Friday 10 April 2009

An Interview With Ashley

I recently gave the following interview about Paganism and Witchcraft from my personal point of view . . I found typing my answers out for the lady who'd been to interview me verbally first was interesting and raised some good and concise points about what I believe :

> 1. Where do your pagan beliefs come from? Were you born into a pagan
> family or was it your decision?

Paganism "found" me . . .it seemed that my views on the way the world and universe worked were starting to sound pagan, I htought a lot about it, especially in my university days, but it wasn't until a few years later that I really found myself unable to call my views anything but "pagan".

> 2. What made you decide to choose witchcraft rather than any other paths
> and how does this impact on your everyday life?

The brand of spiritual "magic" I'd been practising in my life was pretty organic until university when I got interested in so-called "High (Ritual) Magick" . . . as time went on I was drawn far more to natural magic (communing with trees and spirits of the places I visited) and when I started to learn about the Craft it was obvious that it was more or less what I'd already been doing. Not surprising really when you consider that Gardner wrote most of the recognised Wicca rituals from his own background of studying the very same ritual magick stuff that I'd studied (ref Aliester Crowley)!!!!

> 3. Which path of witchcraft do you follow?

I'd have to say my own, really . . but I like Gardner and feel, in many ways, that most modern Craft actually comes from him o, at the very least, is massively infuenced by him but I am not Garnerian initiated and don't follow any specific path insdie the craft. Which is quite amusing as most people assume I am much "higher" in the initiatory tree than I really am, I don't actually see that it matters much to be honest!

> 4. Is there a set of rules/ideology that you live by, such as Christians
> have the bible etc? What would the pagan equivalent of the bible be?

There are a few good sayings ('An it harm none . . " etc) but I think Jesus' saying about doing to others as you'd wish to be done to is pretty much infallible when it comes to making moral decisions in life!!! Certainly the Craft (and perhaps paganism more generally) don't hold so much sway by specific moral rules like the bible, which I personally believe is all but impossible now to understand as time, translations etc etc over the many centuries MUST have distorted its original meanings in their original contexts . . much younger writings are open ot different interpretation (eg Shakespeare), so how come the bible is any different? oops . .don't get me started!

> 5. Do you feel that you can be open about your faith/beliefs or do you
> have to remain guarded?

I am lucky to be open, being my own businessman etc . . but I do have to be careful that clients might not understand and I'm certainly not evangelical about my beliefs, you get to find out if you ask me, otherwise its a private matter generally . . .

> 6. As a witch/pagan, what Gods/deities do you honour/praise?

All forms of feminine principle goddesses, in the Craft the most often "named" is Diana, the Moon.
And the Horned 9dual principle) male god (often named "Cernnunos")
Diana-greek, Cernunos - Roman . . hahahaha how terrible to mix up cultures like that, eh ? - I think the gods/goddesses themselves don't really mind, i think the feminie principle "deity" knows exactly what I measn when I address her as Diana and I think she rather like sit . .

> 7. What other religion/belief would you say that paganism is closest to
> and
> why?

perhaps Buddhism, mainly for the ideas about cyclic lifetimes and reincarnation (not that reincarnation is a belief shared by all pagans, but many DO think so)
> 8. Do you feel that to some, paganism is a fashion rather than a faith
> and
> they wear it like a badge of honour?

Absolutely true . . that said we have to be pragmatic, paganism is for everyone and those people require gentle education rather than marginalisation . . that said whenever you see a "witch" being itnerviewd on the news or anything its nearly always cringeworthy cos they are so often the show-off variety . . (myself accepted, obviously! hahaahaha!)

> 9. How easy, or hard, is it to transfer the old beliefs and practices
> into
> modern day?
I think its easy to "get" the feelings of how the world works and how the earth feels and the gods "feel" . . . I think its the exact practices that are long gone, and, to be honest, this isn't always a bad thing as they are often firmly rooted in their historical cultural context, for example I see no benefit in dressing as a viking and trying to live like one . . paganism is a modern spirituality, not stuck in the past, but I think its vitally important to study, preserve and understand the older customs and practices, from a deep spiritual point of view as much as from an historical and cultural one.

> 10. What does paganism mean to you?

Paganism is a way of life for me . .its what I "am' and what I "do" . . .
its not a set of rules I feel I have to live up to or some things I feel guilty about not doing every sunday etc (though I wish life wasn't so busy sometimes so I could spend more time out in the countryside being part of the natural world more!)
So its meaning is that I beleive we are creatures of infinite energy, not constrained to 3 dimensions of space and one of time. My friend Wa-Na-Nee-Che is quoted saying "We are not human beings striving upwards to make a spiritual journey, are beings of spirit who have chosed to make a human one".

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