Here we celebrate births, deaths, handfastings and other rites of passage related to the online Witch community
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(February 8, 1940 - August 28, 2002)
On Saturday, August 28th, our beloved friend, sister, pioneering musician and recording artist, prolific composer, priestess, author, and teacher died suddenly from a massive heart attack at her home in Bangor, Maine. She is survived by her two daughters, Jennie and Julie, who were visiting with her at the time, and her grandsons David and Reese. Kay also leaves behind her mother, aunt, brother, and her beloved Colleen, the love of her life for the past four years.
Kay was my dear friend of many years, and also my mentor. She was my teacher, my Aquarian soul sister with whom we shared confidences, laughter, and service to the Goddess. Back in 1975, in New York City, Kay was the first woman that Z Budapest ordained as a Dianic high priestess, for the Emilia Earhart Coven #1. Thus, we have lost the first Dianic elder as well. In 1998, Kay was also ordained as a priestess in the Fellowship of Isis, by its founder, Lady Olivia Robertson, at her castle in Ireland. It was my honor to attend Kay there as she formally took on the responsibilities of a priestess of Isis. Her dream of starting an Iseum for the Fellowship of Isis in Bangor soon became a reality, with the inspired efforts of her women's community. Temple of the Feminine Divine continues on, and donations in honor of Kay can be sent to the Temple at: P.O. Box 602 Bangor, Maine 04402-0602.
Prolific composer, lover of music, inspired by life, the Goddess Sarasvati called you to Her service so long ago. You were the very first to record music in Her honor. Moon Circles was released in 1978, the pioneering work in women's spirituality. In 1973, you, Alex, and Patches Attom recorded the second album of out lesbian music with Lavender Jane Loves Women. The first album being your dear friend, Maxine Feldman.
I had to call Maxine today, Kay, and tell her that you died. How can anyone do that? She loved you so much. I told Max that several years ago you had asked me to facilitate your service if anything ever happened to you. Maxine asked me if I would sing Amazon at the service. You were the first person to hear it, and give her encouragement for it.
There are so many thoughts and memories racing through my mind. Places we have been together, talks, walks, music, and just plain hanging out. You taught me so many things I needed to learn. And I did my best. For now I wish to share the most recent moments with Kay. These were moments shared with thousands of other women only a couple of weeks ago.
My dear Kay, priestess, musician, Muse, composer, healer, lover, mother, pioneer, foremother, my beloved friend and mentor. You walked before us, the Goddess whispering in your ear, singing to you Her melodies, taking the creation from the Creatrix and helping all of us to hear that Muse-ic. I can see you now in your beautiful robe created for you by Simone, and worn only for sacred occasions and rituals. I can see you standing proud like the Amazon you are. Showing us such strength in tenderness, and that beauty can also cut like a sword of truth.
At the opening ceremony of The Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, Ubaka, you, and I stood on the side of the stage, waiting our turn to step forward and present my song, "The Heart is the Only Nation." We connected deeply with each other, breathing and touching one another in our unified intention, to do this working well, to become of one mind and heart in our offering. Afterwards, your sure voice invoked the Goddess of Ten-Thousand Names, to bless the women, and for healing and peace on earth in these challenging times.
Only ten days ago at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, you guided the procession, as always, playing your flute on the way down the hill. Accompanied by Barb and Amy on frame drums, my beloved Falcon and Patrice bearing the torches to light the way to the stage for the Candlelight Concert. Sitting on the Acoustic stage with other priestesses, musicians, and others, by torchlight amidst the song, dance, sound, and spoken word gift givers, as a community we honored the Goddess and prayed for world peace. All of us sat on the very stage that you first visioned, and the festival built. You wanted a stage where acoustic music could be heard and appreciated. And from that stage we all listened to the sounds of your flute, your voice, your heart. We listened to you sing a song to the Goddess with Women With Wings sister Linda, and your beloved Colleen. Later, you played your flute to accompany the love song I sang with Bebhinn and my dulcimer. Would we have ever imagined this would be the last time we would hear that music only you could make?
Immediately following our song, Lelani taught the women listening to pray together with the motions of their hands and she danced a Hawaiian prayer for world peace. A huge meteor flew low out of the horizon from behind the moon, and flew so long across the sky with rainbow trails glowing behind it, as if to answer our prayers. I wonder now if that meteor was actually your star, Kay, letting us all know in such an astounding way that a guiding star in women's culture was about to burn gloriously out.
Colleen, beloved of Kay's. True companion. Kay found such happiness with you. You were the partner she had sought, and finally found. Such mutual love and respect between you. Sharing the teaching, the chants, the Mysteries. We are holding you in our hearts, even as ours are breaking.
I thank the Goddess for your birth, to your mother, and your ancestors. I pray for your return, if it is in accordance with your and Her will. I know that your music, voice, and wisdom with live on in each of us that chooses to listen. And I thank you for your courage, out of your sacred love of women as you walked a few steps before us. "And the road is a little easier, since she was here, " goes the song, One Fine Day. And I will always remember you, Kay, and bless your way, where you go now. You will always be a part of us.
I love you,
Ruth Rhiannon Barrett
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