Tabs on Trad Feature: Lauren DeVoe
In early March of 2013, I was searching the internet for a look into what other Pagan and Wiccan families did for different holidays and rituals. I poked the internet, I prodded the google, and then stumbled directly into a blogpost Lauren had written for thepaganhousehold.com in her column Sage & Scourge.
In her article Pagans and Family, Lauren says, “I do not have children. My partner and I are not married. Nonetheless, we are a family. Our Pagan people are our family.” This statement is one that I believe resonates for every Blue Star Traditionalist, and it is the primary reason I chose Lauren as our first Feature.
It also helps that she said “yes.”
In reading her responses to our interview/questionnaire (internairre), it was evident Lauren was a great, if not perfect place for us to begin our Tabs on Trad articles. She’s a dynamic new voice, with a friendly personality, an academic with an open mind.
Without further-ado, or gilding of the lily, I present:
An Internairre with Lauren DeVoe.
Degree: 1st Initiate, Since Feb 15th 2013.
Coven: The Iron and Cypress Coven
Location: New Orleans, Louisianna
Sage & Scourge @thepaganhousehold.com
The Blue Star Owl
A Pyrate Perspective
How old are you/ Birthday/ Sun Sign/?
I am 27. My birthday is December 27th and I’m a grounded and stubborn Capricorn. Hippocamps unite!
How long have you been involved in Blue Star?
I believe that I am in my third year? My first Blue Star ritual happened in February of 2011.
Every family has different “types” of people – characters if you will. What role do you think you play in the family – how would your Caricature be drawn?
I am definitely the bookworm. I’m that person that likes to hide in the corner with a good book. It has only been through the Pirates and living with Kenny Klein that I have really come out of my shell. Being a Priestess definitely challenges my need to stay hidden.
Were there any books or people who were most influential to your spiritual growth?
This is a hard one. As a kid I devoured mythology of all types. I think these stories in general have influenced me to seek out the things that I always knew were there. It was through mythology that I learned about the type of divine that resonated with me and the things that I could do to worship that Gods that made all of us happy. Mythology has also had a heavy influence on my academic and professional lives.
What initially brought you B*/ How did you “know” it was your spiritual home.
This is going to be a long answer! Sorry!
My partner Kenny Klein brought me into Blue Star.
But of course, as with most things, it’s not that simple.
I’ve been Pagan most of my life, but growing up in a Midwest, Methodist household with a pretty fundamental father made it a lot harder for me to realize that the Goddess was hitting me over the head with her call. I’ve built shrines and talked to the Goddess my whole life, but I was just a bit slower than others to pick up that there was a title for what I was doing and practicing!
When I was really little, I remember sitting in Church wondering what I was missing that everyone else was picking up and finding such joy in. I never found Deity in a Christian Church. I heard the whisper of the divine when I was by myself outside in the woods and would catch things out of the corner of my eye. I always knew that the world was a magical place. As an early teen I finally said enough is enough and formally walked away from my family’s religion. It was such a relief to no longer be pretending!
I think my first real experience with the Goddess was when I was in college. I had some severe depression issues and in the midst of a really bad bout of it, I woke up one day with Her voice in my head telling me that it was time to make a change in my life. When I started actually listening to Her, my life became healthy and balanced again and I was able to finally conquer the things that were wrong and move forward. But I still lacked a spiritual family. That came next.
I was really lucky and right after college I fell into a group of rowdy pirates who were all practicing Eclectics. They were my first spiritual family and they did a good job of pointing me down paths that I had never contemplated before. They refined a lot of my magical thinking and introduced the beauty of group practice to me. They also put names to the things that I had always known. One of the people that I will always consider to be one of my Priestesses was one of the Pirate Ladies. But the one area that I still had a huge problem with was ritual and where to go next. Something else was just out of my reach…
In the Fall of 2010, I went to a small festival in Ohio for Mabon, where I met Kenny Klein. We didn’t like each other at all. I thought he was a grumpy old curmudgeon. Coming home from that festival, I hit a deer and almost totaled my car. Herne had literally flung himself at me. I knew at that point that the God was talking to me. I had other things going on in my life at that time and I knew that the God was telling me something, I just didn’t know what! (Did I mention that sometimes I’m slow?) Looking back now, I see where he was pulling me.
Kenny and I obviously eventually got over our dislike of each other. When I first started dating Kenny, my friends warned me that he was an Old School Wiccan. It was like a title that vibrated in my head every time someone looked at me solemnly and asked if I was prepared to deal with that. It’s sort of funny now. Remember that I was hanging out with a bunch of Eclectics with authority issues. I had avoided Wicca for a long time. All of the Wiccans I knew had a lot of drama going on in their Circles and in their lives that I had no interest in having as a part of my spiritual life. One of the worst rituals I’ve ever lived through (and it was a ritual that I lived through) was “Wiccan”. I thought that if that’s what they were all going on about, I had no interest whatsoever in having any part of it.
I also didn’t want to practice a religion just because my partner did.I had watched my mother do that and I felt that it was very hypocritical. As a typical Capricorn, I dug in my hooves and said “No”.
But, after meeting the rest of Kenny’s coven and having the opportunity to hang out with everyone, I got to know the people first, which is probably what convinced me to ask to come to a ritual. Not to mention curiosity to see what it was that was such a big part of my partner’s life. I knew that there had to be some compromise; I just wasn’t sure what shape it would take to make us both happy. I never expected to find a home in Blue Star.
In the midst of that first Blue Star ritual, I knew that I had found what I had been looking for. Everything I had done before had led me to that moment. It was so different from what I expected. The first time one of my coven sisters mixed salt and water, that zing happened that still happens for me every time we go into Circle. It was like this ritual tied up everything I had experienced and thought about in my Pagan path so far. I still had a lot of issues with traditional Wicca and it took me a long time to sort through those and decide that Initiation was something that I wanted to seek, but I knew that I had finally come home in that Circle.
While becoming a Priestess was not something that I ever expected to happen to me, I’m so glad that it did and that Blue Star appeared when it did.
The work I’ve done through Blue Star has changed and inspired the rest of my life.
The hard work and effort that has gone into this path is paying off and I’m so excited to see what comes next. I am truly blessed to have found my path in Blue Star.
Could you explain the differences between the places you write for us?
My Blue Star Owl blog on WordPress was actually a blog that I started to use to work through my thoughts on Eclecticism and Wicca and then as something to help process my outer court experience. Kenny always joked that if we discussed something I would probably end up writing a blog about it.
To me, questioning the place of traditions and hierarchy in modern Paganism is important, so is highlighting issues found throughout the modern Pagan community. Writing just happens to be my vehicle for processing thought and working through things. These days it ends up being whatever is on my mind or interests me at the moment.
I think I didn’t realize how important this type of writing is until I disagreed with one of the major Pagan bloggers out there and they and their fans saw it.
I had 12,000 hits in one day and people across the internet yelling that I was the most Gods’ awful person ever for suggesting that I might disagree with this person. People still like to email me and rail against my opinions on this particular subject. I realized that if just one person reads my blogs and starts a discussion about it, than I have done my job. I think this is an idea that I have carried into my Priestesshood. If I can inspire people to seek out a different opinion or viewpoint on something, I can help teach them a different way to think or approach it. We have so many resources out there and we should use them!
Sage and Scourge at The Pagan Household was originally about how Kenny and I combined our two practices in a new household. I think a lot of people, even in the fairly open minded Pagan community, make automatic assumptions about how the term family is defined. My closest family is not my blood relatives.
I wanted to let people see that you didn’t have to be married or have children to create a family and that two people of sometimes widely different viewpoints could create a strong and balanced family life. I wanted to show that there are other alternatives out there.
I also wanted to show that you can be openly Pagan and be accepted within your wider community.
In general this is a family oriented website that likes to present resources and help to other Pagan families. I enjoy having a place to offer rituals for specific events and recipes for sabbats, as well as discussing Pagan ideas of family, history and resources available for those who don’t know about them.
My blog at Pagan Square, “A Pyrate Perspective”, is generally my much more academic or scholarly blog. I also approach many more political issues over there. Again, this goes back to creating dialogue and showing that there are many more view points out there than just the big names. You don’t have to be famous to have an important view point.
Sometimes I like to joke about the Pagan Blog Mafia, if you disagree with them, you get yelled at and called vile names, but without an alternate viewpoint, how can you truly think an idea through?
As a young practitioner, I think I also need to speak up with a voice from the newest generation of Paganism. Our community is growing and changing every day. It is an exciting time to be a Pagan!
What inspires you to write? Where do your article concepts come from?
Anything that fires me up! Sometimes it’s a myth or a piece of history that I love. Sometimes it’s political. Sometimes it’s something that came up in my real life. I am also one of the few people I know who didn’t start out with Wicca. Knowing my own struggle with Wicca, I want to let people know that despite some of the crazy out there, it is a practice that is both powerful and meaningful and that you shouldn’t automatically shun it if you’re looking for a Pagan path.
Is there a particular Sabbat that is most fun or fond for you?
Samhain is probably pretty stereotypical, but to me this has always been an important time of year in my life. Some of my biggest life choices have occurred at Samhain and some of the best rituals and celebrations I’ve been lucky to be a part of have occurred at Samhain. I also have a strong connection with the other side of the veil and the dead and this is a time of year where my senses really stretch out. In Ohio, we used to rent cabins out in Hocking Hills and make a whole weekend of it. It was always a special sabbat for my group of people.
What are some of your lesser known/unblogged about hobbies, or interests?
I’m a pretty avid Cosplayer. A friend of mine and I spend hours and hours making our own costumes. Luckily enough, I live in New Orleans and have a ton of places to wear them! The idea of masking is also one that I find to be extremely important and relevant in my Pagan life.
I am also a sub-krewe commander in the Krewe of Chewbacchus. If you like Science Fiction and Fantasy, this is the Mardi Gras parade for you! My sub-krewe is The Party Elves of Mirkwood, the dudebros of the forest. It’s all about Randy Thrandy!
You seem very politically active, are there initiatives you are involved in that you would care to explain or have us link to through your feature?
I am a huge fan of Slutwalk, which is about “working to challenge mindsets and stereotypes of victim-blaming and slut-shaming”. Slutwalks are usually local events where women meet up in various states of dress and “protest” victim blaming. (You know the, well she was wearing a short skirt, she was ASKING to be raped, type of mindest).
I also support Planned Parenthood and any Pro-Choice event. I feel like people don’t understand that when they give up these sorts of choices and freedoms, others are soon to disappear.
Outside of Writing you are also a Model, do you have any other “claims to fame” or accomplishments you would like us to know about?
Haha! This is what happens when you live with an artist! I usually end up modeling for friends and I occasionally perform with Kenny when he has no other options! (Poor Kenny).
I’m about to start work on my graduate degree in the Fall and Kenny and I have a book coming out this winter from Llewellyn about Fairy Tales and magical theory. (I’m pretty excited about that!) We’re focusing on non-Grimm’s tales and are looking at finding magic and ritual within some of our favorite fairy tales.
In the “real world”, I’m an Acquisitions Coordinator that buys all of the books for the Tulane University Libraries. You can never have enough books!
If you could offer a single message to young or new seekers to the Trad – what would it be?
I would tell them to get away from the computer and to find actual people to talk to. Finding physical teachers will allow you to reach places you never expected to find. While the internet is amazing and there are a lot of books out there these days, they just can’t replace experience. Go to Pagan festivals, go to Pagan Pride Days. Seek other Pagan events out. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, get to know your community. Get involved. And most importantly, be curious. Never be content to stop looking for the next idea or project.
Lauren: We are thrilled that you found time to fill out the internairre for us. Thanks for being our first victim…uhh..guinea..err.. Featured Guest. You are 1 of a Kind and we are ever so happy to have you as part of our Blue Star Family and Greater Pagan Community.
If -YOU- would like or, wouldn’t mind being our next Tabs on Trad vict…Feature, or you have a suggestion for someone who should be “tapped” contact, serenitycoven at gmail or reach out to us on facebook.