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We Remember . . .


Patricia Monaghan



Poet, Storyteller, Mover of Earth

February 15, 1946 – November 11, 2012


Patricia Monaghan was born in the urban jungle of Brooklyn, NY, grew up in the vast wilderness of Colorado and Alaska and spent her final days at her beloved farm, Brigit Rest, in southwestern Wisconsin's Driftless Area.


Many of you may have known or known of Patricia. She was a pioneer in the contemporary women’s spirituality movement who authored such books as: Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, The Goddess Path, and The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit. As a poet, the Goddess, women, and the land were important features in her work and her finely crafted book of poems, Seasons of the Witch won the Friends of Literature Award for poetry. And as a mover of earth who cared deeply about the land and social justice, she founded The Black Earth Institute. It was with the institute that she sought to put all of her passions together.


As an organic farmer, Patricia would have fully understood the cycle of life. For two years she journeyed with cancer and knew there was a possibility she would leave this realm sooner rather than later. This knowledge seemed to have spurred her on to complete many projects. Her husband says on her Facebook page that the Friday before she passed he was helping her finish a manuscript. He also says:

Patricia carried on to the end on her work including the paperback version of the new Goddesses and Heroines; her book Brigit, Sun of Womanhood, co-edited with Michael; a new book of poetry linking her love of her Wisconsin with her Ireland; strengthening the Black Earth Institute (BEI) and the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM).


Patricia faced the winter of her life by being fully immersed in the creation process. She has left behind much fruit from which we can all partake. But it is more than her works that inspire. It is her very spirit that touches all who hear about her. It is her story that is like that first warm breeze in spring, that first inkling you get that all is well, that life will continue, that everything is about to begin…again. In the essence of Patricia’s life lives an eternal spring, an endless gift of passion and creation for all who ponder it. Her life story will work its magic on you.


In this season of going within, may we contemplate the cycle of life and behold the Mystery with as much reverence and passion as Patricia who is now close to Its very heart.

           Joanne Elliott


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I have so many memories of my times with Pat over more than two decades. In 1990, Pat organized a wonderful trip to Malta for her University, inviting Susan Gray, Starr Goode, and me to join them -- I have memories of a ferry ride with the three of them to the island of Gozo, which sparked Pat's book of poetry, Seasons of the Witch. Very recently, at the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) conference in San Francisco this past May, Pat presented me with the Sarasvati award for "Best Nonfiction Book," for the book I co-authored with Victor Mair, Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia. Not only did Pat present me with this award -- one of the most exciting moments in my life! -- she also presented me with a more personal gift. She had long known of my love for a Midwestern delight, Fannie May dark chocolates, which had been a favorite of my Chicago-born Mother and a wonderful childhood memory for me. Pat, who had lived in Chicago for many years, had brought a box of Fannie May to present to me when she gave me the book award. As she began saying, "Do you remember that your family came from Chicago, and that every year when your relatives from Chicago would visit, they would bring...?" And my eyes filled with joyous tears.


Pat was one of the founders of ASWM, a wonderful association which brings together women from all over the United States and abroad to share their work on and love for the Goddesses and mythology. ASWM lives on as a legacy from our dear Patricia.

          Miriam Robbins Dexter


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I first met Pat through my coven mate Susan Gray when both were working on materials on the Sun Goddesses; with no patriarchal sense of scarcity or competitiveness, they generously shared their research. For Pat this would lead to her book on the sun goddesses and for Susan, a feminist guide to the runes. Later we would all travel to Malta together to see the great temples to the Goddess. (Ironically the Pope was visiting the island also.) Others have listed Pat's many books of poetry, fiction and scholarly works on the Goddess. Such works leave parts of Pat behind to ease the loss of her passing. Indeed, generations to come will make use of her foundational work on the divine feminine. It is confounding how much work Pat produced in one lifetime! She embraced life from the most erudite realms of thought down to planting her gardens. I, like so many others, owe her so much. May the Great Mother enfold in Her arms such a devoted daughter.

           Starr Goode