Visionary, Guide, Teacher
Few of our cultural elders in America ever reach the status of “Living Legend” but 89-year-old Elspeth Odbert, just may be one. She has been enriching and strengthening the Neo Pagan movement for over 30 years. She consistently breaks through our isolating armor and bares us to the full light of, "Wake up! Take Charge of Your Life!”
Her reputation for perceptive advice and earth-based “mountain wisdom” draws people to gather in her teaching circles. Outspoken and opinionated, Elspeth is an inspirational teacher and change agent: leading her listeners along an eco-spiritual path of personal and planetary transformation. As an honored elder in the Neo-Pagan movement, she is a living example of the timeless truths that she teaches.
Elspeth has appeared at many of the Pagan gatherings around the nation, even helping to found several of them. A representative selection of Elspeth’s writings and presentations would include “Be Responsible for Your Mouth,” “The Feminine Divine”, “Eat Your Front Yard”, “Making Peace with Money,” “The Women of Power”, and “How Shall We Shape the Future”. Some of her Young Adult workshops include “Raging Hormones”, “Standing Against Bullying” and “Youth in Action in the World.”
She offers a four-day retreat called “The Full-Blown Rose”, focused on women of middle years. Among her multi-session sets of classes are “Building Community” and “Achieving Your Life Goals”. Her current work-in-progress is: “Conscious Evolution – Choice, Change, Commitment.”
Called by Resonance Magazine “a combination of Deepak Chopra and Minnie Pearl” or simply “a force of nature” by those attending her lectures; she answers best to “Grandmother Elspeth”
Grandmother Elspeth has been married for 36 years to James Odbert, internationally revered science fiction artist. He is best known for his prize winning sacred and fantasy art under his professional name of “Nybor.” Elspeth and Nybor led “Family Circle” rituals for many years wherever they found themselves on Saturday evenings. This grew into the spiritual path they call “The Haven Way.” Based on a Wiccan format it is eco-spiritual, non-hierarchical, and evolving. Though they no longer lead a working group, Elspeth and Nybor remain available to the Neo-Pagan world.
Together, Elspeth and Nybor created "Gylantra's Journey," a fully illustrated storybook presenting their dream of a possible positive future. Published in 2010 in a limited edition, it is still available.
Another project they share creatively is “GreenSong.” Guided by the late Pete Seeger and with the extensive musical background of John Grastorf, they founded “GreenSong” as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2012.
“GreenSong” is a series of educational and entertainment events using the performing arts and suitable workshops to encourage and enhance sustainable world change. “GreenSong” can manifest in a number of ways: an evening, one-day, or a weekend. In any event, it is filled with music plus demonstrations and workshops.
Grandmother Elspeth is the author of the poem “The Challenge.” Written in 2004, it has become an underground classic, showing up in Christmas cards, graduation messages, and birthday cards as well as in individual prints. “The Challenge” was set to music in 2007. Copies of both the poem and the music can be ordered from Grandmother.
She is also responsible for two spoken-word CD sets with covers by Nybor:
“Out of the Forest” is a double disc of journeywork, deeper and more intense than ordinary guided meditation. In three journeys, Grandmother guides the listener to heal past wounds, seek wisdom, and face death.
“Gylantra’s Legacy”, is the audio form of her book, “Gylantra’s Journey,” It is spoken by Grandmother Turtle (see below). Both of these CD sets are available.
Over the years Elspeth has studied in several fields. As a Master Gardener she has specialized in the many aspects of Permaculture. Her certification as a Shamanic Practitioner follows many years of study with the Church-of-Earth-Healing in Ohio. She and her husband were ordained in 1996 by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church in Washington.
For the last 45 years Elspeth’s focus has been on shaping the present to bring a future of human justice, cooperation rather than extreme consumption, and lasting environmental health. Her personal studies in self-reliant communities, eco-psychology and alternative healing have enabled her to better serve those who come to her.
She has stated many times, “I don’t have the answers; you will find your answers. I am here to help you find the right questions.”
As “Grandmother Turtle,” she is an irrepressible storyteller, gathering stories from many times and places. They range from simple to sophisticated and can be appealing to all ages.
As “The Crone on the Road,” she offers her “Living Room Experiences” in private homes across the nation. These are informal evenings where the audience may help choose the subject matter. She is a skilled Tarot reader and is available for consultation in person and on the phone.
Lately she has been welcomed to speak at a number of Universal Unitarian churches. While this is still new territory for Grandmother Elspeth, she is anticipating good response in this lively new venue.
When she is not on the road Grandmother Elspeth is at home in West Virginia with Nybor and two fur persons, Maggie, and Max.