Part two of this interview series with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone , guests at Heartland Spirit Festival , this continues from the second portion of our interview. This section of the interview focuses on life in Ireland and a look into where deity work is moving Neo-Paganism in the future.
Nels (N) : What happens when Pagan culture get truly in touch with their deities?
Janet (J) : This is the manifestation in Ireland, which is truly wonderful the resurgence of many of the old faith festivals. I am one of only five legal pagans in all of Ireland allowed to legally marry people. A legal solemnizer. I am on the health board as a hospital visitor. Ireland is a tiny island, but this is a major break through. Around 1982 Stewart and I won the first witchcraft case in Ireland and changed the law which had made witchcraft illegal. It went to the high court in Dublin, and was given compensation because when “Eight Sabbats’ (A Witches Bible) came out a journalist called it devil worshiping, porn blasphemy. We won the entire case and were taken out be all the high court judges for a champagne reception.
Gavin (G): This really explains what has been going on in Ireland at the moment. One of the effects of working the way we have is that now the deities don’t care whether you are Pagan or not. They want to come through, they want to speak, and they want the connection to develop. This happened in Ireland because as the Catholic church began to lose control from the early 2000’s the people of Ireland still wanted that connection to their spirituality. Initially they sought it through the Catholic church, but now we now find ourselves involved in ceremonies with the general public, particularly one at Samhain every year in County Meath at the Hill of Ward, also known as Tlachta.
J: Tlachta is the only witch goddess in the whole of Ireland that the church fathers, the monks, tried to write out of the history. But they ultimately failed.
G: Brid is not technically a witchcraft goddess, although some people say she is. Tlachta is the only goddess where the word witchcraft is actually associated with her. Every year there is a procession up the hill and the witches group, along with the Druids, are the ones that lead it. When we get to the top we tell the old story of her, and the traditional Samhain fire is lit. The majority of the people behind are not Pagan. They are good Catholics who are probably off to church on Sunday.
J: Half way up the hill is the well of Tlachta. We have a woman cloaked doing trance work and beside her we have a Knight in full armor, so if anyone hassles her, he is there. All the witches and Druids pass with their flaming torches and behind them come all the villagers singing, “Tlachta Lady, goddess fair, light your night on moonlit air…..” . They sing a chant to this goddess as we light our fires. These Catholics are singing to a Pagan goddess. When they have all passed the parents bring their children to the lady of the well, Tlachta herself, to prophesize for them. To put her hands on them, and bless them.
Video from Tlachta Samhain Ritual