Merlian News: Merlian News has learned that you are conducting a workshop next March 2005 on Dreams. When did your interest in dreams first start?
***image1***The earliest dream I can remember was when I was about three or four years old. It was actually a terrifying nightmare and I still remember it in lots of detail; the feeling, the imagery, the people in it. There was a maze and a scary old man sat in front of it wanting me to come in and my mother and my aunt kept walking and left me behind.
They couldn’t hear me no matter how much I screamed for them. This dream haunted me for a long time and I have recurring dreams and nightmares about mazes. When I grew older, I read dream dictionaries and found them utterly useless, very narrow in scope with no cultural context. Then I began experimenting myself with dreams and inducing lucid dreams. I found this much more helpful.
About four years ago, I discovered an ability to interpret dreams. I only began doing workshops on this subject this year because I wanted a solid base of case studies before I taught others what I had learned. It’s been such an amazing experience. I’ve stopped nightmares, insomnia and even sleepwalking in people through the techniques I teach them. Merlian News: What are Dream Pillows?
Dream pillows are one of the techniques I use to help people induce dreams that they want to have. Suppose you would like to dream about how your love life is going, what you need to learn, maybe even the man you’re going to get married to… well, you get a rectangular piece of natural cloth (silk is great but cotton is also fine) in either white or black material.
It doesn’t need to be the size of a full pillow, a dream pillow is usually about the size of a cd. Stitch two of the sides while thinking about what it is you want to know. You can play some meditative music while doing this and a nice rose-scented candle can be lit to provide extra atmosphere. Then fill the pillow you’ve made with dried rose petals and hot spices like cloves or peppercorns (I vary the spices according to what I want to induce). Then you stitch up the last side with the spices in it. You can then put it under your normal pillow, state an intention as to what you want from your dreaming that night and sleep on it! Merlian News: We know you are speaking at the National Pagan Conference in the U.K. Can you tell us how your interest in Paganism began?
***image2***I had a dream when I was about seven in which I was walking up this huge smooth black mountain and when I got to the top, I realised that I was on the forehead of a massive black goddess who, while made of stone, was nevertheless alive and responsive. I was standing on her forehead at the point of the third eye.
The strange thing was that I was a grown woman, despite being a child in reality. There was another woman there who was really scared about how we were going to get down and I smiled to her and said that it was fine, we’d climb down her ear. When I awoke, I wrote this dream down (I had been told to keep a dream diary by my parents and I’ve done that for many years now). Then a few years after this, my cousin returned from Nepal with two deity masks. One was of a Boar-headed god and one of a black-skinned goddess, who I recognised from my dream! I begged my cousin to give me the mask and it has been the centrepiece of my altar since.
I truly believe that you don’t cultivate an interest in Paganism, deities call to you and you are honour-bound to respond. My belief in certain deities, angels and other entities certainly does not mean that I don’t believe in the Divine. The exact opposite in fact is the case.
I believe in God, the Divine, the Source, whatever you want to call that pure creating energy, but I believe that the nature of the Divine is too profound and incomprehensible for a human being to sustain contact with and so aspects of divinity are the best way toward gaining spiritual growth. It is similar to the notions you find throughout the West African traditional religious systems whereby you have the Creator God and then you have a pantheon of gods who interact with human beings.
Merlian News: How do you integrate your pagan beliefs with being a modern day editor and writer?
There isn’t really any tension between the two. My job as an editor is to only commission and write about that which my readership will find interesting and that which is in keeping with the magazine’s brand identity. My personal beliefs inform what I do only insofar as I won’t do work that I find boring or immoral. I think modern day life is actually very suited to the individual’s search for spiritual meaning because we get so many opportunities to grow through the challenges of modern life.
Merlian News: There is mention of a Brown Witch in your writings. What does this mean?
***image3***When I began doing certain bits of magick at home, my mum one day asked me if I were a ‘white witch’. Since I think the notion of white or black magick/witchcraft is a nonsense, I said jokingly back to her: ‘Mum, you gave birth to me – you, of all people, should know that I’m not white, I’m Asian, as in brown!’ It came from there and I had thought about using it as the title of a book I’m doing on witchcraft in the subcontinent but I’ve since grown to find it inelegant so I think I’ll dump it soon!
My dislike of the terms black and white magick stems from my belief that it is your intent that matters not the magick itself as that is merely a technique to get you what you want and is ethically neutral, like electricity or water or any other natural force.
Merlian News: Like me you grew up in a “psychic family “, can you talk a little about that.
My father is an astrologer, Sufi practitioner and holistic healer who uses psychic techniques to “see” illness in people and help them. My mother has the sort of sharp intuition that only a true adept at psychic work would have but she has it naturally. My sisters are both also very attuned, with the youngest having very strong healing powers and the middle one channeling amazing things through her art and creativity. So pretty amazing folks and a family I’m really very grateful to have been born into.
Merlian News: Did it hinder or help you as a young child?
My own psychic experiences probably hindered more than helped in that other children didn’t understand what I was going through and thought I was a little weird. But my true friends stuck with me through the weirdness. I wouldn’t have it any other way though!
Merlian News: How do you see yourself twenty years from now?
I’d like to be living near the sea and with some woods nearby. I’d like to be writing and painting full time. Apart from that, I don’t like looking too far into the future because I think you miss the beauty and joy of the present if you do that too much. You will never live through today again so best make it a good one.
Merlian News: What do you think your main contribution to the world is?
Really good hair? Seriously, I think only others can judge that and even then only after you die and the full span of your life can be evaluated so I’ll wait for someone else to answer that at some point in the future.
You can read more about Tania in PS-Magazine.