Pat Zook, Lady Epona, 65: was a high priestess of Faerie Faith

Pat Zook, known to many as Lady Epona, met a potential novice in the Faerie Faith many years ago.

The student, Cliff Landis, was answering her probing questions with an intellectual’s measured thoughtfulness. She wanted Landis to be in touch with his spiritual, emotional side, and “she was having a little bit of trouble ‘cracking the crust,’” said Landis.

After one more rote response, Lady Epona slammed her hand on the desk and told Landis to go get some crackers.

“So I go to the kitchen and get a sleeve of saltines,” Landis recalled. “And she said, ‘if you’re going to act like a parrot, you’re going to eat like a parrot.’ ” And she directed her new charge to eat the crackers. “The point was to get me to slow down, to think and to feel,” said Landis.

The two ended up laughing as pieces of crumbled crackers flew from his mouth.

More recently, Landis, who became a high priest of the Faerie Faith under Lady Epona’s direction, cried through tears as he sang “Let it Be” as Lady Epona, a high priestess of the Faerie Faith, faced her final days on Earth.

“She loved to hear people sing,” said Landis, “and that was what we could give her at the end.”

Dr. Patricia Marie Zook, a veterinarian as well as high priestess of the Faerie Faith, died May 29, 2016 from cancer, COPD and congestive heart failure. She was 65.

Zook was born in Tacoma, Wash., on Jan. 30, 1951. She grew up in Texas as part of a military family that moved often. She attended Texas A&M University, receiving both her undergraduate and doctor of veterinary medicine degrees. She practiced briefly in Jacksonville, Texas, before moving to Atlanta.

Faerie Faith, explained Landis and Linda Kerr, is a Pagan belief system to which Zook contributed for many years. It is a faith that is hard to describe, they said. Lady Epona used lessons from the Beth-Luis-Nion Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar and the Huna system, her friends said. She stressed “a strong sense of ethics and a focus on personal transformation,” the two wrote about Zook.

While Zook practiced as a veterinarian for most of her adult life, it was her Paganism that drew a loyal crowd of friends and fellow practitioners to her. She was guarded about letting many people outside the Pagan community know of her beliefs because “we remember the burning time,” Landis said. “It can be hard being out of the broom closet.”

That did not keep Lady Epona from vigorously practicing her faith, her friends said, and sharing it with other followers.

She was the high priestess of several covens in the metro Atlanta area, her friends said. They included the Coven of the White Horse, the Garden Club, and the Mud Witches.

“She was very generous with her time, and she was very interested in other people’s perspectives,” said Landis. “There would be times when people would call her, and she’d be on the phone with them for six hours.”

Linda Kerr said that Lady Epona “was like a walking encyclopedia.”

“She was extremely knowledgable about all sorts of things, and people,” Kerr said. She knew about flower and herbal treatments and shared that knowledge with other people.

She loved her cats, which she called “little Zen masters,” and she had as many as 15 at one time, Kerr said. And, she liked to have a good time, drinking wine and being surrounded by her friends, Kerr said.

Pat was preceded in death by her parents, Herbert Davenport Zook and Patricia Ann Todd Zook and brothers Dwight Herbert Zook and William Everett Zook. She is survived by a nephew, Everett Todd Zook, and a niece, Carolyn Suzanne Zook.

A celebration of life for Zook is scheduled Sunday, June 19, at 4:00 pm at the Clarkston Community Center, 3701 College Ave., Clarkston. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Gwinnett Animal Hospital’s Good Samaritan Fund, 2184 McGee Rd, Snellville, GA 30078.

In addition, a ritual to celebrate the life and work of Lady Epona will be held at the FallFling Festival, October 6-9, 2016, in Roxanna, Alabama.