Many people like to read a Litany of the Dead as part of their Samhain and Day of the Dead celebrations. This year (and in the future) we thought it would be nice to provide a list for your convenience as well as to offer the community a place to honor their own dead from this past year. This year marked the transition of several people who greatly impacted not just the culture of the magical community, the greater culture we live in. We had a rough year. Our Feast of the Dead music selections are going to be rocking though.
At the bottom of this list, please use the comment feature to add anyone we have missed, including members of your own local community. But please remember that it is just bad manners to out other people without their permission, including the dead, so if you are listing people who were not publicly Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan or otherwise alternatively spiritual or Magickal, please use their public craft name if they had one or a nickname. It is not a requirement for people on this list to be a member of the magical community (as you can see many aren't) only that we can feel the impact of their lives and their deaths.
You are also welcome and encouraged to use the comments feature to offer prayers, poems, and anything else you feel is appropriate.
This and all future Litany of the Dead lists are recorded beginning from October 31st of the previous year.
- Bryan David Zell (9/15/1963-10/18/2016) Son of Oberon Zell of Church of All Worlds. Click here to read the announcement in The Wild Hunt.
- Garry Marshall (November 13, 1934-July 19, 2016) - American writer, director, actor, comedian, producer, best known for creating Happy Days and directing Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and The Princess Diaries.
- John "Axis" Davey (12/4/1953-7/6/2016) A ceremonial magician, priest, a farmer and long time member of Circle Sanctuary. Click here to read his obituary.
- Elie Wiesel (September 13, 1928- July 2, 2016) - Romanian born writer and Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate and writer of 57 books, including The Night Trilogy
- Christine Poortenga "Valley" Was a pioneer for Pagan prison ministry serving Wisconsin and Arizona State Departments of Corrections. Click here to read her obituary.
- Muhammed Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.) (January 17, 1942 - June 3, 2016) Heavyweight boxer and civil rights activist who was stripped of his boxing titles after he refused to be conscripted into the Viet Nam on ethical and religious grounds. His poetic, spoken word style of trash talking influenced the development of modern black poetic tradition and music. He appeared in several films including Freedom Road, Black Rodeo, When We Were Kings and The Greatest and wrote two books The Greatest: My Own Story and The Soul of a Butterfly.
- Michael Wiggins (1965-2016) President of the Magickal Education Council, host of the annual ConVocation and Beyond the Veil in Michigan and properietor of The Phoenix Cafe.
- Prince - (June 7, 1958-April 21, 2016) Award-winning, controversial and influential American songwriter, musician, music producer. His works include the albums For You(1978), Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy(1981), 1999 (1982), Purple Rain(1984) among others, and he appeared in the movie Purple Rain in 1984.
- Percy Sledge (November 25, 1940 – April 14, 2015) American R&B singer best known for the song When a Man Loves a Woman.
- Vanity (Denise Matthews) (January 4, 1959 – February 15, 2016) Canadian singer/songwriter, dancer, actress and later evangelist, after a near death experience. She was the lead singer of the band Vanity 6, backup vocalist for several other singers, including Prince, and released two solo records Wild Animal and Skin on Skin. Vanity also appeared in several movies including Action Jackson, Never Too Young to Die, The Last Dragon and 52 Pickup.
- Merle Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016) American singer/songwriter and musician, his band The Strangers helped create "The Bakersfield Sound", a new direction for country music. His lyrics were conservatively political throughout his life, though his 2007 song Hillary seemed to support Hillary Clinton's run for President (I'd love to link this but can't find it.) and Okie from Muskogee seemed to rail against hippie culture during the Viet Nam era. But the song I think of when I think of Merle Haggard is Mama Tried.
- Glenn Frey (November 6, 1948 – January 18, 2016) an American singer/songwriter, musician and actor and a founding member of the band the Eagles. His voice was featured on such jukebox standards as Take it Easy, Already Gone, Tequila Sunrise and Heartache Tonight. After the Eagles, he went on to pursue a successful solo career. His acting career included many television guest appearances and roles in Let's Get Harry and Jerry Maguire.
- Maurice White (December 19, 1941 – February 3, 2016) American singer/songwrite, muscian, producer, he founded the band Earth, Wind & Fire, he worked as a session drummer at Chess Records in Chicago in the '60s and can be heard on many R&B albums from that period and collaborated musically with many other musicians throughout his lifetime. Even after Parkinson's Disease forced him to stop touring with Earth Wind & Fire in 1994, he remained very active in the music business and continued producing and recording.
- David Bowie (January 8, 1947-January 10, 2016) English singer/songwriter and actor, many of us were first introduced to David Bowie as children via the Labyrinth but as adults we came to know him as Ziggy Stardust and The Man Who Fell to Earth. His flamboyant and androgynous personas and experimental methods left a permanent mark on rock music and the communities he touched. His final album Blackstar was released on his birthday, two days before his death.
- Alan Rickman - (February 21, 1946-January 14, 2016) English actor and director, Alan Rickman is beloved for such roles as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series of movies and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood:Prince of Thieves and Matatron in Dogma. His most recent role was that of the voice of the caterpillar in Alice Through the Looking Glass which was released after his death. He also voiced the same character in Alice in Wonderland in 2010.
- Brian Bedford (February 16, 1935 - January 13, 2016) An English actor whose accolates are primarily based in the theatre including many Shakespearean plays and several Broadway appearances. Disney fans might recognize him as the voice of Robin Hood in the animated production.
- Dan Haggerty (November 19, 1942 – January 15, 2016) American actor. Dan Haggerty was Grizzly Adams. He also worked as a stunt man and served as an animal handler and trainer for Walt Disney Studios.
- Gene Wilder (November 19, 1942 – January 15, 2016) American comedian, actor, writer, director well known for many comic roles. He is iconic as Willy Wonka and well-remembered for his many hilarious roles opposite Richard Pryor. He also wrote and directed as well as starred in The Woman in Red. In 2005, he released his memoir Kiss Me Like a Stranger, and has written several other books, including My French Whore and The Woman Who Wouldn't. After the death of his first wife Gilda Radner, from he became actively involved in Cancer awareness promotion, helping to found a cancer center in her name and creating Gilda's Club, a support group for those touched by cancer.
- Gordie Howe (March 31, 1928 – June 10, 2016) Canadian ice hockey player, and Detroit Red Wing. Mr. Hockey holds records for most seasons and most games played.
- Gavin Frost (November 20, 1930 – September 11, 2016) Writer, scientist, scholar and clergy, Gavin Frost was a very public and controversial figure in the Pagan community. He and his wife Yvonne founded the Church and School of Wicca in 1968, to promote their unique brand of Wicca. They have also come under fire for publishing rituals that seem to encourage inappropriate conduct with minors. Frost's many writings, all co-authored with Yvonne, include The Magic Power of Witchcraft (1977), Good Witch's Bible (1999), The Witch's Magical Handbook(2000), The Solitary Wiccan's Bible(2004) and several others Read his death announcement at Patheos
- James Assad (3/11/1964-2/16/2016) Scion of the 6th Circle of Church of All Worlds in the 1990s.
- A.J. Gooch (2/24/1968-2/28/2016) Priest of Ár nDraíocht Féin, an ACE organizer for the Starwood Festival and Northeast Ohio Drum Jam. Read his obituary here.
- Lauretta Ngcobo (September 13, 1931 - November 3, 2015) South African writer, legislator, scholar, teacher, activist. Born in South Africa, Lauretta Ngcobo spent much of her early adult life in exile for her own safety, returning in 1994 when apartheid ended and Nelson Mandella became President, then she served 11 years on the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature. She wrote two novels while in exile: Cross of Gold and And they Didn't Die. She also edited Prodigal Daughters- Stories of South African Women in Exile and Let it Be Told- Essays by Black Women Writers in Britain.
Please feel free to use the comment feature below to add to this list!