Richard Levy of the Centre For Pagan Studies talks to Lora OBrien, Irish Author and Guide to Ireland

Richard Levy
RICHARD LEVY BIO: I began my pagan path at a young age but and magic is something I feel was always a part of my life. But with time I learned how to nourish this part of myself. I feel today we are encouraged to ignore these parts of who we are and it is something we re-learn. It is in many ways learning to do what breeze and river and bird do naturally. I studied philosophy and theology at university and whilst I did not have formal training I learned a lot from people I met along my path from Children to adults. Should people want to contact me about the interview they can contact me on:
LORA O’BRIEN BIO: Lora is a traditionally published Author, Teacher, and Guide: native born Irish, with strong personal and professional experience in our history, heritage, archaeology, mythology, & Irish Spirituality. She is a modern Draoí – a practitioner and priest of indigenous Irish magic and spirituality, in the simplest terms. Lora has been consciously following a pagan path for 25 years, and dedicated specifically to the Irish Goddess Mórrígan 14 years ago. She managed one of Ireland’s most important sacred sites – Cruachán/Rathcroghan – for a decade, and is a co-founder and legal celebrant, a Reverend, with Pagan Life Rites Ireland.

Today’s Interview:

Richard Levy, admin on the Centre for Pagan Studies FB Group.
When and where did your interest in Pagan/Earth based Spirituality begin?
Whilst my vocabulary and intellectual understanding did not go far
till I was twelve I would say it was present from my earliest memories.
This came through in my interest and love of myths and faerie tales,
which I still have. I give talks on this subject and perform
storytelling to this day.

I talked to everything: trees, toys and animals and loved films that
involved magic, witches and wizards. I always wanted to be one.

With this I also had psychic experiences, some I interpreted as evil
or dangerous which I have learnt as I matured were not. I would see and
speak with faerie and other beings and in some ways it held such a
common place I didn’t realise it was magical though I still wanted

How did you practically go about getting started, and
what resources did you have available to you eg. books, teaching
courses, events, people you met?
I wanted to explore all this more and when I was 12, an esoteric shop
opened in my local high street. I cant recall how but I had funds for
some books and used my local library to take on as many books as I could
on magic, paganism and divination.

I met some pagans early on but they wore glittery robes and to my
mind were more style over substance, this made me keep my distance.

As I got older I tried again and found some intelligent, interesting and wonderful people.

Additionally I joined a spiritualist circle which allowed me to
practice my communication with spirits as well as divination and

What does being Pagan mean to you? (or your term of choice, please explain!)
Pagan to me today is an umbrella term for those practicing earth
based spirituality, often reinvented or restructured, which is good as a
religion of the earth should evolve, which a religion of the book tends
to struggle with. I am more inclined to use the term witch or magician
as my focus is on magical work. To me these are working titles, I am not
interested in hierarchical titles or being called adept etc (which I am
not) simply I work with various powers and in doing so these terms are
titles of that.

Some see more in them and that is fine and some romanticise the terms
and I am not sure how I feel about that. For me I have simply answered a
calling but I still have to clean the kitchen and iron my clothes.

To me a Pagan path is essentially, a narrative of the earth, within various traditions are its own nuances.

What sort of things do you do on a daily/weekly, monthly or seasonal basis to explore or express your Spirituality?
I do daily meditations and simple rituals of stillness. Seasonally I perform basic rituals to bring in the power of the season to flow
through myself, home and land. Or I just walk among nature and let
myself connect. On Spring Equinox I like to go to Kew Garden for
example. I like to walk in my local woods and see how things are growing
and how it feels.

What advice do you wish someone had given you, that you would like to give people starting out on this path?
I realise that magic is in all things. It is in ritual and
conversation it is in the kabbalah and the sun, the moon and the rain.
It is all around us all the time and in our childhoods. I realised one
day I knew more than I realised and that the bible I was raised in (not
fundamentally) was full of magic, along with the faerie tales I grew up

Gaulstown Dolmen
Gaulstown Dolmen County Waterford Ireland

It may seem obvious that faerie tales are full of magic, but getting
at the patterns within them and the magical messages took me time. When
we mature we think magic isnt faerie tales, we know it as something
practical and powerful. In being mature we let go of Childish things,
but there is a difference being childish and being childlike and being
childlike. Being childlike is a gift.

I think mystery is in that we know more than we are aware of and that awareness comes from experience.

What is the name of the Facebook Group you admin, and how
did you get involved there? (please feel free to provide group details
eg. member numbers or general guidelines, and a link to group)
The Centre of Pagan Studies has been going on for some time. I got
involved last year after reading Philip Heselton’s biography of Doreen
Valiente. I had been looking to give back to the Pagan community and
found Doreen to be an inspiration person who had been involved so
decided to offer to help. The Centre for Pagan Studies FB Group is Here.

What is the most frustrating thing for you about being involved with that group?
I think it can be frustrating to find the right vocabulary. In magic
and Paganism we do not really have our own language so we have to work
quite philosophically to communicate effectively. I have seen people
essentially agree with each other but end up arguing as their words are
interpreted differently. Ultimately it is not really a problem just a
shame its hard to bypass.

What is the most satisfying thing for you about being involved with that group?
The fact that we remember those who came before us who made strides
for Paganism. We have set up blue plaques for people like Gerald Gardner
and Doreen Valiente. Also people involved are very engaged in the
subject matter and we discuss often some ancient practices which some
people still practice or have come across. We attempt to provide both an
educational resource (giving talks for example) and discussing these
subject matters keeping it organic and shifting.

If you could guarantee that each group member had read AT LEAST one book before joining, what book would that be?
I think it would be hard to pin point one book but I would go back to
faerie tales. To have read some of the Grimm brothers work and look
into the early stories as well as the colour books (The yellow fairy
book, red fairy book etc compiled by Andrew Lang).

There are some great occult books out there and some bad ones, though
I found all of those helped me develop a magical vocabulary.

Further to this I would encourage to read history and anthropology as well as classical texts.

Anything else youd like to share?!
Whilst books are great the essence of magic is doing it and living
it. The essence of paganism is in practicing it and living it. Keep it
simple and embrace the stories you were told growing up and the cartoons
you may have seen (often based on these books). When you have
conversations remember language is insufficient to express magic and
spirituality. So take care. When I talk to magical practitioners of
various traditions if you work to find a common language, we find we
have a lot in common.
would encourage people to tread lightly and to take their time and to listen.

Richard Levy works with the Centre for Pagan Studies and the Doreen Valiente Foundation.

Richard Levy of the Centre For Pagan Studies talks to Lora OBrien, Irish Author and Guide to Ireland

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