According to a post on her official Facebook page, D.J. Conway “passed into the loving arms of the Goddess on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. She gifted this world and all of us with the knowledge of the Old Ones through her wit and wisdom. The cares of this world are now lifted from your body, mind, and spirit.”
Conway was a native of the Pacific Northwest. Born in 1939 in Hood River, Oregon, she studied occult works and Paganism over thirty years, and authored many books of fiction and nonfiction. She also designed tarot cards.
As Conway enters the realm of the ancestors, she leaves on this side of the veil a vast anthology of authored works that span almost 50 years of prolific activity. At the height of her publication presence, Conway’s works became ubiquitous. Few Pagan authors were as widely read. Over her active career as an author, she published books on a broad range of subjects, including Wicca, candle magick, dragons, and even encyclopedias about deities and fairies.
In 1990, she published her first book, Celtic Magic, a text that continues to influence Pagans today, having sold more than 300.000 copies. The book continues to receive reviews from new readers on Amazon and Goodreads, showing its enduring popularity and influence. In 1998, Conway was voted “Best Wiccan and New Age Author” by Silver Chalice magazine. She published with Llewellyn Worldwide and Ten Speed Press.
Conway’s writing was not without controversy. Scholars raised issues about the historical accuracy of her works. Others found her work to be rudimentary. Still others didn’t appreciate her breadth, crossing through topics and connecting areas that were seemingly distant. The criticisms were not without merit.
Conway, however, did not write for scholars; she wrote for the spirit. She wrote in a manner that promoted wonder about the world and the magick in it. Her writing in Paganism focused on understanding spiritual forces; they were, more than anything else, about pure inspiration.
Conway offered her writing as insights into her own exploration of the magickal world. But her work was also welcoming and accessible. She removed barriers that come with introductions to many esoteric practices and religious rituals. She dissolved personal limitation and invited readers to begin their own devotional practices by working their personal magick.
Despite her breadth of material, Conway would say that her heart was with Pagan cultures. Her works included introductions and foundational material about Paganism and various practices, influencing writers not only with her content but also how the information was presented. Although she centered her writing on Paganism, and is best known for that work, she covered many other areas. As her biography notes, “her quest for knowledge has covered every aspect of Paganism, Wicca, New Age, and Eastern philosophies; to include history, the magickal arts, philosophies customs, mythologies and folklore.”
Several years ago, Conway retired from active lecturing and teaching. As her Llewelyn biography notes, “She lived a rather quiet life, with most of her time spent researching and writing.”
May she teach great things across the veil. What is remembered, lives!