The passing of Margot Adler was a major loss to the pagan community. Margot's passing hit me hard. When I started my pagan journey over two decades ago, "Drawing Down the Moon" was one of the first books I ever read. She brought the pagan community out of the backyards and basements, and she pealed away all the scary rumors and innuendos that the Christian community has been throwing at pagandom. DTTM was full of rich characters, such as Isaac Bonewits, Oberon Zell, Steve McNallen, Selena Fox, and a host of others. They were blazing trails, doing ritual, forging new ground, but most of all, they were having fun doing it! Margot herself, a member of the media, came out and told the world that pagans are normal people that can hold prominent careers.
As I grew older, became more involved in the greater pagan community, and interacted at Pantheacon, I got to meet and know these wonderful people that she actually wrote about. I met Isaac over the phone due to his long standing friendship with Stephen Abbot, and I built a pretty cool friendship with him. Oberon has stayed at my house several times. Steve McNallen and I have had long talks on mythology, and I finally got to meet Selena Fox for the first time at the con. All of these trailblazers she wrote about have become important people in my life, and I have Margot to thank for that.
My wife Lindsay and I have attended Margot's chanting class every year Lindsay has been at Pantheacon. If you are aware, getting me out of the ADF suite at Pantheacon is very difficult, so you can imagine how high a priority attending her class was to me. Lindsay drew just as much inspiration from Margot, and we always made it a point to walk up to her and say hello. I didn't know Margot personally, but yet, her work had a profound effect on me. This past Pantheacon, Margot Adler walked into the ADF suite. There were very few there beside myself and Rev. William Ashton. She took the time to chat with us, and I asked her about her latest book, "Vampires Are Us" and if she had a copy to sell. She said she only had one left, and she handed it to me. With gratitude and tears, I asked her to sign it for Lindsay, as I told Margot she would have loved to have been able to have time to talk to you. Margot smiled, took out her pen, and scribbled, "To Lindsay, Blessed Be, Margot Adler".
When I heard the news of Margot's death, I remember back to the moment when she signed that book. I thought to myself, "That was the first significant interaction with Margot, and it will be the last." When Lindsay heard the news, she wept, and then I joined her. Lindsay was looking forward to going to next year's Pantheacon, so she could meet up with Margot and thank her for the book. Instead, we will have to take that memory, keep it, and know how special Margot was every time we see it on our bookshelf. Blessed Be Margot!
- Rev. Sean Harbaugh
Senior Druid - Sierra Madrone Grove, ADF
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From: Ken Barcus at NPR:
Many of you have asked about ways to honor Margot’s memory. After discussions with a few of her closest friends, it’s been decided that collecting donations toward buying a memorial bench in her name in Central Park is the best plan. It’s something she spoke of in her final days. As you know, she lived on the edge of the park nearly her entire life and walked through it daily. She bought a bench for her husband John, when he passed away, and one for her mother years earlier. Both are situated in the park, close to her condo. The cost of doing this through the Central Park Conservancy is $7,000. If we raise more than that, the excess will be put toward planting a tree in Central Park in her name. If anyone wants to donate toward this, I’ll be collecting the money and then forwarding it to the conservancy.
Checks should be made out to: Margot Adler Memorial Fund and mailed to this address:
Ken Barcus NPR
3109 Mayfield Rd. #207
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
Online contributions for Margot’s bench in Central Park can be made here at Tilt. Tilt will take credit and debit card payments but does not accept Bitcoin or Paypal at this time.
Margot traveled in so many different circles, that I’m sure I’ve left many people off this email who would like to know about this effort. Please feel free to forward along this note to them. Thanks - Ken