Hello everyone, I hope I find you in good health I’m Arith Härger an archaeologist, historian and artist and before all of that – a pagan and here I am today to answer a couple of questions an interview by RavenzCraft arts Thank you very much for this opportunity. It’s an honor and obviously, thank you very much Tim Rotar I’m supposed to begin this interview with a little introduction to my spiritual path as well but as some of you already know and as pretentious as this might sound I do not follow any path, but my own So let’s go straight to the questions First question How or when were you first drawn to your specific spirituality? Any traumatic or serious events that- opened your eyes and help you choose your path? Good start, quite right I grew up in the countryside in a Christian background and that was traumatic enough being a child introduced to the horrors of- written in the Bible, without any filter. Going to bed every night with fear and waking up with fear the prospect of being thrown into hell For no good reason other than being alive and breathing, which makes us all a walking sin Spend eternity in darkness and rivers of fire and blood; never to see those I loved the most ever again I think you can imagine how traumatic that is for a child and I’m absolutely certain most people feel the same way when they grow up in a background such as this The funny thing about this is that you are introduced into Christianity, into a religion of – oppression and fear and constant doubt and anguish in the attempts that in that fear you are submissive to that religion and follow it for the rest of your life and making sure you are afraid enough to not stray from the “right path” But I could never see the Christian God as a benevolent entity and I was never able to adapt Living in fear was horrible and it consumed my entire childhood Christianity, or rather Catholicism, had the opposite effect on me I hated everything that gave me the slightest hint of Christianity I couldn’t stand it because It was just- it wasn’t right all of my happiness being robbed by an unseen oppressive tyrant from the skies Doesn’t make sense much of my childhood was spent in fear because of that exactly and I even have a video about it but when the person that had taught me all there was to know about Christianity eventually departed there was a lot of doubt in me and a lot of internal conflicts The person was someone I loved but at the same time Was the person whom it had ruined my childhood with such horrible tales not because the person hated me, I know she loved me, but she was worried about me and as a Christian she was worried for my soul and wanted to save me so a lot of mixed feelings in here but when this person died there was a certain freedom inside of me because Unfortunately, I associated the person with that horrible religion and… In a certain way all that information, all those teachings were gone So finally at the age of 15, I’ve taken my first steps into paganism Seeking something that would be closer to my roots something that Made me feel closer to home To a place inside my head I could feel comfort and protection, safety Because that’s what children need when they are growing up feeling safe and protected. Not a constant battle with doubt and fear that robs us all of our most precious moments Innocence is truly an illusion, unfortunately So at the age of 15, I rebelled against my own thoughts and Everything I knew from the religious world It was truly a rebellion in my head. To me the Christian God existed because I grew up believing in that But to me, he was a monster a real monster and inside my head it was truly a rebellion against that entity which I thought it was real I thought to myself that it was better to try to be happy for a day at least once for a change than Spend the rest of my life in fear and anguish and depression. I confess that I destroyed every Christian cross and thrown out of the window every Christian figure Because I wanted to be free in here. I was about 10 or 11 when I did that My first steps into paganism weren’t easy at the time I didn’t even have a computer yet And even if I had, Google was at a very young stage and YouTube didn’t even existed yet no one was writing extensively about paganism and back home there wasn’t access to anything about paganism so I felt really alone In fact I’m saying my first steps into paganism was at 15 but back then I didn’t even know Pagans existed I was discovering other gods and other religions But I didn’t know in my lifetime pagans still existed. So it was a very solitary path and still is because I got used to that and I continue to be a very solitary pagan and person in general and now I can say that I’ve been a pagan longer than I’ve been a Christian, or rather forced to be a Christian Do you believe that- having specific spiritual following or doing magic or ritual work helps you to build up psychological strength and can get through certain problems and difficulties in life? Certainly I do indeed What I find nowadays in contemporary paganism actually, in the great majority of cases Is that people either focus on practice and neglect theology, or vice versa there is a clear separation between belief and practice, and I think that is still the vestiges of the- previous religions people have been into Christianity for instance, starts off in ancient Rome as a religion that doesn’t believe in witchcraft in the sense of practicing magic, as an expression of faith it dealt with magic as simply superstition, and this idea lasted for centuries until with Protestantism witchcraft was taken more seriously but as the result of Interactions with the Devil, always in the perspective of being something harmful and forbidden so…. Among contemporary pagans it’s still rooted this- separation between belief and practice of magic expressions of faith that revolve around folk magic in many ancient pagan civilizations and cultures belief and practice were entwined so certainly Practice is very important expression of faith Through the practice of magic and ritual is important in a pagan perspective obviously When it comes to pagan gods we cannot wait on them to do something for us Simply because we have prayed to them, called on them, ask for things pagan deities have a much more animistic understanding and you need to be in contact You need to be out there Express physically and verbally, do the rituals, say the words, make the enchantments express all your thoughts in movement and take action that alone as a powerful side effect, so to speak, in your mind For instance in terms of Psychology and in the panorama of depression it is often put to practice dancing and singing Because it enhances motor networks, auditory networks organizational networks, memory, etc, in the brain Which augments social bonding and empathy All the networks and emotions activated in the brain through the act of dancing and singing leads to the release of dopamine, which is the chemical responsible for making you feel good it makes your brain work in a better way and brings all sorts of neural protective benefits for mental health It’s no coincidence dancing, drumming and singing in shamanism leads to certain psychological levels that makes the person feel Connected to its surroundings and makes the person feel good and have all sorts of spiritual experiences So I think I have answered the question What is your perspective on magical work? Do you think it is possible to change or alter things- physically, psychologically or make change in your life by using it? I kind of answered part of this question on the previous answer Yes Definitely there is a great change, mentally. I would like to develop on this one of these days and the Differences between ritual, ceremony, magic and so on- doesn’t matter now What we call witchcraft Is an expression of faith, quite practical, you do have to get your hands into it and bend your thoughts focusing on the purpose what we call magic is the result of our actions our practical and mental actions combined and expressed in the moment to reach the desired result magic is the interaction between ourselves and the supernatural which through rituals there is a direct influence upon natural forces its power we harness through our actions by bending our will and being in concordance with the supernatural forces we are making a certain interaction with Magical work is very much about trying and failing Hundreds of times until we finally succeed Until we finally get the result intended. I think magical work is quite useful in many ways, especially because we change indeed Everything about us and our perspective of life changes because belief, faith, religion, spiritual path is just a perspective of life we have and the more we interact with our beliefs and the more we seek answers to our questions The more knowledge we gain and our own perspectives evolve There will come a time when we are even contradict ourselves Because we are rethinking Revising because it’s a constant process of evolution. And that’s how things have to be, should be stagnation is terrible especially for the mind and magical work helps us to evolve, to find, to gather more knowledge Do you practice any specific type of witchcraft or magical work? That is something that I keep to myself that is very much part of my personal life, and I won’t openly talk about it because There are many taboos and it’s not a game We do need to respect the laws and rules that we come about in such expressions it is like painting on canvas: you express an idea and there is Freedom in that expression, of course, but if you want the work to come out the way you intended There are specific techniques you want to use specific tools Only sometimes in magical work you only gamble with your life There are many Obvious reasons why I don’t openly speak about what I do in those terms but in all honesty one of the greatest reasons is because- I hate when people meddle in things they should not be meddling in my business is my own and that’s how I intend to keep it. Sorry about that Can you tell us if you attend any yearly festivals or gatherings throughout the year? As I’ve said before I’m a very solitary pagan mainly because at the beginning- I wasn’t even aware there were other pagans that doesn’t mean obviously I wasn’t in certain gatherings before, of course Information being so hard to come by in the past century a decade ago, of course I didn’t receive knowledge out of nowhere, spontaneously My first public gathering with other pagans was actually two or three years ago It was different. It was very funny I felt awkward obviously and a little bit out of place, which I think it’s perfectly normal But I had fun and it was an interesting experience But there are certain gatherings I attend to Throughout the year not public ones, of course something more private Something more restricted for instance the Wild Hunt. A man has to make a living by collecting the souls of the Damned I’m only joking obviously obviously There are certain gatherings Occasionally, not that often, in which my presence is required along with others. It’s not just me, but I can’t speak about it. I’m sorry. but I can tell you something I have never forgotten… more or less my first interaction with paganism was actually at the age of three I didn’t know what it was and only many years later that memory would pop out again I can’t say it was an event that changed me because let’s face it I was only three years old and I had absolutely no idea what that was all about, but it’s interesting because I was in a countryside, it was a moonless night there was a summer party – a festivity going on in the middle of the village with music and fireworks and whatnot I simply started to walk away from the village Into the farm behind the house, into the fields. It was quite dark and I just walked in the direction of the forest the memory is all blurry, but I eventually reached an opening in the forest – a grove and there were people singing and dancing. It wasn’t actually what we call singing but more like grunts and moans whatever a great bonfire or at least it looked big enough. I was only three so everything looked big and many shadows of people Dancing really fast around the fire, the bonfire, and a big man with stag-horns on his head the Wolves howled nearby and the dogs were absolutely losing it back in the village and that’s just it, the memory ends here. I don’t know how I came back home I don’t even know how I wasn’t eaten by a wolf It’s a strange memory but I do believe it was my first interaction, or pagan gathering without even realizing it, obviously and this interview is getting weird So I noticed you have recently been traveling a lot, in your research have you found any similarities in other cultures? Spiritual or magical workings? I only get two weeks of vacations each year and I make sure I put those days to good use and try to visit othercountries I’ve never left Europe though But I always find it interesting the similarities in ancient religious beliefs all across Europe Mainly thanks to indo-europeans and their religious and social organism, which was adopted by many cultures in the great majority of cases it’s the exact same things only the names change or, well… certain concepts here and there obviously due to the the influence of native European cultures before indo-Europeans But what I find most fascinating is the fact that we have been dealing with historical “facts” the past few centuries that are completely wrong but we still teach that in schools even universities and one of the cases that fascinates me the most in these aspects are the Celts, the Celtic culture in general We have been told far too many times and it becomes indisputable truth that the Celts originated in Central Europe everybody knows that. The Celts were not a people but a culture that emerged in Central Europe and spread as an archaeologist based in Portugal. Most of my work is actually in Portugal I find that quite intriguing because on the archaeological context you find vestiges, even entire cities of celtic culture before the Celts supposedly emerged from Central Europe What we call Celtic culture jewelry, weapons architecture religious artifacts all that encompasses the Celtic culture already existed in Portugal before the Celts So this just makes you wonder how biased our history truly is European history we continue to be taught the same history that was being taught in the 19th century and- a history reshaped and twisted to fit into the political notions of the 19th century and now we have to rewrite history, revise it Completely tell a different tale from the one being told for- for at least the past 200 years Which will be quite hard. I find that a great challenge because obviously it will be hard for people to believe in something “new” Quite different from what has been told these past 200 years but it’s not that hard to believe if we take a look at the countries, for instance- that to this day retained Celtic dialects in the UK we have parts of Scotland, Ireland We have Wales and Cornwall we have Brittany in northwestern France We have Galicia in Northwestern Spain and we have northern Portugal You can clearly draw an imaginary line that crosses the entire western Atlantic coast These are the countries that retained Celtic dialects to this day because it has been their language Longer than any other language from any other specific culture or group This case of the Celts in the south western Atlantic being older than the ones in Central Europe Is just a tiny fragment of the many historical facts that aren’t in the books yet Because we have reached a point in which historical misinterpretations- in the name of politics 200, years ago are still taken seriously as the universal truth What about using mind-altering substances to reach higher levels spiritually or to perceive things and receive information in a different way? Well, I cannot speak on behalf of those who have taken certain substances for the effects of Mind-altering states of consciousness. I have never taken any substance myself so I could only speak about it from the Point of view of anthropology and not by experience but I find it a bit worrisome that people prefer to focus on certain substances such as DMT and LSD mushrooms even ayahuasca and so on a variety of substances when there are so many techniques to induce altered states of consciousness That don’t require any drugs or any psychotropic substances I’m not against that, mind you. Each person does it as they please As long as they are adults I assume they have enough responsibility to know what they are Getting themselves into or maybe not Could be a responsible act or can be an escape from reality, but let’s not enter in those fields The fact is people seem to take the easiest course Might not be the safest but it is certainly the easiest Consuming something and wait for the effects There are hundreds of ways to induce altered states of consciousness that do not require drugs Most of them are not safe either, but it surely is harder But if you consume certain substances it is to believe you do not care about safety in the first place but only care about the easier method Spirituality isn’t for lazy people that is true. If people knew the true price of spirituality there would be more atheists I’m not against the use of drugs in this field because, as I’ve said, people have to take responsibility for their actions I just think that the effects brought by chemicals or even the Fermentation of certain plants will only make people experience half of what they could experience in other ways They won’t fully experience things and maybe that brings a certain disrespect to the work of real shamans Because when something is easy people tend to not give it a great value and if they also experience something that isn’t fully what they could experience- in other ways people won’t learn much from those experiences which… Unintentionally can create even more disrespect for the real thing As anything you have done in magical working ever really work out? Have you had any strange or extraordinary happenings? or outcomes from any types of spells, rituals or magical work you have done? you assume I do it Like I said before Magic workings is mostly about trying and failing until we succeed. So when we succeed Indeed it will always be well, not an expected, presumably, but it’s always a surprise But that’s the thing. If you don’t believe it could happen Why are you trying it in the first place? Magic is an exercise of the mind if you believe in it, it will work and there won’t be a great surprise in there after all It’s a paradox because it only works if you believe and bend your will to it It will never work if you don’t have faith in yourself But it’s always extraordinary To reflect on the power of our own minds and what we are capable of if we free our mind from what- Religions dictate to be real or not How do you feel about “baneful” or harmful magical use? Curses, hexes, things of that nature created to harm or strike fear into others? Do you feel one should partake in these sort of workings? have any advice or warnings for people doing it? This is quite a big one We often label certain types of magic as “black magic” or “white magic” which in my belief there are no such things Only power we harness or capture through sorcery or rituals and then we give it a purpose Even in shamanism we tend to label “dark shamanism” something that in our perspective isn’t quite beneficial And I think this is very much the mindset of the so-called “Western societies” or rather the societies that have been for far too long in contact with religions that have a dualistic point of view. I do not believe in dualism and it’s not because of religion or magic or anything supernatural We just have to step outside into society and be in contact with people no one is naturally dualistic. Things are not as simple as to divide them into good and evil beneficial or harmful Each person is capable of great things They can either be good or bad or neutral but what we perceive to be good might be harmful to somebody else and what we thought it was bad might have created some good People’s actions are not spontaneously, unless of course you have lost your mind We give thought into it, there is a background When someone acts in a way that we would immediately recognize as being something in the category of “evil” We don’t know The amount of things and situations that led that person to do that maybe the person is even a victim of its own action and such an action is just the accumulation of a variety of events from the past We don’t know what each person is going through. What inner battles they are fighting We also never know if the good being practiced is actually good or if the person is waiting for something in return Because a good action Waiting for a reward isn’t good at all It’s just doing something to acquire something for its own benefit, and not because it really wants to do good The good doesn’t wash away the bad and the bad doesn’t wash away the good we are all made of choices and those choices Will dictate the outcome of our lives, that is the truth If magic is an exercise of the mind It is our choice to make it, whatever and whenever we want to make it. We know the consequences We know what it will bring. We know the purpose. We do it because we want to Something might seem good or evil but the purpose of it can be the exact opposite Because good and evil depends on the perspective of each person And of course the society they live in and the rules, laws, dogmas that have been imposed in all honesty each person, in their right mind of course, knows perfectly well what is good and what is bad That is called empathy putting- ourselves in other people’s shoes and knowing how to act Last question. There were more questions, but I chose 10. I think. I’m not sure. We don’t want to bore people do we? do you have any helpful or closing advice for all of us fellow researchers- and magical practitioners out there? anything you have personally learned that you feel is important to know for people who are involved in this type of work and study? The real useful advice that I can give you is that – do not seek a specific figure to be your guide and I’m saying this on purpose because Many people come to me seeking guidance Waiting- wanting me to be their spiritual guide Many people are still looking for the Messiah. Many people cling on spiritual guides I think in truth they are not seeking the spiritual they are seeking someone that tells them how they should live, how they should conduct their lives. you are seeking a way to flee from responsabilities and have a figure of authority to tell you what should be done and how you are you are seeking protection, safety… don’t do that When someone tells you how you should conduct your life according to the society you live in That’s the worst thing you can get because we are all different and each one of us needs to have a completely different approach to life in order to seek what truly makes us feel happy We cannot put human beings in the same categories and give them a piece of paper and saying: “Here’s the list of instructions you need to follow “and to behave accordingly to your gender social status, personality, zodiac sign, animal totem and the spirituality you have chosen” When you choose a figure to be your guide You are following and living that person’s dreams. You are restricted to that person’s illusions, beliefs and knowledge It might be good for that person because that person knows himself or herself, and so the best advice they have is the advice that- They know it works on them But it might not be good for you. It might not work for you That’s what spirituality means: to seek our own path by ourselves This doesn’t mean that you should ignore others ask them for knowledge, ask them for their opinions, to share some insight But do not strictly follow what they share with you. Don’t take it as the only possible truth listen as much as you can. Gather information as much as you can and with all that knowledge you earn each day, you can create your own path There’s no need to follow. All you need to do is to listen and make sure you are never in a point that you feel stagnated. Never stop wanting to evolve and don’t be afraid when new information comes up and completely shatters what you believe in that is good for you because you are evolving and your beliefs are evolving as well and there will be even more questions and you can continue to have- and to move forward seeking new answers That’s the only advice I can give you know yourself first know the Gods inside you, and only then you can start to learn about the gods and the supernatural outside you Right the interview came to an end, finally Thank you so much RavenzCraft arts, and of course Tim Rotar for this opportunity. It’s an honor and… Tack för idag!
(Thank you for today!)