IH: Thank you for taking the time to speak to me. Let me first ask, were you raised in a faith?
V: I was raised in a home that was officially Church of England.
V: yes. We weren’t religious as in going to church every Sunday and it didn’t make a big impact on our lives. We went to church for weddings, christenings, funerals etc but that was about it.
IH: so there was no religious aspect at home?
V: no, not really. When I was a little girl my dad used to read bible stories to me (which is ironic as he’s an atheist!) and we each tried Sunday school with differing results.
IH: yes, you have a brother and sister don’t you? So, Sunday school didn’t take?
V: I don’t really remember much about it. My brother apparently tried it and liked it- more the social aspect than anything else I think. I liked the stories but apparently not being told what to do, and my sister only went a couple of time. None of us were confirmed.
IH: so was it the lack of religion what made you go looking?
V: not really. My parents were always very open and accepting of things- if we wanted to go to church we could, if we wanted a bible or to do something religious we could- it just wasn’t the focus of our lives. When I was a teenager I got involved in the Evangelical church as I had an aunt involved there- that didn’t really work out.
IH: why not?
V: I became very aggressive about faith for a while- I remember telling my mother that she was wrong as she didn’t believe what I did! (Grimacing)… I didn’t like who I became when I was around them- it was all very tense and after about 6 months I stopped going.
IH: I know you believe in at least 1 goddess. How did you come to this?
V: To be honest, the goddess who guides me the most has been around since I was a little girl- I just didn’t know who she was. She kind of scared me for a while, at least once I realised she wasn’t visible to everyone else. I didn’t understand why I could see this old lady and others couldn’t!
IH: Old lady?
V: yes, she’s a very old lady- I think of her as a kind, but at times stern, grandmother. She’s very wise.
I tried for a long time to ignore her- was even part of the Christian church for a while but that didn’t last. (Laughing)
IH: What happened?
V: Whilst I love Jesus, I came to conclusion that I don’t believe he is the only son of God- I view him as an aspect incarnation of the God. And I have a problem with the church that has been made in his name. When I eventually told people in the church that I believed in a goddess whilst also loving Jesus- well, the reaction was not pleasant.
IH: In what way?
V: People I had known for years now seemed to think I wasn’t fit to be seen with, let alone friends with. There was a lot of talk of ‘purity’ – which as this was just after 9/11 – I wasn’t exactly happy with. I lost probably 50% of the people in my life at that point (my social life revolved around the church) and some of those were relatives and very close friends
IH: why do you think they reacted that way? Were there any instances that were worse than others?
V: I think that for some reason they were afraid. They seemed to think that I wanted to convert them!
IH: and did you?
V: No! I just wanted – and want- to be left alone to believe what I want. To be free to talk about how it affects my life in normal conversations, the way Christians can. It hasn’t been easy- my best friend hasn’t spoken to me for over 10 years. The community I was part of changed from being a “Christian community open to all, regardless of belief” to a Christian only one…. It was a very hard time.
IH: were you at all tempted to keep quiet?
V: yes! Life would be much simpler. But pretending to be something you’re not is exhausting! I couldn’t cope any more and I didn’t want to hide.
IH: You talk about more than 1 goddess and about aspects of ‘the god’- can you tell us, briefly what is the core of your belief?
V: Essentially I believe in a Gnosis based idea- that there is one whole- beyond description; that whole, in order to experience life in myriad ways, split itself into two- then the divisions continued… so all life- humans, the earth, the Fae, Gods and Goddesses, are all part of the whole yet also separate.
Those who are closer to ‘the source’ or ‘spirit’ are more enlightened and help those of us who are still disconnected. This means that, because we are all connected, everything we do has a ‘ripple’ or ‘butterfly’ effect on everything else- which means there is a great responsibility to care for everything and everyone. To be honest I think if people could just be kind to one another, a lot of problems would be avoided!
IH: So you believe in other beings.. like fairies?
V: yes, I believe in the fae- the elder race- who taught us, until we stopped listening( smiles wryly). I believe in many things beyond ‘normal’ human sight and existence- I think the world without mystery would be a very boring place. And to be honest, having seen a woman no one else can see since I was a tiny child, its not like I can deny it!
IH: What would you say to those people who say that what you believe is wrong – Is devil worship?
V: (sighs heavily) to those who say that Pagans worship the devil, I say that they should research better. Pagans don’t even believe in him- it’s hard to worship something you don’t believe in! But even if we did, that would be our right. To all those who say what I believe is wrong- No one is asking you to believe the same…all that I am asking is the freedom to follow my own path.
IH: what is the one thing you want people to take away from this?
V: that everyone deserves the right to be free to believe what they want- or not. That, as long as the people involved in a particular faith/path are consenting and not hurting anyone else (as in forcing them to do something/believe in something ) then just leave them alone- I think the world would be a much better place if people did that!