a14 – Carrie Sealine – 1957 – 2020

By Elle Dee and C.C. Brigade

This obituary of a beloved Oakland anarchist we lost over three years ago was written for an issue of a magazine that did not go to print. Although we are a bit late getting it out into the world, her life was beautiful and her legacy is timeless.

Carrie was a dear friend of mine who passed from cancer on October 26, 2020. She was with her children in her home, where she wanted to be. She was comfortable, she was ready for her next adventure, and she left so many of us enriched by her presence, and humbled by her graceful exit. She was a vibrant 63 years old.

Carrie was first drawn to anarchism in San Francisco in the late 1970’s. Specifically, she became intrigued by radical leaning flyers pasted to telephone poles around town. Some of the flyers made fun of things like the Abalone Alliance, while others advertised adult play spaces like Gorilla Grotto. Pursuing these leads she made friends with anarchist authors and event organizers. She read and discussed anarchist theory, and attended anarchist parties and events. Not an activist or a punk, she was her own kind of anarchist — one dedicated to pursuing intimacy, connection, and the liberation of her time to do what pleased her. She came to view cities as playgrounds, and enjoyed counter culture expressed in art and political critique.

I met Carrie in 2005 at an anarchist study group in Berkeley. By then she had moved to Oakland, married, had two children, homeschooled her children, and worked intermittently as a Hebrew teacher, preschool teacher, community organizer, and baker. Her children were growing up, her marriage was becoming polyamorous, and she was actively pursuing anarchism again.

When meeting Carrie it was immediately apparent that I was in the presence of someone who lived joyfully, sensually, and thoughtfully. She made friends with people in their 80’s as easily as with people in their 20’s. She was a firm believer in having as many deep and wonderful relationships as possible. She was quirky and deliciously witty, extroverted and welcoming. Carrie loved to talk about everything from the philosophies of Anarchism to the problems with Zionism, and while she was inclusive and intellectually generous, she didn’t let problematic statements slide, ever. She was unashamedly challenging, and enjoyed sharing her thoughts and knowledge.

Carrie was a true scholar, magician, and occult anarchist, and she always had a project that stimulated her spirit. When she died, Carrie was a 3rd year PhD candidate at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley. Her thesis was an argument for reclaiming Thelema, as an occult practice with anarchist, revolutionary potential. This radical ideology, along with many Jewish elements, the use of sex magic, and an active local community, made Thelema a priority for Carrie. She opened her home as a Thelemic Temple, where like minded people were invited to meet weekly for ritual, food, and community. She even traveled to the ruins of Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic abbey in Sicily, and brought back a relic for her temple.

But Thelema wasn’t all Carrie studied. Her home was filled with books she’d read on anarchism, Kabbalistic mysticism, unorthodox Judaism, cultural and literary criticism, political theory, feminism, and racism. She was intentional about collecting books which might go out of circulation. And she would discuss any of these with friends at her kitchen table, under a fig tree in her backyard, on a walk through a cemetery or forest, over lunch, while camping, or in a discussion group. She was boundlessly curious, and incisively poetic in expressing herself. Carrie participated in consent workshops, helped to edit many issues of Anarchy: Journal of Desire Armed, and participated in countless anarchist bookfairs, conferences, and other events.

In reviewing her life with me, Carrie said she felt her most anarchist moment was during Occupy, when she facilitated the occupation of empty houses in her neighborhood by squatters. It was a project based on mutual aid and the desire to grow community. That project lasted two years, and she was justifiably proud of her efforts. Carrie was also a solid participant in the Free Association Land Project for many years.

What must be clear by now is that Carrie had an amazing passion for life, and her most powerful magic shown in the care she put into her life and her relationships. She didn’t let herself get stuck in the past, but kept her eyes on where she was heading. One of the things Carrie told me in her last week was that she was always a “Let’s go!” person, when someone mentioned an adventure. She said that was how she was feeling about her journey into spirit form. Still, I thought I would see her at least once more. I can barely express how much I will miss her — she inspired me to unashamedly seek out pleasure and friendship, and fearlessly embody my beliefs. Beautiful red haired spirit, my dear friend, you were so very good at living. I can only imagine what you’re up to in the after! I love and miss you..

If you never got a chance to meet Carrie, you can still hear her talk about anarchism and Thelema with The Brilliant in Episode 99 at thebrilliant.org/podcastYou can also see her talking about several Jewish and Esoteric topics on youtube as well; the video she made for the GTU about the World-to-Come (Olam Ha’Ba) is particularly moving.