Jim 'Moon Dog' Runnels

Wed, 2011-11-30 18:10 -- Nels

Jim Runnels - (March 3, 1941 - Sept. 27, 2004) ALL PRAISE JIM ! !

James Alan Runnels , of Bloomington, went peacefully Sept. 27, 2004. Survived by wife, Dianne; son, Joel and daughter, Victoria. Memorials preferred to the American Red Cross or Radio Station KBEM-FM. A Memorial service occurred Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Cremation Society of MN, where many of those touched by him offered stories of his love, grace, and wit.

Jim Runnels

Jim was active in Northern Dawn Local Council of Covenant of the Goddess, the Twin Cities CUUPs chapter, and was a central participant in the Minnesota Omphalos Pagan Community Center project. Jim was one of the three men who created the group which led to the founding of the Brothers of the Key, a Twin Cities men's coven. Jim also worked with Stewardship of the Self, a small group inspired by the Reclaiming Tradition. He contributed to all of these activities with great passion, and often challenged his fellows to rise to the same level of dedication.

In addition to his enthusiastic attendance of Harmony Tribe's Harvest Festival, Jim had been a lively participant at Pagan Spirit Gathering, Merry Meet, Witch Camp, Heartland, and other Pagan festivals across the country

He began the famous "Morrison Ritual" where after the invoking of Jim Morrison was accomplished, those deemed worthy were anointed with alcoholic beverage ( most often Old Bushmill's Irish whiskey ) in his name. They were then given a "Morrison" name, hence his name "Mad Dog" Morrison. He often set up a temple to Morrison at his campsite and uttered the phrase; "Praise Jim"! In later years he changed his pagan name to Moon Dog, and in his last year wanted to be addressed as Jim.

Among his other accomplishments he was an Eagle Scout, in the Order of the Arrow; in the Coast Guard; an English professor, text book salesman and eventually regional director of sales.

He was an avid reader and a wealth of knowledge. He spoke his truth with honesty and directness, and touched countless members of our community with his sincere attentiveness and concern. He was a man who once his word, help, or friendship was offered, it was never to be doubted.

Jim was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December of 2002. He saw it as a challenge he would overcome. After surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Jim was in full remission for much of 2003. Over the last few months of his life, his balance and independence had suffered somewhat and this was being exacerbated by a hydrocephalic condition, otherwise known as water on the brain. He elected to have surgery intended to relieve this condition. A day or two later, he slipped into a comatose state from which he apparently could not return.

Story has it, he responded to his diagnosis by describing it as "that sorry sucker living in my head" and stating it would not overcome him without a fight.

Throughout the period following his diagnosis, he spoke often of the importance of love in our lives. On Monday, September 27, 2004, Jim passed from this world, surrounded by Divine Love and the love of his friends and family.

He was holding the hands of his wife, Dianne, and his eldest child, Joel, when he left.

I will miss "Mad Dog Morrison" greatly - he brought much laughter and joy into my life.
- Tony Taylor

Jim was always a strong supporter of Harmony Tribe and Sacred Harvest Festival since its inception. He participated through workshops, rituals, photographs, and his clear and strong vision and voice. His camping guide for festivals, published here, reflects his scouting back ground and preparedness for all his journeys. In SHF 2001, he led nearly a 100 people in a memorable time of chants and songs as they arrived in our ritual circle through a journey of rebirth. About the time of his diagnosis, Jim expressed the desire to add to his list of accomplishments by joining our root council and aiding in our Incorporation Articles rewrite, and bylaw drafting. His illness interrupted that intention. Back in February, Jim was the first one to request a registration form for SHF 2004 and he attended SHF only a few weeks before his passing. He honored us with the importance he placed on our event at this critical period in his life.

Jim was a strong leader in our community and he exemplified the archetype of committed, kind, and devoted father in a community sorely lacking in such examples. He will be missed and honored by Harmony Tribe.

Jim at SHF 2002 in his finest. He took many of our photos that year.

Only 5 weeks ago, up for another morning Meeting

If there is a discussion, Jim is in the middle.

From left: Judy, Jim Runnels, Macha Nightmare, Dianne Runnels

Besides the joy of my personal relationship with Jim for over 14 years, I attended a workshop he presented at SHF 1999 on opening your heart chakra. It was successful for me, as eventually love came into my heart. Forever thanks Jim!!! ...Nels


Portions of this remembrance were authored by Elvis Omar ben Tof, Brother of the Key, Paganistan.