Memorial for Artemis Silverowl – November 16, 2013


Memorial for Artemis Silverowl
April 5, 1957 – October 3, 2013
Service held on November 16, 2013

She Carries Me by Jennifer Berezan {played as attendees entered)

Honor Guard

Sir Lacey Henager – Artemis’ Boots
Terrie Anderson – Artemis’ Leather Vest
Master Mack – Artemis’ Cover
Master Gator – Leather Flag
Fred Anderson – Gay Pride Flag
Raven – Artemis’ Ashes

Charge of the Goddess

from Jennifer Berezan’s She Who Hears the Cries of the World, vocals by Olympia Dukakis

Greeting and Welcome – koneko

Cynthia Babbitt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on April 5, 1957 and passed through the Veil on October 3, 2013. She is survived by her fiancé, Denice, her parents, and a world of friends. From her own description of herself, she was a Dyke leather witch called Artemis Silverowl in formal occasions but most often, she preferred Artemis and when in doubt, call her “Sir”. She was a decidedly a butch woman and an alpha slave who identified as a boy, a switch, and a pansexual player. She was in service to La Lioness. She was out of her Dyke closet since 1975 and an out Leatherwomoon since 1976. She survived the vanilla hate wars in the 1980’s and entered the Dallas leather community in 1991. She was a member of National Leather Association – Dallas, serving as female co-chair and on the Beyond Vanilla Committee from 1992 – 1994. She also served on the National Leather Association-International’s Living in Leather committee in 1993 and again in 1998. She held the titles of Ms. National Leather Association – International 1994 and Ms. Texas Leather Pride – 1993. Most importantly, for many of us, she carried the titles of teacher, sister, and friend. Welcome as we honor her.

Elemental Speakers

Air – Jim Richards

{Jim lights the yellow candle.}

Artemis is a child of Air.

I had the pleasure of knowing Artemis and being able to call her a friend for many year. During that time I learned that Artemis was a wonderful complicated woman with many facets to her life.

I first met Artemis when she moved here from Arkansas. I was immediately attracted to her vitality, her amazing way of communicating and her love of the Leather Community.

I first saw Artemis as a leather woman, who was comfortable combining her feminist beliefs with her belief in consensual BDSM. We talked many time of the challenges she had faced trying to reconcile the two beliefs and some of the hostility she encountered within the feminist community.

I saw Artemis as a healer. I had an accident a few years ago and the little finger of my left hand was amputated and had to be re-attached. I had problems with the re-attachment including a lot of pain from the nerve damage and from the operations involved in the re-attachment. Artemis came over to my house and brought a package of herbs. She unwrapped my hand not flinching at the sight but putting my hand in warm water with the herbs. She told me to soak the hand 2-3 times a day. Within a week I could tell the difference and how much better my Hand felt when I applied the soak.

I saw Artemis as a title holder as MS NLA as she and Mark Frazier worked in the Dallas Fort Worth community as well as the national community. I remember Artemis coming over and just talking about some of the issues especially within the national BDSM community. She was always trying to find compromise in situations.

I watched Artemis when she became co-chair on NLA Dallas and put her energy into making the Dallas Chapter the best in the country.

I saw Artemis as an activist against Domestic Violence believing as I do that the only way to stop Domestic Violence is to talk about it and educate our community. I was on quite a few panels with Artemis where she again demonstrated her passion and commitment to insuring people understood the difference between safe sane and consensual BDSM and Domestic Violence.

I saw Artemis as a friend who came to my house to share Holiday dinners.

I also saw her as Cynthia Babbitt as a “sight safety manager” who loved her work and was glad she was in a position where people listened to her advice.

In hind sight, a lot of Artemis’s life involved insuring people were safe. In her job she insured people were safe at work. Her involvement in Domestic Violence attempted to insure we were safe in our relationships and her workshops and involvement in play parties made sure we were safe in a play area.

A few weeks ago none of us would have thought we would be here for this reason. We had just finished a great Beyond Vanilla, in which Artemis was very involved. She was with a woman that she loved. What happened was a shock to all of us. Some of us knew that Artemis suffered from depression, but she kept it hidden from most people. If you’ve been feeling guilty or questioning what you could have done to help Artemis or what sign you missed, that’s quite normal. When something like this happens we look for the answers, until finally we have to accept that there may not be an answer we will understand. Artemis did not die because of something one of us missed, something that could have been done. Artemis died because sometimes depression is a fatal illness. It can be as painful and debilitating as any physical illness. If Artemis death can teach us one thing it is to understand that depression is an illness and like any illness if it goes untreated can be fatal.
I believe if Artemis could speak to us she would tell us not to in any way blame ourselves. At that particular time she made a choice. It probably felt like the only choice she had at the time, but she would not want anyone to feel responsible.

I sometimes think of our community as a huge tapestry. Each of us has our own thread and design running through it. When one of our community is no longer with us, there is a hole in the tapestry. But I also believe that by remembering that person, continuing to work on what they believed in, honoring them at meetings and gatherings, we begin to repair the hole in the tapestry. In time it becomes stronger and the memory of that person is preserved.

My memories of Artemis will be of the things I talked about in the beginning. The way she gave herself to the community. I will remember her laugh (and that little wicked laugh she could give also when she was in a devilish mood.) Her warmth, the habit she had of reaching out and touching someone’s arm when she was talking to them. The look in those beautiful eyes that said I care!! Those are my memories of Artemis and I will miss her.

Fire – Hardy Haberman

{Hardy lights the red candle.}

Artemis is a child of Fire.

Blazing, bright, hot, passionate, intense. All words that can describe fire. All words that can describe my friend Artemis. Like the embers of a fire, Artemis could sometimes look cool, even aloof, but once stirred up she would burst into flame with a passion that only can be described as fiery.

If you didn’t know her well, she could seem almost shy or cold. Once you earned her trust, she opened up and became the Artemis I know. Like fire, she was warm. She could be surprisingly tender and gentle, and even though she frightened me when we first met, I grew close to her warmth and we became good friends.

I remember sitting on a panel with her many years ago at a Beyond Vanilla talking about spirituality and leather. Though she was Wiccan and I am Christian, it surprised people how much we agreed. She and I understood that all spiritual practices reflect our struggle with understanding the divine.

Like fire, Artemis was strong. She had a stamina that impressed me and like a force of nature, she could focus on a project and push it forward. Working with her on the Domestic Violence Project showed me that. She was a constant source of energy when we got bogged down, she had pushed this initiative since it first began and her energy and fire will continue to push it forward to its successful conclusion.

Now, being the son of a scientist, I know what fire really is. It is the rapid oxidation of a material, and exothermic reaction that releases heat and light. It is that moment when a mass of matter transforms

into a mass of energy but the truth is that mass cannot be created or destroyed. That is a comforting thought, because like the reaction that we call fire, Artemis has not gone. She has merely changed her state, and like fire she will burn in our hearts forever.

Water – La Lioness

{La Lioness lights the blue candle.}

Artemis is a child of Water.

Artemis I look for you everywhere and in everything I do. Your stay was so short and my love for you so long.

Artemis your wisdom and soul were like the rivers and oceans that flow.
Your emotions were as deep and long as the Nile River. No one truly understood the depths of your emotions and the storms in your life

Your soul was so pure and clear in spite of all the wounds that were buried at the core of your ocean of life.

In spite of all the individuals that deposited unclean water upon you,
You were always a flowing spring for anyone you met.
Always seeing the best in everyone in spite of all the turmoil in your mind.

Although I know that it would be impossible for you to
Return to me in this realm I will continue to hold on to your essence and love.

I have pondered on what that infectious laughter that you willingly shared reminded me of and now I know that it was the echo of your soul.

I’ll never resign myself to having lost you. I know that we shall meet again and continue with a new chapter in our book of life.

Artemis I know you loved me and that you never meant to hurt me, Your absence makes it difficult to breathe

I understand now the significance of your final destination. The river from which you came has reclaimed you to heal you emptiness, loneliness and brokenness .I now know that you had to go because this was not a place for a soul a like yours.

The life and love that we shared flows to be depths of our souls. I am a better person because of the unconditional love that we shared and the spirit of forgiveness that blossomed within our relationship.

I’d like to share with you Artemis’ words that she shared with her parents and they shared with me:

Since everything and every thought is interrelated
The vastness of our universe
is related to the myriads
of universes, which in their turn
constitute the multiverse
that in its turn composes a verse
in an infinite symphony
We can observe this infinite symphony and enjoy it
We can feel its awesome wonder

Since everything is interrelated,
and effected by the totality of creation
Even our daily concerns
are part of this vastness

To live in the awareness of the limitless nature of our lives
Gives us the courage to unlock the treasure chest of life and discover
we are always at the beginning.

Earth – Master Lanie

{Master Lanie lights the green candle.}

Artemis is a child of Earth.

Once upon a time I did a presentation with Master David Henry at NLA. Later on during dinner at La Madeline a woman in a very dapper fedora came up to me to say she liked something I said. She handed me her card and that she looked forward to our paths crossing again.
The southerner in me remembers the hat. The leather woman in me remembers the woman under it.


Vivid isn’t a word that I use to describe very many people. Not many people live their lives in such a way as to make so many lasting impressions. Artemis is not a person about whom you speak in hushed tones or mild descriptors.

Generous. Passionate. Funny. Rigorous. Kind. Committed. Raunchy. Loving. Clever. Ethical. Steadfast. Unflinching.

Early on in our friendship, Artemis was in a pretty serious auto crash that tore her truck up, broke her wrist, and tore the tendons in her left knee. What some of you may not know is that the reason she broke her wrist is because her hand was on the wheel trying to avoid the crash. Her passenger was my son. When I saw the photograph of where the SUV hit I knew that the extra inches she got that truck turned in the few crucial seconds before the crash she likely saved his life. For that she has my eternal gratitude.

One measure of a friendship is just how much you can accommodate your mutual eccentricities while you enjoy the ways you complement each other. Ultimately friendship is the place of acceptance. The place of no judgment. The place where you can say anything. I called her a Yankee bluestocking, east coast liberal once when she was on a mild rant about politics. She blessed my heart right then and there and we laughed. It was one of the best moments.

She was my “go to” call for sick animals. I was her “go to” call for sick people.

In our day, we have cried out bits and chunks of our disappointments with people and jobs on each other’s shoulders before we muttered something acidic about the hazards of leading with your heart. One of the things I’ll remember most is her ability so sum up whatever the problem of the moment was with two words: “Well shit.” The longer the space between the words, the bigger the problem was.

When Arthur and I got wild bird feeders, Artemis came over not long after and told me what the birds hanging out in the back yard were- genus, species, migratory range, egg color, mating habits, and favorite food. The next visit, she brought her bird book just in case there was some detail she didn’t already know. I looked through it and bought one because I like details, too.

Wild flower book in hand, she talked me into going to Ennis this past spring to look at the flowers. It was a day of conversation and companionable silence deep in the country traveling down whatever road looked interesting. The day was mostly unremarkable and yet it was the best day.

I hope that those of you that are here today have had a best day or best moment with Artemis Silverowl. Child and citizen of the earth. Resting in the Summerlands. I look forward to crossing paths again.

Spirit – koneko
{koneko lights the white candle.}

Artemis is a child of Spirit.

I think Artemis spirit is best understood in poem and song. First, her favorite poem, a gifted to her by her friend, Cecelia, in 1982.

Moonlight Huntress

Red Mars rises at twilight.
Dark Artemis stands astride –
Behind her, the woods of her daylight.
Before her, the hot evening’s ride.

A satyr had stolen her handmaid,
Her dearest young nymph of the wood,
Naomi; the beast in his foul lust
Had seized the poor maid where she stood.

But what Artemis hunts, she captures
And what Artemis seeks she finds.
She bends to the trail before her,
Then springs to the hart at her side.

Swift as the hooves before her,
The white deer slices the night,
Leaps over where crooked legs tore through,
Til a flickering red comes in sight.

“Slow, my love, soft. We’re nearing.”
Artemis slips to the ground,
But a burst of wild laughter and singing
And a high winging flute drownds the sound.

Artemis shakes with laughter.
Rescued – nymphs dancing entwined?
The satyr lolls in the tree roots,
While her quick-footed maids drink his wine.

And now, one of her favorite songs that spoke to her heart.

Winds Four Quarters by Heather Alexander

Video of Artemis Pictures by Ian Coleman

Artemis, daughter of the Goddess, has been released back to the elements.
In her honor, I share a creation myth from our Dianic tradition.
For once created, we eventually cycle back to the mother, and start the dance once again.

Dianic Creation Myth
by Morgan McFarland

In the infinite moment before all time
the Goddess arose from chaos
and gave birth to Herself.

This was before anything else had been born
… not even Herself.
And when She separated the skies from the waters
She danced upon them.

As She danced, so did Her ecstasy increase.
In Her ecstasy She created everything that is.

Her movements made the wind and the element
Air was born and did breathe.
And the Goddess named Herself:
Arianrhod, Cardea, Astarte

And sparks were struck from Her dancing feet
so that She shone forth as the Sun,
and the stars were caught in Her hair.
Comets raced about Her,
and the element Fire was born.
And the Goddess named Herself:
Sunna, Vesta, Pelé

About her feet swirled the waters in tidal wave and river,
and flowing stream.
The element Water did move.
And She named Herself:
Binah, Mari Morgaine, Lakshmi

And She sought to rest her feet from their dance,
and She brought forth the Earth
so that the shores were Her footstool,
the fertile lands Her womb,
the mountains Her full breasts,
and Her streaming hair the growing things.

And the Goddess named Herself:
Cerridwen, Demeter, the Corn Mother

She saw that which was and is and will be,
born of Her sacred dance and cosmic delight,
and infinite joy.

She laughed, and the Goddess created Woman in Her own image,
to be the Priestess of the Great Mother.

From Her Elements; Earth, Air, Fire and Water,
the Goddess created for Herself a Consort-
for love, pleasure, companionship and sharing.

The Goddess then spoke to Her daughters, saying:
“I am the Moon to light your path
and to speak to your rhythms.

I am the Dancer and the Dance.
I whirl without motion.

I am the Sun who gives you warmth
in which to stretch and grow.
I am All that will Be.

I am the Wind to blow at your call
and the sparkling Waters that offer joy.

I am the Fire of the Dance of Life,
and I am the Earth beneath your dancing feet.

I give to all my priestesses three aspects that are Mine:
I am Artemis, the Maiden of the Animals,
the Virgin of the Hunt.
I am Isis, the Great Mother.
I am Ngame, the Ancient One who winds the shroud.

I shall be called a million names.

Call unto me, daughters, and know that I am Nemesis.”
We are Virgins, Mothers, Old Ones- All.

We offer our created energy:
to the Spirit of Women Past,
to the Spirit of Women yet to Come,
to Woman Spirit Present and Growing.
Behold, we move forward together.
And it is Good.

Closing – koneko

Artemis offered her Goddess energy – to our community and to our journeys. She also left us words
to carry into the future. She said:

I firmly believe that the future growth and survival of the Bd/Sm/Leather/Fetish community depends upon coalition building, tolerance, integrity and service. We must become adept at respecting our differences while building bridges for our common good.

She was a firm believer in us working not as separate parts but as a greater whole to accomplish a greater good. As each of us seeks solace and understanding in her passing, may we each carry forward and become a part of this hope that was Artemis’ for ourselves and our future.

Thank you for being here today. There is a short reception downstairs that has been put together by the Knowlton Leather Family.

Tonight, there is also a Cigar Remembrance at the Dallas Eagle and DFW Alt’s party this evening at Sanctuary is in honor of Artemis. Thank you for your presence and your energy here today.

{Extinguish candles.}

Blessed Be.


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