Patricia Kevena Fili, aka Amethyst Moonwater, Pagan and Wiccan Priestess, was born in March 1951 in Portland, Oregon. Assigned male gender at birth, Patricia had two older brothers. Patricia was interested in spiritual life from a young age. At the age of 4 she announced to her family that she was different (of course, didn’t know trans language at that time) and was subsequently humiliated and inundated with messages that this was not OK.
Patricia was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition of her mother and attended Catholic schools for the first eight grades. The transition to public school after that was difficult. Patricia was picked on by other kids for being shy and unpopular. All of this reinforced the understanding that it wasn’t OK to be different.
Patricia developed interest in the arts, writing poetry and plays, in high school. She was also involved in speech and debate in those years.
After school, Patricia enlisted in the Air Force—this was during the Viet Nam War. In this branch of the military, there was some option of choosing a job track. Desiring not to be engaged directly in violence, Patricia became a typist. She was in the service for three years and seven months. During that time she spent one year in Korea. Her participation in a war games exercise there was a radicalizing experience that led to questioning of moral authority that carried on into the future.
Patricia’s earliest political activism came at the age of 13. In response to news reports about a shipment of poisonous gas being sent to Oregon from the Midwest, Patricia organized students in a dozen schools to write letters in protest. The resultant redirection of this shipment elsewhere was an empowering experience for Patricia.
After military service, Patricia enrolled at Portland State University. She continued her involvement in a number of political movements there. Still unwillingto address her gender identity, Patricia identified as bisexual. Patricia developed a relationship with a woman who was pregnant and they got married. That relationship produced a daughter. It did not work out and ended.
Patricia earned a Masters of Arts and Communication degree at University of Portland. She taught some communications classes as adjunct faculty. She experienced frequent bouts of depression and uncertainty about her life path.During this time she discovered and got active in Unitarianism. While there, Patricia found her political activism rooted in a spirit life and a desire to make the world better. In 1989 she decided to become a Unitarian minister and enrolled in seminary at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Patricia was the first self-identified Unitarian-pagan there. She thrived in the seminary years and found this to be a life-changing experience.
However, her ordination in the Unitarian-Universalist Association was blocked by the credentialing committee. This process was very disillusioning and hurtful for Patricia. So she began training to become a Pagan Priestess. She got involved in the Pagan Alliance in the Bay Area.
Patricia began making the transition to female gender identify in 1995. This was precipitated by an prolonged ordeal with her ex-wife who would not allow Patricia to have contact with their daughter. The daughter reported that her mother’s new husband had molested her. Patricia began legal proceedings to propose taking custody for the safety of the daughter.
This whole experience was quite distressing for Patricia, leading her to the realization that she had to embrace who she really was. So she began the transition to female identity by starting hormone therapy and dressing as her preferred gender. By 2007 she had secured sufficient funds for surgery.
Embracing this new trans identity opened new opportunities for spiritual and religious leadership for Patricia. Shehas served on the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's National Religious Leadership Roundtable since 2005, and the Diverse Spiritual Traditions Working Groups since 2011. She served as Executive Director of an LGBT Community Center. She is proud of facilitating gender identity and expression non-discrimination protections with the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors. She is a Stone and Political Priestess-- centered in being a healer and working for political change and to create art through art and performance.
(This biographical statement was written by Mark Bowman from information provided by Patricia Kevena Fili.)
Biography Date: December 2012
WICCAN | National Gay & Lesbian Task Force | Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, CA) | Ordination/clergy | Transgender activism | U.S. Military