A note of caution

protection rune

I suspect it may be valuable to clarify my position on paganism, especially to casual readers and the uninitiated.

As has been noted, I have something of a pagan identity, or rather a partial pagan worldview, and I have some practices which in the west might be called “pagan”… However, I never found a paganism with which I didn’t disagree by at least 50 per cent. I don’t swallow any of it whole. And I certainly don’t want to defend all those awful websites with black backgrounds that tout spells and all manner of other teen-gothery. Nor do I want to defend or engage with any of the other wanky pagan stereotypes.

As Robert Anton Wilson once said, I don’t “believe” any of it, in the sense of accepting pagan dogmas as all-encompassing and fundamentally true. We have no truck with Grand Narratives here. The subjects I am interested in are but one means of illumination, expression and liberation. Others have other yogas, such as the yoga of materialist left politics, for example, all of which are more or less valid. And my ideas in this area have changed considerably over the years, and assumptions you make about me as a “pagan” may not be well-founded.

Pagan Interviews: someone else is having a go

Tim Boucher is doing a series of fairly good interviews with pagans. I like his style, it’s a good blog. The one with Daniel Pinchbeck is very good, although he slags off ceremonial magic for the wrong reasons (“a fairly debased and Luciferic tradition in the modern West, a kind of retrofitting of old ideas and old styles” — nonsense!).

Bad tempered Barbelith comment on Pinchbeck here.

BTW, using the tags “Wicca” or Gardnerian on technorati don’t come up with much that’s better…

Pagan blogs

I had a look through the technorati listings for pagan blogs just to see if there were any that were particularly popular, and the results were pretty disappointing. Here’s some of the top ten:

Coming Anarchy (http://www.cominganarchy.com): no obvious pagan content but a lot of rightwing geo-political nonsense.
Right Wing of the Gods (http://rightwingofthegods.blogspot.com):
ditto.
Bush’s America (http://www.bushsamerica.com/):a firey anti-war blog from a Vietnam vet. Quite good, but no obvious pagan content.
The Wild Hunt (http://www.wildhunt.org/blog.html): I blogged this ages ago. It’s good stuff, though a bit worthy in that American “journal of record” way, though there’s a good current entry on DMT. The blog roll is extensive and may be worth investigating, however.
Simply Shylah (http://www.simplyshylah.com/): lovely, but it really is all about a single mum homeschooling her kid, which is admirable, but a little monocultural.
Fat Lil Witch (http://www.fatlilwytch.com/): mainly complaints about the author’s noisy neighbours.
Mimi Redbeard (http://mimredbeard.com/): a sex blog specialising in daddy fantasies with the odd bit of pagan content.

I have nothing against (most) of these blogs but they didn’t offer much that I found inspiring and I was surprised to see the top-listed pagan blogs having so little actual pagan content. But that’s the nature of Technorati: if you have the most links, and you have the right keywords tagged to your blog, you’ll come up first. I mean, if you type “Grime” or “Dubstep” into technorati, you won’t get Fiddy or Blackdown. (And if you type “Woebot”or “record collecting” in, you don’t get Woebot — I thought he was a pro!!!).

All of which means I guess that people should be working technorati a bit more, assuming they want hits — and it also means that the “social networking” aspect of “web 2.0” has a ways to go. I mean, if the bloggers aren’t into it…

A special kind of homecoming

Gyrus brilliant on the end of his trip to the US and how he came home to… well… 7/7… I feel a schmuck for not having read this before.

Gyrus BTW is a GREAT writer and much under-appreciated. When you do the technorati search thing for pagan blogs, his should be in the top ten… of course I expect he doesn’t tag his blog as “pagan”…

Interviews with Pagans: Beolach

Now, this guy’s an absolute CRACKER. When you run into him on forums he’s sharp as a tack, yet he’s fairly young — and he demolishes the stereotype of slack-jawed uncritical pagans. We have more like him…

PAGAN IDENTITY

1. Name / username
Beolach Lasair

+ What does it mean?

It’s very botched Gaelic, roughly meaning a long living fire – Beo being in most Brythonic languages meaning life and living. Although because my knowledge of the language is so little, I might be a bit off – but it fits, and I like it. I did find it a few years ago, and it just stuck.

2. What age are you and where do you live?

I’m 18 years old, living in Uxbridge. Before that I lived in Cardiff for the past 18 years of my life.

3. How would you describe your spiritual path?

I’m a polytheistic Pagan, with I suppose a small dash of Hellenic belief because of my personal experiences; the practice and worship of which is still evolving.

4. How did you get involved with this path? What’s your “history”? How did your personal background influence this?

I first became involved with Paganism when a friend of mine approached me. She was very interested in Wicca, mainly because a boy she fancied was as well. But, sensibly, she wanted to read and find out as much as she could, and wanted me as an outside point of view – Devil’s advocate if you will. So during this process, she decided it was silly, and something sparked in me. And I didn’t look back; that was five and a half years ago. Since then I did the fluffy thing, but avoided the Pagan scene and forums like a plague – I didn’t want to be embroiled in something I didn’t understand for one thing, and I was also afraid of being seen as too young and scorned at. Over time as my reading expanded from the books you get at the bookshops in town to other avenues, and then two years ago I had a very powerful and changing experience, which set me on the path I am on now and is also where the Hellenic beliefs come in, and the polytheism.

5. Have you always felt the same way about your spirituality, or have there been changes? If so, when, and how?

As I said, two years ago there was a very large change in my spirituality, before then I was very, well, fluffy. I’m not ashamed of it. It was when my reading had expanded, I was looking beyond the confines of “Wicca 101” books and spent a lot of time down at a local park in the nights, and on one night I had this experience with a deity, and changed everything. It’s that point that I became more at home with my spirituality, and where I realised that I wanted to absorb as much of it as I possibly could.

6. Have you ever been physically attacked or discriminated against because of being a pagan?

No, never.

7. Has anyone ever made assumptions about you (good or bad) because of being a pagan? What were they?

I had the odd devil worship comment, but after a quick three minute rant from me they changed their minds soon enough!

HOW PAGANISM FITS INTO YOUR LIFE

8. What do you do for a living? Is there any conflict between your work life and your spirituality?

I am a student reading Law, and find no conflict. I’m not sure if afterwards in a legal career I will find conflict; the risk of becoming a suit is ever present in my mind, but hopefully it’s a fate that’s avoidable!

9. What are your hobbies and interests?

As you may guess from being Web Team {of Pagan Network, a well known and reputable pagan forum}, I’m very much a computer person. As well as this, I enjoy taking walks in any direction, without purpose, and I’m a big music person. I play the piano, and sing sometimes. Pieces from musicals are currently my favourite things to play, they just have so much emotion that it really equates to me; everytime I play the piano I feel very connected to the music and feeling coming out in the notes.

10. What about your family and friends? Are they of similar spiritual paths to you, or are there differences?

My family are staunch Roman Catholics, though they love me anyway! My friends are generally all from very different backgrounds; Muslim, Christian, Zoroastrian, Pagan, Jewish, and all these differences make for very interesting discussions round the breakfast table sometimes!

11. How would you rate the importance of the following aspects of your life? (Use percentages, total equally 100%)
• Time with family
• Time with partner(s)
• Time with friends
• Spiritual time alone
• Spiritual time with others
• Your work, career, or time in education (if a student)
• Hobbies and pastimes
• Other (please describe)

I don’t think there are enough percentages to be honest; I’ve thought about this question for about ten minutes and just couldn’t think of how to answer, since the importance I place varies so much. Generally, time with family, partner and spiritual time alone are up there at the top.

BELIEFS

12. Do you believe in the existence of a ‘deity’? If so, have you ever had any divine experiences?

I believe in the existence of many, I worship two specifically. I’ve had experiences in the past with these divinities, as I said above, and that’s what shaped my path. I believe that they’re up there, but they aren’t necessarily the benevolent love and light that so many would wish them to be!

13. Do you believe in the existence of ‘spirits’ – human or non-human? Have you ever had any experiences of ‘spirit’?

I do, I believe in spirits both human and non-human. I have, however, had no experience of them. There’s just something that says they’re going to be floating around somewhere!

14. Do you believe in the existence of magic? As a believer, how would you explain it?

The existence of magic to me is very much a practice of skill, which can be wielded by the experienced and the knowledgeable, and essentially those skilled in it, but to those who aren’t experienced, or skilled (whether through training or by some sort of gift) magic will seem to either be pointless, or even not real. I believe that magic is the practice of using the mind to ‘bend’ the world around us to create some form of change, and how that bending takes place varies, but somehow it finds a way, but again, to those not skilled, it would be like someone who can’t do DIY trying to put up a desk, a disaster!

15. Do you practice your spirituality alone, in a group, or both? Was this a deliberate decision or a necessity?

Alone mainly. I have practiced in a group before, however I found it stifling. So whereas previously my isolation was through circumstance, it is generally through choice now.

16. If you’ve done both, which do you prefer?

I’m not averse to group work, but I do prefer practicing alone.

17. Do you believe in the reality of curses? Would you ever do one? What types of spell would you include in your concept of a ‘curse’?

Yes, I certainly do believe in the reality of curses, however I don’t believe that I would do one, although I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve been so incensed I’ve thought about pre-meditated cursing. My concept of a curse would be anything wishing ill on another.

18. Do you think the law of three-fold returns exists?

No. I believe that the only way Karmic laws could occur is by balance – eye for an eye, if you will. I think that the universe does balance itself, but it can’t balance itself by going three times the other way for a single imbalance on the other site.

ACTIVITIES

19. What practices are regularly incorporated in your spiritual life? (E.g. meditation, prayer, ritual, magic, visualisations, trance work…)

I try every day to have at least a bit of meditation and prayer during the evenings, and ritual and visualisation I tend to keep up regularly at least once or twice a week, it’s just keeping myself disciplined enough to go through it. Trance work is usually quite dangerous for me, I’m hypnotised very easily!

+ Do you think having a catholic background has been a help or a hindrance in your practices?

I think it’s a help. When I was in a Catholic service I had a great sense of ritual, I loved it. I enjoyed watching the Eucharist being held by the priest, I loved the incense, and the chalices, and it still awes me when I watch it. I might not believe the intent behind it, but it is such a beautiful ritual that I can’t help but adore it.

20. What festivals, holy days, special occasions etc do you mark as part of your spirituality?

The main eight festivals – from Samhain all the way through to Mabon and so on. I never really recognised Mabon or Lughnassad on as large a scale as I do Samhain and Beltane say, mainly because I never felt that connection there, though recently it seems that Mabon onwards is my time of the year, when the good things happen, and the last two Imbolcs have been rather depressing, due to events occurring on or around them. So possibly I should start ignoring Imbolc just for my own sanity! Other than that, I try and mark the full and dark phases of the moon, but sometimes I do lapse – mainly because of time, the world is such a busy place I just don’t always have the time to focus as much as I would like to.

+ Wow! All of that and academic work too… how DO you find the time?

To be honest, I don’t. Either one or the other falls behind, usually academic work, but then I find a way to catch up so that’s fine. The festivals occur once in a specific period of time, whereas academic work I can catch up on any day of the week!

21. Have you ever done magic to get something and did it work?

No, I wouldn’t risk it. I tend to have such bad luck with such things that I wouldn’t go near it, and I think I want to leave myself fallow there until I feel ready to get into practicing magic.

22. Do you spend much time in nature, in the wild? Do you spend enough time out there?

I spend as much time as I can, but never enough. I sometimes go off into the wild, the fields, just on a random walk somewhere, and do that as much as I can. But again it’s the time – finding the time to get away between my studies and everything else that’s going on.

23. Do you think paganism works better in the country than in the city? Why?

I think it’s easier, but I don’t think it’s better. I do think it requires more effort to be able to focus without the smog, and the oppressive atmosphere, and the general noise and nuisance, but there’s no reason why you can’t – there is nature everywhere, and the Gods are everywhere, why would they all avoid the cities?

CONTENTIOUS PAGAN QUESTIONS

24. How do you define the term “Wiccan”? How do you feel about the idea that “Wiccans” are people who have been initiated into a lineaged Wiccan coven?

I define the term Wiccan as being someone who is, or has been, part of a Wiccan-lineage coven – i.e. one that came from Gardner and his group. I believe that Wicca should be kept in lineaged sense, but there’s nothing wrong with saying that you follow a Pagan path with “Wiccan influences” – that’s not saying you are Wiccan, it’s just saying that parts of Wiccan belief/practice influences your own belief and practice.

25. Is Wicca and paganism generally too “fluffy”?


As far as the books from the mainstream bookshops go, the media interpretation and so on, yes there is too much fluffiness. But looking beyond that, not at all. You get the fluffy people, I was incredibly fluffy a few years back, I’m sure a few here would say I still am probably! But people change and grow, and fluffiness generally doesn’t survive in general Pagan circles, and those who persist in it get bored and drop out over time. But then it comes down to a person’s definition of ‘fluffy’.

26. How involved are you with the Pagan ‘scene’? What are your views on the Pagan community –its strengths, weaknesses and any issues facing it?

I’m not very involved – I’ll go along to PN moots, and a few Moot With No Names. I think that the Pagan community is very political and bitchy, which to be quite honest isn’t what it should be. I would like to have that feeling of community spirit, that commonality that we all share at least something. I think that at times though it is a great place to share ideas and debates, and I’ve had some interesting discussions over a few pints at the Blue Posts.

27. Does British Traditional Witchcraft represent a real surviving ancient form of witchcraft pre-existing Gardnerian Wicca?

In a word, no.

ENDS

Interviews with Pagans: Elani

I think it’s great that the first two interviewees in this series are atheists; it makes a nice contrast from the usual image of gullible pagans…

PAGAN IDENTITY

1. Name:
Elani
2. What age are you and where do you live?
31, Gloucestershire
3. How would you describe your spiritual path?
Atheist, a bit humanist, a witch by my own definition, an environmentalist – a mish mash really.
4. How did you get involved with this path? What’s your “history”?
When I was a very small child I felt an affinity with nature, I was aware of an energy and it could make me feel very extreme emotions. Thats what I believe magic to be to this day – the interaction of our subconcious with the energy/spirit of nature.
HOW PAGANISM FITS INTO YOUR LIFE

8. What do you do for a living? Is there any conflict between your work life and your spirituality?
I’m a full time Mum with 3 children.
My beliefs didn’t really crop up much in day to day conversations with my children until my son began R.E at primary school. He asked me if I believed in God and I said “No.” and we had a quick chat (very quick, there were more interesting things in the back ground like…tv!) about evolution and I finished by saying that he should listen to as many different opinions as possible and make up his own mind.
9. What are your hobbies and interests?
Oh the usual reading, art, cycling, walking and getting drunk. Seriously, I’m very into my artwork, its something I’m occaisionally paid to do, I’m writing/illustrating a childrens book so hopefully it may become something I’m constantly paid to do.
10. What about your family and friends? Are they of similar spiritual paths to you, or are there differences?
I don’t know any other pagans, although I’d say most of my friends have decidely pagan attitudes about alot of things (though they might not describe themselves as such!). My Dad’s side of the family are ex-circus folk (wall of death) and the women on that side all have a history of precognition which my sisters and I (and my dad too oddly) also share. They don’t practise themselves but are generally very interested in the things I get upto.
BELIEFS

12. Do you believe in the existence of a ‘deity’? If so, have you ever had any divine experiences?
No.
13. Do you believe in the existence of ‘spirits’ – human or non-human? Have you ever had any experiences of ‘spirit’?
Yes, sort of – I believe nature itself is an energy that could also be described as a spirit.
As for human spirits, I believe when we’re dead thats it – but that people can leave an imprint on your memory or the collective memory of places or communities/tribes of people.
I did recieve a farewell from a friend, who’d died, in a dream once – it was a very real and profound experience that I can’t explain.
14. Do you believe in the existence of magic? As a believer, how would you explain it?
As I said previously, I believe magic is the result of an interaction between the human subconcious and the energy that is nature (to encompass everything, elements, plants, animals…)
15. Do you practice your spirituality alone, in a group, or both? Was this a deliberate decision or a necessity?
Alone. Originally because I didn’t know of anyone else who shared my beliefs, although its become so personal to me that I prefer to continue alone.
17. Do you believe in the reality of curses? Would you ever do one? What types of spell would you include in your concept of a ‘curse’?
Well, I’ve never cursed anyone, but I think for a curse to work the recipient would need to believe in the power of the curse as much as the sender. I guess by that I’m saying I think its mostly a psychological thing?
18. Do you think the law of three-fold returns exists?
I didn’t, but then I had an experience where I made a spell for, well what could be construed as material gain I suppose. The spell worked (which was a surprise in itself) but I definately paid a price for it. So I definately believe you should be prepared to make some sacrifice for things you hope to “gain” by magic.
ACTIVITIES

19. What practices are regularly incorporated in your spiritual life? (E.g. meditation, prayer, ritual, magic, visualisations, trance work…)
None, I’m quite erratic – although I write down any spells I make in a special book I have.

20. What festivals, holy days, special occasions etc do you mark as part of your spirituality?
Well all the regular ones, easter, harvest, halloween and christmas – which is pretty much down to either the kids, consumerism or both – but for my self just Midsummer’s Eve which is very special to me for purely personal reasons.
21. Have you ever done magic to get something and did it work?
Yes, see question 18!
22. Do you spend much time in nature, in the wild? Do you spend enough time out there?
Absolutely! I live in the Cotswolds, its so beautiful here it’d be criminal not to get outside and appreciate it on a daily basis.
23. Do you think paganism works better in the country than in the city? Why?
I think you may be likely to feel more “intune” in the country – but its something that essentially comes from within, so if you have the conviction it doesn’t matter where you are.

PAGAN QUESTIONS

24. How do you define the term “Wiccan”? How do you feel about the idea that “Wiccans” are people who have been initiated into a lineaged Wiccan coven?
Ha! Ha! Well, I’m not wiccan so I’m ultimately not bothered – but for the sake of argument I land on the side of those who say – if you haven’t been initiated into what is basically an initiatory religion, then why do you need to call yourself wiccan to validate your own beliefs?

25. Is Wicca and paganism generally too “fluffy”?
Only in America!

Interviews with Pagans: Jools

There’s no such thing as a typical pagan. However the subject of this interview, Jools, is a good one to start with, simply because she’s such a feisty and independent minded person who is both a fairly well known figure on the York pagan scene, while refusing to conform to pagan stereotypes.

Here’s a lovely picture of her down the pub:
Jools

PAGAN IDENTITY

1. Name

jools

2. What age are you and where do you live?

I am 38 years old and I live in York

3. How would you describe your spiritual path?

I am an atheist witch

4. How did you get involved with this path? What’s your “history”? How did your personal background influence this?

My grandmother bought me a book about the tarot when I was 14. In the bibliography there were references to books by Regardie and Valiente so I got them from my library. Since then I was hooked. My mother is a strict christian but thankfully never made us go to church. She was very concerned at my ‘dabbling with the devil’ as she thought it.

The idea of paganism appealed to me as I was always strongly drawn to fairy tales, magic and using my imagination as a child.

5. Have you always felt the same way about your spirituality, or have there been changes? If so, when, and how?

I originally agreed with wiccan ideals as a teenager and came close to joining a coven but found it too much like christianity. I pretty much gave up all spiritual practices for the first 5 years after my daughter was born. I then started on my current path 10 years ago.

Interesting – would you like to expand? (Was it a “real” Wiccan lineaged coven?)

It was a wiccan discussion group which would have morphed into a coven in time. I found their stances on various points as being unresearched and ‘unsatisfying’ in a way. it was closed soon after and I was not invited back, purely because it was a case of last in forst out, and I was last in (or so they said). I then dabbled with eclectic paganism until the birth of my daughter. Mostly kemetics.

I empathise about stopping spiritual practice after having children – I have two under five and I’m barely beginning to get my spiritual head above water… Did you have a burning desire to get back into it or did you get led back in by a friend?

It wasn’t a burning desire but after 5 years I was drawn back to it. A shame as I had given away nearly all my books and had to replace many of them. I suppose the underlying need was always there but being a parent meant not too much time for personal things. If it is within you it never really goes away.

6. Have you ever been physically attacked or discriminated against because of being a pagan?

No

7. Has anyone ever made assumptions about you (good or bad) because of being a pagan? What were they?

No.

HOW PAGANISM FITS INTO YOUR LIFE

8. What do you do for a living? Is there any conflict between your work life and your spirituality?

I am a civil servant working for the Ministry of Defence. There is no conflict.

Do you feel uncomfortable about MOD use of British sacred land, in Wiltshire and elsewhere?
Not really. It belongs to them, but they are giving (or at least selling) a lot of it back. It wasn’t the army’s fault really, it was the governments. I am sure that it would not happen now, for example.

9. What are your hobbies and interests?

Cooking, reading, brewing wines, baking, comparative religion, camping, my daughter

10. What about your family and friends? Are they of similar spiritual paths to you, or are there differences?

Most of my friends are interested in the occult and/or pagans. My mother is high Christian and my sisters aren’t religious at all. My partner is wiccan.

BELIEFS

12. Do you believe in the existence of a ‘deity’? If so, have you ever had any divine experiences?

No

How do you resolve the pagan nomenclature of deities and the pagan practices of working with deity with identifying an atheist witch?
Being a witch is independent of paganism. You can be a wiccan witch, a christian witch or even a satanist witch. Witchcraft is more of a skill than a spiritual path. I was an atheist before I became a witch, as the religious parts of wicca and paganism always gave me a problem. I didn’t have success with talking to the gods, and when I really thought about it, it seemed more acceptable to me that deity doesn’t exist. Witchcraft fits around that perfectly.

13. Do you believe in the existence of ‘spirits’ – human or non-human? Have you ever had any experiences of ‘spirit’?

Yes. I talk to trees.

14. Do you believe in the existence of magic? As a believer, how would you explain it?

Yes. It is science that hasn’t been explained yet. It is the human brains ability to bend the universe to its will.

15. Do you practice your spirituality alone, in a group, or both? Was this a deliberate decision or a necessity?

Both. It was more of an accident. I used to practice alone. When I started seeing my current partner it turns out he did an Open Circle so I joined in with that.

16. If you’ve done both, which do you prefer?

Both as good as the other.

17. Do you believe in the reality of curses? Would you ever do one? What types of spell would you include in your concept of a ‘curse’?

Yes. I have done a couple. Curses are spells with the intention of causing harm or hurt to a person. I only use them in response to hurt or harm experienced by me.

Did they work?
Yes they did.

18. Do you think the law of three-fold returns exists?

No

ACTIVITIES

19. What practices are regularly incorporated in your spiritual life? (E.g. meditation, prayer, ritual, magic, visualisations, trance work…)

Pathworking, guided meditation, spell working, visualising, potions, divination, ritual.

20. What festivals, holy days, special occasions etc do you mark as part of your spirituality?

Mainly Beltaine and Samhain, but we celebrate the main fire festivals and quarter days.

21. Have you ever done magic to get something and did it work?

Yes and yes.

22. Do you spend much time in nature, in the wild? Do you spend enough time out there?

I tend to go for a good long walk in the countryside near my house once a week. I think it is enough.

23. Do you think paganism works better in the country than in the city? Why?

No. because paganism is a path that is made spiritual by the people who practice it, not by where they are.

CONTENTIOUS PAGAN QUESTIONS

24. How do you define the term “Wiccan”? How do you feel about the idea that “Wiccans” are people who have been initiated into a lineaged Wiccan coven?

A Wiccan is a member of an initiatory tradition that is part of the western mystery tradition. I have no problem with people being initiated into covens, as that is what Wicca is.

25. Is Wicca and paganism generally too “fluffy”?

It can be, but that is down to the books being published now. These bear no relation to books published soon after neo-paganism gained in popularity.

Which ones did you have in mind – and would you recommend them to newbies?

I am thinking more of books by Paul Huson, which would have had much less fluff and more witchcraft in. Unfortunately they would not have been any more historically accurate than the books we have now. Just less fluffy. So no, I would not recommend those books now. The only ‘older’ books I would recommend to newbies are books by Valiente, but in conjunction with Hutton or Davies because she still gives an incorrect history of witchcraft.

26. How involved are you with the Pagan ‘scene’? What are your views on the Pagan community –its strengths, weaknesses and any issues facing it?

I ran a pagan gathering in York, and help my partner run 2 others. We also run an Open Circle for all occultists to attend and celebrate the festivals.
My views are that pagans are too apathetic. They ask for moots to be provided and complain at the lack of interactivity but when it is provided they don’t want to come. This is not the case everywhere – there is a strong pagan community in Bristol and other places that I have visited, but in York it seems that it is a bit fractured.

Pagans’ strengths are that they do believe in fair play and that they should be heard. Their weaknesses are that they are not willing to take on personal responsibility for that. The issue facing paganism is basically acceptance by mainstream society.

27. Does British Traditional Witchcraft represent a real surviving ancient form of witchcraft pre-existing Gardnerian Wicca?

It may represent pre-Gardnerian witchcraft, but that would only make its lineage early 20th Century (post Murray, Graves etc). There is no ancient form of witchcraft surviving in this country. British Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca both incorporate ideals of what the protagonists thought was witchcraft but was probably just cunning craft or wise craft. Until Murray printed her theses witches were always thought of as malefic, so pre 20th century people will not have wanted to be identified as a witch.

AND FINALLY…

28. Is the political climate getting more or less amenable to pagans?

More so, definitely. I have no problems with other religions but there are always people who want to stir up trouble. The Discrimination at Work Act has allowed pagans to be honest about their path without fear of being discriminated against.

34. What would make the pagan scene in York better?

More interest.

35. Is Martin Shaw really all that?

Are you kidding me? Did you see him in the Scarlet Pimpernel? He is gorgeous.

36. Do you think synaesthesia influenced you to start doing pagan stuff?

No, because I didn’t know what it was until I saw it on TV. I thought everyone was like me. I believe that it helps my path now as I find visualisation extremely easy, and every sense is inter-related.

ENDS