Monday, August 16, 2010

The loss of a leader: Isaac Bonewits

When I was much younger, I happened upon a few articles by Isaac Bonewits. I was, at the time, far more interested in Wicca, and having come from a Catholic background, was convinced that what I needed to do most was to recreate some sort of impervious belief system that could withstand the onslaught of competing ideologies. I ignored the writings of this man, and the writings of many others. Tried as I might, the systems always failed. How could one face the obvious archaeological implications? How could the myth of the humans who had no idea of the male role in procreation stand against modern anthropological findings? The answer was simply that they could not. Not knowing how to deal with this, I found comfort in the most basic of religious principles, housed in the construct of the Catholicism that I had grown up with, simple devotion. For a while, I knew not who to address my prayers to other than the Great Mother. For me, She was the Moon. And, for a time, I became the most simple of Pagans, truly worshiping what I found in nature. There were certainly worse things to be than a moon worshiper. And sometimes, I still address my prayers to Her, for She sustained me for so long.

After a while though, I longed for more. When I did not find it in Wicca, I began to question whether I had even found the right path, and began to look elsewhere. When I found Druidism, and ADF, I suddenly was able to grasp the idea of a tangible, realistic Pagan worldview and worship, and at the same time let go of what I thought was the necessity of dualism. I was able to let go of the longing to find the one true path, and was able to embrace a spirituality teeming with presence and interaction. I always wanted to meet Isaac in person and tell him how grateful I was to have found what he had started. I knew that I was simply one among many, but I was overflowing with gratitude. I also understood the great idea. I understood that not only were we bringing back the idea of daring to worship the old Gods, but that we were bringing the discussion of Them back into the mainstream as had not been done in a very long time. I wish that I could tell him this in person, but I hope that he somehow knows the implications of the work he accomplished in life. May the Gods and Ancestors guide and bless him and his family.

Isaac Bonewits Memorial on the ADF website
The Wild Hunt posts on the passing of Isaac Bonewits
NPR's Margot Adler remembers Isaac Bonewits

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