So I deleted Facebook from my smart phone a few weeks ago.
It’s been a great move because I feel like I’m no longer addicted to checking my phone, every 5 minutes. Instead my productivity has increased, and I restrict my access to the site for a short periods after I get home from work, or when I am doing something related to the training coven that I am a student of.
So it was very distressing last Friday evening, As I logged onto my Facebook account to be met with the unexpected news that my friend, and teacher Peter Paddon had passed away in his sleep on Thursday night LA time. To say that the news hit me like a ton of bricks is an understatement. I was in complete shock, as was everyone else who is part of the tradition that Peter and his wife lead, and dare I say it, the pagan community at large.
Words truly can’t express the loss that I feel, let alone the loss and emptiness felt by my fellow coven brothers and sisters that knew him better than I. This post won’t be an obituary as such (The Wild Hunt had a beautiful obituary dedicated to Peter on Friday, if you hadn’t read that already), rather I just wanted to share how Peter came into my life and changed it for the better.
I stumbled onto Peter’s podcasts when I rediscovered this pagan path that I am travelling back in late 2012. Having discovered the world of pagan blogs and podcasts I was going through them at a fast pace, seeking those out that really spoke to me. I found Peter’s to be refreshing and different. Here was this Brit with a typical British sense of humour, delivering workshops and lectures in the US to a (obviously) primarily US audience. Now as an Australian, I always find that the British sense of humour translate a little better to our sensitivities than it does to the US. So you can imagine my delight at listening to Peter interject his sometimes very serious and intense workshops with random bits of hilarity that would stump his US audiences. I would laugh out loud with my headphones on as I went about my daily business while listening to these, often receiving strange looks from the people at the supermarket or somewhere else in public where I would inevitably be tuning into the podcasts.
Peter’s humour and charisma always came through in the Podcasts. He definitely never took himself too seriously, even if the topics he was discussing were immensely rooted in vast research, personal knowledge and experience. I think the moment that I was sold on Peter being the ‘real deal’ and not some lunatic (though others may have thought otherwise according to Peter himself) was when he record a workshop he gave at Pantheacon on possession. He called on 3 different deities!!
From that moment on I was like “Right. I need to learn from this guy.”
It was a little time later that I stumbled on a post on his website calling for expressions of interest for potential students to his online training coven. The only problem was that I had seen the post too late to be part of the class of 2013 intake. While a little crestfallen I hoped that the course would be so successful that it called for a repeat in 2014.
Thankfully the training coven was a success, and Peter once again called on submissions from interested individuals to become students of the tradition he was teaching. I was quick to jump on that opportunity. I remember the time I took to prepare my application, hoping that I would be selected as a remote student, all the way on the other side of the world with a 17 hour difference.
I was very excited to receive an email from Peter a short time later telling me that I had been accepted.
And so began my year and a day training with Peter at the helm. Every week, after work on a wednesday I’d log on to watch the class that was recorded at Peter’s house on Tuesday night LA time. As always, the classes were interesting, with a wealth of knowledge and peppered with Peter’s natural wit. Peter was a natural story teller and it was really great to hear him and learn from him.
I was fortunate enough, as part of my 30 birthday celebrations to holiday in California in June/July, and I got to meet my fellow students and Peter himself. I got to attend a live recording of the classes that I usually watched from my bedroom on my computer. Peter and Linda were so gracious to open their home to me, and I will always hold their hospitality dear to my heart. What really got to me was how close I felt to everyone,whom I had only really had limited interactions with via social media. However I wasn’t made to feel like a stranger, but someone who truly belonged, that was part of a family.
I guess what is so shocking about the news about Peter’s untimely death was the fact that he was so full of life. He did so much! From publishing books, running workshops and classes, to glass etchings – Peter really did have his fingers in a lot of pies.
In losing Peter the pagan community has lost a fountain of knowledge, but more than that it has lost a great man who truly lived life.
VALE Peter you are missed. But I know that the ancestors will have embraced you with open arms, and it will only be a matter of time before we feel your presence weave its magick in our lives once more.
Thanks for teaching me.
Thanks for making me laugh.
Blessing & Peace