The internet home of Jason Mankey

Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . .

How long have you been a Pagan?

I've been a Pagan for almost twenty years now.  Just writing that makes me feel old, though I certainly don't feel old.  When I was younger I was really into Greek Mythology and actually prayed to a few of those gods before I ever heard the term "Pagan."  For a little bit over a decade I've called myself a (Neo)-Pagan, and have given a great deal of thought as to what that term means to me. 

What sort of Paganism do you practice?

I'm an initiated Gardnerian, but have dabbled in all sorts of Contemporary Pagan practices.  I flirted with Druidism and ADF for a year or so, have a big place in my heart for Hellenic Reconstructionism, and the Morrison Clan is a form of Paganism unto its self.  Currently I practice a mix of Gard with a home-made eclectic tradition my wife and I like to call "The Craft of the Vine."  Vine Craft honors Greek deities, and wine.   

How did you become interested in the history of Modern Witchcraft?

I've always been very interested in history, and I think it's important to know where you came from.  There's something about being doomed to repeat the past in there too I think.  I'm curious, I like to know everything, and the origins of my belief system are pretty mysterious.  There's a lot to learn and so little time to do it.

Why all of this Horned God stuff? 

I've always thought that Wicca was about balance, balance between the Goddess and the God, and it was disheartning to see a total lack of information out there about old Horned Head.  What little info there is circulating out there is usually out of date or completely wrong.  We've got this deity and most people have only a vague understanding of his past and where he's going.

What's the deal with you and Jesus?

This question comes up a lot, and I'm never sure exactly how to anwser it.  I find the history of Jesus and Christianity fascinating, mostly because it's "new" enough that we have pretty good documentation on how it evolved.  It's interesting to read about how people voted on whether or not Jesus was a god, that kind of stuff amuses me to no end.  I respect the teachings of Jesus, but I don't pray to Jesus like a Christian would.  Besides, learning about the origins of Christianity and its many offshoots has made me a better Pagan.  That information has taken me down many paths I might not have otherwise explored.

 What drew you to Modern Paganism? 

I think my childhood interest in mythology played a large role here.  I found the gods of the Greeks so much more fascinating than  Jesus and the Patriarchs of the Old Testament, so that was probably the start of it.  In elementary school I spent many hours indulging my interest in cryptozoology (the study of unknown animals like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster), and located next to those books were books on the occult.  I was reading about the Witch Trials in the third grade and knew who Aleister Crowley was by the fourth. 

I picked up my first book on modern Witchcraft in the seventh grade and was surprised when the spell in the back worked!  I think from that moment on I knew I was drawn to the Goddess, but I put it on the backburner while growing up in the South and did my best to be a good little Christian.  By the time I was 21  I had turned my back on the Christian Church of my youth and found the Goddess.  It was one of those moments where I just happened to be in the right place and picked up the right book . . . . about ten minutes into reading it I knew where I belonged. 

I love the fact that my religion honors both a Goddess and a God, that balance reflects what I see in the everyday world.  The idea that deity is exclusively male has always made me ill.  I've always felt a deep affinity to the turn of the Wheel, and honoring the seasons as they change comes very natural to me.  Paganism just makes sense to me in a way no other belief system ever has.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I'm a big reader, usually history of fantasy.  My favorite Pagan writer is Ronald Hutton and my favorite Fantasy author is Raymond E. Feist.  I'm a big music fan, and while I have the hair of a musician, I have no musical talent.  My favorite bands include Led Zeppelin, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, XTC, The Doors, and King's X.  I urge you to check them all out.  Much to the chagrin of my fellow Pagans I watch a lot of sports, most especially football.  I'm a huge Pittsburgh Steeler Fan, I also enjoy watching the Boston Celtics of the NBA and the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL.  

If you could do anything in the world right now what it would be?

That's a hard question, but it would probably involve a few good friends, a few pints of hard cider, a cozy bar, and a football game.  Nothing beats good conversation and even better friends.