Enjoy the words of this beautiful Wiccan lady, I tell you, she is awesome! =P
What gave you the idea for your username?
My username is also my spiritual name, Erriender Ravenheart. I chose this name when I committed myself to following Wicca. It is how I identify myself as a spiritual and magickal being. I use this name in spiritual circles and to sign any spiritual journaling that I do.
I took a long time to pick the name. I am very connected with my star sign and element (Libra/Air) and so I started there. The first part of the name is meant to sound like the word ‘air’ but it looked better overall when spelt with an E! The latter part of the word comes from ‘lavender’ as it has always been a plant that I work closely with, even before I started down my spiritual path. When you put the whole thing together, it brings to mind the scent of lavender on a cool spring breeze. Or at least it does to me!
The second name is more straightforward but it has a significant meaning to me. I picked the raven as a sign of the magickal path. It is a bird that is thought to be able to cross the boundaries of the physical plane and the spiritual plane. That is how I felt at the time, like I was exploring the spiritual realms. Discovering Wicca filled me with a religious and spiritual passion that I never saw myself finding. It felt like the raven had been awoken in my heart and was bursting out to carry my forward on my spiritual path and to assure a safe journey. Hence the second name of Ravenheart.
Have you always been magickal?
Growing up, looking back on it now, I used to practise what I now think might have been ‘sympathetic magick’ and the concept that like attracts like. I used to concoct ‘love potions’ to attract a guy by combining sweet smelling bath scents in a bottle and tying a ribbon around it. Obviously as a kid, you don’t really know what you’re doing and I don’t think I honestly took any of it seriously. But maybe it was a sign that I was destined to learn about real magick.
When I was a little older, in secondary school, I was still attracted to the idea of spells and potions but again, never really taking any of it seriously and sometimes even laughing at myself for trying. A friend came in to school one day and she had burned her arm on her straighteners. She asked if there was a ‘spell’ to help her. I did some kind of elemental spell by combining a leaf, a feather, some sand from the long jump pitch *cringe* and some bottled water. I can’t remember the exact of it but I just know that my friend swore that it helped speed the healing process.
So who knows? Maybe I was just messing around in the way kids do when they are growing up, but maybe it was a sign that I was always meant to find this path.
What got you started, and why?
A friend of a friend, a little older than myself, told me about it in school one day. I had always thought she was a little bit weird and eccentric and I was so completely sceptic when she called herself a ‘Witch’. But for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my mind. For the next few weeks I just did some internet research on Wicca and Witchcraft and I was captivated. The ‘magickal’ side of it all was the last thing on my mind though. It was the lifestyle that it evokes and the moral guidelines that I loved. Combined with the freedom of ‘do what thou will’ I knew this was something I wanted to learn more about. I studied intensely for a year or more, buying books on the craft and working up the courage to ask this girl more questions. In the end I just couldn’t deny it anymore. I was a Wiccan and I wanted to admit it to myself and to my family.
Then I came out to my Mom and Dad, I did a small ‘self-dedication’ ritual and I have been a whole new person since then.
Do you see it as something you’ll continue to develop in 5 years or so?
I know now that this path is a huge part of who I am. And I have always believed that you can never stop learning about anything. I learn more about my path and more about myself every day. The people that I have met through the various online communities have played a huge part in that. Sharing their experiences and my own, I know that I will always have the opportunity to expand what I already know and enjoy the journey through other’s experiences of the craft. As long as I live, I know that my path and therefore everything that I am will continue to evolve.
If your path didn’t exist, what would you follow?
I don’t know where I would be now if I had never found a name for what it is that I believe in. I didn’t know that there was a kind of religion that didn’t follow a strict set of rules that had already been laid out in a holy book of some kind. The freedom to choose how to practise and how to express your love of life and the divine is a huge part of why I consider myself to be a Wiccan. I’m not sure that I would have found a way to channel my spiritual self and maybe, had I not turned down this path, I would now be an unsatisfied agnostic. I would hope that I could have found a way of being spiritual at the very least, without finding a specific religious alignment.
As it stands, I do use teachings and mythological stories from several religions and ancient religions, to teach me more about life and myself. Perhaps some sort of collaborative religion with a lengthy confusing title would form that I could fit under!
What is your secret to staying spiritual?
To be honest, I find myself drifting from time to time and getting the feeling of being disconnected. But I guess that to stay spiritual, you have to realise that the divine is all around you and that you are a manifestation of that same divine force. It’s not as simple as just saying it or reading it, but really knowing that and feeling it inside you. It’s easy to forget that we are all Gods and Goddesses. But by believing in ourselves and knowing – and I mean really knowing – that we have the power to overcome any obstacle and to carve out our own destinies, that we will always be spiritual beings.
Also, one thing that I’ve noticed recently, is how much more I get out of life by taking time just to observe the world going by. Catching the gaze of a bird when I’m walking down the street, or appreciating the silence when it’s too early for people to be up – they are very enlightening moments. I get a very uplifting feeling from noticing these sacred moments every day that I can’t put into words.
What do you think of labels in a general sense?
They have their ups and downs. I am very much split down the middle on this one. On one hand, it’s great to have a sense of community and to feel like you have something in common with others when you go by the same ‘label’. However, ‘labels’ can be associated with so much prejudice that they are often just as likely to evoke hate and cause segregation. Whether it’s football teams or religious views, they either bring you together or drive you apart.
And do you think labels such as ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘flaming pagan’ are okay or harsh? (Fluffy bunny is used to describe new people to the craft, and flaming pagan is used for over the top pagans):
I dislike it when the term ‘fluffy bunny’ is used to describe solely new people. It evokes a sense of willful ignorance and someone whose intentions are not in the right place. New people to the craft should be embraced and helped wholeheartedly to find their own path and sense of belonging. However, I do use the term myself but under different circumstances. I think that there are people who get interested in paths such as Wicca and Witchcraft for very wrong reasons and I’ve seen it up close and personal one too many times. There are people who use it just to look mysterious or intimidate people, for attention or to be unique. It infuriates me that they have such little respect for the religion. And it is these people that I refer to as ‘bunnies’ because they just can’t be taken seriously as they themselves don’t take this path seriously. I think these people earn that title.
I’ll put you in a scenario. If someone sent you negative energy or went out their way to upset/hurt you, what would you do, and why?
In an ideal situation, the way to handle that kind of incident is to rise above it. I haven’t always dealt with life in this way though. For a long time I was incredibly sensitive and prone to drama-queen style strops if someone upset me. But it was embarrassing! It really is cringe worthy to think how childish it was to use techniques like ‘the silent treatment’ to make a statement about how it was affecting me. Acting out like that though, only causes you to feel worse in yourself. By reflecting negative energy, you actively fill your surroundings with negative vibes that maintain your bad mood. These days, I’m pretty good at just shaking things off. If something really gets to me, I like to vent with a good friend over coffee and then laugh it off later. Sometimes it takes meditation or a combination until I put myself at ease. The main thing though, is not to reflect. You just have to move away from the situation as soon as you can. Things only get to you if you let them! ‘Rise above’ is my official mission statement these days. I can’t say I manage it every time – no one is perfect! I certainly try though.