In Memoriam: De-Anna Alba (1952-2012)

De-Anna and partner Lea PierceDe-Anna Alba, author, singer, priestess and wine entrepreneur, died on January 24, 2012 in Santa Rosa, California from complications due to breast cancer diagnosed December 23, 2010. She is survived by her cherished son Ian Robert White and her beloved life partner, Lea Pierce of Santa Rosa, California.

An Interfaith memorial service will be held on Saurday, May 12, 2012 at 11 am at the Church of the Incarnation (Episcopal) in Santa Rosa, California. RSVP:

A Pagan memorial service that will include cremains interment will be held at Circle Cemetery at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve near Barneveld, Wisconsin on Saturday, July 21, 2012. RSVP:

De-Anna was born on March 31, 1952 and was the adopted daughter of Robert White and Dorothy Plock White of Wisconsin. She lived the first part of her life at a variety of urban, suburban, and rural places in Wisconsin. She moved to Santa Rosa, California in 1999 and became life partners with Lea Pierce.

During her years in California, De-Anna did writing, including a column for SageWoman magazine and a book on Candle Magic, which will be published posthumously later this year. She also branched out into various business endeavors. She was part owner and Secretary/Vice President of Indian Ridge Real Estate, a property and management company owned by her partner Lea Pierce. She and Lea also founded Wine Competition Management LLC in 2007, which in four short years became the wine industry's leading production company for competitions, launching The National Women's Wine Competition, the Organic & Biodynamic Wine Competition, the U.S. Professional Wine Buyers Competition, and the NextGen Wine Competition for Millennial Wine Drinkers.

Wine Competition Management redefined the wine competition niche and received world-wide publicity including Decanter Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. De-Anna's encyclopedic knowledge of wine and her superb administrative skills paired dynamically with her partner's marketing skills to produce an acknowledged phenomenon in the international wine world. De-Anna worked with such luminaries as Gina Gallo, former Ambassador Kathryn Hall, Margaret Mondavi, and Eileen Crane of Domaine Carneros, the American arm of Tattingers and many other leading women winemakers and marketers.

De-Anna began her studies of Goddess Spirituality, Wicca and Paganism in college. In her mid-twenties, she and then partner Lugh Shin McGhee led the First Wiccan Temple of our Lady in Milwaukee. In 1978, they began studying Circle Craft with Selena Fox and Jim Alan, and the following year, joined their household and began living with them at Circle Farm, a rented farmhouse near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin which served as Circle Sanctuary's first headquarters. De-Anna continued to be part of their household at subsequent rural locations in Ashton and Black Earth.

De-Anna was Circle Sanctuary's first church secretary and one of its first ordained priestesses. She took the name De-Anna Alba at the time of her ordination in 1979 and registered it as her ministerial name in 1980.

From 1979-1983, De-Anna worked full-time for Circle Sanctuary, and assisted Selena Fox with ceremonies, gatherings, education, public relations, publications, and other work. She helped Selena in developing Circle Sanctuary's worldwide Circle Network, which continues to serve Pagans of many paths. De-Anna served on Circle Sanctuary's Board of Directors from 1980-1983. After Circle Sanctuary moved its headquarters to its land near Barneveld in 1983, De-Anna continued to work part time for several years in its office.

De-Anna had a beautiful voice and was among those singing with Jim Alan and Selena Fox on their 1980 album "Songs of Pagan Folk," one of the first albums of contemporary Pagan music. De-Anna sometimes accompanied Selena and Jim on their speaking and singing travels around the USA. She performed with them at the 1979 Pan Pagan Festival in Indiana and the 1980 Witches Ball in New York City.

In addition, De-Anna was part of Circle Sanctuary's early years in doing public education about the Wiccan religion and contemporary Paganism. She appeared with Selena and Jim in local and national media, including national television (interviewed by Phil Donahue on NBC's Today Show) and press (Time, People, Milwaukee Sentinel). She assisted Selena with interfaith endeavors, including being part of a meeting with the Dalai Lama during his first trip to the USA in Fall, 1979.

De-Anna's spiritual journey was multi-faceted and encompassed the study and practice of a variety of traditions, including Wiccan and Pagan spirituality and Celtic and Anglican Christianity. Connecting with the Divine Feminine was the focus of De-Anna's spiritual life. She was strongly connected with Mary, especially during the last part of her life's journey. De-Anna's matron Goddess was Cerridwen and her principal ceremonial tool was the Cauldron.

De-Anna engaged in solitary Wiccan practice and also was active in several spiritual organizations during her lifetime. In addition to the First Wiccan Temple of Our Lady and Circle Sanctuary, De-Anna was a founding member of EarthSisters, later renamed MoonSisters, a women's spirituality group within the Circle Sanctuary Community in the early 1980's. She also was active in the Pagan Spirit Alliance. In the mid-1980's, she studied Gardnerian Wicca and became a third degree priestess. She was a co-founder and co-facilitator of Earth Conclave of Madison, Wisconsin. Later, she became a priestess in the Dianic tradition and was part of Reformed Congregation of the Goddess. Later, De-Anna formed her own initiatory tradition. De-Anna attended a variety of Pagan festivals and Goddess conferences during her years in Wisconsin.

De-Anna's Goddess spirituality writing career began with her contributions to CIRCLE Magazine, originally known as Circle Network News. She was an editor of Circle News and among the contributors to the first Circle Guide to Pagan Resources (1979) and the Pagan Spirit Journal (1982). Later, her writings appeared in periodicals of other organizations. For the past 22 years, De-Anna was a regular columnist for the Women's spirituality journal SageWoman. In addition to published articles, De-Anna was author of the book, Cauldron of Change: Myths, Mysteries and Magick of the Goddess (1993). De-Anna continued sharing perspectives even as she neared the end of her life. An interview with De-Anna conducted by Lea will be published in the March 2012 issue of SageWoman.

One sample of her work in Circle Network News: Summer Invocation to the Goddess

May those of us who mourn her passing take comfort in knowing that De-Anna lives on in her works, in our memories, and in the many lives she blessed during her lifetime. She enriched this world with her writings, her voice, her rituals, her wisdom, and her spirit.

De-Anna: We Remember You, We Honor You, and We Celebrate You, Your Life, and Your Legacy!

Blessed Be,
Selena Fox
Senior Minister, Circle Sanctuary

Obituary compiled by Selena Fox with contributions by Lea Pierce and others.


Memorial Tributes


NameSelena Fox
LocationOak Forest in Wisconsin
Date2012-01-31 10:52:43
May the sharing of memories & tributes here expand our understanding & appreciation of De-Anna & her life. May the sharing of condolences & support here bring solace & comfort to those of us grieving her death. May these expressions aid the preparations for De-Anna's Memorials to come. So Be It.
LocationSouth Mississippi
Date2012-02-05 11:01:31
This realm experiences a deficit as the loved and beloved De-Anna exits to the next. We had hoped she would see another Mardi Gras in New Orleans but it wasn't to be. What a privilege it has been to call her friend, to have her as a guest in my home and to be one in hers. I hope each of us may find some small way to celebrate her life and to carry her gifts forward in our own way.
LocationPalm Springs
Date2012-02-07 20:45:45
I knew her as Wendy/Wendell. What a kind, gentle spirit. I remember and cherish her laugh. I remember her on Nagawicka Lake in Wisconsin. We found each other through our love of music and then she opened my mind to things that were not in the curriculum at college. I felt so blessed to be re-connected with her a few years ago when 4 of us from college had a mini-reunion in San Francisco. I so wish there would have been more.
NameBob (Bobby to Wendy) Hunter
LocationSan Francisco, CA
Date2012-02-09 19:05:02
I met wendy white (her given name) at carroll college. it didn't take long before we became good friends and stayed that way throughout college. wendy was in choir, in my sisters sorority, and we would go to the coachlight bar A LOT and sing! she had a GREAT sense of humor, was FUN, very intelligent and incredibly interesting. more so, she was always INTERESTED in people, which made her even more attractive to me. wendell was a great listener and deeply spiritual; she was probably one of my first guides. i always knew there was something more beneath the smile and laugh and her beautiful blonde hair. looking back at her lifes path, i was right. we were fortunate enough to reunite in december of 2006... we had SUCH a good time and it was as if nothing had changed...same old wendell -- just wiser & still as interesting and as INTERESTED as always. i didn't have enough time with her those two nights and wish i had had more... i will miss wendy's spirit & energy, but know it lives on through this memorial and my memory of her. as patanjali wrote "the flesh counts for nothing, it's the spirt that gives life" he was so right. i know and look forward to connecting with wendell, while i'm still in this body, in this lifetime. and, i can't WAIT to see & re-connect with her when I pass over. my sincere and deep love, thoughts and blessing to you, wendell. please come see me soon -- i'm looking forward to it. love, bobby
NameTinnekke Bebout
Date2012-02-11 09:38:30
I saw this and was in complete shock. My heart goes out to Lea and her son in their loss. What a huge loss also for the Pagan community and the world. May the Goddess welcome De-Anna into Her arms and bring comfort to De-Anna's family and friends.
NameMichael Butler Smith
LocationBrooklyn, New York
Date2012-02-11 15:33:08
I was blessed to have known dearest De-Anna beginning in the mid 1980's, when she helped and counseled me in the aftermath of an abusive relationship. Her unconditional support, kindness, and love helped me see the light of the Goddess again at a time when all seemed dark. She encouraged me to write, create my own tradition and bring my personal vision of Goddess-centered Wiccan spirituality to birth. I still have all the letters we exchanged back then - typed to each other on those ancient relics known as typewriters! Her letters are now a part of my Book of Shadows where their insight, humor and wisdom live on. When my first book was published, I made a point of including De-Anna in my acknowledgments - she touched my life in so many ways I just had to mention her and say thank you. I send my condolences, blessings and heart-felt support to Lea and Ian. We love you *always* De-Anna! May your spirit dwell in the Light of Her Heart...
NameRev. Vic Wright
Date2012-02-11 16:21:51
I did not have the pleasure of meeting De-Anna before she passed into the Summerland, but I honor her Spirit and the pioneer work she was involved with. I honor the time and energy she put into helping others understand our path and workings. I am sorry I did not meet her in person. though I do feel a connection to De-Anna in Spirit. My heart and energies go out to her family and friends in the time of transition. Blessings and Hugs to Lea as she goes through this time of loss and grieving. Please let me know if I can help in any way. Blessings, Vic
NameChris Dec
LocationSebastopol, CA
Date2012-02-21 14:21:28
Although one would be at a challenge to add another word to the account of her fabulous career and to the words that have been used to describe her... I do want to squeeze in two: class — and one knows what this is when in its presence — and grace, similarly undefinable, yet quickly perceived. Working with De-Anna on publications, I was always taken with her ability to rise above the sometimes complex chaos that accompanied many projects and see it through the eyes of an angel who floats above, unravels while smiling throughout, and finding solution and resolve with grace. Her humor was also a butter that melted and flowed over every problem strewn endeavor, making it a far tastier experience than it would have been without her. Have a safe trip to the Goddess, Good Wiccan Wendy... We will miss you here.
Namelugh mc ghee
Date2012-03-02 17:08:23
first let me express my condolenes to Ian her mate and her family.It breaks my heart that such a great priestess and a woman of wisdom and power has left us.I ask that the ancestors and the great goddess holds her close to her heart.She put up with me during my struggles to beome a man and she openend the doors of the sacred mysteries to me.I had only talked to Ian once or twice, but my heart bleeds for his loss but may the love they have for each last for eternity.I will always honor her as an adept and a friend and i will always mention her in my ancestral prayers.I mean no negativity but this breaks my heart. The blessing of the great mother be upon us all both the living and the dead. ronald lugh mc ghee priest of ifa.
NameMarilyn (& Ron)
LocationNew York
Date2012-04-03 19:29:20
Please add to previous submission (hit enter too soon): In loving memory. De-Anna's loving heart and brilliance will be remembered and cherished.
NameDebra Willis
Date2012-05-07 16:44:38
I did not personally meet De-Anna and I feel that I knew her through her writing and through her singing. Just knowing De-Anna in this way influences my life. My sympathy goes to her friends and family. May time soften the pain until all that remains is the beauty of the memories. Though the voice is quiet, the spirit echoes still.
Date2012-05-07 19:28:18
Though I did not know you in person, I know that you must have been a wonderful person for all the work you have done and shared in the circle. I am just a person half in the Path but I pay my respects to you. May you have Peace and walk in the Light forever.
NameMari Powers
LocationUnited States
Date2012-05-07 21:27:55
De-Anna helped make God/Herself real to me. She told me her Goddess was no metaphor; She was a living Being. She validated my experiences just prior to me becoming a member of Circle Sanctuary and being a short time member of Moon Circles. She validated the experiences I had later with personal divine revelation with her words. I listened to her sing round campfires and in some of the first tapes and LP's created. She had a wonderful voice, spirit and her legacy lives on. She who is remembered, lives. She is with her Living Goddess now. Mari Powers
NameSteven Londe
LocationCentral FL Coast
Date2012-05-08 15:33:10
I am so sorry to hear---I want to express my support---I am sorry it will be such a loss to the Circle Sanctuary. My condolences. Many Blessing, Steven (Ocean)
LocationNew Mexico
Date2012-05-08 19:09:38
I found her books to be among the best available. It is still true today.
LocationCarbondale, IL
Date2012-05-10 09:03:32
I remember the early days when De-Anna wrote for Circle Network News. She was a wonderful writer and passionate about her subjects. Her book, Cauldron of Change: Myths, Mysteries and Magick of the Goddess (1993), continues to be one of my favorites to this day. The importance of her writing, in my life, compares with the works of Z Budapest, Shekhinah Mountainwater and Diane Stein. De-Anna's lovely rhyming invocations and spells will always remain favorites of mine. I didn't know that De-Anna was ill and am so sorry. May all you who love her most especially, be comforted in your grief. Shine on, De-Anna! Brightest blessings.
NameJanne Butler
LocationTacoma WA USA
Date2012-07-23 03:46:14
Wishing you at peace in the Summerland, De-Anna. Always loved everything you wrote- your wonderful spirit shone in your words- Blessed Be.