Interviews with Pagans: Phil Hine, part 1

Phil Hine at home

Phil Hine is for my money the most interesting pagan writer around, and is certainly one of the most popular and influential people on the pagan sene. He’s erudite but down to earth and above all is a thoroughly nice person. His books are a fund of useful information and good sense and are as intellectually alive and practically focused as “pagan” books should be. I was therefore keen to include an interview with him in the “Pagan Interviews” series.

I’ve interviewed Phil a couple of times over the years, going back to the early nineties, but there was one particularly nice one from 1998 that had never been published. It was a hazy, warm June evening a couple of weeks short of the solstice when I walked over from my place in Brixton to his, to meet Phil and my friend John to do the interview. We had a merry time, which I hope comes across. You will notice that John is the cool one, I’m the eejit, while Phil is of course the wise old northern sorceror, as ever.

The interview has been sitting on my computer as an audio file for years, and bit by bit I’ve whittled the three hours or so of the original into a fairly neatly organised hour or so. And rather than type it up into a formal interview, I thought I would provide it as a recording, so you can get some of the man’s personality, and savour his broad Blackpool accent.

I am going to put these up once a week for the next three weeks, so you have a chance to digest them. 20 minutes is just about manageable in my opinion. In this first segment Phil talks about two related topics: Firstly, magical belief systems and the positive and negative treatment of them in chaos magic and in paganism generally. Secondly, he talks about cultural appropriation in magic and the need for respect for the magical traditions of other cultures when attempting to involve them in one’ own practice, which is still a hot issue.

Bear in mind that at the time, we intended to put this out as a print interview, and Phil wasn’t talking as if he was making a recording, just thinking out loud to create the basis for a magazine article. So it’s quite a direct, “guard-down” insight into Phil’s mind you’re getting here: chatting with friends and feeling comfortable in the summer warmth, rather than doing a formal presentation or performance for the microphone. So cut him some slack!

I think that once all three segments are published this interview will provide a pretty good primer on Phil’s thought, certainly as it stood in 1998, but you’ll need to take a tour of his site to get the full flavour. Phil recommends articles on Post-Structuralism & Modern Magic, Invokation of Babalon – a sex-magic diary snippet, Dream gates: the Yuggoth working, and The Ganas: Hooligans of Heaven. I’d recommend An Introduction to Banishing Rituals, Devotions & Demonesses – Introductory essay on Tantric Magic, and Problems in Group Ritual.

As this file is unlikely to excite the interest of the leach sites I have left this one uncompressed. Please don’t play the file from the browser or it will probably bring my site down; instead right click (or control-click on the Mac) and save as.

Interview with Phil Hine, 11th June 1998. Part one.

25Mb. 18 minutes. 192K mp3.

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