Rev. Patricia Pearlman
IN LOVING MEMORY
Patricia Pearlman, who for more than 10 years was the Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality dedicated to Sekhmet, passed away on March 24th, 2006, in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was 66.
I met Patricia in 1994 when Cynthia Burkhardt, who was the priestess of the temple for the first year of its existence, decided to move on to other activities. Patricia seemed to have all the capacities necessary for the priestess job, and she was also enthusiastic about doing it, so I hired her immediately. She seemed ‘sent by the goddess’. Since I was living in Texas and the temple is in Cactus Springs, Nevada, I had to trust that Patricia would act on her own initiative to make it work. And she did, with a flourish and energy that were truly admirable.
Patricia had a way of bringing spirituality down to earth, making it a part of every day, as well as maintaining the sense of the sacred. She gave hospitality to all who came in peace, while defending the temple from those who from time to time would want to desecrate it. She also protected the fragile desert environment from possible pollution by guests. And she tried to embody the role and concept of CroneWitch, the title she gave to herself.
She had a great sense of humor and a flair for drama, as she strode the desert with her cane, her cloak, and often with her cigar. Patricia seriously attempted to practice the gift economy at the temple, and gave her services in many ways to the community. Always intelligent, witty and fervent, she established the temple as an institution, giving it a foothold in a very unlikely environment, between the nuclear test site and the airforce base, not far from that ‘Disneyland for Adults’ where everything is bought and sold, which is Las Vegas. I admired Patricia and sometimes wondered how she could do it, but she did, and she created a community of people who came to the temple for rituals, healing, and advice.
Patricia also collaborated with the Western Shoshone, to whom I had restored the acreage of the land on which the temple is built, in 1992. There were many actions at the test site and elsewhere in which she (and sometimes I) participated, together with the Shoshone, and for some years we were involved in a legal battle to keep a gravel pit from being built less than a mile away. Patricia also valiantly worked at solving many other bureaucratic problems having to do with the land. We had some good times together, too, travelling to Glastonbury in England to the Goddess festival, and to number of other places on other occasions. Patricia loved nature and animals, and she loved her husband, Al, who also contributed a lot of work to the success of the temple. In fact it is not often in these times that we see a long term successful love relationship like they had. I admired both of them also for that.
When she realized she had cancer, Patricia stepped down from her priestess position and helped me in finding and hiring a new priestess, Anne Key, who successfully presided at the temple until 2007.
All those whose lives Patricia so brilliantly touched miss her.
She had traveled rather widely before I met her, and I remember her telling me about the time she danced in front of the Taj Mahal in a red dress. I like to think of her doing that.
~Genevieve Vaughan, Temple Founder