When I met her for the first time some years ago, she was already diagnosed with Hodgkin's. It came back several times and even then she was already living on borrowed time. That didn't stop her from fighting, on the contrary! She has been a fighter until the end. She tried alternative methods, special diets, everything within reach that looked promising. She has managed to live way longer than the medical world would think possible. It was hard on her, but she hardly ever complained. That wasn't really in her nature and if she did she always tried to end the conversation on a positive note.
I met her on several occasions, mainly on events organised by the Pagan Federation in The Netherlands, but we had more in common than our pagan path and shared a lot of interests. We also kept in contact through e-mail, social media, etc. She was a gifted artist and very creative, although she was often trivialising it if I told her that. She shared her knowledge and ideas freely, always willing to explain something. We had talks about health and a body that didn't cooperate with what we wanted. In that area I was the one trivialising, because I didn't want to compare my health issues with her way more serious ones. Sometimes she was angry about that, but we also laughed a lot and didn't take ourselves too serious!
Her pagan path started in shamanism and that stayed with her. We often talked about it. In the beginning I was studying with Phyllis Curott, who combines wicca and shamanistic techniques into her own tradition. Kyra was very interested and shared some of her own practices with me. Later on she met Ron, my husband, and they got along very good too. They shared the love of drumming and liked to drum together. When Ron and I made our own shaman drums from scratch, she promised to make drum bags for us by felting. Unfortunately she didn't feel good enough to felt and wasn't able to even start on them. Fortunately I have other felting objects and art she made.
After some not-so-nice experiences on my spiritual path I was questioning myself whether this really was the right path for me. I felt a bit lost. Kyra helped me to find myself and my path again. She never told me what I should do, but helped me to discover by myself how I really felt, how to deal with it and what I wanted. That was the kind of friend she was: never judgmental, always there to help. Oh sure, she had her own shadows to fight. She wasn't prefect, no-one is, but we shared the ability to play the devil's advocate, to see problems from different perspectives, not necessarily our own.
When I had found my way again, and decided that yes, this is definitely the right path for me, she invited me to join her coven after she discussed it with the other coven members. That was the final step I needed to take to get back on track. It is a Greencraft coven, an Alexandrian based traditional craft wiccan tradition. I was the last one she initiated, a bittersweet honour... Because of the coven our contact intensified, we met more often and I loved that. If only she could have had more time...
We knew she lived on borrowed time, but her death still came very fast and suddenly. I'm glad she didn't have to suffer any longer, the pain is finally gone... May she rest in peace in the loving hands of the gods, they know she deserves it.
She had left instructions for her final goodbye. It was a private ceremony with people who cared about her very much. Beautiful, with tears of course, but we also celebrated her life just like she wanted. She was (is!) loved and will be dearly missed by many...
She wasn't someone for ostentation, didn't like to be the centre of attention, let alone admiration, but I really wanted to share this, so I hope she'll forgive me...
RIP, Kyra - merry meet, merry part, until we merry meet again!
Elegy for a Dead Witch
(by Doreen Valiente)
To think that you are gone, over the crest of the hills,
As the Moon passed from her fullness, riding the sky,
And the White Mare took you with her.
To think that we will wait another life
To drink wine from the horns and leap the fire.
Farewell from this world, but not from the Circle.
That place that is between the worlds
Shall hold return in due time. Nothing is lost.
The half of a fruit from the tree of Avalon
Shall be our reminder, among the fallen leaves
This life treads underfoot. Let the rain weep,
Waken in sunlight from the Realms of Sleep.