The Ohio State University
Pagan Student Association
An Interview with Author Starhawk
Starhawk, author of Spiral Dance, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying (co-authored by M. Macha Nightmare), Dreaming The Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics and many other influential works, agreed to an e-mail interview with our own SilverPeace. Following is the content of that interview. You can visit Starhawk's website at http://www.reclaiming.org/~cauldron/starhawk.
Where did you go to college and what was your degree in?
I went to UCLA as an undergraduate with a B.A. in Art, did a year of graduate work in film, then dropped out. I went back later to Antioch West in San Francisco and got an M.A. in Clinical Psychology.
Were you a member of a Pagan Student Association?
Back in the Late Archaic era when I went to school, shortly after the invention of writing, there were no Pagan Student Associations.
What do you consider as "Issues at the forefront of the Pagan community?" Where do you stand on those issues?
As always, we struggle for our basic religious freedom -- the freedom to practice our religion without fear of reprisals or suffering outrageous distortions
We're also struggling with issues of growth and success: how do we continue to grow and co-ordinate and network our groups without developing bureaucracies? How can we both achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the world and take our rightful place among other religions and still enjoy our 'outlaw' perspective?
And I think we're also called to take action in the world around the larger issues of environmental destruction and social injustice. If we worship nature, we've got to be actively working for her in a world in which less than 3% of the old growth forests of this land are left -- and they're still being clear-cut. If we see the Goddess as imminent in every human being, then we can't accept a society in which the top 1% control 40% of the wealth, in which we spend more on prisons than on schools.
Where I stand? I spend a lot of my time, when I'm not actively teaching or writing or wandering in the woods, working with Reclaiming, our organization, developing forms in which we can coordinate communities and projects that now stretch from Canada and the U.S. to Europe and El Salvador, in a participatory and non hierarchical way.
And I spend lots and lots of time doing political work, from organizing in my own community around land use issues, fighting bad Timer Harvest Plans, to blockading the WTO in Seattle last November. I'll be in Washington DC in April with a Reclaiming Pagan cluster for the action against the World Bank, helping to do nonviolence trainings and ritual as well as the action.
What would you consider your chosen Pagan Path? Why?
My chosen path is Witchcraft in what we've come to call the Reclaiming tradition -- which links deep magic, personal healing and political activism. reclaiming is nonhierarchical, open to all genders, and inclusive and our rituals are high energy, ecstatic and creative, so it suits me.
Do you have any advice for Student Pagans?
Figure out what's sacred to you, what you're passionate about, what you care most deeply for, and go for it with all your heart and soul. If you feel deeply about an issue, do something about it. You'll learn more from activism than you ever will in a classroom. There's plenty of time in life to worry about security -- when you're young, it's the time to live your visions to the fullest and go for flat out passionate involvement in life.
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