Thursday, October 30, 2008

Peter Hughes Passes, Samhain Approaches

What would a blog by me be like if it didn't contain notice of someone's passing? I'm so ready to be free to write other things. However, since this is the next-to-last day of our year, I want to remember Peter Hughes.*

Peter had put together a beautiful art photography book of B&W photos of Witches, which was/is the title of the book. Most of the models, myself among them, were local to Northern California. His wife, Denise Sallee, wrote the text. They asked me to write the introduction, which I did some years ago. The book hadn't found a publisher until Sam Webster decided to publish it. Sam's wife, Tara, became ill, and that situation consumed Sam for the last two years. So I don't know the fate of the book, but I do know that, according to someone close to Denise and Sam, that the project is not dead. Apparently there are those who still want to see it in print. When that occurs, you, my readers, will be the first to know.

In the meantime, I toast Peter with espresso that he loved and wish him peace.

I'm off to the AAR Annual Meeting in Chicago in the morning, to circle with Gaia's Womb in Samhain with dear friends and visiting Pagan scholars. My companion for the weekend will be Sharon Devlin Folsom.** Sharon lives in Illinois now and we haven't seen each other in several years. My pal Sparky T. Rabbit will also be there, hopefully with a CD of his wonderful albums, Lunacy and Hand of Desire.

For updates of what's going on with Pagans at the AAR, check the Cherry Hill News, The Wild Hunt, and here.

Today I gave the concluding blessing to the Marin Interfaith Council monthly lunch meeting, this time about teen suicide. They loved it. Several people came up afterward to thank me. This was the first thing I've ever been asked to do at a meeting. The director asked me because of the season. I was happy to oblige and I left feeling really good. I leave you with the piece I offered there, with wishes for a very Blessed Samhain.

This is the Feast of Samhain, when the veil is thin that divides the worlds, the seen from the unseen, the day-to-day from the Mysteries.

And now we pause on the threshold, and prepare to journey beyond the boundaries of the world, leaving behind the fading husk of the passing year, going down into the darkness of Winter, and through to the joy and the boundless dance that is the bright heart of the promise of Spring.

For Samhain is our New Year, the New Year of the Witches.

And when we say Witches, we mean those with a certain wit—even wisdom—who follow the Old Religion of the Goddess.

And when we speak of the Goddess, Who is Moon, stone, star, and of the Horned God, the Sun, the life of animals, we recognize our kinship with all of life, the interwoven chain of connection that sustains all, and that this tapestry of life is our common trust and treasure; we are committed to its service.

When we call the Goddess as Maiden, Mother and Crone, we see Her in all women, all shapes and colors and ages, and we honor women for strength as well as beauty, for knowledge and experience and the power that comes from within, for She is the Mother of inspiration.

When we call the Horned One as Lover and Consort, we see Him in men, and we honor men for tenderness and kindness as well as courage. And He wears the horns because we honor the animal self in each of us, forever untamed and free, the heat of desire, our miracle bodies, the drumming of our hearts.

And when we invoke the Elements of life--Air and Fire, Water and Earth--we know what is needed to sustain life, and we know what is needed to sustain hope, and we know, with breath and nerve and blood and bone, what is needed to sustain the balance of our lives.

And we pledge ourselves to care for this Earth, and to preserve It, even through these times of fear and sadness, when our culture has gone so far in the direction of death and destruction.

And so we will come to the Ocean of Tears, to look in that glistening mirror, and to hear the voice of low and ceaseless thunder, wrapped in the taste and smell of the spray, and to remember what has passed, what has passed beyond boundaries, gone beyond change.

And we too will cross, and renew ourselves, and reclaim the future.

For when we dance the Spiral of Joy, together we vow to release that brilliant hope for all life...
Starhawk, Robin Weaver,
M. Macha NightMare,
Samhain ‘79, ‘88, ‘90, 91, ’92. ‘06

* I had planned to include his photo and a brief published obituary, but this program does not seem to want to upload it.

** See the chapter called "Interview with a Modern Witch" in Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon.


Beth Owl's Daughter said...

Thank you.

May your celebrations be as rich and powerful as these words, which are ringing like a vast, deep bell in my heart.

Blessings to you.
- Beth Owl.

Cat C-B (and/or Peter B) said...

Hi, Macha,
I thought you might be pleased to know that I shared this link, and a series of others, in today's the roundup of Samhain stories over at MetaPagan.

Blessed be, friend.

Anonymous said...

So that's where Sharon wound up. I've not seen or heard anything about her in far too many years, and I doubt she would remember me from the days of Nemeton and the founding of COG.

Lunacy & Hand of Desire on CD - that would be wonderful, my cassettes of both died a long time back. Is ordering information available somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Greetings Macha, Just beautiful, Love and Light, Mandy

Keith Campbell said...

Macha, I was googling to see if the Lunacy music was available on CD yet, and didn't find anything but this reference. Can you confirm whether this actually happened, and if so, put me in touch with Sparky? I no longer live in Minneapolis, so my annual sighting of him in Steve Posch's company at the MayDay parade is a thing of the past, and I don't have current contact info.