Patricia Ann Behman. How does one begin to honor and celebrate the life of a long-time friend? Where do I start?
In his poem entitled Evangeline, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the following: “Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” This line seemed a fitting tribute to Patricia, known as “Pat” to many of her friends, because the stars often figured in her life and magic. In her esoteric work, Pat went by the motto Monocris de Astris meaning “Unicorn from the Stars.” In the Golden Dawn Monocris de Astris is a title given to the initiate who receives the water grade of Practicus. Through word-play on this title, Pat created her famous nom de plume, Cris Monnastre.
In addition to her work as a clinical psychologist, Pat was one of only a hand-full of people who came together to reconstitute the Golden Dawn in the United States. I first met Pat in June of 1982, when she accompanied Israel Regardie to visit our temple in Columbus Georgia, to meet with a solid core of soon-to-be life-long magical companions on the Path of Light. I have already recounted the magical work that occurred over the course of that eventful week many times over, so I need not repeat it here. However, the personal stories of how several of us met in Georgia are absolutely priceless – at times inspiring, at other times hilarious. Such stories are delightful – they have become the stuff of legend within the community.
I have many, many fond memories of Pat. After our meeting in Georgia, a group of us went to New Orleans to enjoy the sights and sounds of Bourbon Street. Periodically we would meet up in New Mexico, Florida, and the Pacific Northwest for further magical work and camaraderie. I visited her often at her home in Los Angeles, in a quaint cottage that had once been the summer home of silent film star Rudolf Valentino. During one road trip, I picked up Israel Regardie in Sedona Arizona and we drove to LA, where we were both guests in Pat’s temple. As note of interest, Pat’s backyard at the time had a large tree, which during the old west days, served as the “hanging tree” of the county. It was certainly not your typical conversation piece!
By 1988 I had moved my temple to Florida, and it was during that year that Pat graciously volunteered to host a centennial celebration of the Golden Dawn at her temple. The event was well attended, complete with a harp player and ceiling rafters full of lit candles, which would periodically drip hot wax on an attendee’s head, much to their surprise. At one point, we performed a “Tree Walk” wherein the individual Sephirah of the Qabalistic Tree of Life were played by various people in ritual garb. I was cast as Geburah – I dressed in appropriately in red and brandished a sword. Since the Sephiroth were scattered throughout Pat’s house for this performance, I ended up in Pat’s bedroom, sitting across from a very mellow hippyish gent dressed in the blue robes of Chesed. As the audience was ushered into the bedroom to “experience” Geburah and Chesed, I proceeded to bellow at them in true martial fashion and, ending with a crescendo, I drove the blade of my sword straight into Pat’s hardwood floor. To her credit Pat never got upset at me about it – she was just happy that the Tree Walk was memorable and everyone enjoyed it.
Pat’s birthday was only three days before mine. We would often call each other up and wish each other a simultaneous happy birthday. As fellow Aries, we did butt heads on more than one occasion. As far as disagreements went, make no mistake, we had some real doosies. But I always considered her my sister in the work, and I know she felt the same.
It is true that time heals all wounds. During the mid-nineties, we had a particularly painful split in our magical work. Thankfully, we were able to mend our friendship just a couple of years later. For at least a decade afterwards not a week went by – and sometimes not a day went by – that Pat and I did not talk on the phone for hours about Regardie, magic in general, and the Golden Dawn community in particular. In August of 2003, Pat came to visit me in Florida. Not long after that, I flew to LA to visit Pat’s new temple and met up with some wonderful people there.
Pat was a vibrant presence who loomed large among her friends and peers. Her knowledge of magic and psychology was formidable and she influenced many, many people within the wider esoteric community. She was a force of nature, a force to be reckoned with, and I will miss her friendship terribly.
I am so very grateful to Brother Merrick Hammer for keeping Tabatha and myself updated on Pat’s condition over these last few difficult years, for letting us speak to her over the phone, for reading our correspondence to her and letting us know that these small things were appreciated and seemed to sooth her.
I mentioned that Pat’s magical motto was Monocris de Astris. This was a later motto. Earlier in her magical work she had a different motto: Sic Itur Ad Astra, meaning “Thus one goes to the Stars.” How appropriate! Her friends now count her among the stars “in the infinite meadows of heaven.” A fully blossomed lovely star, a forget-me-not of the angels.
I’d like to close with a few fitting lines of poetry written by Pat herself:
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