Isaac Bonewits, 1949-2010

I knew Isaac somewhat in the 1980s, through attendance at Starwood and other pagan festivals, around the time he was starting ADF, before (and slightly after) the encounter with tainted tryptophan that demolished his health. Yes, in those days he had some of the arrogance of the intellectual, and a wicked sense of humor. A friend of mine and he once reportedly danced through a Seax Wicca encampment chanting “Saxons eat shit” in Gaelic, enticing many of the Seax (a Saxon magic revivalist group) to join in the chant.

As a holder of a degree in Magic and Thamaturgy (signed by Ronald Reagan no less), he drew a certain amount of flak. He was, per tract author Jack Chick, the personal “enforcer” of Gavin Frost, “the Pope of Wicca”.  I don’t know what is funnier: the notion that such an irredeemably culturally-Protestant religion could have a Pope (esp. Frost, who has always been controversial within the Craft), or that the dweeby-looking ectomorph Isaac could enforce anything, let alone do so for one as different in outlook as Frost. His Real Magic is still one of the better books on magical theory.

He died about 8 AM Thursday at age 61 of cancer. We cannot know the destination of his soul, but the prognosis is not good. Please pray for him.

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