Friday, October 10, 2008

Death of a Priestess

Last night my friend Tara Webster passed through the veil. My friend Thorn was among those in attendance at her crossing. Here's the first announcement:

With great sorrow I must report that early on the evening of October 8th, Tara Webster - Ishtara, Soror Adessa of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Witch, Mage, Dancer and Healer - has succumbed to brain cancer and passed peacefully beyond the Veil into the next world.

Her husband Sam, along with many witches and magickal folk were with her, surrounding her with love and singing hymns of Hecate to her as she departed. Sam asks for whatever thoughts, prayers, and energy work you can bring to this transition, with focus on the highest chakras, from now until three days after, or up to 49 days.

Prayers and offerings to Hermes, Psychopomp and Lord of Thresholds, and to Tara's matron goddess Hekate, Keeper of the Keys of all the Universe, are particularly appropriate.

E-mails of condolences may be sent to and will be forwarded to the family.

- 555

"Term of all that liveth, whose name is Death and inscrutable, be thou favorable to us in thine hour. And unto her, from whose mortal eyes the veil of life hath fallen, grant that there may be the accomplishment of her true Will, should she will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with her chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labor and heroism of incarnation on this planet, or another, of any star, or aught else, unto her may there be the accomplishment of her true Will, yea, the accomplishment of her true Will. AUGMEN."

I knew Tara as a Priestess of Hekate. For many months Corby and attended small New Moon rituals to Hermes and Hekate with Sam and and Tara in their chapel. A graceful bellydancer, Tara wore the mask of Isis* as she danced Her into manifestation at the first incarnation of my goddess masks ritual, part of the Goddess 2000 celebration, at PantheaCon in San Francisco.

Although I knew Sam better than Tara, when Tara and I first met, we discovered we had a lot in common in terms of both approach and praxis. My experiences with my first coven, the Holy Terrors*, paralleled hers in many ways. I spoke of a cartoon published in an East Coast Pagan rag, Harvest (defunct), in the '80s that we Holy Terrors couldn't believe was so like we were. When we HTs first discovered this cartoon, we rolled around laughing. No one we knew subscribed to Harvest (if it even had subscriptions). We treasured our photocopies of the few episodes we'd found; later I found an opportunity to mail away for better copies of a full set. The cartoon was the Death Crones, and Tara was part of the Flaming Crones, the circle from which this cartoon arose!

When I heard she was weakening, I planned to go see her this weekend. I regret I didn't make it in time. I will visit her viewing and offer prayers for her easy transition. My life was enriched by my having known Tara. I will dance with her in Samhain circle. In love may she return again.

* A coven of nine women, Holy Terrors was the first coven to form from classes taught by Witches in what later evolved into Reclaiming Collective, and still later, Reclaiming Tradition Witchcraft. Some day I'll write more about the HTs, maybe even scan the only extant photo of us together.


Pitch313 said...

Tara was one of those "What A Witch! witches and as inspiring dancer in the retinue of the Devi.

As she ventures on to join the Mighty Dead, many blessings on her, her family, friends, and co-practitioners. She enriched the Pagan community for all of us.

Kathryn Price NicDhĂ na said...

Thank you for your note, Macha.

In the synchronicity department: It was names like Holy Terrors and Wind Hags that made me agitate for a name like *flaming crones*.

Anonymous said...

I will miss Tara too.
I feel for Sam, I'm sure he'll have all of the support he will need.

Unknown said...

I had the honor and pleasure of having Ishtara dance to a piece of music I wrote during a concert at Pantheacon.

On the day that I was reading of her passing, a picture that I had composited from a photo of her performance and my band's logo appeared on my desktop.

I've rarely shared this story.

I continue to miss her dearly.