Bronwen (Rhomylly) Forbes
Date of Passage: April 10th. 2011
This week the Witchvox staff would like to honor the work of Bronwen Forbes and thank her for her light, her wit and her incredible service to our communities. We claim this space and time to point you to her most popular Witchvox articles and other testimonials around the Pagan 'Net.
Witchvox Passage Notice by onyxtwilight
I regret to announce that Bronwen (Rhomylly) Forbes, 48, passed away late Sunday night, April 10th, due to heart complications apparently brought on by the chemotherapy she was undergoing to treat her inflammatory breast cancer. She died in the arms of her husband, Alex, and our prayers and thoughts are with him and their daughter, Rose. May peace and healing find them, and may Rhomylly rest easy in her goddess's arms.
A writer and craftswoman, she is the author of two books for Llewellyn: the amazing Make Merry In Step and Song: A Seasonal Treasury of Music, Mummer's Plays and Celebrations in the English Folk Tradition, and the forthcoming The Small-Town Pagan's Survival Guide: How to Thrive in Any Community, due out this June. She also wrote the fictional Mint Juleps, Mud Pie and MacBeth for Graveyard Publishing, and numerous articles for Llewellyn online, Circle Magazine, and WitchVox. Her intelligence, her wit, her insightful writing, and her passionate community-building will all be dearly missed.
Her family has suggested that anyone wishing to make a donation in her memory should seek out their own local cancer prevention and treatment programs.
More information about her passing, and tributes to her life, may be found at the following:
"For ever and ever, we say when we are young, or in our prayers. Twice, we say it, do we not? For ever and ever... so that a thing may be for ever, a life or a love or a quest, and yet begin again, and be for ever just as before. And any ending that may seem to come is not truly an ending, but an illusion. For time does not die. Time has neither beginning nor end, and so nothing can end or die that has once had a place in time." --Susan Cooper, Silver on the Tree
- Her Witchxox profile: LINK
- Wild Hunt coverage of Bronwen's passing: LINK
- Publisher's notice of Bronwen's passing: LINK
- Magick in the Mundane: My Story of a Hero Called Bronwen (by Andrea Covey) LINK
- Witches' Voice Facebook notice: LINK
- Facebook page: LINK
Farewell, Rhomylly, and a fair wind for your journey.
What is remembered lives.
How to Choose A Good Magickal Name
by Bronwen Forbes [60,171 reads]
There's a standard joke in the Pagan community that, at a gathering, if the loudspeaker were to announce, "Will Raven, Morgan, and Rhiannon please come to registration?" half the attendees would show up, and that the Ravens at least would be split pretty evenly between males and females.Like most good jokes, it has a lot of truth in it.So rule number one of how *not* to choose a good magickal name is: pick one that's already been use... [more]
The Witch’s Blade – Some Athame Basics
by Bronwen Forbes [30,785 reads]
The athame – the tool that some say is the most important for any practicing Witch or Pagan, and the one most misunderstood by law enforcement and other non-Pagans. What is the athame? How do you pronounce “athame”? Should it be sharp? What’s the difference between an athame and a boline? Where can you get one? How can you safely take your athame to a ritual not at your house? And just which of the four elements is it supposed to represent a... [more]
What Should I Put In My Book of Shadows?
by Bronwen Forbes [28,099 reads]
The most common question I’ve seen on various online forums and been asked by my own students is, “What should I put on my altar?” The second most common question is “What should I put in my Book of Shadows?” For some reason, the Book of Shadows – like an altar – is something that most Pagans are scared spitless about “messing up.” They will go out and buy a lovely bound blank journal from their local mega chain bookstore or a leather-bound notebook... [more]
Doing What the Book Says: A Cautionary Tale
by Bronwen Forbes [17,762 reads]
I was young, I was a shiny new Pagan, the Internet – which made contacting my fellow religionists as easy as calling my mom – was about ten years away from being invented, and by gosh I was going to perform this solitary sabbat exactly as The Book told me to! (And no, I’m not going to tell you which “The Book” it was. It would only embarrass me further and wouldn’t do the now-deceased author’s reputation any good. Okay, okay I’ll give you a hint som... [more]
How Pagan is "Pagan Enough"?
by Bronwen Forbes [14,429 reads]
A couple years ago I attended a Pagan pride celebration as a workshop presenter. I won’t mention the name of the city, but will tell you it was in the southern part of the country – which means that even at the end of September the temperature was expected to hover near one hundred degrees by the middle of the afternoon’s events. Consequently I dressed my family, including my then 18-month-old daughter, in shorts and t-shirts. Silly me, I thought th... [more]
Bronwen’s Top Ten Non-Pagan Pagan Movies
by Bronwen Forbes [12,187 reads]
Hollywood has a long illustrious history of not being very kind to us Pagans/Witches. In 1939, The Wizard of Oz gave the world (and the creators of Halloween decorations) the notion that we’re all supposed to have green skin. Later, films like the original Wicker Man, Practical Magic, The Witches of Eastwick and Hocus Pocus gave the movie-going public the impression that we as a people are, in turn, amoral killers, amoral teenag... [more]
I'm Not Proud To Be Pagan
by Bronwen Forbes [12,186 reads]
In a previous piece here on Witchvox, I related the story of how I dared to show up at a hot, Southern Pagan Pride event in *gasp* shorts and a T-shirt rather than the apparent requisite flowing skirt, glitter and fairy wings. One of the other attendees took offense at my attire and sent me a very nasty anonymous email taking me to task for not being “Pagan enough” to present at the event.What I didn’t mention in that previous piece is that ... [more]
Some Do’s and Don’ts for Contacting a Coven
by Bronwen Forbes [11,878 reads]
So you’ve decided you want to join a coven rather than try to study and practice solo. Good for you! Even better, you’ve found a coven (or two) near your home either by checking here on Witchvox or from a friend of a friend who knows someone who said at the local Pagan meetup that they study with a group here in town. Since contacting a coven and asking for more information and (gulp!) possible membership isn’t quite like signing up to volunteer at ... [more]
Joining a Coven or Other Pagan Group -- Red Flags to Avoid
by Bronwen Forbes [11,442 reads]
In an earlier article here on Witchvox, I talked about the need to decide whether to join a group or stay solitary in your early days/years on the Pagan path. If you’ve chosen the group route, there are still some things you need to know before you actually become a member. Much as we’d all love to believe that the Pagan community is above such things, there really are some groups – and group leaders – that care more for their own egos or bank balan... [more]
When You Might Not Want to Come Out of the Broom Closet
by Bronwen Forbes [11,153 reads]
A great deal has been written about the benefits and advantages of coming out as Pagan to your family, friends and co-workers, both here on Witchvox and in other places. Living an honest life, helping Paganism be more accepted as more people say “I know a Pagan, ” and taking pride in who and what you are – these are all excellent reasons to be open about your faith. However, as a friend of mine reminded me recently, coming out is never something you... [more]
Ten Dumb Reasons To Join A Coven
by Bronwen Forbes [10,974 reads]
There are plenty of excellent reasons to join a coven, many of which my fellow Witchvox scribes have faithfully penned. These reasons include: a desire for more formal study that solitary work may provide, a preference for working with people of a like mind, or the “call” to study and work in a specific tradition. Valid reasons, all.Unfortunately, not everyone has such a good reason to join a specific coven or any coven at all. He... [more]
When Did it Become Unfashionable To Be Monogamous?
by Bronwen Forbes [10,941 reads]
I recently returned from a major Midwest Pagan gathering where, much to my surprise, in just four short days I was propositioned, invited to an orgy, and given the opportunity to play Naked Twister. I say “much to my surprise” because as someone who is bespectacled, approaching 50, greying, and who could stand to lose about one-third of my body weight, I honestly don’t consider myself to be that much of a big deal, sexually speaking. Maybe I’m wrong... [more]
Recovering From a Bad Coven Experience
by Bronwen Forbes [10,533 reads]
One of the best things about being in a coven is the sense of family among the members. In fact, it’s not uncommon to feel even closer to your coven family than you do your family of origin. Unfortunately, as with some families, there can be dissent and discord; some covens may be downright dysfunctional, others may “divorce”, e.g. break up with all the rancor and bitterness of a long-feuding married couple that has finally decided to untie the knot... [more]
Some Do's and Don'ts For Officiating at a Handfasting
by Bronwen Forbes [10,096 reads]
When a couple announces their plans to get married, everyone in the community -- whatever the community -- has advice for the happy pair on everything from where to register for gifts to how to dress the attendants to where to go on the honeymoon. But if the bride and groom have asked you to be the Priest or Priestess for their handfasting and you’ve never officiated at a wedding before, it’s unlikely anyone will think to offer you any words of wisd... [more]
Is It an Altar or a Shrine?
by Bronwen Forbes [9,898 reads]
“What should I put on my altar?"This is probably the number one question my students have asked most often over the years. And it's certainly the question I see most often posted to various online Pagan forums and e-mail lists. Whatever the medium, my answer is always the same:"That depends. Are you getting ready to perform a ritual or setting up a space in your home for personal devotion?"Because there is a difference. ... [more]
Some Thoughts on Secrecy in the Pagan Community
by Bronwen Forbes [9,791 reads]
Whether you ever intend to work with what is often referred to as a traditional or mystery tradition in the Pagan community, sooner or later you will be confronted with the fact that some people and some groups keep at least part of what they do and believe a secret. Modern America, especially since the advent of the Internet, is not particularly fond of keeping secrets any more. I have seen more rants online from new Pagans who are genuinel... [more]
So You Think You Want to be a Coven Leader?
by Bronwen Forbes [9,757 reads]
If there is a less glamorous, more arduous job in the Pagan community than leading a teaching coven, I’m not sure what it is. Oh, wait, I just thought of one -- being the overall coordinator of a large Pagan gathering, but I’ll save that topic for another article.Although the job titles of High Priest and High Priestess sound very prestigious and glamorous, people who *truly* deserve those titles understand that while running a coven can -- ... [more]
A Supplemental Reading List for the Well-Read Pagan
by Bronwen Forbes [9,530 reads]
There are quite a few, say hundreds, of Pagan books out there. Between the books and some hands-on ritual experience, you can have a very satisfying spiritual life. But there is information out there that could enhance your practice that isn’t technically “Pagan” at all.I recently had the opportunity to ask several Pagan authors what top three Pagan books they’d recommend and why – which got me thinking: what sort of non-Pagan-specific books... [more]
Ritual Tools That Won't Break the Bank
by Bronwen Forbes [9,243 reads]
We've all seen them, either on EBay or some online Wicca supply shop - or even the Pagan bookstore in our own town: ritual tools and altar pieces that are apparently only for the independently wealthy. Well, seeing as how I am still a full-time student, i.e. broke, I've been searching for alternative sources for ritual tools and other altar accoutrements priced reasonably enough to guarantee I could afford to eat meat for the rest of the month. I'd ... [more]
Ten Reasons Why You Should Join a Coven
by Bronwen Forbes [9,011 reads]
As I’ve mentioned before, whether or not to remain a solitary is one of the biggest decisions you will make as a Pagan. In general, I tend to favor joining a group rather than going it alone, at least at first. Of course, if there are no groups around or the group (s) near you are power-hungry, dysfunctional or otherwise unsuitable, you may want to stay solitary, and you probably should.Last year in another Witchvox article, I talked about b... [more]
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