Remembering Don Kraig

Remembering Don Kraig

Brandy Williams No Comment

The Publisher’s Weekly headline gives the basic news:

“Author and editor Donald Michael Kraig died March 17 at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 63.” Publishers Weekly Obituary

Of course Don wrote Modern Magick, one of the most influential magical books of the twentieth century. More than just an author, he was deeply embedded in Llewellyn’s family and work. Llewellyn blog, “A Great Loss for the Occult Community: Donald Michael Kraig Passes

He gave classes and lectures, attended festivals, and reached out to befriend many other writers and magicians. Jason Pitzl-Waters collects comments from the community here: The Wild Hunt, Donald Michael Kraig 1951 – 2014.

In his last years he shared his life with the lovely Holly Allender Kraig. Here’s Holly’s official statement:

It is with great sadness that I announce that Donald Michael Kraig took his last breaths last night (3/17/2014) and died.
He has crossed over to Summerland and is finally no longer suffering. The type of cancer he had was just too aggressive for us to do any more treatments and his body finally gave way. He did not suffer. He simply slipped away in his sleep.
In lieu of flowers or cards, please consider donating to the fund to help offset medical expenses and, now, funeral expenses.
At a later date to be named, there will be a memorial service celebrating his life and what he meant to all of us.
Holly Allender Kraig

I met Don in 1990. When my first book, Ecstatic Ritual: Practical Sex Magic was published I included Modern Magick in the bibliography. Don reached out to me and wrote a letter – in those days, we wrote on paper – and thanked me for including him. That generosity characterized my entire relationship with him; I am far from alone in receiving his regard and encouragement, and it mattered a great deal to me.

In 2004 I traveled on business to Southern California frequently. I started asking Don to dinner. He was living in Venice, California, in a rent-controlled apartment right on the beach. We would walk past the T-shirt vendors and the bodybuilder equipment to the Santa Monica pier with its colorful Ferris wheel, talking about the Golden Dawn, Tantra, making a living as a writer, and just life in general. I always left those conversations feeling as if my work and opinion mattered.

He acted as my mentor in placing my first book with Llewellyn. When it was accepted, one of the times I visited his apartment, he gleefully read to me a paragraph from one of the readers who said that my book was clean and well organized. He was as happy as I was!

Venice Beach 2004

Venice Beach 2004

It was at one of those visits he showed me his work in progress, working title “Tantric Paganism”. The work seemed very important to me – I really wanted to hear what he had to say as both a Nath practitioner and a Western magician. Whenever I saw him, I would poke at him to finish the book. I sincerely hope that he finished enough of the manuscript that it might still see the light of day.

When he gave up his apartment and moved into a house farther away from the city our dinners stopped, but I continued to correspond with him (through email by now) and poke at him to finish the book, and he continued to support me as my books came out, and even to support other writers I brought to him who needed encouragement.

Every year I looked forward to talking to him at Pantheacon. The year he introduced me to Holly at the con they were so happy they lit up the room. He was always at the Llewellyn parties, talking to all the young writers as well as the people he knew.

This year at Pantheacon I realized how much we all missed him. I knew he was a grand and cheerful presence, but I didn’t realize how much we all were used to turning toward the light of his perennial good cheer and fellowship.

I am glad I got to know him. I wish I’d had more time with him. I miss him.

If you were touched by his life or work, please consider donating to his medical expense fund to offset Holly’s expenses.Go Fund Me site for Don Kraig’s expenses.

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