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Monica Sjoo is dead. She died on Monday the 8th of August, of cancer, surrounded by her loving friends.
Monica was an artist, a writer, one of the early, powerful visionaries of the women’s spirituality movement. Her book, The Great Cosmic Mother, brought the hidden history of the Goddess back alive, and her paintings transformed ancient images and symbols into contemporary icons of female power.
I first met Monica in 1985, on a walk with women activists from the Greenham Common Peace Camp, that began in Avebury on Beltaine and crossed the military firing ranges of Salisbury Plain to celebrate a wild, powerful, illicit ritual at Stonehenge during a lunar eclipse. Monica was strong, blunt, sometimes painfully honest, gruff, brilliant and courageous. She faced huge losses in her own life with courage and creativity, and wrote with truthful self-revelation of her own griefs and disappointments. She continued to paint, write and create.
The last time I saw Monica, she came for a night to the Earth Activist Training I was coteaching in England. She presided over the ritual we were having that night in her wheelchair, sitting by the fire like an embodiment of the Crone herself. We told stories, of the walk and the Stonehenge ritual, of Greenham and the antinuclear actions of the eighties, of the early years of the feminist spirituality movement. The younger women activists—and the men—listened with rapt attention to a history most of them had never heard. Monica seemed strong, at peace, complete. That is how I will remember her, her silver hair shining in the firelight, her eyes alight. One of the mothers of the women’s spirituality movement is gone. May the Goddess embrace her, take her into her loving arms, and bring her strong, creative spirit around the circle to rebirth.
Note: there is now a fantastic website for Monica up at www.monicasjoo.org .
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