Bronwynn was a passionate writer and story-teller. She authored several books, including One Witches Way and Cookie Cutter Magic, as well as myriad other articles, short stories, and poems, many of which also saw publication. She was an active member of the Pagan community, an exulted and revered Priestess, a respected consultant and reader — and a tenacious friend and ally. Bronwynn loved nature, and was at peace while hiking a forest, or any coast touched by an ocean. She loved entertaining and playing Scrabble with friends. She believed in equality for all, and in speaking one’s mind.
Bronwynn is survived by her husband, Dan Poland (AZ); twin children, Angela (Kevin) Lian (AZ) and Moraelyn (Kristin Hundstad) Briargate (Norway) ; 5 grandchildren and a sister, Marilyn Roark (IL). She touched many hearts and lives through her years, and now leaves innumerable friends and cohorts to their own mirth and wanderings. Light a candle, and remember her, as she embarks on a new journey.
Her husband has announced that her memorial will be held on May 1 – which is not only Beltane, but what would have been Bronwynn’s 60th birthday. I think she would have liked that; in fact, I think the entire memorial will go exactly as Bronwynn desired, because she planned it out years ago, “just in case.” She even printed the entire ritual in her book, One Witch’s Way ! I would like to share with you not the whole thing, but just a snippet; I’m sure many at the memorial will have her book in hand.
Pushing the Envelope: A Pagan Preparation for Death
We’ve all heard the horror stories of how someone like Lady Lemuria, a.k.a. Susan Smith, died of a sudden heart attack and was given a private Christian burial by her loving family while her covenmates were still reeling from the news. Although that name and scenario are fictitious, if there are no written last requests from members of our Craft communities, you’d best be resigned to the fact that conventional kin will soon be singing “Amazing Grace.” The deceased, who might have preferred cremation, will be pushing up daisies and taking an eternity to make things right with the Lord. Not the Horned One. You know, the other Lord, that guy with the white robe and stone tablets.
What should we as responsible, loving Pagans do for ourselves and for those we will ultimately each leave behind? Moon Grove Coven had a solution that I think would work for us all, covener and solitaire alike. What we each did, at the time that felt appropriate, was to write out any bequests “in the event of,” as well as any passages of poetry, memorial tributes we would wish spoken, and so forth. The writing was signed and dated, then placed in a sealed envelope that went into the coven Book of Shadows. It would never be opened or read—“unless.”
Although Moon Grove disbanded in 2003, Autumn and Joad still have my envelope.
My Craft-friendly family knows where my books and tools should go when I’ve left this mortal plane. My husband Dan knows that no stone will bear my name, but a hundred trees from coast to coast will be planted in my honor. He knows where to scatter my ashes, and which oaks will speak to my soul as it pauses and reflects.
Being one gifted with bursts of far memory, I do not fear the Veil or passing through it. As Z Budapest once said truthfully, “It is not death we fear; it is suffering.” Here, then, for both contemplation and chuckles, is the scattering ceremony I have written for myself.
When the time of my reaping has come, and direct cremation without embalming has been accorded to me, let those who have loved me take a handful of my ashes and scatter them on the winds, in the place I walked and spoke to the trees and collected small woodland treasures. […]
She then gives the full text of calls to the four directions, space for toasts, and a final thank you and send-off. She imagines that the toasting of mead will continue until “all the mead is gone, the park rangers have come and carted folks away, or those in sumbel have passed out cold.” I’m so sorry I can’t make it, Bronwynn, but I’ll toast you at home on May Day.
In closing, here is another quote from this passage that I hope will offer comfort to those she’s left behind:
“So . . . a little rest upon the wind, then new tales to gather in. I shall find you again, dear friends.”
So mote it be. Safe travels, Bronwynn.