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Questionnaire response 14

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 8 months ago

A response to the Pagan theologies survey


1. Name (optional): Yvonne Aburrow

2. Age: 38

3. Nationality: British

4. Gender: Female


5. How would you explain your path to someone else with no knowledge of it?

I am a polytheist and Pagan, and have been a Pagan since 1985. In 1991, I was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca. From 2002 until recently, I also dabbled in Druidry, but it isn't my main path. The reason I am a Pagan is because I feel a connection to the land, the Earth, Nature and the old gods & goddesses.


6. How is your path expressed in practice?

I try to live in an ecologically sustainable manner, and put pressure on the government to adopt green and sustainable policies. I try to ensure that my Pagan ethics inform the way I live and interact with others. I also enjoy performing rituals regularly (mainly Wiccan) in order to connect with the numinous and (hopefully) balance my psyche. As part of these rituals, we often do healing magic.


7. How do you know if your practice is successful?

I know that my spiritual practice is successful if I feel balanced, calm, and connected to the numinous (not necessarily all the time, as I believe that we if we are on a 'higher spiritual plane' all the time, it can actually be damaging). Ritual involves opening a connection to the numinous, and then closing it again. I know that rituals are successful if all present enjoyed them and felt uplifted or healed by them.

I know that my magical practice is successful if spells work - they don't work all the time, but enough of the time that it seems worthwhile. And even if it is all just coincidence, it makes us feel better. I do have a theory to explain distant healing, but it is rather pseudo-science (based on a vague notion of quantum theory). I know healing works when the person being healed is with the healer, because I have successfully healed several people.


8. Why have you chosen the particular path you are following?

When I was young I always had an interest in Paganisms and witchcraft, even though I was brought up as a Christian. The homophobia in the Bible and the churches was one of the reasons I left Christianity (the others being their general attitude to sex, and the concepts of sin and salvation). Welcoming churches and queer theology weren't very widespread when I left (in 1983). A very dear friend, one of the most wonderful, wise and altruistic people you could meet, is gay. My Christian friends told me that God wouldn't accept him unless he avoided gay sex. I could not accept their position, so I left. I then spent a couple of years being an atheist, before realising that my general views about the way the world worked were in fact Pagan. At that point I thought that there weren't any other Pagans, but then I started to meet other Pagans, and eventually got initiated into Wicca in 1991. One of the many things that is important to me in Wicca is the saying (attributed to the Goddess), "All acts of love and pleasure are My rituals".


9. What is your experience of otherworld beings? (e.g. gods, wights, or other entities) Could you give some examples.

I have had some encounters with the Fair Folk, and experiences of gods and goddesses.


10. How do you see your relationship with them?

I believe we all stem from the same source - the consciousness of the Universe - though I believe we are all distinct identities within the soul of the Universe, though we can draw on the universal energy. Therefore I honour the deities, but do not worship them. I also have special relationships with particular deities.


11. How does your path relate to other areas of your life?

My path is very interwoven with all aspects of my life.


12. How do you see the relationship of life and death?

As a cycle. We are born, we die, we are reborn (somewhere). Death is necessary, because if everything lived for ever and grew without stopping, the world would become very crowded. Everything is in dynamic equlibrium, growing and changing. If there was no death, there would be no change and no growth.


13. How do you see time?

Time is cyclical (see above). Linearity is an illusion.


14. How do you handle ideas of good and evil?

See Evil (a Wiccan perspective). I personally believe that evil is caused by imbalance between the two main forces in the universe, the feminine and masculine principles (yin and yang, or inner and outer if you prefer). Matter is not fallen but deeply intertwined with spirit: "For behold, My love is poured out upon the Earth" (Charge of the Goddess). I also believe that everyone is a mixture of good and evil impulses. I share the view of CG Jung that the pursuit of Good and the attempt to eradicate evil will ultimately result in evil, as we are currently seeing played out in George Bush's policy in Iraq. Maybe this is because he is "using the weapons of the enemy". This is Tolkien's shorthand way of saying that if you use the methods and technology of the oppressors, you yourself become the oppressors. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf, Elrond and their allies realise that they must not use the Ring against Sauron, because it will corrupt them, and they will become like Sauron. It is notable here that the "weapons" of the good side are humility, friendship, love, patience; and the war at the gates of Mordor is a smokescreen for the casting of the Ring into the Crack of Doom.


15. How do you view different spaces and objects in your practice or experience?

(e.g. circles, hearths, groves; wands, mead-horn, cup, plastic, wood, metal, clothing)

I view all spaces as sacred, but some are more sacred than others. I define a sacred place as a place where the connection with spirit is particularly strong. I also use special sacred objects for ritual, and don't use them for anything else. I prefer "natural" materials for use in ritual (though it has more to do with aesthetics than magical effectiveness).


16. How do you feel about other religions?

I honour the spiritual impulse within them, but deplore the drive towards orthodoxy and conformity. It also seems to me that their doctrine is mainly focussed on the otherworld (however they define that) and not on making things better in this world. (Though there are lots of people in other religions doing good & helping people.) I regularly attend interfaith talks and discussions and am fascinated by the varieties of religious experience. I believe that all religions are valid for their practitioners, as long as they don't try to impose their views on others.


17. How do you feel about science?

Science fascinates me, but I feel that the rationalist paradigm is extremely limited. I enjoy science that is derived from awe and wonder in response to the natural world.


18. How do you feel modern Paganisms relate to ancient paganisms?

I think it is valid to draw on past Paganisms for their world-view, philosophical insights, ritual, poetry, etc., and I love mythology. But we have to adapt our practices and views to the situation in which we find ourselves.

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