Recalling Isaac


I see that today would have been Isaac Bonewits‘ sixty-fourth birthday.

As he was a regular customer at Moe’s Books in Berkeley at the time I was working there, and there were intersections in our interests, we would talk on occasion. Isaac was a weedy guy, as I recall on the nervous side. Smart as whip. I liked him. He invited me to a party, which I attended for fifteen or twenty minutes, but he was the only person I knew at all, and was surrounded by other people, and my attempts at conversation showed I had pretty close to nothing in common with most there, so I left. That’s my whole direct Isaac Bonewits experience.

But, he would pop up in my consciousness from time to time, and we were Facebook friends when he died in 2010.

Isaac Bonewits first claim to fame was managing to put together an undergraduate degree in magic from the University of California at Berkeley. I believe no one before and no once since has managed to get a degree in magic at any regularly accredited college or university.

He would go on to make his life around magic and neo-paganism, becoming a major figure in the Druid revival as well as among the wiccan crowd.

His fifth wife Phaedra was a continental vice-president of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, and he ended up having some connections, I think slight, with CUUPs and the UU world during the last years of his life.

An interesting and intriguing guy.

I think he was a significant thinker within the neo-pagan world, and brought some intellectual heft to their developing theo/theaologies.

I wish he had lived a bit longer.


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