13 Mar The Madame, As Interviewed For Religious Studies
Last year, I was asked by a guest of The Witching Hour to answer a few questions on Paganism for their religious studies class.
I’m always happy to leave a breadcrumb trail…
-How long have you been a member of the pagan community?
Almost 20 years now
-What motivated you to join the community?
I was searching for something that felt true and resonated with how I felt on the inside. I was raised in a strict Christian household, and that was always at odds with how I experienced the world personally. As a young adult, I experienced a lot of confusion and disappointment with spirituality. I came across a metaphysical store and bought The Wiccan Mysteries by Raven Grimassi, and that started me down my path. Even though I would read that book through different eyes now, and do not identify as Wiccan, I still credit it with opening my eyes to a different way of experiencing spirituality.
-How do you practice in your personal life?
There is no delineation between my business life and personal life where my spiritual practice is concerned. The way my spirituality as a Pagan is expressed is more of a way of life than a practice. I am a Pagan that practices Witchcraft.
-What are some of the main beliefs?
My personal beliefs may not be a fair representation of the Pagan community as a whole, but my foremost belief is that everything in nature is connected, that there is some energetic vibration that we interact with in all living things – plants, animals, humans – and that the basic four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water are the foundation of all of that. I believe there are other simultaneous planes of existence with different energetic wavelengths (for lack of better wording), but that we are able to interact with those energies and that time is a human construct that bears no weight on the other planes,. I personally don’t have hard and fast rules on any Deities, though I believe that what we may perceive as deity are all facets of a whole. As a Witch, I believe we are capable of manipulating energy (magick) for our benefit, though we don’t have total control, and there is some “fate” or “destiny” involved. In the words of the great and powerful Stevie Nicks, “The spirits are ruthless with the paths they choose…”
-What are some key symbols that are important?
I think symbology is incredibly important – I think humans are visual creatures that react quicker to an image than a word. I also think that it varies from one person to the next as to what that symbol represents and what action/reaction it causes in them. I think for many Pagans, the Pentacle (an encircled upright five pointed star) representing the four classic elements, plus the fifth element of Spirit, made manifest is probably the most recognizable and used as an identifier much like a crucifix is for a Christian. It represents divine balance and harmony with the elements – which is what I and many others are striving for. The Triple Moon (waxing/full/waning) is symbolic of the three fold nature of the divine feminine – maiden (virgin), mother, crone, and is used prominently in Goddess centered Paganism. The Triquetra (Celtic triple knot) is used again as a representation of the power of three: Life/Death/Rebirth, Physical/Mental/Spiritual, Man/Woman/Child, Father/Son/Holy Ghost, Past/Present/Future, etc
-Is there anything you have struggled with in your practice?
I think the biggest struggle is always with the unknown, and realizing that we can never know it all, so you really do have to go with your gut and follow what feels right for YOU. Not what a book or another person tells you. When someone asks me a question about Pagan belief or a certain practice in Witchcraft, I tell them from my vantage point, and remind them that is just how I experience or practice it – it’s not THE answer, or the end all be all of answers. My beliefs and practices have morphed and evolved over the years, and that’s what I want people to understand most – Spirituality is not a straight line towards a one-way destination. It’s a squiggle, a circle, a spiral, a nose dive, a curly-que, a reverse, and a climb. It evolves with each little bit of knowledge gained through experience. Spirituality is not a bystander event.