Today we sadly mark the passing of Patricia Monaghan, author of several books, including the recent reissue of Magical Gardens. We are grateful to her life lived and her words that will continue live on through her many books. One of the leaders of the contemporary earth spirituality movement, Patricia Monaghan spent more than 20 years researching and writing about alternative visions of the earth. Throughout her career, Patricia’s work dealt with issues of spirituality, especially women’s spirituality. She was an avid gardener with a large organic garden, orchard, and vineyard that she tended with her husband, Dr. Michael McDermott.
Some of our staff here at Llewellyn worked closely with Patricia over the years to publish her books. Our Senior Editor Becky had this to say of Patricia:
It’s difficult to say a few words about Pat because words—simple, beautiful words—were what she used to perfection in order to enlighten, inspire, and delight. With her poetic sensibilities and deep understanding of life—whether that life was a shoot of green sprouting from the earth or a heady, conceptual treatise on goddess spirituality—she embodied the very grace, passion, and beauty of what she wrote about, uniting the spiritual with the physical and ultimately being a force for the highest good. At her passing I imagine her gardens and her trees grieving in their way just as all her human friends and family are, marking the life of an extraordinary soul.
Our Acquisitions Editor Elysia, who worked with Pat on her latest book, offered the following:
I have a very different memory of and experience with Patricia Monaghan than many people who are currently mourning her loss. To many people she was a real-life friend and mentor; I never met her in person. To many others she was an inspirational figure, the bridge that connected them to the Goddess; she wasn’t that for me. She was one of my many authors, who I never put on pedestals but treat as competent human beings whose hard work adds value to our company. We had a business relationship, and she really excelled at her profession as an author—always clear, punctual, gracious, and communicative.
But she was more than that. Obviously. She was one of the nicest and most down-to-earth people I have had the pleasure of working with. Every email we exchanged, every phone conversation we had, inevitably veered off the topic of her manuscript and into other fun nooks and crannies such as local wineries, Justin Bieber busking in Stratford, her introducing me to the concept of “garden porn.” I promised her travel tips for Hungary if ever she should go (sadly, a conference there she was planning to attend had been called off) and she promised me travel tips for Ireland whenever I’m eventually ready to go. We talked about the Shoe Box near her home in Black Earth and she encouraged me to come visit her gardens. More than anything else, that’s what I would say was one of her main characteristics—how enthusiastic she was about everything she loved, and how encouraging she was of every single person on a personal level. I hope to take that spirit forward and be just as connected to and supportive of people in my life.
Patricia is survived by her husband, Dr. Michael McDermott.