Q and A with a Lancashire Pagan

How did you come to your Paganism?

I have always had Hela in my life – I spent a large proportion of my life trying to ignore her! As a Pagan growing up in area of Pendle Hill it was abundantly clear that it was not safe to admit that I believed in a goddess! Eventually, after some time in the Christian Church I stopped ignoring her and embraced her.

Do you remember what the Pagan community was like at that time?

When I was growing up there did not seem to be one… East Lancashire is a very reactionary place, for all its spiritualism (having not only Pagan significance but Quaker and other as well).

Even when I first discovered/communicated with the pagan community as an adult, I found it very ‘cliquey’-unfortunately I still find this; I feel it is one of the greatest failings of the Pagan Community – and that includes the PF.

The goddess I work with is not the ‘popular’ Hell – she is a little-known goddess from northern Scandinavia that even most Pagans don’t appear to be aware of… combine that with the fact that I’m a solitary, that my path has, at her instigation, embraced other incarnations of the Gods – including Jesus – and the attitude that my path is not valid seems to be the main feedback I get. This may be why I tend to only attend 1 or 2 moots – where I feel safe and know people.

Do you remember who the first other Pagan you spoke to was?

My sister – other than that… I think it was someone online when I was about 30ish.

What was the first Pagan themed book you read?

Glennie Kindred’s Pagan celebrations – still a mainstay of my (now much larger) library.

What do you feel is the biggest problem facing the Pagan community today?

Lack of cohesion – pagans are independents – that’s fine but I think it at times this acts against us… as a solitary I feel this especially as, even in the PF, more… attention or validation is given to those who belong to a group… and the groups seem to constantly fight each other…add in the fact that many pagans are not members of the PF and there is even more isolation.

Do feel that the addition of the internet has made a positive or negative impact on the community?

Mainly positive; it’s helped those of us who feel isolated feel less so but it also has negative aspects; keyboard warriors exist in the pagan community as well as outside of it!

Who within the community has inspired you the most?

Glennie Kindred, Emma Restall Orr and people who are part of the community but also part of the interfaith/outside world…most of the people I connect with the most are both Pagan and Other.

What do you feel is the future of Paganism in the UK?

We need to stop fighting amongst ourselves…about our titles, which group is best, whether my path is less valid than yours….; the PF needs to embrace those who are solitary as well as those who are not…we need to recognise that yes we are independent but we are also the same. If we can do this we can stand better together in the wider world and gain a more equal footing in public.

Do you feel that the Pagan community has a responsibility to respond to the climate crisis, if so, what shape should that response take?

Yes but unsure how.

Karyl Cross
March 2021