Summer Solstice, 2017

Memories of Koko

Koko Newport, First Ancestor

Koko

10th March 1946 to 19th September 2012

Koko Newport, one of our beloved Priestesses of Avalon, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Wednesday September 19th 2012. The previous weekend she had taken part in a Charity Raft Race with a friend, dressed as the Owl and Pussycat – Koko was dressed as the Owl. As is the way of these things, the raft fell apart and Koko and friend were plunged into the cold water. Koko hit her head on something underwater and didn’t think anything of it, she was more concerned about the cold. But it was the bump on the head which led to her death a few days later.

We were all so shocked as just a day earlier Koko was laughing and joking and full of life, planning her next adventure, a trip to China in a couple of weeks. Then in a moment she was gone, on to a different kind of adventure, into the Otherworld of Avalon.

In the days after as friends and family gathered to mourn our loss we all discovered what an amazing person Koko really is. She moved through life making loving, inspired connections with many, many people, not only here in Glastonbury and Weston super Mare, where she was living, but all over the world. She had the remarkable ability to make everyone she met feel that they were special, often her ‘best’ friend. Koko had a big and generous heart. She loved creating networks of love and she loved creating community wherever she lived and wherever she travelled.

Koko has four adult children, three daughters and a son, and six grandchildren. Over her adult life she had loving relationships with quite a few husbands, partners and lovers. She loved men, but her heart was always moving on. She was an adventurer, a traveller with Gypsy blood in her veins. She liked journeys across the globe from Canada, to America, South Africa, Europe, to Turkey. Now she has taken her final journey home to her Goddess, to the Lady of Avalon.

Koko lived in many places in the southwest of Britain and abroad, until 10 years ago she moved to Glastonbury after having a vision, telling her to buy a Bed and Breakfast house in Norbins Road, in Glastonbury. She followed her guidance and bought Pilgrims B&B, which also became the Priestess House. The lovely Roz Bound from Canada stayed with her and invited Koko to her first Goddess Conference in 2002. Amazed by the beauty and the ceremonies Koko fell in love with all things Goddess and in no time was taking the First Spiral of the Priestess of Avalon Training. She completed her priestess training over 4 years and dedicated herself as a Priestess of Avalon.

Koko at Stonehenge - photo by Rachael Clyne

Koko at Stonehenge – photo by Rachael Clyne

As the ‘mother’ of the Priestess House Koko created a beautiful, loving and caring space where students and priestesses came to stay while on their training weekends. Koko always seemed to be there to lend a supportive shoulder and a listening ear to the many who stayed as they went through emotional and transformative changes. The numbers of women and men she loved and helped during that time is almost uncountable, as well as receiving ‘ordinary’ B&B guests from all over the world.

In 2006 Koko took over the role of Queen Bee and Melissa Mother in the Glastonbury Goddess Conference. She became my indispensable right-hand woman, ensuring the smooth practical running of the Conference. Koko was a Mistress of Manifestation and had a remarkable ability to produce whatever we needed out of almost thin air, and at little cost. She loved bargains. When we suddenly needed a high stool for a ceremony, she appeared 5 minutes later with one in hand – she borrowed it for free from the pub across the road. When we needed paper plates we had forgotten to buy, she suddenly found a pile in a box she had in the back of her van. When we needed 11 dolls to redress, she walked past a second-hand shop in Weston a few days later and found 11 china dolls in a special give-away. Things just came her way with little effort as she moved in the flow.

I am so deeply grateful for all that she gave to me, to us, during the last seven years of the Goddess Conference. All who came to the Conference will remember her with love, and the Melissas, whom she mothered so well, will remember her generosity always, even when she was asking them to work even harder.

In the last few years, Koko moved to Weston super Mare, near to Bristol where she grew up. She wanted to spend more time with her family, her children and grandchildren. She wanted to connect back to her roots. She bought the Camino, a Community Centre in Glastonbury and ran it with her usual generous heart, providing spaces for therapists, artists, workshop leaders and friends to develop their skills. She was about to begin to teach her own year long Goddess course – Becoming Queen of Yourself.

Koko was an extraordinary Queen of Herself, She ruled her realms. She is the first Priestess of Avalon in modern times who has lived and worked in Glastonbury, who has died amongst us. She contributed so much to the development of our Goddess world here, and her passing has helped create ceremonial templates for the future passing to the Otherworld of other priestesses and priests of Avalon – hopefully not for a long time.

With the permission of her family for which I am deeply grateful, we held Mourning Vigils for Koko, almost immediately after her passing. We came together in the Goddess Temple for hours to share our shock and grief. We sat in Ceremony with Koko’s body in the Goddess Hall and called together all the varied parts of her life into one unified Soul whole. We journeyed with her Soul to meet the Lady of Avalon in Her Temple on the Isle of Avalon, so that Koko could become one with the Lady. We were filled with joy and peace as we left her on the Isle with the Lady. Priestesses sat in vigil with her body through the night. We created a beautiful Funeral Ceremony and Life Celebration for Koko in Glastonbury Town Hall. Over 250 people came, crowding into the Town Hall, creating loving community between people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs, all the different kinds of people that Koko knew well in her life. We had a wonderful Wake for her at the Camino, with food and drink, and a great party which she loved – she was there in spirit.

Koko was an amazing woman of courage, power and humanity. Waves of sadness still come and go, with joy and amazement all entwined. Like many others I am privileged to know Koko as a friend and Soul Sister. I miss her.

In love,
Kathy Jones
Creative Director of the Goddess Temple, Goddess Conference organiser
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