On May 13, 2014, a force of nature for Paganism and for alternative religious rights succumbed to a long battle with cancer and passed into the paradise often called the Summerland. But her legacy lives on, and Morning Glory Zell will never truly be apart from us.
I first heard of Morning Glory when I read Drawing Down The Moon by Margot Adler (which is now in its third revised edition and well worth your time). She and her husband Otter (later known as Oberon Zell Ravenheart) were enthusiastic founders and organizers of the Church of All Worlds. The Church had been established as a network of information, mythology, and experience that would in turn provide a context for reawakening Gaia the Earth Mother. Gaia’s children could then find each other and form new groups for stewardship of the earth. Perhaps an even greater influence and entity in a movement was the Church’s publication, Green Egg, which has been published off and on since the early 1970’s.
Much can be written of other aspects of Morning Glory’s life, but I prefer to remember her as first and foremost the priestess, a woman who took the time to find her own path and once upon it never looked back. Morning Glory reminded us that impossible is a human idea, a fetter we place on ourselves. There is no deity working to bind us or suppress us. Remember that this was the woman who with her husband figured out how to make a real unicorn—in this case, a small goat with superficial horn cells that could be united into a single horn without harm or discomfort to the animal.
If Morning Glory embodied anything, it was love. She loved life, she loved the people around her, and she loved discovering new pieces of the great mystery. Her generation got the Pagan movement rolling in the United States, and that we can enjoy as much freedom as we can today is the result of Morning Glory’s work and those she inspired to take up the cause. All of it, every last bit, is done with love.
Morning Glory will be remembered and cherished with nothing less than the love she brought into a drab world. May she be laughing with the Powers.