Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart
|Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart|
Morning Glory Zell praying for healing
May 27, 1948
Long Beach, California, U.S.
|Died||May 13, 2014
Cotati, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Residence||Sonoma County, California, U.S.|
|Other names||Morning Glory Ferns
Morning Glory Zell
|Known for||Polyamory, neopagan community leadership|
Church of All Worlds
Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart (May 27, 1948 – May 13, 2014), born as Diana Moore, subsequently known as Morning Glory Ferns, Morning Glory Zell and briefly Morning G'Zell, was a Neopagan community leader, author, lecturer, and priestess of the Church of All Worlds. An advocate of polyamory, she is credited with coining the word. With her husband Oberon Zell-Ravenheart she designed deity images.
Morning Glory was born as Diana Moore in 1948 in Long Beach, California. She was raised an only child in a strict Christian household by her Pentecostal mother, though she switched from attending a Methodist church to a Pentecostal one around age 10–12. At age 14 she broke with Christianity after arguing with her Methodist minister grandfather that animals had souls and went to heaven. She was strongly influenced by the Sybil Leek book, Diary of a Witch, which she read during high school. At the age of 17, Diana began practicing witchcraft. At the age of 20 she changed her name to Morning Glory because she did not care for the chastity requirement demanded of followers of the goddess Diana.
While en route to join a commune near Eugene, Oregon, in 1969, Morning Glory met a hitchhiker named Gary who joined her. The two were soon married, and the next year she gave birth to a daughter whom she named Rainbow. As a mother she was known as Morning Glory Ferns. Although Gary and Morning Glory conducted an open marriage, the union was broken when she met Timothy Zell after he gave the 1973 keynote speech at Gnosticon in Minnesota. Morning Glory divorced Gary and brought her daughter to St. Louis, Missouri, to live with Zell. Morning Glory and Zell married at the Gnosticon of Easter 1974, the well-attended ceremony performed by Archdruid Isaac Bonewits and High Priestess Carolyn Clark.
Church of All Worlds
In St. Louis, Morning Glory studied and was made a priestess of Zell's Church of All Worlds. She helped him edit the group's journal, Green Egg. In 1976 the two began almost a decade of traveling, adventure, and living in various retreats and in a school bus they converted to a mobile home. They founded the Ecosophical Research Association in 1977 at Coeden Brith, a ranch in rural Mendocino County, California, northwest of Ukiah, to investigate arcane lore and legends of cryptids such as Bigfoot and mermaids. Their wandering years ended in 1985 when they took up permanent residence at Coeden Brith, initially for the purpose of raising "unicorns" created from horn surgery on baby goats.
In 1979 Timothy Zell changed his first name to Otter, and for a short time the couple styled their surnames as G'Zell, a contraction of Glory Zell. In 1994 he changed his name to Oberon.
For Morning Glory, the ideal marriage has always been an open one, and her relationship with Zell developed into a polyamorous one made up of three people from 1984 to 1994, including Diane Darling. When this arrangement ended, Zell and Morning Glory bonded with others to make a marriage of five and sometimes six. The group took the collective surname Zell-Ravenheart, and lived in two large homes. Morning Glory's May 1990 article "A Bouquet of Lovers", first published in Green Egg, promoted the concept of a group marriage having more than two partners. The article is widely cited as the original source of the word "polyamory", although the word does not appear in the article—the hyphenated form "poly-amorous" does instead.
With Darling, Morning Glory revived Green Egg in May 1988. The journal had been defunct since 1976. In 1990, she established the business Mythic Images, offering for sale reproductions of goddess and mythology sculptures crafted by Zell. Morning Glory ran the business in addition to lecturing and writing.
Morning Glory went to the hospital in 2005 to treat broken bones suffered in a fall. There, she learned she had multiple myeloma. She received surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and also entreated her friends to form a healing circle. She experienced a great increase in health in 2007. She lapsed in taking her medications in late 2011, and the disease returned in early 2012. During a period of remission in August 2012 she was filmed for a documentary about polyamory for the Destination America television channel, the show called Hidden in America, the segment titled "Polyamory in America".
Her husband Oberon and his long term marriage partner Julie O'Ryan appeared together on screen to talk about their practice of polyamory. In reporting about the upcoming broadcast, Alan M of Polyamory in the News wrote that Morning Glory and Oberon, both battling cancer, looked "hale and hearty" in the preview available online.
In adolescence, her daughter Rainbow left to live with her father Gary, taking the name Gail.
- Creating Circles & Ceremonies: Rituals for All Seasons And Reasons, with Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. New Page Books, 2006; ISBN 1-56414-864-5
- Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard, with Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, et al. New Page Books, 2004; ISBN 1-56414-711-8
- "Firelight and Moon-Shadows: A Survey of Wiccan Lore" in Pop! Goes The Witch: The Disinformation Guide to 21st Century Witchcraft, ed. by Fiona Horne. The Disinformation Company, 2004; ISBN 0-9729529-5-0
- Melton, J. Gordon (1999). Religious leaders of America: a biographical guide to founders and leaders of religious bodies, churches, and spiritual groups in North America (2 ed.). Gale Research. p. 617. ISBN 0810388782.
- Davy, Barbara Jane (2007). Introduction to Pagan Studies. AltaMira Press. p. 119. ISBN 0759108188.
- Benowitz, June Melby (1988). Encyclopedia of American Women and Religion. ABC-CLIO. p. 397. ISBN 0874368871.
- Magliocco, Sabina (2001). Neo-Pagan Sacred Art and Altars: Making Things Whole. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 30–33. ISBN 1578063906.
- Guiley, Rosemary (2008). The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca. Infobase. pp. 400–402. ISBN 1438126840.
- Bonewits, Isaac (2005). The Pagan Man: Priests, Warriors, Hunters, and Drummers. Citadel. pp. 65–66. ISBN 0806526971.
- Guiley, page 403
- Zell, Morning Glory (May 1990). "A Bouquet of Lovers" at the Wayback Machine (archived May 8, 2003), Green Egg
- "Hidden in America: Polyamory in America". Destination America. Discovery Channel. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Alan M. (March 27, 2013). "Poly pioneers Morning Glory and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart go on TV". Polyamorous Percolations: Polyamory in the News!. Polyinthemediablogspot.com. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Lady Sheherazahde Lachesis (May 14, 2014). "Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart has died". LiveJournal. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
- Biography of Morning Glory Zell, Church of All Worlds website; accessed May 14, 2014.