Saturday, July 14, 2012
Hello and Happy Saturday!
I wish to thank Cora (aka Tink) for her wonderful interview. I really enjoyed reading your answers and I thank you for sharing with us Cora!
Today we have a new interview so please welcome Deborah Lipp. Deborah is a Gardnerian Witch and I know you'll enjoy her interview as well!
Here Is Deborah Lipp's Introduction:
I am a Gardnerian Witch and a Pagan. I've been Wiccan since 1982. I am an author, a blogger, and a computer content professional. I live in the suburbs of New York City and have lived in the Northeast almost my entire life. I am single and live with my adult son and two cats. When not practicing Wicca, I am passionate about movies and pop culture, I make handcrafts, and I am a tattoo enthusiast.
A longer version of my bio is here: http://www.deborahlipp.com/about-me/
My Pagan/author website and blog can be found here: www.deborahlipp.com
I also have two pop culture sites: www.lippsisters.com (Basket of Kisses: Smart Discussion About Smart Television, the #1 Mad Men blog) and www.jamesbondfanbook.com).
My sixth book, Merry Meet Again, a memoir, will be out in February 2013.
1) What religion do you practice?
2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I was raised Jewish, although not very observant. My upbringing can be described as having a strong emphasis on Judaism as a culture and a tribe, but there was less emphasis on religion and spirituality.
In Paganism generally, we don't use the term "convert." I have heard people describe it more as a homecoming than a conversion.
There are steps one goes through in order to become an initiate of the Gardnerian tradition ("tradition" is roughly analogous to "denomination), but these are not different for someone who is raised Pagan and someone who came to it as an adult.
In fact, being raised by Gardnerian parents gives you no special advantage in becoming a Gardnerian yourself. The Gardnerian tradition is a Mystery Tradition, into which one seeks entry that is not guaranteed. Children of initiates are not automatically given entry.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Wicca is my religion and Gardnerian is my practice.
3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
(It's easier to answer these two together.)
Among Wiccans, Gardnerians are considered orthodox or ultra-orthodox, often in a disparaging way. And within the Gardnerian tradition, there are varying degrees of orthodoxy.
Personally, I prefer the term "orthoprax." We are formal and strict about practice (-praxy) but open about belief (-doxy).
The gradations here are between people who do the same rituals more or less the same way most of the time, and people who do different rituals more or less every time. It's not that Gardnerians are never spontaneous, but we value hereditary (we inherit our tradition from predecessors), lineage (we know who our initiators are, and their initiators, and their initiators, and so on), and a structured way of doing things.
To a great degree, this is a matter of personal preference. I tend towards structure, stability, and the comfort of the known in many ways throughout my life. I'm a Taurus; I like earthy, stable things. I think there are a great many practical advantages to orthopraxy: Practice makes perfect, don't reinvent the wheel, create a web of energy through repetition. All of these things are powerful. I recognize that there are also powerful things in a much more heterodox (or heteropraxic) style of religion. It's not like I have never made up a ritual on the spot!
See, we have this advantage: In Paganism and Wicca, there is no belief that only one path leads you to the Gods. Since no one holds the keys to heaven hostage, we are all free to worship as we choose. My orthopraxy doesn't invalidate someone else's free form, do-it-yourself, wild style. We're equally Pagan.
5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
My tradition teaches that we are reborn after a period of rest in a place known as the Summerland. There is no heaven or hell.
7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
I started seeking this religion before I knew it existed. It is the center of my heart and I don't want anything else. I am not sure there is any other explanation.
The Gods live in me, resonate with me, speak to me. The religion is creative, empowers women, venerates sexuality, is life-affirming, pleasure-affirming, and focuses on this life, this incarnation. It is me and I am it.
8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
This is pretty common knowledge: Beltane, Samhain, Lammas, Imbolg, the Solstices, the Equinoxes, the Full Moons. I don't feel I add much to the discussion by listing rituals.
9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
I celebrate Jewish holidays with my family. I would certainly attend an important personal occasion (funeral, wedding, etc.) of another faith if invited. I also sometimes attend Hindu rituals because I am very attracted to the religion and have an intimate relationship with certain Hindu gods.
I would probably be happy to accept an invitation to any other polytheistic or pantheistic religious occasion, because my Gods would not be unwelcome.
11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
Not my religion, not my issue.
12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
I am a High Priestess of Gardnerian Wicca. I would never be a member of a religion that did not ordain women.
13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
Do you mean segregate genders? In fact, we require that genders mix. Male and female are, energetically, opposing poles, and polarity is a source of deep spiritual power.
14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
My religion is inseparable from my life.
15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
I wouldn't be surprised.
16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
There is no hell.
17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
There are individual Pagans who speak on behalf of the religion—I'm one of them—but none of us has authority over anyone else's interpretation of Wicca or Paganism.
18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?