Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Written and compiled by George Knowles
“Our lives are lived in story. When the stories offered us are limited, our lives are limited as well. Few have the courage; drive and imagination to invent life-narratives drastically different from those they've been told are possible. And unfortunately, some self-invented narratives are really just reversals of the limiting stereotype; thus a sensual woman, where only virginity is honored, can believe herself marred or even evil. Heroic myths, by comparison, offer positive life narratives, inspirations for living in power and strength.”
An excerpt from Goddesses and Heroines
Patricia Monaghan was an American academic, author, poet, teacher and lecturer on subjects ranging from Science and Literature to Feminism, Earth spirituality, Goddess worship and Celtic mythology. Her best known books include: “The Book of Goddesses and Heroines” (1981), “Seasons of the Witch: Poetry and Songs to the Goddess” (1992), “The Encyclopedia of Celtic Myth and Folklore” (2004) and “The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit” (2004). In 2004 she co-founded with her husband Dr. Michael McDermott, “The Black Earth Institute” (BEI), and in 2007 with Sid Reger Ed.D she also co-founded “The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology” (ASWM), both organisation are geared to connecting the Arts and the Environment with Spirituality.
Patricia (Mary) Monaghan was born on the 15th February 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, to Irish-American parents Edward J Monaghan and his wife Mary Margaret (née Gordon). Born into a family that included six other siblings, Patricia spent most of her early years housebound due to illnesses. Her formative years were not wasted however, for time spent at home reading laid the foundations for her future success as an academic and author. She also learned embroidery; the first of many traditional home based crafts that became an important part of her later leisure life.
Her father Edward Monaghan was a pilot in the US Air Force; as such the family frequently relocated following his various postings around the United States. Their first move took them to Colorado and then on to Minnesota, during which time he saw active combat flying Mosquito fighter planes during the Korean War (1950-53). On one mission he was shot down and wounded over Korea, from where he had to be rescued. He was later commended for his actions and awarded the Purple Heart decoration for his service.
On his return to active duty back in the US, he was sent on a permanent posting to Firbanks in Alaska, there for the first time his family was able to settle down and build a regular and stable home life. After his retirement in the late 1960’s, and in common with other veterans wounded in combat, he continued to suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Unable to control his nightmares he sought solace from the bottle, which occasionally led to violent outbursts of temper, later he died from untreated diabetes complicated by alcoholism.1
Her love of poetry came from the Irish folk songs her father used to sing, and later through the works of Margaret Mielke (1912-1980), who for a time was one of her English teachers at Ryan Junior High School. Mielke later was made Alaska’s first poet laureate (1963-1965). Patricia also claimed inspiration from an old collection of poems she discovered entitled “A Few Figs From Thistles” (1920). These were an early somewhat controversial exploration of female sexuality penned by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950). Millay later won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the first woman to be so honoured.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
After graduating from Studying English and French literature she earned a B.A. (cum laude) degree in 1967, followed by a M.A. degree at the same University in 1971. After finishing graduate school she stayed in Minnesota and began work as a journalist with the Minnesota Public Radio. During this time she came into contact with various feminists groups. In an interview she writes: “While living there I met feminists who were exploring the connections between spirituality and women’s empowerment. I remember especially a class taught by the great psychologist Nor Hall called “Women’s Rites.” There was the Women’s Herbal Collective, the Unconscious Collective (hey, this was the 70’s, okay?) and other groups that focused on finding threads of ancient wisdom that sustained women’s souls today.”2left home to continue her education at the University of Minnesota.
On her return home to Alaska she continued working in journalism reporting on scientific and technological issues effecting nature and the environment, while at the same time she began her life long research focused on Women in mythology and Goddesses. In 1976 at the age of 30, she made her first visit to Ireland where she also began research on Celtic mythology. Holding dual Irish and American citizenship she stayed as a resident for a while in County Galway before returning home to continue her education at the University of Alaska. In 1981 she was awarded a M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts) degree in creative writing (poetry), her thesis for which was a collection of poems called “Housemagic”, this later formed the bases for her award-winning “Seasons of the Witch: Poetry and Songs to the Goddess” published in 1992.
That same year in 1981 she published her first non-fiction book “The Book of Goddesses and Heroines”. A classic in its own time and extended through three editions, the last was re-named “The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines” and is considered by many to be the most definitive reference book on Goddess mythology to date. In 1987 she moved to Chicago and there continued her quest for higher education. In the above-mentioned interview she also states: “When I moved to Chicago in 1987, I had no idea there was a burgeoning Goddess movement. But within months I was invited to my first gathering - the Discovering Dianic Wicca gathering sponsored by the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess in Madison, Wisconsin…”3
In 1993 while studying in Chicago, Patricia met and began a brief association with Robert Joseph Shea, co-author with Robert Anton Wilson of the popular science fiction trilogy “Illuminatus!” (1975). At the time, Shea had separated from his wife and the two formed a firm friendship. Sadly however, Shea was diagnosed with colon cancer and force into hospital. Perhaps knowing his death was imminent and not wanting to face it alone, the hospital Priest was called in to perform an impromptu non-legal marriage ceremony. Both felt it was important to cement their relationship with a solemn binding, even though it could never be deemed legal for he was still married to his first wife Yvonne. Soon after on the 10th March 1994, Shea lost his battle with cancer and died.4
Robert Joseph Shea
Later that year in 1994 Patricia was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Science and Literature from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, her thesis for this was entitled “Quantum Poetics: Science and Spirit in 20th Century American Poetry.” A year later in 1995 she joined resident Faculty of the School for New Learning at DePaul University in Chicago. As a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, her courses included Science and Literature, Environmental Studies, Feminism in Mythology and Women’s Spirituality. In addition to her own continuing researches, she also traveled widely presenting lectures at Universities and Conferences, and appearing at Book-signing events all around the United States and Europe.
Working full-time during the week teaching courses at DePaul University, at the weekends she would commute into the country and join her husband, Dr. Michael McDermott, in developing a 23-acre farm near Black Earth, Wisconsin. They named the farm Brigit Rest, and dedicated it to the Goddess of the same name. Located in Wisconsin’s Driftless area, so called because the last four glacial periods had not affect the region, the topography of the area is dramatically different than the rest of the Midwest and represents an island of much older land within the plains. The farm itself boasts a vineyard, an orchard and a large organic garden.
Dr. Michael McDermott - The Driftless Hills
Together in 2004, Patricia and Michael co-founded the “Black Earth Institute” (BEI), a progressive think-tank organisation working on environmental and social justice issues while striving to connect earth, spirit and society together through the arts. In support of the BEI, Brigit Rest was turned into a retreat for artists and activists, and was a place where Fellows and Board Members could hold their annual group meetings (Fellows) in fall and (Board Members) in spring. The BEI was granted a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status as an educational and charitable organisation:
Black Earth Institute encourages awareness of the arts as a means of promoting a progressive, inclusively spiritual and environmentally aware society. The organization gathers artists and audience members to further understanding of the historical role of the artist as bringing forth wisdom from beyond the self.
Black Earth Institute promotes the oracle and orator, griot and druid, scientist and prophet, priest and priestess. We oppose the current definition of art as a commercial product derived from exploitation of personality and rewarded by celebrity and market status. We uphold the arts as a sacred path to wisdom, and we celebrate the artist as a seeker whose work benefits the entire human community.
Patricia was equally passionate and committed to promoting Goddess scholarship within academia, and to the importance of recognising and mentoring new and emerging scholars by calling attention to and acknowledging their work. With that in mind, in 2007 together with Sid Reger Ed.D. she co-founded “The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology” (ASWM), an international organization of scholars and artists whose work deals with the intersection of women and mythology:
The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) supports the work of those whose scholarly/creative endeavors explore or elucidate aspects of the sacred feminine, women and mythology. Through publications, conferences and networking, ASWM opens dialogue among disciplines, individuals and spiritual traditions.
ASWM is a not-for-profit membership organization whose dues and fees support the organization’s work.
Sid Reger Ed.D
Aside from her scholarship, books and poetry, for which she received numerous literary awards and accolades, Patricia was a long term member of “The Society of Friends” (Quakers), a companion of “The Fourth Order of Sts. Frances and Clare” (an interfaith religious organization), a member of “The Women’s Theological Institute”, and a member of “The Temple of Diana” (a feminist organization of Dianic Wicca co-founded by Ruth Barrett and Falcon River in 1999). Always conscious of her Irish heritage, in the US, Patricia served as an advisor to “The Centre for Celtic Spirituality” at Old St. Pat’s Church in Chicago, and in Ireland, was a supporter and fundraiser for “Salmon Poetry” (a new publishing house established in County Clare in 1981). Salmon Poetry is now one of the largest publishers of alternative religion and poetry in Ireland. She also regularly led her students on tours to Northern Ireland.
Ruth Barrett - Falcon River
Patricia was also a practitioner of qigong, za-zen and other forms of meditation, about which together with yoga teacher Eleanor (Teri) Viereck, she collaborated to write the encyclopaedic “Meditation: The Complete Guide” (1999). During the last decade a number of her works of poetry have also been set to music, the latest of which was by folk composer Michael Smith, who used her Celtic-inspired poetry for a CD entitled “Songs of the Kerry Madwoman” (2006). Earlier the “Derry Aires” led by Peggy Monaghan, an “a capella” singing group of musicians based in Alaska, produced a two-CD compilation of her poetry entitled “Seasons of the Witch” (2002).
Michael Smith - Peggy Monaghan & the
In her spare time Patricia was an avid gardener and together with her husband Michael, liked nothing more than to spend time in their large organic garden, orchard and vineyard at Brigit Rest. As noted wine connoisseur, and as with most things she set her mind on, Patricia soon became an expert on the regions wine making community, about which she wrote and published “Wineries of Minnesota and Wisconsin” (2008). When not tending the garden Patricia also enjoyed traditional crafts such as knitting, crochet, embroidery and needlepoint.
Most recently Patricia had just finished co-editing with her husband Michael an anthology of essays called “Brigit: Sun of Womanhood”, she was also revising “The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines” ready for a new paperback edition, both of which are expected to be published later in 2013. Sadly after a two-year battle with cancer, Patricia passed away at home in the arms of her beloved husband Michael at Brigit Rest on Sunday morning the 11th November 2012 at 3:45am.
May she rest in Peace
2012 - Magical Gardens: Cultivating Soil & Spirit (Llewellyn Publications)
2012 - [Introduction] Book of Anger (J. M Wilson, author) (Xlibris)
2011 - Women's Spirituality: Power and Grace with Mary Faulkner (Hampton Roads)
2012 - Alaska by Heart Recipes for Independence by Sarah Pagen (McRoy & Blackburn)
2010 - Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. Previous editions 1981 and 1997
2008 - Wineries of Minnesota and Wisconsin (Minnesota Historical Society Press)
2005 - Wild Girls: The Path of the Young Goddess (Creatrix Resource Library LLC)
2004 - Dancing with Chaos: Poems (Salmon Publishing)
2004 - The Encyclopedia of Celtic Myth and Folklore (Facts on File)
2004 - Homefront (FootHills Publishing)
2003 - The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit (New World Library)
2002 - Seasons of the Witch: Poetry and Songs to the Goddess (Llewellyn Publications; Bk&CD-Rom edition)
2002 - The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines (3rd Ed) (Llewellyn Publications)
2002 - Irish Spirit: Essays on Irish Spirituality (Interlink)
2001 - Wild Girls: The Path of the Young Goddess (Llewellyn Publications)
1999 - The Office Oracle: Wisdom at Work (Llewellyn Publications)
1999 - Meditation: The Complete Guide (with Eleanor G. Viereck) (New World Library)
1999 - The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocations, and Rituals (Llewellyn Publications)
1999 - The Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Feminine Spirit (Llewellyn Publications)
1997 - Magical Gardens: Myth, Mulch and Marigolds (Llewellyn Publications)
1994 - O Mother Sun! A New View of the Cosmic Feminine! (Crossing Press)
1993 - The Next Parish Over: Irish-American Writing (New Rivers Press)
1992 - Seasons of the Witch: Poetry and Songs to the Goddess (Delphi Press)
1991 - Winterburning (Fireweed Press) ASIN 0924221108
1987 - Unlacing: Ten Irish-American Women Poets (Fireweed Press)
1983 - Hunger and Dreams: The Alaskan Women’s Anthology (Fireweed Press)
1981 - The Book of Goddesses and Heroines (E.P.Dutton)
1981 - Women in Myth and Legend (Junction Books)
2006 - Songs of the Kerry Madwoman Music by Michael Smith, sung by Jamie O'Reilly
2002 - Seasons of the Witch - Peggy Monaghan (Lyrics & Poetry by Patricia Monaghan) 2-CD set (Arctic Siren)
1994 - Seasons of the Witch - Peggy Monaghan (Lyrics & Poetry by Patricia Monaghan)
1993 - The Way of the Goddess (recorded lecture on cassette)
1 Interview with Patricia Monaghan - http://www.eclectica.org/v10n3/glixman_monaghan.html
2 Interview with Patricia Monaghan - http://www.twpt.com/monaghan.htm
3 The Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess was founded by Jade River and Lynnie Levy in 1983.
4 My grateful thanks to Michael Shea, Robert’s son for his clarification.
Plus too many others to mention.
First published on the 30th November 2012 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
The Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) / Esbats & Full Moons / Links to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft Resources / What's a spell? / Circle Casting and Sacred Space / Pentagram - Pentacle / Marks of a Witch / The Witches Power / The Witches Hat / An esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism / Pow-wow / The Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / A history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope Innocent VIII / The papal Bull / The Malleus Maleficarum / An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum / The letter of approbation / Johann Nider’s Formicarius / Jacob Sprenger / Heinrich Kramer / Stefano Infessura / Montague Summers / The Waldenses / The Albigenses / The Hussites / The Native American Sun Dance / Shielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Festivals:
The Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Rituals contributed by Crone:
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder
Rocks and Stones:
Stones - History, Myths and Lore
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:
Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Wisdom and Inspiration:
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murdered by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A Kelly / Albertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Henry Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake / Fiona Horne / Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred / John Michael Greer / John Score / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" / Laurie Cabot - "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" / Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set / Monique Wilson / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellars / Mrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Olivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" / Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) / Rudolf Steiner / Sabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough" / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - (includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) / Thomas Ady / T. Thorn Coyle / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / Walter Ernest Butler / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest /
Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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