Rev. Isaac Bonewits
The death of our Founder, Rev. Isaac Bonewits, on August 12, 2010, while not unexpected, was still a great shock to many of us. He had battled cancer since last autumn, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but even with all that discomfort he kept his sense of humor and general orneriness to the end. He shall be truly missed.
I visited with Isaac and his wife, Phaedra, last June when I did a healing rite for him. He insisted that we use good whiskey for the Waters of Life, so we did. It may have been his last taste of the stuff, but it sure gave him pleasure to honor the Gods in that way. The look on his face as he drank his sip can only be described as beatific.
ADF honored him with a Memorial Service at the Summerland Festival near Yellow Springs, Ohio on the following Thursday. It was filled with song and eulogies, and was quite emotional and touching. We managed to get the rite video taped, and segments from it are now available for view here on the ADF website. I want to thank all the people who helped with this, particularly Karen Clark of 6th Night Grove, the main organizer of the festival, who went out of her way to make the service possible. I also with to recognize all the folks who participated, such as our three lady bards, Emerald Bronowicz (the ADF Bard Laureate), Melissa Burchfield (current holder of the Wellspring Bardic Chair), and Maria Stoy; the clergy of ADF; and all the volunteers who stepped in at the last minute to make this happen.
Isaac’s death is the end of an era. One of his main goals was to start a religion that would grow, thrive, and outlast its founder. And this goal has been met. When he became ill in the 90’s and had to resign as Archdruid, he wisely stepped back so that his creation would have to stand on its own two feet. ADF went through some rough patches, but Isaac can now look back at us from the Otherworlds and know that he succeeded.
May Isaac continue to care and watch over us as a great ancestor, and may the Kindreds bless us and keep us and help us thrive. So be it!