo’s wishes, Rev. HPS Lori Bruno of Medford, MA. an elder of Leo’s tradition and administrator of his estate, had his remains cremated. Lori also officiated a very moving memorial service in NY in October 2000 at the Gay and Lesbian Center where many people shared their experiences with Leo throughout the years. It was a touching service, and I will always remember the wisdom of Leo’s that Lori shared with us: “The strong find a way, the weak find an excuse.” Dr. Leo Louis Martello truly lived by these words, and because of his convictions, secured a great amount of the freedom we now take for granted.
Official obituary below is from http://www.aren.org/
It is with great sadness and heavy
heart AREN, formerly know as WADL, mourns the passing to Summerland of Dr. Leo
Luis Martello, our founder.
Dr. Martello will be sorely missed by both AREN and Our Community his wisdom, guidance and advice were both sought and respected by all Traditions. While Dr. Martello was of the Strega Tradition his sage council and advice was sought by Witches and Pagans of all Traditions. Dr. Martello freely offered help to any who asked or needed assistance when discrimination arose.
Dr. Martello was the first to recognize a need for someone to publicly speak for the Pagan/Witch Community when he founded Witches Anti-Defamation League (WADL) later changed to Witches Anti- Discrimination Lobby then to Witches Anti-Discrimination League,. Dr. Martello lovingly nurtured this fledgling organization through its growth pains and established it as a voice for equal rights for Our Community.
Dr. Martello was a prolific author, writing several books on Our Craft that are still considered to be some of the best reference works written.
Dr. Martello retired from public life in the early 1990's however his advice was still sought by many leaders and groups.
Per his wishes his remains have been cremated by the Administrator of his estate. The following Memorial has been issued by Dr. Martello's Trinacrian Rose Coven (Church) based in Medford, Massachusetts:
It was with a heaviness of heart,
that we announced to the magickal community the unexpected passage of Dr. Leo
Louis Martello, who crossed over into the Sumerland at the end of June 2000.
Born of a Sicilian immigrant farming family during the Depression Era, he eventually settled in New York City where he lived most of his adult life and through to his death.
Leo was the first to sponsor a public magickal circle in New York back in the 70s when Witchcraft as a religion was little-known, let alone public. During his life he consulted to a number of traditions and covens and aided in the development of their unique books of shadows. He was a respected elder of the Trinacrian Rose Coven (Church) based in Medford, Massachusetts.
During his life, Dr. Martello founded the "Witches Anti-Defamation League". later renamed the "Witches Anti-Discrimination Lobby" (WADL), as one of the first Witch and Pagan Civil Rights organizations in the USA. Its existence eventually spawned many similar groups with similar names long after Leo passed its operation on to other capable hands.
Leo Martello was an author of a book and manuscripts on the "Craft of the Wise" from his perspective of a Sicilian heritage. His works were the first to be published in the USA regarding Sicilian Witchcraft within the constraints placed on him by his elders.
Following Leo's wishes, Rev. HPS Lori Bruno of Medford, MA. an elder of Leo's tradition and administrator of his estate, had his remains cremated.
This memorial web page and guest book has been set up to offer some insight into his life and teachings.
Stories, remembrances, or messages of condolence may be posted at the memorial web site, or may be sent to Lori Bruno per below.
Those seeking to issue a more substantial remembrance may wish to consider making a donation in Leo's name to their local HIV/AIDS related charity or local animal shelter. Both were favorite charities of his.
Within these pages are included some of Leo's writings, and a biography written by Lori Bruno which has also appeared in the Llwellyn Almanac. It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.
Questions, inquiries, or other letters may be forwarded to:
The Estate of Leo Martello
c/o Lori Bruno
33 Everlyn Ave.
Medford, Ma. 02155
LADY SHEBA - JESSIE BELL (2002) I met Jessie in her apartment near the port of Canaveral in Florida back in the early 80s. She was a very happy go luck person. We talked about Magick Spells, about our common aquaintences, and where we had traveled during our life. Upon leaving that night, she autographed three of her books which had been published by Llewellyn and I autographed one of my books (The Quest) and presented her with it.....Rhuddlwm Gawr Lady Sheba passes into the Summerland Monday, March 20, 2002 Patricia, her daughter, wrote this:
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ELEANOR BONE - 1910-2001
The following article was adapted from the obituary presented by Hexagon Media, 63 Wilbury Crescent, Brighton, Sussex, BN3 6FH, UK For more information go to http://www.occulture.tvEleanor Bone was an English Witch who was instrumental in the revival of modern Witchcraft. She was born in London, England and was the daughter of a Headmistress of a School for Girls. Because of her parents, she received a wide and varied education.
An experience in early childhood after a family pet died convinced the young child that reincarnation existed and from that time on she began to read on subjects connected with folklore, magic and ghosts.
During the Second World War, Eleanor was drafted to Cumbria in the North of England and became friendly with an older couple. On one occasion conversation fell to reincarnation and Eleanor said she believed in it – the couple revealed that they were hereditary Witches. They Initiated Eleanor into the Cumbrian tradition in 1941 and she practiced with them for four years before returning to London at the war’s end.
In London, Eleanor married ad settled down running a home for the elderly. Later she was introduced to Gerald Brosseau Gardner and the two became friends. Eleanor was made a Priestess of one of Gardner’s covens. Her connections in the magical and mystical world included the mysterious ‘Dafo’ of the New Forest coven, Jack Bracelin, Patricia Crowther, Doreen Valiente and Sufi teacher Idris Shah, of whom she was particularly fond.
Visiting Dafo on many occasions
Eleanor learnt that the New Forest coven were a hereditary coven that followed
the old ways of the Hampshire region. She was a close confidant of Dafo and
learnt that the coven believed to have been formed at the time of the death of
King Rufus in the Norman era. Dafo told Eleanor during intimate discussions that
among the Witches present at the famous spell against Hitler were herself,
Dorothy Clutterbuck and Gerald Gardner.
During the late 1960’s Eleanor found herself being called upon to speak about the Craft. One memorable appearance on a US television chat show, had Eleanor seated next to the eccentric English Witch Sybil Leek. An exchange of dry witty insults ended when down-to-earth Eleanor was asked to turn Sybil into a toad and replied, ‘Why should I improve on nature’.
The sixties saw a multitude of coffee table books on Witchcraft and Eleanor was always willing to pose for the photographer, skyclad with sword in hand or spend time talking to authors, journalists and researchers. Motivated by trying to represent Wicca in a positive light her hope was that modern society would finally accept Wicca as a legitimate religion alongside Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism etc.
Visiting Tunis in 1968 to see the grave of her old friend Gerald Gardner she was informed by the Chaplain that the Tunisian Government was turning the cemetery into a public park. The Chaplain said that if she wished to disinter her friend’s remains and move them to a cemetery out of town then that could be arranged. Donations made by members of the Craft made this possible and his remains were laid to rest close to the ancient city of Carthage, once a prominent religious Centre of the Great Goddess. Eleanor arranged all of this in honour of her fellow Witch without ever mentioning it again publicly.
In her coven working Eleanor (Rae) Bone initiated a great many people. This remarkable Witch was responsible for a tremendous growth of Wicca in Britain, alongside Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente and Patricia Crowther Two of her most famous pupils were Chris and Vivienne Crowley. Eleanor used ‘low’ or ‘country’ magic rather than the Garderian Wicca she had practiced in the fifties and slowly returned to the ways she had learnt in Cumbria. Some footage of her rites exists but the sensationalist US film ‘Witchcraft ‘70’, wrongly describes Eleanor as a Satanist!
Retiring to Cumbria in 1972, she lived in the tiny village of Alston. From here she lived a private life away from the burgeoning Witch cult that she had helped form.
The origin of her title ‘Matriarch of British Witchcraft’ is now unknown but there is little doubt that she enjoyed a special regard within the Witchcraft community. Her name commanded the respect of most Witches largely because she chose not engage in wrangles or disputes preferring her rather mystical stance on the Craft. One incident that Eleanor did decide to get involved with was to counteract the sensationalist propaganda being generated by one particular publicity seeking coven who were bringing the Craft into disrepute. The result was that the entire religion nearly got banned once more by the British Establishment until Eleanor, Patricia Crowther and Doreen Valiente stepped in. Thanks to their combined efforts they managed to persuade the media, Parliament and the public that the Craft was a harmless religion dedicated to harmony with nature.
In later years when Eleanor was approached by the Pagan Federation in 2001 to be listed as an honoury member she politely declined. Privately, she stated that part of the reason for this decision was that she did not recognize several of the traditions supported by the PF as she believed their origins to be spurious.
However, she was far from inactive during her final years and gave an interview for a Newcastle paper on Witchcraft. After the elderly Witch was inundated with correspondence from young people yearning to know more. In the summer of 2001 Eleanor gave her final performance at the annual Occulture festival. In a live link-up from her home the Cumbrian Witch spoke about the origins of modern Witchcraft. The historic address discussed little known facts about the New Forest coven. Her final comment on the live link-up was that she was proud that Wicca had finally taken its place side by side with other world religions. She reminded people that when she had first practiced the Craft it had been illegal. Her live link-up at Occulture received a standing ovation.
In August 2001, Eleanor stated that she would soon be "called back to the Old Gods" and made preparation to wrap up her affairs which included publishing her book.
With failing health not helped by the harsh weather of the Cumbrian hills ‘The Matriarch of British Witchcraft’ finally passed away on September 21st 2001. She was buried alongside her husband Bill on unconsecrated ground at Garigill cemetery.
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EVAN JOHN JONES - 8/31/2003 Initate of Robert Cochrane and co-author of 'Rebirth of Witchcraft' with Doreen Valiente and a number of other books on Traditional Witchcraft passed from this Realm on Sunday, August 31 2003, aged 67.
by DOREEN VALIENTE.
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