Goddess Alive!

Goddess Celebration and Research

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Asphodel Long, researcher & writer, born 1921,
died Feb 1st (Imbolc) 2005

Asphodel Long
Photograph ©Magenta Wise

from Daniel Cohen
“This has been a sad year for the Goddess movement in Great Britain. Asphodel Long died at Imbolc, and Monica Sjöö died just after Lammas. I once described Asphodel as ‘a grandmother of the Goddess movement in Great Britain’. I was thinking of Monica as the other grandmother. They were both members of the Matriarchy Study Group, and this seems to have been the origin of the British Goddess movement of the last 30 years.

Asphodel was my dearest friend and partner for over 25 years. We lived independent lives, but saw each other very often. It is extremely hard to write anything about someone so close. So I will just quote some words from the biblical Book of Wisdom of Solomon (chapter 7, verses 22-23) on which she worked for her book ‘In a Chariot Drawn by Lions’. She once used these words, attributes of divine Wisdom, as a tribute to my mother. But I have always felt that, if they can be applied to any human being, they hold true of Asphodel:

‘In her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, beneficent, humane, loving the good.’ “

from Miriam Scott
“Dearest Asphodel, you were my friend and mentor and hero as you were to so many others. We went back before the Goddess movement, and I knew you too as a successful working journalist, mother, and politically engaged Jewish woman – lively, insightful, witty and the most exciting of communicators. You later brought these wonderful grounded qualities to your work as an educator in feminist theology and spirituality. I was privileged to be your editor on your Wisdom book [‘In a Chariot Drawn by Lions’] . I look back with love and awe on 34 years of friendship and support. Thank you for all you have given to all who knew you. May your memory be a blessing.”

from Wren Sidhe
“It’s hard to find words to describe the enormity of the loss of Asphodel in our communities and in our lives. I think of her as a queen of revolution – she certainly helped me to make a revolutionary transformation in my life and she was so gifted in saying complex truths in such a simple way and naming all that is wrong in our societies. Her scholarship and intellect were always a source of exhilaration and joy to me. I was blessed to know Asphodel.”

from Angela Solstice
“Perhaps Asphodel’s greatest legacy (besides her friendship and support to so many women) was her birthing, leading and sustaining of the feminist-orientated ‘Goddess movement’ in Britain. I met Asphodel about 35 years ago and was immediately drawn to her as soon as we met. I am so pleased to have had her friendship. My own life has been immeasurably richer for having known her. I am especially grateful to her for founding MRRN, which seemed to start it all off in those early days. This was a group which first met in her ‘squat’, later in her new home and elsewhere and in which we met a whole range of interesting and committed Goddess-orientated women who shared ideas, food and small ceremonies and which published an early information-packed and inspiring newsletter.

Asphodel was a tutor in ‘Labyrinth Women’s Workshops’ which I ran in the late 80s, and taught with me in ‘Women and the Goddess’ extra-mural classes at London University, and in an adult education class in Brentford in West London where she inspired even those who had never thought about either feminism or the Goddess seriously before. We also shared an interest in writing poems on the Goddess and women’s spirituality, and her book ‘Athene Revisited’ is a delight, as are her poems in the annual Lunar Calendar.

She, like the Goddess, was Wisdom and Wit, a caring person, an excellent communicator with her own brand of (sometimes apparently disorganised) efficiency, a politically motivated yet original feminist thinker. She gave so many women such insight into their own power and possibilities. She will always remain in our hearts and minds and in our thoughts, I’m sure her work will continue to inspire not only those who remain but those who follow on. Her life was truly special.”

from Johanna Stuckley
“Years ago I met Asphodel at a Conference in Asphodel at NewgrangeDublin. Her intellect and the depth of her spirituality, as well as her warmth and gentleness, were immediately evident, and drew many of us to her. She too made the trip to New Grange, where she led a ritual among the stones near the entrance. It was a deeply moving experience that I mark as one of the pivotal events of my life. I will always cherish the memory of Asphodel’s sweet, intent face, surrounded by blowing locks, as she reverently invoked the Goddess”.

from Lydia Ruyle
“Asphodel Long manifested the Great Mother Goddess in all her aspects. I was blessed to met her in Anatolia in 1990 on the trail of the Mother Goddess there. Asphodel’s clear vision of the divine feminine was an inspiration and gift to me. Her sparkling blue eyes, brilliant mind and persistent encouragement embodied the Goddess, empowering those whose lives she touched.

The Goddess Conference at the Ephesus Museum in Turkey in July this year was dedicated to her. Her energy was with us on the journey keeping Herstory alive. On the bus, we showed her video Quest for the Goddess. It was a gift to hear her voice again and see her telling Herstories.”

Memorial Service for Asphodel -Tunbridge Wells Crematorium 7th Feb 2005

Penny Barham, a close friend of Asphodel’s, facilitated the Service. On the altar was a figurine of the Sleeping Lady from the Hypogeum in Malta that Asphodel visited many times. A number of people spoke about their memories of her, and a Tribute was read by her friend Magenta Wise, in which she said:

“She was armed with remarkable personal qualities. She achieved the almost impossible – modest authority. She never made you feel she was actually teaching you – it was more like sharing. Her humour was kindly with a bit of mischief. She gave us her time, encouragement, understanding, support, inspiration, love and of course her wonderful book and writings. She was like a fairy Goddessmother, her intellect a magic wand, dusting us with knowledge and insight. Her heart a magic cauldron where we were all special. She made it all seem effortless in her graciousness.”

Penny, who is Asphodel’s Literary Executor and now owns the copyright to her writings, has asked GA! to mention that she may be contacted by those who wish to use her work. She also has copies of her books available for sale. Details from:
36 Cuthbert Road, Brighton BN2 0EN, or by email.

“Villanelle for Women Travellers” by Asphodel Long

for the Glastonbury Goddess Tours Reunion – August 2000

Dear women who have made this pilgrimage
To far off lands to seek Her mystery
And teach yourselves your own sweet heritage,

And meet Her, new found, with Her your life engage
In temples, caves and ancient masonry
Dear women who have made the pilgrimage

Who seek to understand the old language
Wiped from our souls with such ferocity
But never lost, now bright upon the page

As banners fly with Her immense image
On hill and tower, they shake triumphantly –
And teach yourselves your own sweet heritage,

Dance sing and shout for joy, regain the stage
For women everywhere in slavery
Help them find Her in all their righteous rage.

Bless all who work to build the Goddess Age
Who mark the path of our life’s journey,
Dear women who have made the pilgrimage
And teach yourselves your own sweet heritage.

More tributes and information may be found on the website www.asphodel-long.com