The memorial service for Denessa Smith of the Tempest Smith Foundation will be held in Detroit, MI, on August 8. As I will be unable to attend, a proxy will be reading out the following memorial address to the mourners on my behalf. Many thanks to Michelle Belanger of House Khepheru for assisting me in doing this.
Memorial Address from Kerr Cuhulain:
I chose Denessa to be the Warrior Priestess for the Armoring Ritual at Convocation in Troy, Michigan in 2006 for a very good reason. She exemplified the Warrior. It took a lot of courage to recover from the grievous loss of her daughter Tempest and come back to found an organization dedicated to making sure that no one else was bullied the way her daughter was. Denessa transmuted anger into commitment and tolerance. Denessa went out into the community to teach and transform. She practiced the first rule of magick: You create your own reality. The reality that she sought to create was a better world for everyone. She lived according to one of the principles my coven, Scáthach: Who dares, wins. She dared to make our neighborhoods safer. Denessa was a defender of our community, and a true Warrior. I am glad to have shared that moment with her in 2006. My fellow Warriors will honor and remember her. She will be missed.
In closing, let me offer a poem honoring fallen Warriors written by John Mayne in July 1805, which I have altered slightly to fit this occasion:
Ah me! how sorrowful and slow,
With arms reversed, the Warriors come—
Dirge-sounding trumpets, full of woe,
And, sad to hear, the Muffled Drum!
Advancing to the House of Prayer,
Still sadder flows the dolesome strain;
Even Industry forgets her care,
And joins the melancholy train!
O! after all the toils of war,
How blest the brave woman lays her down!
Her bier is a triumphal car—
Her grave is—glory and renown!
What tho' nor friends nor kindred dear,
To grace her obsequies, attend?
Her comrades are her fellows here,
And every hero is her friend!
See Love and Truth, all woe begone;
And beauty, drooping in the crowd—
Their thoughts intent on her alone
Who sleeps for ever in her shroud!
Again, the trumpet slowly sounds
The Warrior's last Funeral Hymn:—
Again the muffled drum rebounds,
And every eye with grief is dim!
The generous steed, which late she rode,
Seems, too, its mistress to deplore;
And follows to her last abode
The warrior—who returns no more!
For her, far hence, a mother sighs,
And fancies comforts yet to come!
She'll never bless her longing eyes—
She'll only hear the Muffled Drum!
Kerr CuhulainPreceptor General,
Officers of Avalon, Founder of Scáthach