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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Interview, Take Two!

Today we’re going to talk with a fellow pagan from the community Solitary Wiccans on LiveJournal, hexeengel. She has a wonderful pagan themed blog on LJ and a beautifully designed personal journal. I’ve been waiting for people in interview for months, and I’m thrilled you’re willing to open up about your spirituality.
Well, let’s get started. How long have you been a pagan?
Technically? Since I was about five (and I'll be 28 in November here) - that was the time my parents began training with a Gardnerian Coven and teaching my younger brother and I non-oathbound, age-appropriate Wicca. I've had a more dedicated and serious interest though since about age 16, so around 12 years now.

So you were raised in paganism? What was that like growing up? Did you face a lot of ridicule from your peers?
To answer the last question first, surprisingly no, but there again, not all my friends knew, especially when I was in grade school. Up until Junior High (7th or 8th grade), only one close friend knew. The parents of the kids in my neighbourhood knew too, since all us kids on the block played together, but even though they were devout Catholics (parochial schools even) my brother and I were never ostracized. The only time I really ran into any prejudice wasn't until High School, when another student who was Evangelical Christian of some kind told me that Witches get their Power from the Devil. I told her that she was free to believe that, but I didn't. I think she was expecting a different response, because she never confronted me after that.

There are a lot of different types of Pagan. On your profile you’re something called a “Hereditary Wiccan”. What exactly is that?
First off, that's a term that not often entertained in Wicca or other branches of Paganism, so I'm not claiming that it's its own category or Tradition or any such thing. I just mean it to apply to me. Disclaimer, disclaimer...
Anyway, what I mean by it is that my parents follow Wicca, they were my first teachers in the religion, and I continue to follow that path.

Are you connected to any pantheon or other traditions in particular?
I do feel called to the Gadnerian Tradition as my parents were, but as for my current personal practice, Celtic Deities are pretty dominant. In specific, Lugh, Blodeuwedd, and An Mhor Rioghain (or the Morrigan, if one prefers). I have a connection to a Horned God as well, certainly similar to Herne or Cernunnos, however He hasn't really identified Himself to me as of yet. Lastly, there is a Bear Goddess, also unnamed, that visits my meditations from time to time.

You mentioned your parents being drawn to this path; besides that, what are some of the reasons you’re drawn to this path?
At first, it was mostly a desire to respect what I believe Gerald Gardner's original vision of Wicca to be. Once I read his book _Witchcraft Today_, however, it expressed and espoused everything I thought to be true about the Gods and the Universe. I cleared up some misgivings I still had about gender roles in Traditional Wicca, and about death-and-rebirth symbolism in initiation rites.
In a nutshell, it felt right. It felt like home.
er, rather *It cleared up

A lot of pagan’s use that “home” analogy. When you really “converted”, it defiantly felt like a homecoming to you?
oh damn, there is a terrible typo there
no prob, I’m sure you'll edit afterwards

My spellcheck hates me sometimes
What I mean is "A lot of pagan’s use that “home” analogy. When you really “converted”, it definitely felt like a homecoming to you?
Yes, it did. In fact, during the first ritual I attended after deciding that I wanted to peruse initiation, I received explicit messages in a guided meditation that I was in the right place.

Some Pagans believe that you can’t be an eclectic pagan and customize your path. Meaning, for example, some people who do Egyptian magic—Kemetic—don’t believe that your patron deity can be Quetzalcoatl. What do you think about this?
I feel that example represents an extreme variation of Eclecticism, but I refrain from making judgment calls about the way another practices and/or which Gods seem to call them. I am very much aware that my choice of religion, and specifically being Traditional-leaning AND Gardnerian-leaning on top of that, are somewhat unpopular in the general Pagan and Wiccan communities, and I don't wish to inflict discrimination on others, regardless of how their path differs from mine or my personal feelings on theirs.

You already mentioned deities you work with on a regular basis. Are there any you plan on connecting with in the future? Are there any you stay away from?
Hopefully I'll one day connect with the Gods named in Gardnerian rituals (Their specific names are oathbound, but not what They represent). I also hope that the Horned God and Bear Goddess I already know give me Their names at some point and time. At this point I'd be a little confused if any non-Celtic Deities came knocking, but I wouldn't avoid or ignore Them. That's a great way to get a swift kick in the spiritual ass.

lol, that's one way to describe it
On a side note, my husband occasionally practices with me, and for his comfort we call Odin and Freya in those rituals. So far, They seem to be gracious enough to attend when we ask, but haven't become personal fixtures for me.

Oh, so your husband is a pagan as well? I just got out of a relationship with a non-pagan. He really took my religious beliefs lightly, and almost ridiculed me for them. On that note, what’s it like worshipping with your husband? How did the two of you meld your beliefs together?
Well, I should say that my husband doesn't identify as anything in particular. He draws spiritual inspiration from his heritage (Scot sh, Norse, and Lakota-Sioux) and from LaVeyan Satanism, but doesn't consider himself anything in particular, except open to ideas
er, *Scottish, what the hell happened there

No idea
So far, our energies seem to mesh well. We perform rituals I've written myself, and I was careful to make them meaningful for both of use. You might say there's a "Wiccan computer" with a "Norse operating system." We've both successfully felt the presence of Deity, and haven't set anything ablaze yet.

As a technopagan, I love that analogy!
You've mentioned rituals; what sort of things do you include in one of your rituals? What else do you do as worship?
The ritual format is basically the same every time - invoke the Elements, draw and cast the Circle, invoke Deity, consecrate the participants, call the Quarters, perform the ritual's purpose, bless and libate food and drink, then dismiss the Quarters and open the Circle. The specific purpose is what differs the most, and can be a channeling, a guided meditation, divination, dance, energy work, etc

Do you belong to a coven?
Not at present, no. I've formally belonged to two Gardnerian Outer Court training Groves (not including the rituals for my parents' trainees I attended before those), and still seek initiation into a Coven (I do have a serious prospect at the moment as well). You might say I'm essentially a Solitary, but I do prefer group work.

I’ve only ever worked solitary or with my mom and a close pagan friend of mine. What’s it like working with a coven compared to working alone?
The energy level is a lot.... more. More intense, stronger, almost more tangible. Also, once you've worked with a group for a long period of time, a group-mind kind of connection begins to form, and the energy and Magick comes easier, and becomes more effectual.

Many pagans work with a sort of divination device. Do you? If so, what?
I mainly read Tarot, although I've dabbled with scrying, Runes, pendulums, and even a Ouija board as well.

I’m a tarot reader as well. A lot of pagans caution against a Ouija board. Do you have any warnings about the boards, or do you think they are pretty safe?
Even though they're manufactured by a toy company (as are many Tarot decks for that matter; plenty are published by U.S. Games), they are a tool. You're basically sending out a "Hey! Look at me!" kind of signal for anyone or anything to answer. You can ASK for someone/thing specific, but that doesn't mean you'll get them/it.

What are some of your goals with paganism?
Aside from initiation, which is my most immediate, I feel called to teach. I think that even if I do not ever receive initiation, I may consider beginning a more general Wiccan group, a collection of friends who can learn and honour the Divine together. Of course, if I DO receive initiation, I hope to someday be elevated to High Priestess and then pass on the Tradition to others.

Pagan’s sometimes talk about their “jobs” on earth. What do you think your job is?
Again, to teach. And to be a mom (I've got two beautiful little boys).

What’s it like being a pagan mother?
I can't really answer that, because the oldest is only five and the baby is 7 months. So far though, I feel more reserved about being "out of the broom closet" for their sake, because Gods know people have lost custody of their children because of beliefs similar to mine. I do hope they see the beauty in Wicca that I do, but if they don't that's OK too. My only other hope for their spirituality is that whatever they choose to follow doesn't teach them that their mother is evil and damned.

Do you face criticism from other mother’s about raising your children pagan, or do you not tell people because of the stigma attached to it?
I've been open with some other parents. For the most part, it hasn't been an issue (some have even developed a curiosity that borders on interest). We'll have to see how and if that changes now that my oldest is in school, and there are bound to be playdates and birthday parties.

Do you have any sort of advice you give parents looking to raise their children pagan?
Don't be afraid. I've seen a lot of Pagan parents get all paranoid that they'll push their religion on their kids, as they feel they had their parents' religion pushed on them. Teaching them about your beliefs, and even asking and encouraging them to participate if they wish, is not the same as forcing it down their throats.

How have your spiritual views influenced your life in general?
I think that's a bit tough to answer, being that I've never been anything else. I can say though that not a single day goes by that I don't think about my spirituality.

Well, that’s all I have. Any words of wisdom you want to share?
Just some of Joseph Campbell's wisdom: "Follow your Bliss."

Thanks agan for this peak into your life.
As always, I love to interview people, so if you're interested, please drop me a line at my e-mail address, lea.elisabeth.wright@hotmail.com

2 comments:

Brennaein said...

Like you, some day I might want to connect with the Gods of Gardnerian/Alexandrian Wicca. I'm a Traditional Witch, currently, but that doesn't hold me back from emerging with Wiccan ideologies.

Thank you for the information. =]

Blessings.

Hexeengel said...

Thanks for reading my interview. If you're interested in reading about Gardnerian Wicca through the eyes of a dedicated seeker, look here: http://www.freewebs.com/uncontainable/gardseek.html

Thanks again, and Blessed Be!

~~Hexeengel

DISCLAIMER

A lot of my information is directly copy-pasted frm my own Book of Shadows, collected over the past couple of years from a variety of sourses. I try to credit where I can, and I try to paraphrase and change words around without changing meanings as much as I can.
IF YOU SEE YOUR INFORMATION HERE: Please let me know, I'll be more than happy to credit you. The best way to contact me is to leave a comment on the post, and I'll be sure to edit the post as soon as I get the message.

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