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PBS quoted Margot Adler as having said, "The first time I called myself a 'Witch' was the most magical moment of my life." It is with great sadness that The Witches' Almanac reports the death of Wiccan priestess, author, and journalist, Margot Adler, among the most beloved leaders of the Neo-Pagan community.
Margot is renowned as a journalist and broadcaster, but especially for her landmark book, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers, and Other Pagans in America Today, first published in 1979 by Viking Press and then later republished in an expanded version. Drawing Down the Moon is widely considered to be the first comprehensive examination of Neo-Paganism in the United States — perhaps the first such book anywhere to treat modern Earth-centric spirituality with dignity and respect. Margot was not only an astute observer, but also an influence and participant. Not only did Drawing Down the Moon document contemporary Paganism, it also encouraged many newcomers to freely explore a phenomenon that had been previously dismissed by the media. In addition, Drawing Down the Moon stimulated many who already practiced to step forth proudly from their broom closets.
Margot Susanna Adler was born in Little Rock, Arkansas; however, she spent most of her life in New York City, specifically Manhattan's Upper West Side. She was the daughter of Freyda Nacque and Kurt Alfred Adler, who as medical director and lecturer at the Alfred Adler Institute in Manhattan for forty-five years, continued the work of his own father, pioneering Viennese psychoanalyst Alfred Adler.
Margot joined NPR (National Public Radio) in 1979, serving variously as New York bureau chief, general reporter, as well as a cultural and political correspondent. Between 1999 and 2008, Margot hosted the weekly program, Justice Talking. Previous to her long tenure at NPR, Margot was already a presence on the New York City airwaves as the original host of the WBAI radio program, Hour of the Wolf.
In addition to Drawing Down the Moon, Margot's other books include a memoir, Heretic's Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution (Beacon Press, 1997) and most recently, Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair With the Immortal Dark Side (Weiser Books, 2014). Vampires Are Us began as an essay entitled Out for Blood, a meditation on our cultural fascination with those denizens of the dark, a project begun when John Lowell Gliedman, Margot's husband of thirty-three years, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died in 2010. Although Margot had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2011, following treatment, she had remained symptom-free until several months before her death — thus the news of her death came as an abrupt shock to the many who loved her.
Margot died at her home in New York City and is survived by her son, Alex Dylan Gliedman-Adler. For most of her life, Margot lived on the edge of Central Park. A campaign to honor Margot by purchasing a memorial bench in her name in Central Park is underway. The Witches' Almanac is honored to present an interview with Margot in our Spring 2015 to Spring 2016 Issue 34. She will be deeply missed. What is remembered lives.