Thursday, May 30, 2013

Laura Janesdaughter: A Priestess Passes

The world has long another Pagan Priestess, my friend Laura Janesdaughter, Founder of the Temple of Isis in Los Angeles.

MaryScarlett Amaris, Caroline Wise, Laura Janesdaughter, Isadora Forrest, and Macha in front of "Mother Mary on the Halfshell" at a former Carmelite convent, current Buddhist monastery, in Long Beach Harbor. Photo by Lunnea Weatherstone
I first met Laura when she invited me to participate in an event she was producing called Isis 2000.  More about that event here.  I enjoyed our private time together at least as much as the public event.  Although I didn’t know Laura as well as many, I found her to be refreshingly low on drama and high on organization and follow-through, excellent qualities for a public priestess.  We share a love of cats and an appreciation for honest, straightforward communication.

Later in 2000, I presented a ritual called “A Rainbow of Goddesses,” sponsored by The Lilith Institute and the New College of California Women’s Spirituality Program.  This performance featured masks made by Lauren Raine of thirteen goddesses from many times and places.  The first to appear was Amaterasu Omikami, Japanese Sun goddess, embodied by Laura Janesdaughter.  Laura and her friend traveled all the way from Los Angeles in order for her to participate in this working; her friend sang in the small choir that accompanied the arrival of each goddess.  I was deeply honored that they should make this effort.  They evidently thought it was worth it.

Amaterasu Omikami, embodied by Laura Janesdaughter. Photo by Tom Lux © 2000
Laura and I remained in infrequent by loving contact from then on.  When Lauren Raine began to make a new series of goddess masks in 2012, and they were debuted at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Women & Mythology in San Francisco, a wheelchair-bound but bright and eager Laura came and sat front and center.  Her encouragement of Lauren’s mask work and my ritual work was a source of solid support.

In my experience, Laura demonstrated responsibility and reliability, exuded good cheer and dedication to Isis, and took care of business with care and no drama.  Her loss leaves a tear in the multicolored tapestry of the Los Angeles goddess community.  Knowing Laura has enriched my life and I, too, will mourn her now and will remember her at every Samhaintide. "In love may she return again."