You all know how crazy about Priestessing I am. Today we are starting the new calendar year off with an interview with Priestess of Avalon Elle Hull, in which she answers all your (well, mine really) burning priestess questions. Woohoo!!!
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed!
Hi Faeriedaughter! Thank you for asking! I’ve always loved your blog and it’s great to be featured here!
What does being devoted to the goddess mean to you?
To me, it means living my life in service to Goddess, but then I say that coming from the perspective of a priestess. Of course one can be devoted to Goddess but not be serving as a priestess or priest. Devotion can come in many forms, but for me, it’s about service to Goddess and co-creating that service with Her. Co-creation is an interesting aspect of devotion because it means taking notice of what might not be obvious and tapping into intuition. Goddess is always communicating with us though. We just have to have the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the heart that trusts.
How do you serve the goddess in your everyday life?
I’m a big proponent of keeping things simple and it isn’t always something considered spiritual. Simple practises such as lighting a candle or burning incense are things I do daily, but then also mundane things such as keeping my home clean. My home is my temple and therefore keeping it clean is important to me. That’s a little frustrating sometimes with a husband and a teenager who don’t view “home” in quite the same way! Serving also comes from shining Goddess’ light and love in the world. There are so many ways to do that, but really it comes down to one’s actions and words.
How did you discover the Lady of Avalon, and why did you undertake the Priestess Training in Glastonbury?
My journey with Avalon is quite personal and complex, with no easy or short explanations really. But I shall try to keep it to less than a novel! I don’t really recall a time when I didn’t know what Avalon was. It’s as if Avalon and its name were buried in my sub-conscious and little by little, bit by bit, as I would hear about it, I would become more aware of it in my conscious mind and remember it. Unlike many, I was not drawn to Avalon by Arthurian legend nor was I drawn to Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon. It was Avalon itself that drew me ever closer until I eventually found myself in England. It was only after I moved here that the Lady of Avalon became known to me and that was through experiencing Her in the landscape, mainly in Glastonbury, but in my own local landscape in London.
I found the Goddess Temple’s priestess training shortly after I moved to the UK in 2002. I saw an ad for it in a Pagan magazine and as soon as I saw it, something inside me said, “This is your path.” I was inexplicably drawn to it. Something in my soul awoke in that moment. So I knew one day I would undertake that training. When one is drawn to any path of spiritual service, they will tell you it’s because they felt called upon, compelled, driven to it by whatever name they call their Divine. I am no exception to this. It wasn’t just a longing in my heart, but a deep seated knowing in my soul that Goddess was asking me to come to Her in service as Her priestess. I didn’t have to, but I wanted to and it became a need in me that I wished to fulfil. So I did.
I know you underwent a 3 year Priestess training in Glastonbury. What did you find the most difficult about training to be a priestess, and was it what you expected?
It took me 4 years from the time I found that ad until I began the training. As much as impulse wanted me to do it RIGHT NOW, I also knew it was a huge commitment of time, energy and money and I was not in a position to be throwing any of those things about lightly. So I waited. I’m glad I took those 4 years though because it gave me the opportunity to read and learn, to attend rituals, to experience for myself just what it was all about without making commitments and vows. Although not an “official” part of my training, I do consider that it was as much a part of the journey as the training was.
I’m not sure I really had any expectations when I finally decided to do the training. Just prior to starting the training, I felt simultaneously excited and nervous and scared. I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for! And I’m not sure I could name one particular thing that was most difficult about it all. There were certainly challenges. This training is transformational and that transformation often comes about in strange ways. Sometimes it’s someone who is mirroring back a part of yourself you don’t like or need to work on or an old problem you thought you had dealt with comes up again or something happens that brings you up against your own beliefs or boundaries. I think I had all of those things happen and then some and I wasn’t alone as others in my training group experienced many of the same things. I cottoned on to the fact though that it was all about how I moved through these challenges. If I approached them differently, I learned new ways of overcoming those challenges and learned more about myself. I grew as a person and as a priestess. This said, I embraced everything about the experience of training and wouldn’t change one iota of any of it. My own experience of it was exactly what I needed it to be.
How has your life changed since becoming a priestess?
Yea, life changed quite a lot. When I started the training, I was a non-custodial mother working as a lawyer. When I finished the training I was a stay-at-home mother to two teenage daughters. It was a pretty radical transition! My priorities changed on an internal level and that created changes on an external level. Pursuit of a vocation as a priestess became more important than the pursuit of a legal career. Time, energy and focus on my family became more important than charging for my time, energy and focus on my cases at work. Re-discovering my creativity became more important than cramming more legal knowledge into my brain. Shifting what was important to me has shifted my life and the way it is now. It hasn’t always been easy, still isn’t always easy, but I know I’m being true to myself and my priestess path.
Tell us about your love of the Lady of Avalon and your priestessing for Aphroditie – how do you serve two goddesses?
The story that I often tell also comes from experience in the training. When I came to the training, my own path up to that point had largely been eclectic Wiccan style Pagan. During the first half year of the training, I often struggled with this idea that I was following two separate paths and I felt pulled in two separate directions. How would I meld these paths together? For our Beltane training weekend, we went out on to the slopes of Glastonbury Tor where we laid on the grass and went on a guided journey to Avalon to meet with Rhiannon. In that meditational journey, Rhiannon told me that there was only one path and I was the only one who was making it two separate paths. It was a really simple message but it packed a really powerful punch. I came out of that meditation with a new understanding that really changed my perceptions.
The two paths idea did come up again though during my third year of training. The third year focuses solely on Lady of Avalon and deepening that connection with Her and Avalon. It was during that year that Aphrodite began to start wanting my attention again and She often popped up in my daily meditations in Avalon. I began to wonder how I could possibly serve two Goddesses. Up to that point, my relationship with Aphrodite had been like that of a mother who comes and goes. At times She was there and I focused on Her a lot and then other times She wasn’t there so much, fading into the background although still in my heart and consciousness, just not actively, as I was pursuing other things and other relationships with other Goddesses.
I sought advice from my tutor and mentor Kathy Jones, who basically reiterated what Rhiannon said. Thereafter, I had some conversations with Aphrodite about it all and She finally said, “If you’re serving Avalon then you’re serving Me.” When I thought about it, I began to see some of the great similarities between Aphrodite and the Lady of Avalon. They’re still two distinct personalities on their own, but there is a great deal in common there. So I made my peace with it. I do not serve Aphrodite as publicly as I do Lady of Avalon. Much of the public service I do in respect of Aphrodite is in spreading Her light and love in the world through sharing Aphrodite’s Flame. Mostly, though, my journey with Aphrodite remains personal and private.
And what would be your top tip for creating a relationship with the Goddess?
One creates a relationship with Goddess the same way one creates a relationship with anyone – start turning up and spending time with Her. Talk to Her, listen to Her, read about Her, spend time with Her regularly. It seems many have this idea that in order to cultivate a relationship with Goddess it requires performing complex daily rituals and hours in meditation. If that truly calls to you then great! Go for it! But it really doesn’t require that much. Just open your heart to Her. A small simple altar where you light a candle every day, recite a simple prayer, a few minutes praying to Her, walking the land where you live with an open heart and mind and paying attention when things happen or cross your path. Really, it doesn’t have to be difficult or complex. Keep an open heart, an open mind and above all else – keep it simple!
Please could you write a bit about your services and how peeps can contact you if they want to work with you.
Online I offer my services as a tarot reader. I’ve just recently added annual readings to the readings I offer and I’m offering 10% off all readings until 7th January 2013. Clicky here.
Offline I host a regular Lady of Avalon meditation group at my home in north east London. Details are usually posted on my Facebook page. www.facebook.com/AvalonBlessings
I’m also available for talks and workshops on the Wheel of Ana and the Goddesses of that Wheel. Details of those available are on my website at www.avalonblessings.co.uk
I’m in the process of planning my 2013, and I hope to have many interesting things to offer next year, so keep checking my website and Facebook for details!
Yay!!! Thanks so much Elle!!!