I am sitting listening to an interview with Margot Adler.
You would recognize her voice, if you heard it; she was an NPR reporter for the last 30 years and, as such, has accompanied me on many a road trip. People who only know Margot as a reporter often don’t realize that she also wrote about the pagan movement in America.
As I was going through my books before the move to Asheville, I held my beat-up copy of Drawing Down the Moon in my hand, feeling its heft. In a moment that I am now regretting, I put the book in the donation pile.
I weighed many books in my hand that day, but this is the one that I remember because it was Margot Adler who made the word “witch” okay for me.
Margot made it more than okay, actually: she showed me that witchery could be intelligent and environmentally aware, full of craft and compassion.
Margot showed me that uncovering my inner witch was about taking a step inward toward my own truth… and that doing so did not in anyway undermine my intelligence or scholarship or fashion choices.
It was Margot whose words encouraged me to say the word “witch” out loud, if only to whisper it occasionally to a close friend.
For the last few days, since learning of her death, I have been crying intermittently. It doesn’t take much—the mention of her name, the word “witch,” a well-thumbed book sitting on my desk.
I’m not drawn much to hero worship. When another NPR reporter became my client a few years back, I had the fleeting thought “maybe she will recommend me to Margot.” But that thought came and went.
People touch my life and I then move forward from that place knowing that while my deepest need may have been met, that person doesn’t know me and I don’t know her. These encounters (in person, on the page, in the notes of a song) feel part of some larger cosmic flow, an energy that doesn’t want to be grasped at.
So I read Drawing Down the Moon a dozen years ago and it changed me fundamentally. But I have forgotten the book’s specifics and I have not really thought deeply about Margot Adler or her work in years.
But my subconscious seems to have identified her as a soul sister.
Margot’s writing helped me to merge my academic side with my witchy side. My life (and my business) would not be the same without the words she wrote. I only hope that I can pay it forward by offering the energy of both the witch and the sage to those who read these words.
Merry meet Margot.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
– Adapted from Ancient Gaelic Runes and posted on NPR by another mourning Margot’s passing
(Dar Williams’ “Calling the Moon” accompanied my writing today. Perhaps it will accompany your reading.)