On Friday, a friend of Pagan author and elder Grey Cat announced that she had passed away. In November of last year, Grey Cat told friends and followers on Facebook that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and had less than a year to live. Her last post was made on March 8th, where she said that “the oddest thing about knowing you’re about to die is that there is so little to say about it.” Already, her profile is full of condolences and remembrances from the many people whose lives she touched.
“Word has come to me that my old friend Pagan elder & author Grey Cat has died. She had a deep love of the Craft and shared experiences & perspectives in her book, Deepening Witchcraft. She was connected with a variety of groups, festivals, & communities over the course of her life, including the Pagan Spirit Gathering. I join the many who mourn her passing. She lives on in her writings & in the many individuals & groups she touched. Blessed Be, Grey Cat.” – Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary
Grey Cat was the author of “Deepening Witchcraft: Advancing Skills & Knowledge”, and a contributor to several other books, including “Exploring the Pagan Path: Wisdom From the Elders,” and the Chas Clifton-edited “Witchcraft Today” series. Grey Cat served as the editor of The Crone Papers for four years, and had held leadership positions within the Covenant of the Goddess and Ar n’Draiocht Fein. Grey Cat founded the NorthWind Tradition of American Witchcraft, and was an elder is several other American Witchcraft traditions.
Perhaps Grey Cat’s largest contribution to modern Paganism was her outspoken advocacy for elders within our communities, and the need to ground our traditions in wisdom and hard-won experience. She was part of a larger movement towards acknowledging the aging of the Pagan community’s first and second waves, and the changing spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of those populations. “Deepening Witchcraft,” which was published in 2002, along with similar books like Ellen Cannon Reed’s “The Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path,” published in 2000, were seen as a corrective to a Wiccan/Witchcraft community that had become overly focused on younger adherents, “101” instructional tomes, and unbridled eclecticism in the 1990s.
“I never saw witches as ugly. I never saw being a crone as a terrible thought.” – Grey Cat
Grey Cat was a much beloved figure for many Pagans who treasured her wisdom and plain-speaking, her absence will most certainly be felt. May she rest in the arms of her gods, and return to us again.