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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Patricia Monaghan, a writer you should know

Patricia Monaghan

Robert Shea's widow, Patricia Monaghan (1946-2012), was herself a noteworthy writer and scholar. She wrote more than 20 books, including poetry and nonfiction works on topics such as meditation and Celtic folklore.  She taught at Maybe Logic University and also was a full professor at DePaul University. She was a founding member of the the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology. She and her husband, Dr. Michael McDermott, were the founders of The Black Earth Institute, "an organization dedicated to inspiring artists to serve the causes of inclusive spirituality, protecting and healing the earth and fighting for social justice." I can't really cover all of her achievements in a relatively brief blog post, so please see the Wikipedia biography.  It has a useful bibliography. 

Monaghan won the Pushcart Prize for "Physics and Grief," her excellent essay on coping with grief after Shea's death in 1994. Dr. McDermott kindly obtained a PDF for me that I am allowed to share with you. Please do  yourself and favor and read it if you haven't read it before. 

Here is a biographical tidbit I have just obtained. Robert Anton Wilson, in his essay about Shea in Cosmic Trigger 3, wrote that Shea and Monaghan met when they had speaking gigs at a pagan festival. He didn't actually gave the name of the group or the location, but I can finally confirm what I've long suspected: They met as guest speakers for the Association for Consciousness Exploration, in Cleveland, Ohio, the same place where I live. Here is Joe Rothenberg, ACE co-founder, in an email to me:

"They met at The Starwood Festival, an annual event started in 1981.  At that time the The Starwood Festival was presented by The Association for Consciousness Exploration, a partnership formed by Jeff Rosenbaum amd myself to help organize our friends and run the festival.  Jeff passed away in 2015 [actually in 2014] I continued the festival with the continued support of our friends. 

"About 3 years ago I organized the Rosencomet Project as a non profit to continue presenting the Starwood Festival. This will be our 43rd (

"RAW, Robert Shea, and Patricia Monaghan were supporters of ACE and The Starwood Festival and attended many of our events."

Patricia Monaghan was known for being a mentor to younger writers and scholars, and she was really nice to me when I emailed her to ask her questions about Shea. 

1 comment:

Rob Pugh said...

Physics and Grief was a powerful read. Thank you.