VODKA O’CLOCK SPECIAL EPISODE:
ERIC LEE from 2016
I would like good people to stop dying before they get the chance to live to old age.
I got a DM on Facebook from one of my witchsisters, Meghan informing me that our teacher and friend Eric Lee had died days before. I hate that Facebook is the norm now. I only check my personal account once a week. I assumed if something this important happened, I’d get a text or an actual email — some method of reaching me that would get to me directly and expediently. I was in shock all of Monday after reading her words. There was a candlelight vigil that I missed because I wasn’t glued to Facebook.
An excerpt from our interview:
My mouse clicked all around Facebook and the internet then looking for more information. How could this happen? He wasn’t that old, 50-something. Was it the goddamn COVID? He was a chain smoker so if anyone like that catches this virus, they don’t have a great chance, but it was a story my brain created as it ran wild wanting answers. The cause doesn’t matter. All of us miss him so much it hurts.
When the pandemic hit and Eric and his husband Ed Kimble had to close their shop temporarily, Mystickal Tymes and barely persevered through the worst. It’s still where it was the first day I walked in there — in 1993 maybe — with new eyes and feeling like I had found my people. I thought my beliefs in nature and spirits were things only allowed to children; and my Lutheran upbringing and the rest of the patriarchal organized religions were the only options. A documentary on TV and someone telling me that there are still witches propelled me to search out who these people are and find out if I could learn from them. I did. I spent years driving down there for classes, books, and all the supplies I could afford. My robe was custom made by their seamstress connection (probably far too snug on me now). My opportunities to study with the amazing Laurie Cabot were there! All that is because of Eric and Ed and Mystickal Tymes.
I’ve had a witchcraft book in the works for years. I assumed I would self-publish it eventually. I interviewed Eric among others with the goal to create a book that addressed what many of the books I “grew up on in my 20s” lacked. Things like racism, appropriation, classism, and disabilities.
TL;dr – I went to interview Eric for this book that is still not out.
Meanwhile, Eric and Ed had to keep their business going and started a GoFundMe for it. Ed has major back issues and had surgery which left him living in constant pain. With the retail suffering, the best way to order from Mystickal Tymes was to send a Facebook message explaining what you were looking for. Eric and I discussed the difficulty he had with people clicking “add to cart” without giving him the chance to ask them questions about what it was they really needed versus what they thought they wanted. It came down to ethical customer service.
“I won’t ever sell someone something they don’t need,” Eric said in our 2016 interview.
The shop and the Circle of the Ancient Paths established a presence in the game, Second Life. I tried it for a few hours and couldn’t figure out how to move my avatar around without frustration and rage quit. But Eric had a whole life in there educating people during online workshops and having a fucking blast based on the screenshots I’ve seen.
May his memory be a blessing.
Contribute to the GoFundMe which will go to Ed Kimble.
If you missed the memorial party at Karla’s, I have Ed’s speech and Victoria Lace’s performance on Facebook.
Eric, you were a teacher and mentor from the moment we met. You were an advisor even when I wouldn’t listen and made my own mistakes. You left your mark on everyone you met. I will miss your smile and how you could go from laughing to deadly serious while holding a cigarette between your fingers covered in rings. Losing you sucks. Watch over Ed. I don’t know how he’ll cope.
May your crossing be peaceful as the goddess welcomes you to her arms in the Summerland.
Hail the Traveler
Commit you back from where you came
to the arms of your ancestors.
May there be peace where there was anger.
May there be healing where there was hurt.
Go quickly to the place that your old ones called Home.
For those who grieve your passing,
let there be healing.
For those who grieve for what you could have been,
let there be healing.
Hail The Traveler!
We celebrate your journey.