Veet Asmi (Persephone Arbour)

Voyages

(10 April 1933 – 17 December 2019)

Update 25.12.2019: The ceremony will be at St. Marylebone Crematorium in East Finchley Cemetery, at 3.00pm on Tuesday 31 December 2019. It can be reached by car or Bus 143 that leaves regularly from East Finchley Tube Station, Stop Q, get off at East Finchley Cemetery – thelondoncremation.co.uk

Persephone 2015
Veet Asmi 2
Veet Asmi Conscious TV 1
Veet-Asmi-Conscious-Aging
Veet Asmi in Rajneeshpuram
Veetasmi 1
Veetasmi-2
Veet-Asmi-1987-b

From her son, Dickon Kent (Bhikshu), we hear that Persephone Arbour (aka Ma Veet Asmi, Susan Valerie Kent/Relton/Johnson) passed away yesterday morning, 17th December 2019.

Veet Asmi was a musician, councellor, retreat and workshop facilitator, writer and speaker.

She was born in England and studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London to become a classical musician (playing the oboe) and later studied humanistic psychology.

In the early 70’s she became interested in spiritual development, mostly for herself, which brought her to meet Osho in India.

Many of us might remember her from her visits to Pune in the early days, from Kalptaru Meditation Centre in London, but most certainly from Rajneeshpuram where she was a very active member of the Oregon commune.

When the Ranch closed she founded, together with other therapists, the International Academy of Meditation in Northern Italy at the Lago Maggiore (Villa Volpi).

She later settled in Australia where she gave workshops, also for creative writing, and became the writer for a regular column in the holistic magazine Nova, from its inception in 1994 until she returned to the UK in 2001. There she continued her work as a writer (she had her own blog and contributed to EzineArticles), worked as a councellor, speaker, focussing in particular on the subject of ageing.

In the bio for EzineArticles she wrote:

Good, supporting and accepting parents passed on their talents of writing and music. My Aries horoscope has been pretty well spot on – enabling me to take jumps and risks that, although not always wise, have enriched my life constantly.

As a scholarship girl in a posh boarding school – hard lessons were learned on how to survive. Paradoxically, that same school supported my musicianship and lent me my first oboe which led to fifteen years working as a professional musician. Marriage and four wonderful children followed – as did divorce and single motherhood.

My focus changed in the 70’s on discovering the early days of the Growth Movement in London, first on my own personal and spiritual search, then training as a counsellor and group facilitator in the UK and USA. Included in this time were eleven life-changing years spent as a disciple of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (now known as Osho).

Late in 1993 and then living in Australia, it seemed appropriate to take some time to reassess my life and work. During that eighteen-month period of retreat I had some profound experiences. They included the death of a close friend closely followed by a diagnosis of breast cancer.

These produced insightful glimpses of the ephemeral nature of this world in which we live. Also developing was a deepening respect for the ability of each individual to travel their own journey, at their own pace and in their own way.

Info for bio from Facebook, Vimeo, Conscious TVEzineArticles

Thanks for alert go to Upchara and Mega
Updates 19.12.2019: corrected date of death, added William’s note, added personal Tributes.


From Persephone’s eldest son, William Relton, we hear:

Things have been increasingly difficult for her over the last 3 years, which was probably the last time she was using her computer to keep in touch with friends. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 5 years ago, but had her marvellous partner Jack Cohen to take care of her, which he did wonderfully and lovingly.

About three years ago, Jack started to have serious medical issues which meant long trips to hospital and vastly reduced mobility, so Persephone had to move into a care home while he was away.

In the summer 2017 they both moved into supported living; Jack became increasingly more and more ill and Persephone’s Alzheimer’s got worse and worse. Jack’s daughter Rebecca and I, and a wonderful carer, Marian Stewart, and other family members, did as much as we could, but it was decided that they had to move into full-time care at the end of March this year. Jack was frequently in and out of hospital by this time and his condition deteriorated rapidly; he died in early May.

When I visited her, she was frequently asleep in the sitting room but would always perk up, be smiley and jolly as soon as she realised I was there, or indeed anybody else that I had brought with me.

She would always ask the same questions, multiple times, because her Alzheimer’s was so bad that she couldn’t remember anything, even long-term memories were difficult for her. She always remembered her 4 children; Anna, Peter and Dickon and me, but would need prompting on almost everything else. But she was always herself, recognisably Persephone as a bright, zestful, strong character, dealing with this horrible disease.

However, I went to see her on Sunday and she was much changed. No smile, no “Hello darling.” She just looked at me and said, “I feel so helpless,” and I knew it was time for her to go. She did perk up, and there were flashes of the real Persephone in there, but something fundamental had shifted.

And so Tuesday morning she got up early with her carers, and became unresponsive. They laid her in the recovery position and called an ambulance; they pronounced her dead.

I will miss her terribly, as I’m sure will many of you, but I’m so glad for her that she doesn’t have to suffer the terrors of Alzheimer’s any longer. It is a truly terrible disease and she was spared the worst ravages of it.

So, bless you, Mummy, and dance and smile on us wherever you are.

Some of you, I am sure, will want to come to her funeral. I don’t know yet when or where it will be. It may be in the Poole area, but is more likely to be in London, depending on dates and availabilities.

Please don’t send flowers to the funeral, instead consider making a donation to The Persephone Arbour Celebration Fund to support the Alzheimer’s Society.

Update 25.12.2019: The ceremony will be at St. Marylebone Crematorium in East Finchley Cemetery, at 3.00pm on Tuesday 31 December 2019. It can be reached by car or Bus 143 that leaves regularly from East Finchley Tube Station, Stop Q, get off at East Finchley Cemetery – thelondoncremation.co.uk


A darshan with Osho:
Going inside


Veet Asmi, aka Persephone Arbour, remembers her first darshan with Osho:
I Said Hello. It Changed My Life.


In these three videos from 2008, Veet Asmi talks about her life to Iain McNay, for the series ‘Life Changes’ of Conscious TV:


In the same year she gave an interview to Dominique Sire (her daughter-in-law) for Conscious Ageing, in Santa Fe, New Mexico:


Related article: What ‘Wild Wild Country’ didn’t say  – 57 answers from a teenage residentDickon Kent, son of Veetasmi (aka Persephone) comments to questions asked of him about living as a teenager in Rajneeshpuram. Published in Medium on April 17, 2018

Tributes

You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote using our contact form (pls add ‘Veet Asmi’ in

Farewell beloved friend! You are the one who set in motion the whirlwind that snatched and deposited me at Osho’s feet. The joyful memories of times we spent together are in my heart always.
Love in ONE,
Bhagawati

 

Veet Asmi and I were both part of the London growth scene in the seventies. We participated in some trainings and also ran a few groups together. I remember clearly how her endearing, twinkly smile lit up the air around her and anyone in it. She was also courageous and one of the first friends to go off to Pune to see Osho. In those days, Osho’s energy was reaching me but I had a lot of resistance. I carried the misguided idea that the orange robes of sannyas were like uniforms.

Persephone came back a month later as Veet Asmi. There was big shock for me. Rather than becoming more homogenised, she had become a shining individual, more herself than ever before. A few days later, we were running a group. Veet Asmi spoke a lot about Osho and played his taped discourses in most of the breaks. We all did the Dynamic Meditation as well. In one of the silent phases, Osho was palpably standing in front of me. My bow to Osho became my surrender. Soon after that, I became a sannyasin.

Thank you, Veet Asmi, for all the rich experiences we shared together and for helping to bring Osho into my life. Great that you are still around if we want to connect with you. Big, big hug.

Love,

Surendra

 

You were such a delight with that twinkle in your eye… Blessings and More! Love,
Anado

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