Simon Goodman: A Profile (In Memoriam)
The late Simon Goodman has often been described as one of Australia’s most influential and respected magical figures. The effects of his lifes work for the Craft continue and grow with each passing year. How better to introduce him than by offering this obituary, written by one who knew him well:
At approximately 5.20am on 23 September 1991ce Simon Goodman passed through the veil to the Summerlands.
Born at Victoria Park on 16 September 1951ce Simon, whose birth name was Ian Watts, came to be interested in the Craft whilst still at school in the 1960s and received the title of Magister after five years study within traditional Sussex witchcraft. However, Simon’s interests transcended witchcraft and he preferred in his later years to be referred to as an Occultist. In occult circles he is known amongst others as High priest and Magus of the Wicca, Priest of Maat of the Fellowship of Isis and Brother.
Whilst forming a Wiccan group Covanentus Quercus in the mid 1970s, Simon et al were approached to do a documentary The Supernatural Influence. This was one of the first films to show complete nudity on television in Western Australia during an initiation ceremony and showed various Craft workings.
Simon was forever promoting the Craft and he was the catalyst for the formation of a number of groups that appeared in not only Western Australia but also South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. He established the Occult Reference Centre in Canberra and initiated some annual pagan Wiccan festivals that exist today in the Eastern States of Australia.
Simon was, as early as 1991, available to media and others to advise on various informative current affairs programmes such as The 7.30 Report, Sixty Minutes and the talkback radio show The Howard Slatter File, on the Craft and non-Craft workings. Much of Simon’s time was spent advising outsiders of the differentiation between Wicca (witchcraft, paganism) and Satanism indicating of course that there is no connection between the two. His dedication to the Craft and his pursuit of knowledge led him to the British Isles and Continental Europe, where he cemented bonds of friendship with Traditional, Gardnerian and Alexandrian groups overseas.
Although Simon was ever ready to discuss Craft, he was ever more so ready to help individuals in need, with proviso the need was genuine and the person was prepared to help themselves. He had a deep desire to help those less fortunate than he, and his great ability to retain knowledge and his knowledge of Craft is unsurpassed both here and overseas. Like the death of Alex Sanders, the passing of Simon Goodman is a great loss not only to the Wicca but to the Whole occult world.
To his immediate family, we express our deep and sincere sympathy and share their loss. But to Simon who has shown so many The Old Ways that lead to the Great Mother we say Vale Simon, Blessed Be and Farewell.
– Thomas, CQ
A few points which could be added to this obituary are; Simon in his personal, day to day life was a Royal Australian Navy man, and served in the rank of Medical Petty Officer. It was during his time in the navy that he became a Freemason, and this was a dedication which was to stay with him for the rest of his life. After leaving the sea, he joined the Federal Public Service and for many years held a responsible position as a Canberra public servant.
It was during this time in the 1970s that he gathered with a group of friends and students to found the Covanentus Quercus. Members of this Wiccan group come from all walks of life, and are carrying on the work of the foundation coven in all the mainland states of Australia. In the spirit of the memory of Simon, they are always ready to assist and direct people who want to learn about Paganism, Magic and Wicca, and who would become initiated into the Old Ways.
In 1988ce, Simon composed an obituary for his close friend and mentor, Alex Sanders, who died on the 30th of April that year. What Simon wrote about Alex at that time –Alex was always ready to pass on the extensive information learned in his years of Craft practise. A warm, sincere and generous and giving man, he was ever ready to give freely of himself, and to share with the many people who sought him out– could so equally and with great accuracy, apply to Simon himself.
One other aspect of Simon passed over in his obituary (for at the time of its writing there was great debate over the appropriateness of its inclusion in what formed a memory of the happier more positive things in Simons life), was the fact that he did not suffer fools gracefully. He would be uncompromising and undiplomatic. He had little time for the dilettantes, even less for charlatans and none whatsoever for the power-mongers as he scathingly called them. There have been many self-serving individuals who have felt the sharp edge of Simons tongue. Like so many other people touched with magical greatness (Alex Sanders and Dr. Gerald B. Gardner being two classic cases in point), Simon — living or dead — has never been short of detractors. Always loudest among those who would diminish his memory are the ones who have been recipients of his acerbic criticisms of their quest for personal power over others, and their use of my beloved Craft as a springboard to hoist their puny egos as Simon put it.
Simon will be honoured and respected long, long after those silly detractors have been forgotten. He is remembered with respect and love by those who truly knew him. As this series of articles on the Craft Working Tools being presented in Esoterica reveals, Simon was a person of scholarship and creative thought.
Tuan, the nom-de-plume under which this series of articles is published, was a great chieftain of the race of Cesair in the mythological time of the Celtic people. As he survived by transformation all the mythological catastophies which destroyed the lineal ancestral races of the Celts, he embodies the Spirit of Celtic lore.
At about 5.20 on the morning of the Vernal Equinox 1991ce, Simon cast off mooring lines and set sail across the Great Ocean. Good sailing Simon, smooth seas and happy landfall. Your bodily presence is missed by friends and colleagues — your spirit lives on through them!
Footnote: Covanentus Quercus can be contacted by writing to PO Box 54, Castlemaine, Victoria 3451