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…


1. Name:
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.

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.

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

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.


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!