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The Alchemist’s Kindness… Memento Mori, Randy David Jeffers

Randy Jeffers was as kind to me the day I showed up at The Sword and the Rose – age 18, fresh to San Francisco – as he was twenty years later, when my first book came out, and as he was years after that, whenever I stopped by.

I didn’t see him as often in the later years as those early ones, but when I did, there was always something of interest to talk about as he carefully packaged blessed oils and fragrant incense. This one to the Faerie Queen. That one to Ganesh. This one to the Djuat. That, to Tetragrammaton.

As Eric Hauschan writes: “Randy’s incense would actually transform you by its smell. Depending on which one you burned it would fill the room with the elegance of a cathedral, but it would also reach inside you and change you. His blends had names such as Anubis, Xepera, Horus, Isis, Holy Grail, Shekinah. He would make the incense when he felt like it. That’s the kind of guy he was. I guess you have to be in a certain state of mind when creating an incense to invoke Anubis.”

Every person who planned to visit San Francisco, looking for interesting places to go, I sent to the Sword and the Rose. People from many parts of the globe visited the shop. A hidden gem, tucked back behind two buildings and a small garden courtyard, fountain always burbling. Lit by a fire in winter. Warm or cool, depending on what was needed. Always hidden. If you didn’t know it was there, there was no way you could find it. Even people who had instructions sometimes missed the way inside.

The shop is hardly big enough to hold much more than the rows of bottles filled with Randy’s art – everything blended and consecrated in sacred space. Magic. All of it.

Just like Randy’s life.

Randy, thank you for your care. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your immense skill. Thank you for your brightness. Thank you for your magic. Thank you for your kindness.

What is remembered, lives.

Monika Sanders said: “Without much effort Randy changed peoples lives…” May we remember that we all can have that power, just by being. Just by paying attention to one another. Randy paid attention.

My thoughts and love go out to Patrick, his partner, to Monika, and to the whole Sword and Rose family.

I made this for Randy the night I heard of his death. Feel free to pass it along:


If you want to contribute to Randy’s memory, his partner Patrick conveyed that “community is coming together to help him reopen the store while his burned hands heal. [Patrick] is busy thinking of the best way to honor his partner of nearly three decades and is planning a ceremony in the courtyard with lots of flowers and fancy stone work.”

A PayPal account is set up for donations. Monika told me: “We will probably be closed for about a month or so and need to pay rent.”

Send donations via paypal to theswordandrosealways (at)

Here is the original story and the later news report.

Another link to Monika’s full statement.

Note: I knew him as Randy Jeffers, though the news reports call him Randy Sapp. His musical name was Randy David, which I also knew him by. I choose to use the name I called him throughout his life. 

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