Community Interview with Elsa Marie Edmond
The second part in our Community Spirituality Series, where I interviewed Elsa Marie Edmond of the Facebook Group ‘Celtic Witches Druids and Pagans’, about her personal spiritual practice, and her online work for the Pagan Community. (Note – the resource links throughout have been added by me, to facilitate further study on specific topics.)
Q. 1 – When and where did your interest in Pagan/Earth based Spirituality begin?
From as early as I can remember. As a young child my favourite places were the woods and the garden. I remember talking to what now I would term as nature spirits or elementals. I knew they were there and would make them houses in the garden. I was always making potions out of mud, water, leaves and petals. I also always ‘knew’ that there was ‘more’ to life than I was taught. An inner knowing.
Q. 2 – 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?
During my mid-late teenage years I disconnected somewhat from the spiritual side of things, I developed a despondency with the cruelty of society and ‘life’, which seemed for a time to overcast the magic. It was in my mid-late twenties after the birth of my first child that I again connected with magic and spirituality. Most of my learning came from books. Reading felt like I was ‘remembering’ as opposed to learning. It was in my mid thirties that my connection with deity deepened, specifically with the Morrigan, though I was to discover this was not a new connection, but one that had been with me throughout life. It was at this point that I started to research the Celtic myth and lore and delve deeper into my ancestry, which is Celtic with a few percent of Scandinavian in there. The internet as well as books have been my main source of research in recent years. I also began to study with the OBOD (Order of Bards Ovates and Druids) and I am now at the Druid grade of study.
Q. 3 – What does being Pagan mean to you? (or your term of choice, please explain!)
To me, ‘Pagan’ is a very broad term, with the common theme of honouring the natural world and seeing the gods in the world around you. Rather than just a title it is a way of life. I refer to myself as a Celtic Witch and Druid. Not all Pagans are witches, and I feel the title narrows down my path, as does Celtic which defines the pantheon I honour and work with. It is my ancestral path.
Q. 4 – What sort of things do you do on a daily/weekly, monthly or seasonal basis to explore or express your Spirituality?
On a daily basis I read, be it books or on the internet. There is always more to learn. My other daily rituals include spending some time at my altar acknowledging my path and honouring the Morrigan, taking time to notice the sunrise and sunset, drawing an oracle / tarot card for the day and self Reiki to allow the Universal Energies to flow through me (I am a Reiki Master). On a clear night I always spend time looking at the Moon and stars. On a weekly basis I cleanse my home. I always honour the New Moon and Full Moon with some kind of ritual, sometimes very simple, otherwise more formal with spell work. On a seasonal basis I also redecorate my altar to coincide with the Sabbat and perform a ritual to honour it. Other than that my magic and rituals are as needed, I do quite a lot of healing work.
Q. 5 – What advice do you wish someone had given you, that you would like to give people starting out on this path?
Keep it simple, intention is key, and follow your intuition not what it says in a book. Hungry to delve deeper, it is easy to get hung up with following instructions from a book to a T. Much like taking photos of anything and everything, which is easy to do when you first have children, you eventually realise that you are that busy taking photos you end up missing out on the full experience. It is the same in ritual, if your attention is focused on following what it says in a book, you are missing out on noticing the subtle energy shifts and ‘feeling’ the ritual. Spiritual experiences are very individual … follow your natural instinct, you will be surprised just how much you instinctively know.
Q. 6 – What is the name of the Facebook Group you admin, and how did you get involved there?
‘Celtic Witches Druids and Pagans’. There are currently around 6.5k members. I set it up a couple of years ago as I found many of the generic pagan groups had become flooded with the Norse pantheon, which surged in popularity due to the tv show ‘Vikings’, and many seemed to consist largely of memes. I wanted to create a group where people could learn and share knowledge. I have organised the group into topics so that each post is assigned a topic, with the aim of it making it easier for members to find information.
Q. 7 – What is the most frustrating thing for you about being involved with that group?
When people only join to spam the group or for self promotion … wanting to advertise their products or services but not positively contributing to the group in any other way. The members are what make the group a success or not.
Q. 8 – What is the most satisfying thing for you about being involved with that group?
Helping those who are new to the path and seeing it become a great resource of knowledge for members.
Q. 9 – If you could guarantee that each group member had read AT LEAST one book before joining, what book would that be?
Oooh … for a group member that was a newcomer to Paganism and the craft I would say ‘Wicca – A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner’ by Scott Cunningham as it give a good all round basic starting point. For someone who already has a basic level of knowledge joining the group, I would be torn between ‘The Book of Celtic Magic’ by Kristoffer Hughes and ‘Celtic Myth and Magick’ by Edain McCoy.
A huge thank you to Elsa Marie Edmond for the interview, it’s always fascinating to see how others are practicing Paganism, and serving the community of Celtic Witches, Druids, and Pagans!
Please do remember these book recommendations are based on Elsa’s view and experiences, which are valid and respected, but they do not appear on my particular recommended resources lists 😉