Maureen Brown was a High Priestess of Wicca, and a qualified Counsellor, Psychotherapist, mother and grandmother- when she passed away into the arms of the veiled Isis, on this day, 11 years ago (25th December 2004). Since then Christmas day has never been the same.
I met her in the year 2000, at a Wiccan summer gathering of many covens, in a Glastonbury camping site. I didn’t know at the time that she had had surgery in her stomach and was recovering.. but she danced wildly with me in the barn that evening during the party / socials.. And later we spoke about magic and psychology and how she could help me with some of my issues (I didn;t tell her..she had just inferred!) It awed and impressed me so much.. She said to go and visit her in Croydon. I said I will.
But I did not. I thought I could do it myself.. you know.. sort myself out. I figured that if all else fails, I can always go to Maureen. And a year or so passed – until I was Pan in an Open ritual, and at the end of it, 2 Witches – a man and a woman, waited to give me an invite to their coven ritual.. at Maureen’s biding ofcourse!
So I went a few days later, and thus began a great friendship, admiration, and learning. There’s much more of course ..but that can all wait for some future write up.
What was important was.. few years later, she was diagnosed with cancer..terminal..and we all gathered around, as she spent weeks ..nay months preparing.. not just her life..but all her students & friends .. Well, she’s the psychologist, what else was she going to do?
And on the Christmas day, 2004, a fellow Wiccan Priestess Hazel and I went to the Hospice, and we just the two of us did a passing ceremony to aid Maureen who was already comatose. And within hours, she passed away. I ofcourse got home lit some candles.. and began to do some art work, titled, `passing of a Priestess’ – and after finishing the art, I called the Hospice, to hear the news that Maureen Brown has passed away.. just 15 minutes prior!
That Christmas time was special.. where few weeks prior, we had the most biggest party in her house, fire works, table for 30+ ..and passing her white wig around ..all of us taking photos ..making merry and light of what’s to come. It was one last glorious party she organised…for all of us! (she’s a Counsellor.. she prepared us all well).
This morning I woke up all still ..feeling rather quiet.. possibly as we are just coming out of a cancerian full moon.. and over coffee, I looked on internet to find that apart from my blogs, and a PF document, no mention exists of Maureen Brown or her work.. How sad.. And what an honour. And I’ve spent hours digging through my computer files, looking for photos, rituals, key dates..piecing dates together..(like the `Sea Priestess ritual Requiem’ that we Wiccans gathered to do at Brighton where Maureen’s ashes were scattered in the sea on an Autumn day in 2007!)
There is much more to say..so much more.
But for now.. I remember Maureen Brown, the Extraordinary High Priestess & friend who changed my life.. and empowered it. As she often said, the work never ends., and some of us carry it on…even now!