On Friday, we gathered from far and wide to say a final farewell to our friend. Funerals are never happy occasions, but they can hold more beauty than our grief may allow us to see. It would have been impossible to miss the beauty in the tribute paid to Sheila as the chapel filled to overflowing with those who loved her and whose lives she had graced. They are also a time when we may catch a glimpse of those we have loved through other eyes than our own. Heartfelt eulogies and snippets of conversation capture frozen moments of memory, snapshots of a many-faceted life that sparkled in areas and decades we did not see and wish we had shared.
At our friend’s request, Steve spoke at her funeral. Others also mentioned how much the Silent Eye and Sheila’s companions on her own path had meant to her over the years. Afterwards, an elderly gentleman approached our group and asked after our work. He wanted to share something with us and read us part of a poem he had written for our friend, many years ago.
His name was Paul and he had worked with Sheila years before. That was all he told us, though his poem hinted at stories untold. His eyes shone with the same sparkle as those of our friend and the affection in which he held her was obvious. It shines too in his words, published here with his permission, in tribute to a woman much loved.
Mystic Sheila, Magic Lady – what do you think our future holds?
Do you know its secrets? Can they now be told?
Listen to our questions, the things we want to know,
Read the cards with insight – what secrets do they show?
Will I be happy? Will I be well?
Will I get married? Will it be hell?
Do you think we’ll be rich? And how can you be sure?
For when we’ve paid the Poll Tax, we all will be poor!
Tarot cards, silken clad, are there secrets to be had?
Do you hold the key to ancient wisdom, known in days of yore?
Can you really, truly tell us what the future has in store?
Or does empathic Sheila…psychologist and seer…
Kindly tell to every person the things they’d like to hear?
We are all searchers after truth, so keep an open mind,
Life has many mysteries, as all who seek will find.
Mystic Tarot? Magic Sheila? I leave the decision up to you…
I only know that many forecasts have, uncannily, come true!
Use your Judgement, dear High Priestess, how will the Wheel of Fortune spin?
Will our Cups be overflowing, will our Coins come rolling in?
Or will the Swords of life be cutting, Batons beat us to the ground?
So we retreat then to a Tower, and like a Hermit, we are found.
Now, though we may be Foolish and Juggling with our fate,
Forget Death and the Devil and the Hangman at the gate!
Life is made for Lovers and will ride life’s Chariot high!
And reach out for the Sun and Moon and Stars up in the sky.
Come now, my lovely Sheila, can’t you see the moon is full,
See the dancing moonbeams, feel their mystic pull!
Come now to the wood, to the oak grove deep and shady,
And I will be the Green Man, and you the Wicca Lady!
For Mother Nature’s calling and when the Goddess plays the tune,
We must dance an ancient ritual, sky-clad beneath the moon
And join the group that’s dancing, neath the ancient mistletoe,
For it still retains its magic, as it did so long ago.
The Chistians tried to steal it, for a silly Christmas game,
If they saw the games that we play, it would make them die of shame!
Crystal lady, Nature’s healer, soothe away our aches and fears!
There is power in this crystal – in the earth a million years
Absobing magic from the planets mystic power from days of yore,
Forged with Earth and Air and Water, bringing Fire from out earth’s core
Crystal now give forth vibrations, through Sheila’s hands the power will flow,
Retune our body’s shattered patterns – stress and strain and fear must go!
Libran lady, tawny Sheila, emerald-eyed with silken skin,
Crimson-lipped, a sensual temptress, rule of Venus, hints of sin!
But settle down men, there’s a balance…a philosopher within.
A sensitive and gentle artist, charming company to be in!
High ideals – can be demanding – but not forgetting, life is fun!
Great at parties, Star attraction! We all love you, every one.
Paul, Christmas 1990