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Diana Paxson's Journal

Feathers from a Raven's Nest

Diana L. Paxson
20 February 1943
A succinct and rather breathless autobiography--

I was born in Detroit. I have apologized for this several times, but since we left when I was three and my father got out of the Army and got a job in the emerging think-tank industry in Los Angeles, I don't remember anything about it anyway. I grew up in a town at the northwestern edge of LA called Pacific Palisades, between the ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains. I spent most of my free time reading, drawing horses, and hiking in the hills. In the summer I went to Camp Trinity in far northern California, which I loved. They had horses, and let you pluck chickens and build things. My last year of High School my father was on loan to the Defense Department, so I was sent to a strange, Gothic boarding school in Maine where I got good enough grades to get into Mills College.

I adored Mills, where for the first time in my life there were lots of people interested in the same things I was. My nick-name was "Diana Paxson the Anglo-Saxon"--I didn't realize that would be prophetic. The chaplain, Dr. Hedley, was a wonderful man who held dual ordination as a Methodist and Episcopalian, and was the first priest to use female acolytes. Also the first priest I had encountered who really moved power when he conducted the service. So I became an Episcopalian and president of Canterbury Club.

Alas, the rest of the Episcopal Church wasn't on the same wavelength. By the time I graduated, they were in the process of throwing out the beautiful language of the old Prayer book and getting into Social Justice. I was all for Social Justice (I arrived at Cal Berkeley for graduate school just in time for the Free Speech movement), but I wanted something more from religion.

As I was finishing my Master's degree in Comparative Literature I inadvertently started the Society for Creative Anachronism, and ended up making use of all the stuff I had learned about the Middle Ages. In the process, I met my husband, writer Jon DeCles, which eventually led to...

The household called Greyhaven, where I have lived since 1971. He also introduced me to paganism (he was Marion Zimmer Bradley's adopted brother). About the time we got out of the SCA I was getting into paganism and starting to write. In 1978 Marion and I started Darkmoon Circle, which hived off lots of things, including the Fellowship of the Spiral Path. In 1981 I published my first novel, at about the same time as my job writing educational materials for Far West Laboratory disappeared. Since then I have done some teaching at local colleges, but mostly have been writing fiction full time.

In 1987 I had an interesting encounter with Odin, that led me eventually to the Troth, for which I have done a variety of jobs, including my favorite, editing the journal, Idunna.

These days my main activities are writing the Avalon and Westria series and various non-fiction books, attending and running meetings (many, many meetings) of my kindred and related religious or study groups, oracle work, clergy training, speaking at conventions and festivals, etc.

I still live at Greyhaven, with my son, his wife, and my three grandchildren.