Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More about Susan

Susan Grace Falkenrath
July 4, 1954 – January 12, 2008
[photo by Jan Dance]

Susan Grace Falkenrath, who was also known as Susan Green, Susan North, and Susan Oaktree, of Mill Valley, California, lived with humor and intense wonder about life for ten years after her diagnosis with breast cancer. Gratefully, she was able to become more true to herself and witness her children become adults. She died within a sacred circle, surrounded by 25 family members and friends, ranging in age from 7 months on up. Vibra Willow, Susan’s daughter Morgan, Jan Dance, and Juliana Miller performed last rites.

Susan received a B.A. (Music) from San Jose State University in 1982 and a M.A. (Education) from UC Berkeley in 1994. A popular second-grade teacher at Park School in Mill Valley, Susan leaves saddened students, parents and fellow teachers. She wrote “The Park School Song.”

A long-time member of the Reclaiming community, Susan was a devotée of many aspects of the Goddess, including Mary as Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Mexican Tonatsin), the Blessed Mother, and Our Lady of Lourdes. The last song she wrote before her death is “Mary Stood Up,” about Mary Magdalene’s message: “Look within to find your way.” As you can tell from her names, Susan embodied the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess.

In the 1980s Susan was a memorable figure at Reclaiming’s annual Spiral Dance Samhain ritual. In a darkened room lit only by a cauldron fire in the center, in her clear soprano Susan sang “Spirits,” a song of her composition about a woman going to the stake and singing to the Elemental Spirits and to her daughter. This song is featured on the album “The Best of Pagan Song.” Her stirring voice can be heard in many songs on Reclaiming albums, and she was the composer/lyricist of the “Circle Casting Song” and composer of “Who Is She?” She leaves a legacy of songs widely known throughout American Pagan communities.

Susan was also a well-loved member of other communities, including a breast cancer support group at the Center for Attitudinal Healing in Marin; the LGBT community of the Bay Area; and Unity of Marin, a progressive church community where she sang in the choir in the past year.

Susan was predeceased by her three brothers: John Andrew, Robert, and William Falkenrath. She leaves to mourn her children, Morgan Green, of Berkeley and son Nicholas Wolf, of Mill Valley; her parents, Clara and John Falkenrath of Milwaukie, Oregon; her dear friend and death priestess, Vibra Willow; a close-knit family of aunts, uncles and cousins in Oregon, Colorado and California; and a huge circle of friends. She leaves a legacy of unique songs that she wrote about the environment, sexuality, change, and peace.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Susan’s memory to the cancer research organization of your choice.

Family and friends are organizing a memorial to take place on Sunday, February 3, 2008, from 2:00–4:30 p.m. at the San Francisco Women’s Building, 18th & Valencia Sts., site of some of Susan’s most moving singing. Anyone who would like to bring flowers, photos, mementos or other altar objects is welcome to do so. Bring potluck refreshments to share and unbreakable and reusable or recyclable plates, cups and utensils (no kitchen facilities). There will be an open mike for anyone who would like to speak, sing, or play music. (Donations to cover costs will be requested.)

1 comment:

Jane said...

I'm sorry you lost a friend, Macha. Cancer sucks.