Interview with Dorothy Abrams

Oct 21st, 2017 | By | Category: Articles

Dorothy Abrams is the author of Identity and the Quartered Circle, and is part of the Web PATH Centre group behind Pagan Portals – Sacred Sex and Magick

What are you working on at the moment?  There always seems to be something to do before I get to what I want to do.  Right now I am working on the Mabon/ Equinox Ritual for Saturday 9/23 at the Web PATH Center in Lyons NY. My turn as priestess (we share the moons and sabbats for the year by lot drawn at New Years.) I typically use a balance scale for people to add cornmeal on the things they draw to them and salt for those they release.  At the same time the Autumnal Equinox newsletter is due. I haven’t started that.  When the obligations are done, well then I can get back to the two essays due for 2 different collections October 31. “Witchcraft and the Arts” for Trevor’s anthology What is Witchcraft/Wicca? And “Leading Reluctant Souls” (working title) for Laura Perry’s Deathwalking Anthology. Meanwhile my husband is having cataract surgery 9/21 and 9/28. I am the eye drop administrator pre and post op. He doesn’t like them. Oh well.

What will you be doing as a Pagan this autumn? I am leading the Web Equinox Ritual (see above) and giving 2 classes on past life discoveries on October 1 and 15. The first weekend will involve some crystal meditations using amethyst and hematite which are helpful stones in past life recall. That will follow with a guided meditation on the themes discovered with the rocks. Our closing activities will be tarot readings with a spread that works on finding the intersects between two people who have a shared past life.  The second weekend will progress to actual hypnosis sessions to uncover and perhaps heal past life narratives.

 Looking back over your journey so far, is there anything you wish you’d done differently? I wish I learned earlier that people do not always work within the same frame of ethical reference that I do. I was terribly naïve and thought in the Web PATH Center that we shared common goals for the common good. We did not. I accept now that people have different objectives and some are in it for what they can gather to themselves. I have learned to shield myself from ill will directed at me, my husband, the Web and other friends by unhappy souls; but I am still surprised by it.  We would have avoided some major mishaps if I had been wiser years ago. Now I think it is important not to be cynical about people and their big ideas of what they can do for me.  Some folks will actually come through on their ideals if given encouragement and opportunity. However, I also know not to be sucked in by grandiose promises and potential someone has vis a vis what they are able to do at this point in their lives.

 What are you most proud of? Personally I am most proud of starting programs that have persisted over the years. The Web PATH Center is a pagan church that has been around now for 24 years in Central New York State. Given the fluid nature of many pagan endeavors, I indulge myself in a bit of pride there. The other two are women’s programs started in the 1970’s which continue in Auburn NY where I worked as a program coordinator for the local anti-poverty agency. One is the sexual assault crisis intervention program known as SAVAR which was adopted by a local counseling service and continues to this day. I and several other women were given their gold star award as founding mothers in 2010. The other is the Domestic Violence Services component of the Cayuga/Seneca County Action Program. It has grown from being staffed by volunteers to a full service shelter program with stable funding.  That these programs made it through 4 decades of political turmoil and continue as improved versions of their prototypes makes me happy. This is what I hope for the Web, that they will find their financial footing and leadership to go on without my intervention when they hit hard times.  I trust they will.

What do you think the most important issue for Pagans is right now? Focus. Pagan people need to know that the good we do lives on and the love we send out creates magic. Pagans seem distracted by the nastiness of these political times. We will be ineffective in our workings if we fail to focus on the natural cycles, the ebb and flow of life, and the breath taking beauty of the Goddess around us aka nature. I am a news junkie, so I have to force myself to put down the Washington Post, Facebook or the NY Times and do my creative work. I can’t let the general angst of the era keep me from ritual or drag me away from our intention of creating community among ourselves. We will reap what we focus on. My focus is love and life and beauty. I encourage pagans everywhere to focus on what they want, not what they don’t want.

What do you do when you need to feel grounded?  I use the tree meditation referenced in Starhawk’s writings and detailed in my book  Identity and the Quartered Circle. In a meditative state, I grow roots out of my feet or the base of my spine, sending them down into the earth to the bed rock. There I attach my roots and contact Gaia. With her permission and blessing I draw earth energy up into my body as a tree draws nutrients from the soil. Then section by section I draw the earth energy into legs, seat, belly, stomach, heart, lungs, shoulders, arms, neck, head and out of the crown so it falls back to earth. I am as specific as time allows. My goal is to make connection with the earth all the way down to the cellular level within my body. The energy overflow spouts up and out like a fountain and back to earth around my feet so it can re-enter and continue and energy cycle of renewal. If I have plenty of time, I then open to the celestial energies of sun moon and stars and bring them down my body, crown to feet, and then on to the bedrock to connect the Earth to the Heavens with me in the middle as a conduit.  This way I am functioning in ordinary tasks or magical work relying on the energies of earth, sun, moon and starts instead of the limited power of my physical body. When I am conducting a class, I nearly always say the most important thing I have to teach anyone is how to ground.

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