Feminist Conversations is a regular series here at Feminists For Choice. We spotlight feminists to find out what feminism means to them. We’ve interviewed a variety of feminists in the series. In the next few weeks, I will be speaking to feminists from different modes of spirituality.
Today I’m talking to Lora Jackson Legare, an archaeologist and author who was first drawn to anthropology by an interest in religion and spirituality and how people express their spirituality in different cultures through time. She has been a practicing Wiccan since 1986 and high priestess of her coven since 2007.
1. What does spirituality mean to you?
Spirituality is our need to connect with the “ground of our existence,” as Joseph Campbell would say. Defining the ground of our existence is different for each of us, just as our connection with it is different.
2. How did you develop you own sense of spirituality? Have you always been a Wiccan?
Developing my own spirituality has been a very long process. I was raised in a very liberal Christian denomination (Disciples of Christ), and my father was a minister who was a civil right activist in the 60s. He encouraged me to ask questions. But most of my Christian elders preferred that questions were not asked. Questions like, why is God only seen as a man; Why not a woman; Why are women naturally sinful; Why can I be nothing more than a helpmate to a man, and never really his equal in the eyes of this God? I could not do that. I began to search and explored many different religions. I found Wicca in 1986.
3. You are part of a very big coven. Did you start as a solo practitioner? If so, how were you able to connect with other Wiccans and join their coven?
My coven has grown over the years from just our former high priestess and me in 1999, to 12 members, 17 with our children. But I was a solitary for many years. I may have found Wicca many years ago, but I didn’t find people I wanted to join together with and make a coven immediately. Finding people who are family from the moment you meet them doesn’t happen every day, but the Goddess gives us opportunities to meet them if we are open to Her. I will tell you, however, that finding other Wiccans is not always as easy as being open.
In San Francisco, where I first became Wiccan, it was remarkably simple to meet other Witches, but many there were more interested in controlling those who were learning instead of helping them to learn. They enjoyed the power this kind of manipulation gave them, so I became a solitary.
When I returned to New Mexico, I discovered finding other like-minded people was not so easy. I met the woman who I started our coven with by chance at work. She had been initiated and educated through degrees in a coven before, and so it made sense to have her be the priestess of our little two-person coven. We soon found two other women, and for the next four years we went through initiation and began to find the strength in our bond. Sadly, our priestess had to move in 2003, and so the three of us practiced for the next few years without a high priestess, making our decisions together. Over time we found more members.
4. When did your interest in healing stones develop? How do you find the stones that you use?
I have always had strange dreams where I talk to dead family members, or friends and others who over time I have came to know as guides. One of these guides told me I would work with stones almost twenty years ago. I had always been drawn to stones, but had never connected that until I had that dream. And of course, using them for healing is the very best of all possible uses. I find the stones everywhere: in metaphysical shops mostly, but they can come from a walk in the park or really anywhere. I am an archaeologist, so sometimes I find them in the desert. I guess my point is that they find me, and I just know.
5. Are you a feminist? If so, what does feminism mean to you?
I do consider myself a feminist, in large part because I have lived this life in a woman’s body and have experienced sexism, harassment for working in a traditionally man’s field (I am an archaeologist, and it is predominantly a white man’s sport), and I have also been raped. None of these points are unusual to women, and that in itself should make any woman a feminist. Until there is complete equality and acceptance of women as full members of our society, we should all be feminists.
Serena is a freelance writer who enjoys baking, protesting, and playing with little dogs.