|Priestess, teacher, artist, trail blazer of the NeoPagan Movement and leader in the Pagan Comunity; Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart passed beyond the veil on May 13, 2014 surrounded by friends and family.
She was born Diana Moore in Long Beach, Calif., on May 27, 1948, to a lower middle-class family with Irish and Choctaw Indian ancestry. Around age 17 and after graduating from high school, Morning Glory initiated herself into Witchcraft following a three-week vigil at Big Sur, California. But it wasn't until 1974, after meeting her husband and life partner Oberon Zell, that she received formal priestess training and became a leader in Zell's Church of All Worlds (incorporated as a church in 1968.)
In February 2014, Zell-Ravenheart and her husband published a book on their lives with co-author John C. Sulak entitled "The Wizard and the Witch: Seven Decades of Counterculture, Magick & Paganism."
In addition to speaking and writing on religion, witchcraft and mythology, Morning Glory is often attributed with popularizing the term "polyamory" in a 1990 article entitled, "A Bouquet of Lovers: Strategies for Responsible Open Relationships." She and Zell had an open marriage throughout the years.
In 2006, Morning Glory was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable bone and blood cancer. She received treatment and improved but then relapsed in early 2014. Faced with substantial medical bills, Oberon launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised nearly $10,000 in three months.
She received chemotherapy treatment over the next several months and began home hospice care on May 8 to be with friends and family for her final days. On May 14, Zell posted an update announcing her's death on the GoFundMe page:
"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."
Condolences and prayers streamed in on Zell's Facebook page after news of Zell-Ravenheart's death spread, demonstrating the powerful role the priestess played in the lives of many.
One commenter posted:
Love and prayers to Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart as she dances her way to the SummerLand. The gifts that you and Oberon have given to those of us behind you on the Path will shine on for generations. Blessings on your Journey and Blessings to the Jourynerer.
The webmistress of the Sonoma County Pagan Network writes: I am very grateful for having been given the chance to get to know both Oberon and Morning Glory. Though I cannot say I know them very well, both of them seem to exude a warm love and feeling of welcome to almost everyone they meet. Morning Glory expecially would greet you as if she had known you for years and she never forgot a face inspite of all the people she met over the years. One of the most memerable moments I spent with her was when I recieved a reading from her. My partener and I had been undergoing a great deal of difficulty and persecution from a particular individual who would not relent. She told both my partner and me that our love for each other was our greatest protection against any adversity and she told us never to loose sight of our love and to nurture it every day. We followed her advice and to this day we are still together and our advasary no longer troubles us. The lesson we take away from this experience is that while love cannot save you from feeling pain, espescially when the pain is caused by loosing one you love, love can overcome every ill and heal wounds that have long scarred over. As long as there is love there is comfort protection and hope.
Blessings to our beloved Morning Glory.