Poly pioneers Morning Glory and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart go on TV
Discovery Communications, the parent company of The Discovery Channel, created the "Destination America" cable channel less than a year ago. "Destination America" specializes in sensational video documentaries. One of its shows is "Hidden in America," about unusual people and groups. A one-hour episode on polyamory and swinging is tentatively scheduled to air on Tuesday April 16 at 10 p.m. Eastern time (after it was bumped from March 16th).
Already up on the show's website is a 2-minute video clip: a delightful interview with the early poly pioneers Morning Glory and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and their partner of many years Julie O'Ryan:
The Ravenhearts are walking, talking poly history with perhaps some mythology thrown in. Morning Glory (left above) was one of the two independent inventors of the word "polyamory," with her influential essay "A Bouquet of Lovers" which she published in their Neo-Pagan magazine Green Egg in spring 1990; the word was also in handouts they distributed at a conference not long after. Oberon (birth name Timothy Zell) started the Stranger in a Strange Land-inspired Church of All Worlds in 1962, helped to promote Stranger and ideals of group love as the 1960s counterculture grew, and became a central character in the development of Neo-Paganism, including the strong poly streak that continues to run through the Pagan world. They were married in 1974.
Today both Oberon and Morning Glory are cancer survivors who beat tough odds. They're completing their autobiography, The Witch and the Wizard OZ, scheduled to be published by Llewellyn in early 2014. Both are hale and hearty in the video, which Oberon tells us was filmed last August.
The title of the full Destination America episode is "Swinging and Free Love." Bianca Ritchie, production coordinator for the Hidden in America series, informs us that "the episode runtime is 43 minutes and will include segments on the rise of swinging culture during the sexual revolution, modern swinging culture, distinguishing between Polyamory and swinging, a Polyamory community in Boston, and of course Oberon, Morning Glory and Julie." Deborah Anapol will also have a role.
To see if the Destination America channel is on your cable, use the channel finder. To check if the schedule has changed again (and to find the likely reruns), see the Hidden in America schedule as the date draws near.
Transcript of the clip above:
Narrator: Until the early 1990s, the word "polyamory" didn't even exist. It was invented by this couple: Morning Glory Ravenheart and her husband Oberon.
Morning Glory: The way the word polyamory came to be — a lot of people were trying to live a "non-monogamous" lifestyle. And that is a mouthful. "Non-monogamy." So I took the Greek word poly, which means "many," and the word amor, which is kind of French and also Latin, amo, amas, amat — and combined the two together, poly and amor to make polyamory.
Narrator: Morning Glory and Oberon are New Age pagans. They have been happily married and polyamorous for almost 40 years. They've shared 20 years of that with their partner Julie. And they're living proof that open marriages can go the distance.
Oberon: In polyamory the focus is really on love. I mean you can only do so much sex. Even when you're 18 you can only do so much sex. The rest of the time you're hanging out together. You've got to be able to talk to each other. Enjoy the same things. Work together. Enjoying the same movies, enjoying reading the same books. So it's a constant ongoing relationship.
Julie I don't think anyone "becomes" polyamorous. Any more than you "become" gay, or "become" female. I love to love. And I love to meet other people, new people. To flirt, to have new adventures — so a monogamous life simply would not work for me.
All: To lessons learned!