Saturday, January 26, 2013

Serenity Raven

Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank Fred Hunsberger for his unique and interesting interview! I very much enjoyed reading your answers and I thank you for sharing with us Fred!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome Serenity Raven. Serenity is a Pagan and I know you'll enjoy her interview as well!

Here Is Serenity Raven's Introduction:
My name is Serenity Raven. I am an solitary eclectic pagan and witch who has been practicing for over 15 years. I am 37 years old, a widow, and my fifth child will soon be born. I am influenced my many different spiritual, religious, and philosophical paths in my pagan path but as a witch I focus on domestic witchcraft. This means that the home, hearth, and my family are central to my practice.

1) What religion do you practice?
I practice eclectic paganism and witchcraft.

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 didn't have any religious upbringing at all. The only time I ever went to a Christian church was for a wedding or funeral. I didn't become interested in spirituality or religion until high school after having deep philosophical discussions about God with a classmate.
3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)?  What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?

If you ask ten pagans what paganism is, you will get twenty different answers. 
4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ?  Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I would say my observance is liberal. Being eclectic means I take the things I like from many different spiritual and religious paths. However, the reverence of nature is central to my religion. That never changes.

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) 
Again, paganism can differ from one person to the next so what I believe does not hold true for all pagans. I honestly don't know what happens in the afterlife. I sometimes call it Summerland but for the most part I call it heaven. I do think that we go through our previous life on earth and review all the choices that we made. I don't think we are punished. I see no purpose in that.

6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?  
Eventually yes. But I do think it's possible to get stuck on earth as a ghost or to spend an unusual amount of time reviewing the previous incarnation before being allowed to enjoy heaven/paradise. 

7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?  
The belief that everything is part of nature, that God is both female and male, and that there is no one right way to be spiritual is what makes it a good fit. Paganism is very personal. 

8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them? 
While I do consider myself pagan, I follow the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. I also celebrate Easter and Christmas in a secular way.

9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?  
What an odd question! But yes I have friends of all faiths and non-faiths meaning atheist, humanist, and agnostic. 

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Absolutely! I believe there is something to learn from every path.

11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?  
It doesn't affect me so I don't have an opinion. This question actually offends me a little. Why not ask what I think of Biblical law or Buddhist law? Why single out Shariah law?

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
Yes, we can become priestesses or clergy if we want. It feels empowering and I am proud.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel? 
I practice as a solitary so I guess that would be a yes. I would love to find a group or coven to practice with but that hasn't happened yet.

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 daily life for the most part is probably pretty secular. I follow the Wiccan Rede, "Do what you will and harm none" so do my best not to harm people. I do view life as sacred so I have a hard time supporting abortion but gay marriage harms no one so I fully support it.

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?  
I would have no problem with it. I was married to a Southern Baptist Christian myself.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell? 
There is no hell so no.

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 is a phrase that is used by some pagans that goes "pagan enough" or "witchy enough." I cannot judge who is truly a pagan or witch. There are a few well known pagans that I think speak well for us as a whole. Christopher Penczak is a favorite of mine.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain. 
No but I am in the "broom closet" for the most part. I am only open about being a pagan to a handful of people.

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?  
Never. In fact, it's the opposite.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?  
Yes and no. The spiritual practice itself does but not being able to be open with everyone about my religion does nothing for peace of mind. It's very hard sometimes keeping who I truly am a secret.
21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not? 
I hope reincarnation is real but I don't believe one way or the other. I would like to think we get more than one chance at life.

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