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The Author's Corner

 

Kerr Cuhulain

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Pagan Religions
(Aug. 2010)

 

Full Contact Magick

 

Magickal Self Defense

 

Wiccan Warrior by Kerr Cuhulain

 

Full Contact Magick:
TWPT Talks to Kerr Cuhulain
2000,2001TWPT


TWPT: Was there a specific point along your spiritual path when Wicca suddenly became a viable option for you? Was this an unexpected revelation or was this the result of a lifelong movement towards this point in time?

KC: As a child I was a seeker (though, at the time, I couldn't have told you what I was looking for). I remember leaving libations from my lunch box for various Greek Gods while I was in elementary school. I found a book on Wicca in my high school library 31 years ago and realized that there was a name for what I believed. There was no turning back after that.

TWPT: Were you an Air Force Officer at the time of this change of path and how did this affect your views of what you did and how you did it? How did it affect your outlook on life in general?

KC: No, I was Wiccan before I entered the Air Force, though I wasn't openly Wiccan at that time. Becoming an air force pilot was my father's dream for me, not mine. Once I realized this I left the armed forces and pursued my own dream: A career in law enforcement. My Wiccan beliefs were instrumental in empowering me to take charge of my life and steer it in the direction that I wanted it to go.

TWPT: Were you making contact with other Wiccans during this time and what were your first impressions of the community that you had joined?

KC: Thirty years ago in Canada there weren't a lot of Wiccans that you could contact. I started out solitary, teaching myself from books. It wasn't until I became a cop that I became involved with the Wiccan community to any extent. When I first approached the WLPA and other Wiccan groups I was viewed with some suspicion: I think that they thought at first that I was a cop pretending to be a Witch in order to infiltrate their organizations and spy on them. Publicly Wiccan cops were definitely an anomaly then. This suspicion passed very quickly once they got to know me.

TWPT: Have you always been open about who and what you are within the context of your career and have there been consequences to being out in the open?

KC: I was always open to anyone who asked me about my beliefs, but as I do not proselytise not many would ask me. When I began speaking out publicly and engaging in anti-defamation work in 1988 there were some consequences. I was investigated by the management of my police department. They wanted to know if I was some sort of Satanic cult member. Other unexpected consequences followed. One such consequence was that once the word got out that I was a Witch, I began to get calls from cops all over North America. These cops had encountered "weird" cases and figured that I should be able to solve them, since I was "weird." This is how I came to be an expert on "occult crime."

TWPT: Was becoming a Police Officer something that you planned on doing once you left the Air Force? Did you have any reservations about this career as a Wiccan?

KC: As I already indicated, becoming a cop was definitely my idea and was my reason for leaving the Armed Forces. I had some reservations about how a Wiccan would be received by what seemed to me to be a rather conservative law enforcement community. In retrospect, some of my concerns were certainly warranted, but I would do it all again in a moment.

TWPT: When was it that you decided to start writing about your beliefs?

KC: When I made the decision to be very public about my beliefs and get actively involved in anti-defamation work. That was back about 1988. For a while I ran an organization called the Wiccan Information Network and put out newsletters every Sabbat. I wrote the Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca to educate law enforcement people about Wicca in 1989. In 1994 I gave up the newsletter to regroup and polish my writing skills. In 1997 I produced the expanded third edition of the Law Enforcement Guide. Now I'm writing articles for various Pagan publications and writing books like my new book, Wiccan Warrior. I also write articles on investigative techniques for Law & Order magazine.

TWPT: Tell me about the Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca. How misunderstood was Wicca by law enforcement authorities at the time that you wrote your book?

KC: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca was meant to be a small book that could be read and absorbed quickly by the average cop. I wrote it specifically because there was so much misunderstanding about Wicca amongst law enforcement agencies. I know that law enforcement officers tend to be very busy people, so I wanted something that they could read during a coffee break. The original edition was only 44 pages. Many cops came back with questions outside of the original, mostly concerning various urban legends about Wicca. This lead me to ultimately expand it to its current 129 page format.

TWPT: What impact has your book had on the way that law enforcement looks at Wicca? Do you get feedback as to how other agencies are using the material?

KC: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca has become a reference text for agencies across North America. It formed the basis of the information on Wicca for chaplain's manuals in Correctional facilities in North America. The Law Enforcement Guide introduced me to the law enforcement community and was largely responsible for establishing me as a recognized expert in this field.

 Part of the consulting work that I've done over the last decade has been for such agencies and facilities, helping them to create educational programs. I know of a lot of Wiccans who have used the Law Enforcement Guide to educate their parents and family about their beliefs. It is still in print and selling steadily. It really has exceeded my original expectations.

TWPT: Do you think that the world in general is hostile to all spiritual paths or just the ones that don't conform to the standards? Why do you think this is?

KC: There is no standard religious path. We are all individuals and all spiritual paths lead to the same place. We are all looking at the same thing, but because we come from differing social, cultural and educational backgrounds, we tend to perceive different things. There are a lot of people out there that think that religion is a "one-size-fits-all" proposition. People who think out of their box unsettle them. This fear often leads to hostility.

TWPT: Are you of the opinion that for people to truly to follow their spiritual paths they need a touch of the warrior to stay true to their ideals?

KC: I'm not suggesting that one needs to be on the Warrior's path 24-7. This is a part of yourself that you can access if and when you need it. Afterwards you can put it back in your personal tool box until next time. I am in Warrior mode more often than most people due to the nature of my police profession. People in other walks of life won't have the same needs. Commitment is part of the Warrior's path, but one can be committed without having to be in Warrior-mode.

TWPT: In your book Wiccan Warrior you address this dichotomy between the spiritual and the world, do you offer your readers ways of dealing with this tension?

KC: This tension occurs when you separate yourself from divinity. Pagan spirituality is monistic: Divinity is imminent in the world. When I first started on this Wiccan path I worshipped the Gods. I did this until I realized that worship was part of the baggage I inherited from my Christian upbringing. To worship is to treat divinity as external, as separate from you. The Charge of the Goddess tells us that divinity is within us. I don't worship: I connect, I entrain, I immerse myself. There is no tension when you realise "thou art God/dess."

TWPT: Do you find that people do not have enough discipline with themselves when it comes to their spiritual path? By that I mean are we taking responsibility for ourselves and the path that we walk on or are we using excuses to explain why that is not our concern?

KC: In Wiccan Warrior I made the point that the Wiccan Rede was a very Warrior-oriented approach to life. The Wiccan Rede requires Wiccans to use their heads instead of someone else's list of rules. It requires us to take responsibility for our actions rather than relinquishing this responsibility it to someone or something else. People tend to get down on their knees and implore some divinity to fix their problems for them. The Wiccan Rede tells us to use divinity to inspire us to find the answers so that we can apply them to our situation and fix these problems ourselves.

TWPT: When you wrote Wiccan Warrior did it teach you anything about yourself and your own views of what it is to be a Warrior on your spiritual path?

KC: The teacher always learns more when he teaches. The experience of writing Wiccan Warrior has inspired me to write the next book (working title: Full Contact Magick) to address some of the issues that arose. It caused me to examine my magickal and energy work and find what really worked and discard what was superstitious nonsense.

TWPT: I understand that you are a martial artist as well, how does that enter into your spirituality and how does it help focus your energies?

KC: My study of martial arts has helped me to see the connections between energy and intent. It has shown me that martial arts is full contact magick.

Many Eastern religions (like Daoism) have energy systems (like Chi Kung) as well as martial arts (like Tai Chi) associated to them. The Pagan paths have a lot in common with the Eastern philosophies: We are a religion of practice, not a religion of doctrine. It is what we do that defines us, not scripture. As the Pagan community grows (and it is the fastest growing religious community in the Western world) then we will begin to see energy systems and related disciplines emerging as part of our practice.

TWPT: When you take the message of the Wiccan Warrior on the road at conferences and festivals what kind of feedback do you get from those who attend?

KC: It is amazing how many people who have practised Paganism and magick for many years come up to me after a session to ask me why they feel heat or tingling when we did our energetic exercises. They are experiencing energy for the first time: Something that they should be experiencing every time that they do magick. Besides that, I have been encouraged by the number of people who have come forward to tell me that they have been looking for a system like this for some time. They wanted a way to take charge of their life and the Warrior path gave them that power. This is not a new tradition of Wicca that I'm teaching. It is a system that can be applied to anyone's practice. That's why the title of the book is Wiccan Warrior, not Warrior Wicca.

TWPT: Your upcoming book is tentatively titled Full Contact Magick. Where does that title come from and what do you consider less than full contact magick?

KC: In Karate there is an old adage: "Chi follows I" (energy follows intent). This reads like a definition of magick, doesn't it? Thus one could call martial arts full contact magick. Many people seem to think that magick is a process of lighting some candles, reciting some bad poetry and snapping your fingers. Full contact magick is understanding how to fully access and use your magickal energy. It should be an instantaneous process, just like in the dojo.

TWPT: Give us some highlights of what we can expect from this new book and when is it that we should be looking for it?

KC: This new book will show people how to apply this idea: You can instantly access energy (chi) for magickal purposes. It is a book of magick that contains no spells. It is not a magickal "cook book." It is a book that shows you how to create your own personal book of shadows full of practical magickal techniques. I will be sending it off to the acquisitions editor in a few days. Hopefully it will be out next year.

TWPT: With all the notoriety surrounding the work you do as a Police officer and your growing status as an author and lecturer, how has this affected your personal life? Is being in the spotlight a tough job for you or do you enjoy being "out there"?

KC: It's a lot of hard work. On top of my full time job as a child abuse investigator I am writing and lecturing. People all over North America come to me with their problems and questions. I have to be careful not to over-extend myself. Yet both police work and writing are occupations that I enjoy immensely.

TWPT: Is there another book beyond Full Contact Magick bubbling in the back of your mind at this point?

KC: There are several. For example: Phoenix McFarland and I are starting to work on a book on creating effective rituals.

TWPT: Where should folks be looking for you in the coming year if they want to hear you speak in person?

KC: I've just finished a whirlwind tour of several cities. It is difficult to fit this all into my schedule of work and court. I haven't set any dates for 2001 as yet, but several organisations have made enquiries. People should periodically check my web page for updates (www.kerrcuhulain.com).

TWPT: You recently made an appearance at the Blessed Be and Meet Me in DC event, what are your thoughts about how it all went and did you enjoy your part in it?

KC: It was a wonderful event. I was able to meet a lot of people and share a lot of information. It was interesting to see how people from other parts of the country were arriving at the same conclusions that I was. I hope that I will have an opportunity to go to future BBMMDCs.

One of the things that stands out in my mind was an encounter that I had with several young people who were chatting with Phyllis Currott and I. One young man said that they were very happy to see that there were so many books on Wicca and Pagan beliefs in the book stores these days. The problem, he told us, was that so many of these books were "how to" books. "We're tired of how to," he told us, "We want why." I encourage the Wiccan authors out there to take up this challenge to take us into the next generation.

TWPT: Any wisdom that you would like to leave our readers with as we close this interview.

KC: The Pagan beliefs such as Wicca offer us the gift of personal power. They give us the freedom to be all that we can be. Take responsibility for your lives and use this power to transform yourselves. Paradise is here now: You just have to reach for it.

TWPT: Thanks for taking the time to give us a clearer glimpse of  what you believe and where you stand on many of the issues that confront us these days. Blessings to you and yours.