Today we sadly mark the passing of pioneering priestess Morning Glory Zell on Tuesday, just two weeks short of her 66th birthday. She leaves behind a bereaved community of friends, lovers, and followers; several goddess-children and step-children; a granddaughter, daughter, and son-in-law, and her grieving husband and soul-mate, Oberon Zell, who posted the following message yesterday:
My beloved has passed beyond the veil. She drew her final breath at 5:42 yesterday afternoon. Her handmaidens, students and priestesses prepared her body and dressed her in her beautiful Sea Priestess robes. She is now lying in grace in the Temple for a few days until we take her body to its final resting place in the Earth. It’s been an incredible week–grief and joy intermixing like a lava lamp. So many beautiful loving people gathered around, taking care of everything. That’s all I can really say right now…I can barely see to type.
Just a few months earlier, Llewellyn released the long-awaited oral history and dual biography of Oberon and Morning Glory, titled The Wizard and the Witch: Seven Decades of Counterculture, Magick & Paganism. I remain glad that she was able to see this major accomplishment come to fruition before she left the mortal plane; and glad that Morning Glory and Oberon were able to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary together this April.
To fully appreciate what Morning Glory’s life meant, and to witness just how strong their love was for each other, you just have to pick up the book. I myself have never seen a love outside the pages of a novel that was so intense and true that it survived for decades unabated: even as both partners had several other lovers, even as they fought tooth and nail, even as they sometimes would not see each other for months on end, even as they both made mistakes and sometimes caused each other pain, they recognized their deep connection to each other as soul mates, worked out their problems as well as anyone could, and the fire of passion between them never went out. Even up to Morning Glory’s last days on earth, Oberon continued to love her, dote on her, and take care of her as only the most committed husbands do, and the love in her eyes for him was unmistakable as well.
Although Morning Glory and Oberon both worked on the massive undertaking that became their printed life story, for the most part during the several-year-long process I only had direct contact with Oberon and the author/editor who put it all together, John Sulak. And yet having read the whole book through several times in several versions, I feel that I know Morning Glory just as well as I know Oberon. Her words ring out and even now strike me with their honesty, forthrightness, and intelligence. And in that spirit, I’d like to let her words speak for themselves. This is a short excerpt from Morning Glory’s foreword to their book:
I have had lots of amazing adventures (chasing Mermaids) and done things that no one else has managed to do for a very long time (raising Unicorns); I have even coined a word (polyamory) for a lifestyle that lacked a satisfactory name for itself, and seen it adopted—not only by the movement but also by the Oxford English Dictionary. I, along with so many of my other brothers and sisters, have left legacies in the form of political and religious activism that will make it harder to persecute my people in the future and will lead to the hope of a living planet for our great grandchildren to live on. I have also led with my heart, taking risks and making huge and tragic mistakes, which people can point to as lessons about what not to do. After all, how can you grow if you don’t admit your mistakes?
At this point I can only point to the words of Sappho, a far greater writer than I will ever be:
“Although they are only breath, words which I command are immortal. Gifts that the golden Muses gave me were no delusion: dead, I will not be forgotten, someone in some future time will think of us…”
Blessed be, Morning Glory. You will not be forgotten.