“I’m a bit uncomfortable, truth be told, with being seen as an expert, because there is always so much more to learn. I see myself as a perpetual student of the goddess.” – Patricia Monaghan
Word quickly emerged yesterday that Patricia Monaghan, a pioneer in the contemporary women’s spirituality movement, and author of books like The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocations, and Rituals and The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit, had passed away. An accomplished poet and academic in addition to her work in the realm of women’s spirituality, her output was hugely influential on a generation of modern Pagans, Goddess worshippers, and Goddess scholars. Her encyclopedias on goddesses and heroines, later collected in one work, were touchstones for many books by a number of authors that followed. Already, many who have worked, taught, and shared scared space with Monaghan have spoken out about her enthusiasm for life, her deep wisdom, and her role as an inspirational figure in their lives.
“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 [...] 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.” – Elysia Gallo, Acquisitions Editor, Llewellyn Worldwide
“I’m still stunned by the news of the passing of Patricia Monaghan. She was one of the first authors who I met and she welcomed me with open arms into the Loyal Order of Pagan Authors. She encouraged and mentored me. She gave advice and first hand Irish info to me on the last book I wrote, the Feast of the Morrighan, and generously gave me life strategy and business lessons while we shared a plane ride together, making her seat mate move so I could sit next to her for the flight. I still remember her pulling me into the dark corner of the hotel bar in Denver and saying “I hear your pretty good at tarot… I need a reading” and then we started our time together. Though we didn’t see each other in the flesh that often, she was a huge influence upon me and I miss her.” – Christopher Penczak
“May we take comfort in knowing that she lives on in her creative works and the many lives she touched. Brigit guide her passage to the Otherworld. Brigit aid us in our mourning. Brigit Blessings.” – Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary
“I have been grieving since I first got the news yesterday around noon that Patricia Monaghan has passed away. For over 30 years, she has been a beloved teacher, mentor, and inspiration to me, both through her books and in person. I had not seen her in years, but we were still in touch. I wish I had told her recently how much her work continues to nourish me. I hope she knows it now.” – Joanna Powell Colbert
In addition to the many accomplishments listed above, Monaghan also taught at Chicago’s DePaul University School for New Learning, co-founded the Black Earth Institute in Wisconsin, and was a noted wine connoisseur. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Michael McDermott. May she rest in the arms of the Goddess, may she return to us again, and may her friends and family be comforted.
I will update this post once official memorial information has been posted.