This received from LAShTAL.COM supporter Dave Evans (achad), editor of the excellent Journal for the Academic Study of Magic:
The following is something sent on to me by a close friend and academic colleague (among other things we work together on the Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, see www.sasm.co.uk for more info), Dr David Green, of the University of the West of England in Bristol, England.
Dr Green is conducting an in-depth research project into the experiences of men in relation to ‘the Goddess’ (any goddess you like, from Gaia to Lilith to Diana to Kali etc), and I can vouch for his impeccable credentials- this is not some ‘fit up’ designed to belittle paganism, but a serious and sympathetic piece of research, intended for publication. You can reply anonymously to him via email…
Hi, my name is Dr Dave Green. I am a senior lecturer in sociology here at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. I am also a magician following an eclectic Pagan path. Thank you for showing interest in my research:
Goddesses have, in recent years, been seen to be part of an empowering and liberating spirituality for women, but given that approximately half of Pagans are men I have become increasingly interested in the ways that men relate to The Goddess/Goddesses. The background to this study is also a perceived crisis in masculinity in society, where young males are, for example, seen to be failing in the education system, and are over-represented in the psychiatric system. Research demonstrates that many men are finding it difficult to adjust to a new social order where traditionally male forms of employment are under threat, where there is at least a perception of more equality at home and work, and where family break-down is increasingly commonplace. Sociologists have suggested that such a ‘crisis’ will provoke new forms of masculinity. I am interested in the ways in which men’s relationships with Goddesses, usually perceived as feminine and feminist archetypes, might be an interesting case study for new forms of male identity.
If you want to participate in the research then please answer as fully as possible the questions below. Please take as long as a few months in answering them as and when you can. Some questions might, at first, seem strange, but questions such as religious and educational background have been important factors when researching Paganisms in the past, and so give me some method of comparing this to other research.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me at David2.Green@uwe.ac.uk.
Bright Blessings – Dave
Name (a pseudonym of your choice is fine):
Sexuality (straight, gay, bi-sexual, etc.):
Is/Are there any particular Goddess/goddesses that is/are important in your spiritual practices? Could you name them?
How and in what context did you FIRST encounter Her/Them?
Can you tell me how you usually encounter Her/Them and in what ways? (for example, is it usually during ritual or in everyday life? Do you physically ‘see’ The Goddess(es)? How often do you encounter Her/Them?)
Could you tell me about your own spiritual path?
How long have you followed this path and why?
How and why is The Goddess/Goddesses important to this path?
What attributes does The Goddess/Goddesses have? (for example, is She always nurturing? Is She stereotypically feminine, or does She have attributes which could be described as being more typically masculine? Please explain)
Do you see The Goddess/Goddesses as having a particular relationship to the natural world? (for example, some Pagans talk of a Mother Goddess or ‘Gaia’)
If you also have male patron deities, what special qualities, if any, does The Goddess(es) possess which is different from these male Gods?
Do you see the Goddess/Goddesses as “real” entities with an external presence, as parts of the unconscious, as symbolic forces, or as any or all of these? Please explain.
Do you think that your life has changed, or that you have changed as a person since encountering the Goddess/Goddesses? If so, in what ways? (please give examples, for example in terms of attitudes, behaviours, relationships, emotions, sexuality, etc.)
Do you think that She/They has changed your own perceptions of what it is like to be a man? If so, in what ways?
Has She/They changed your perceptions of and relationships with Women? If so, in what ways?
Jung talks of the anima, that is, the female component of the male psyche. Do you see yourself has having such a female part of the psyche? (Please explain why)
Do you view Men and Women has being essentially different? If so, in what ways are they different? (Can they learn from each other’s qualities? If so, what and how?)
If you think that they are different, what, do you think, are the major causes of these differences between the sexes? (please list and explain)
Do you think that currently there is a ‘crisis’ in masculinity? If so, can you tell me the forms that this crisis takes?
Many Pagans blame Patriarchy, or male-controlled society, for many of the problems in the world today. Firstly, What do you think about this? Secondly, How does that make you feel as a man?
Do you feel that Patriarchy still exists? (please explain your answer)
Do you think that there is more equality between the sexes today? If so, in what ways?
Do you think that men still have to change their attitudes and behaviours in order to create better societies? If so, in what ways? (for example towards ‘others’, the natural world, etc.)
Do you see men, men’s attitudes, and/or masculinity as changing in recent years? If so, how and why?
Do you see Goddesses, or the honouring of Goddesses, as having particular parts to play in such a change in attitudes? If so, how?
Do you think that, in the future, more men will honour The Goddess(es)? (please explain your answer)
Thank you again for taking part in my research. I hope that I might be able to contact you again if anything is unclear. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or queries about the research, or to pass these questions on to anyone whom you think might be interested in participating.