As Anne has written in her diary, our friend of 30 years, Margot Adler, has died. She was one of the most alive, delightful and delighted human beings I have ever met. Margot could be serious and go deep, but she could also explode with joy and dancing and wonderful wildness. She was the author of a major work on paganism, Drawing Down the Moon, and also a reporter for NPR for many years. For a time before National Public Radio existed, she was on WBAI radio with a late-late show called Hour of the Wolf. I was on it with her a number of times. I suppose because I’m too much of a pariah for NPR, her occasional efforts to use me on air for the most part failed.
Back in 1984, I was writing a book called Catmagic, and needed direct contact with people in the Wiccan movement. As I am a secular person, I’m indifferent to the various supposed issues surrounding Wicca, and indeed, instead of devil-worshipers, I found a wonderful group of men and women who were more committed to the welfare of the earth and all who live on her than they were involved with the old gods. Although I did participate in some beautiful and moving goddess rituals, it was their earth-centric orientation that really appealed to me.
I called around, and soon found myself talking to Margot. We got to be friends, and I found myself amazed and empowered by her mere presence. She was just so joyous. She was a high priestess of being. And her spouse John Gliedman was equally wonderful. He was one of the two or three most brilliant people I have ever met.
The four of us formed a friendship. I finished Catmagic, which is full of realistic Wiccan rituals thanks to Margot and her friend, Circle Wicca’s Selena Fox.
We had known each other about a year when John called me to say that he had some extremely unusual photographs of Mars that had been given to them by Richard Hoagland, who had dated Margot and remained a friend. I went over to their apartment and found myself looking down at the Mars Face as recorded by the Viking Orbiter. I’d had a bestseller in Warday at the time, and was able to finance some imaging work on it done by Dr. Brian O’Leary and Dr. Mark Carlotto. Their work was eventually published in the IEEE Journal, and concluded that the face was not likely to be a natural feature. (I won’t even go into the tragic misapprehensions and official lies about this matter that unfolded later. Suffice to say that you can lie with pictures as well as words, and the people promoting these particular lies have neither conscience nor shame.)
In any case, it was shortly after this that the visitors showed up in my life. I saw the face in September of 1985. In October, I began to feel the frightening effects of their approach, even though I had no idea what it was.
When they finally and undeniably appeared in my life, John and Margot were among the first people that I told. Neither of them bought the idea that it was alien contact, no more than I did. Margot called it a ‘goddess moment,’ and John thought that there must be some explanation congenial to science. As it developed and expanded in my life, John and Margot were among the people we invited to our cabin in hope that they would witness it too. (Many people were witness to the phenomenon there, as I have detailed in my books.)
One morning we all went down to meditate in the stone circle I had created at the spot where I thought I had been ‘taken up.’ There were six of us there. John, Margot, Dora Ruffner, her partner Peter Frohe, Anne and myself. I was sitting in the middle of the circle when I noticed a change in the light. The world seemed quite a bit clearer than it had just a moment before. In fact, the forest had never seemed so beautiful.
Then Anne said, ‘what’s that light shining on you?’ I held out my hand and realized that a bright light was shining from directly overhead. And yet we could see nothing overhead but blue sky. This went on for a few moments, then the light disappeared as if turned off by a switch.
We had all seen it–all except John, who could not afford to see it without his world view, which was deeply rooted in current scientific notions of reality, being fatally disrupted.
The result of this level of denial was that John got a terrific headache, and Dora, who was an expert massage therapist, worked on his head and neck for hours in order to relieve it.
Looking back, with Margot’s passing, everybody who was in that circle that morning is now dead, and all of them before the age of seventy. Peter died of an aortic aneurysm in his forties. Dora died of colon cancer at fifty, John of stomach cancer in his mid sixties, and now Margot in her late sixties, also of cancer. And Anne has a tumor that is generally fatal.
This, basically, is why I have recorded the experience. There were some very special, wonderful people in that circle on that day, and as I think back, I seem to hear them calling me from the beauty of the light, Dora’s gentle spirit, Peter’s powerful shamanism, John’s indomitable spirit and Margot’s explosive joy. Calling me and calling Anne.
Beloved friends and fellow adventurers, we shan’t be long!