The Doreen Valiente Foundation:
Emlyn Price, Chair, Doreen Valiente Foundation has been a member of the DVF for a number of years and a Trustee and Chair since November 2019. Emlyn comes from a background in Local Government and Utilities where he specialised in Business Resilience, Threat Intelligence and Anti Terrorism. He brings to the organisation knowledge across a number of areas including policy design and implementation, financial and business resilience. Emlyn is a 2nd Degree Gardnerian witch of the Whitecroft tradition and has been a Craft practitioner for about 43 years. When not engaged in D.V.F. business, he can be found pursuing his hobbies which include photography, reading and astronomy.
TWPT: Tell me about what it was that drew you to the Craft in the first place.
EP: It sounds a cliche but I was always drawn to the occult side of life even as a child. I loved to read about fortune telling, ghosts, Witches and anything to do with the Paranormal. Something always drew me to those sort of things back then. I couldn't define what it was but some of it seemed familiar in some strange way.
TWPT: Were there specific aspects of the Craft that appealed to you over what you had encountered previously in your life?
EP: Well the previous religious upbringing that I had was, probably like most of us, a Christian one. There were many aspects of the Craft that appealed to me but I suppose the primary one was that of being in tune to the natural cycles of the planet.
TWPT: Do you incorporate a spiritual aspect into your practice?
EP: I am a Gardnerian of the Whitecroft line so yes I do incorporate a spiritual aspect into my practise and always have done.
TWPT: Tell me about your progression within the Gardnerian tradition over the last 43 years that you have walked this path and where you are now as a practitioner
EP: The thirst for knowledge was my principal driver at the beginning of my
journey. I knew that something called me but I wasn't sure what it
was. I read widely and although some things I read were, even to my
beginners eyes, utter junk, I did learn.
Eventually I found myself in Atlantis books and picked many excellent
works there as I am certain many others did as well. One of them was
the excellent Witchcraft For Tomorrow by the late, and sadly missed,
When I went to pay for it and my other purchases a lady was talking at the till and she moved to one side to let me pay. As I put the books on the counter she smiled when she saw Witchcraft For Tomorrow and remarked I should enjoy that one. As I turned to reply I realised it was Doreen herself! When I picked my jaw up from the floor and managed to utter a response she asked me if I would like her to sign it for me. Of course I said yes and she did. We spoke for what seemed like a few seconds but was about 20 minutes until we both realised we were running late for other engagements.
We both explained this and shook hands to leave. I then had the
strangest experience - as we shook hands it felt like I had hold of the
live terminal of a battery! I looked up and Doreen was looking at me
very intently and then she spoke ' Oh yes dear -
you are on the right path. You are one of us ' We both parted but that contact is still vivid in my mind and a treasured memory.
I followed her book and ended up running my own small coven with a dear friend Yvonne who passed away after a few years. Our coven slowly broke
up as people married or moved away. I carried on the path as a solitary
for quite a few years but decided that I
wanted to go through Gardnerian training and seek initiation. After a
period of seeking I got in touch with Yvonne Aburrow who agreed to
accept me for training. Since then I have been initiated and also am now a proud 2nd Degree Witch of the Whitecroft line.
During that journey I also became a member of the Doreen Valiente Foundation and, last year, was elected as a Trustee and Chair of the Foundation.
TWPT: What was it that prompted the founding of the Doreen Valiente Foundation? Who was involved in getting the ball rolling to get this done?
Valiente was the Patron of the Centre For Pagan Studies which was
established by the late John Belham-Payne and his wife Julie in 1995.
John became Doreens High Priest and when Doreen passed away in September
carried out her funeral rite as she requested. He was surprised to find
out that she had left him all of her magical artefacts and the
copyright to her written and artistic works.
The Centre For Pagan Studies continued its work and eventually John and Julie moved to Spain for health reasons. In 2011 they recruited a team of Trustees and established the Doreen Valiente Foundation. The aim of the Foundation is to protect the artefacts, the library and writings and to work towards making the collection safe and accessible to the global Pagan community for all time. The deed of trust states that no one may sell, give away or privately own any of the collection.
TWPT: How important is it for the future of this path to have a firm grasp on how it all began with the likes of Gardner and Valiente?
EP: To my mind it is essential that as Witches we know where we came from and the history of our Craft. If we are to continue to grow and develop it must be from a firm foundation.
TWPT: What prompted you to join the DVF as a member and exactly what does it mean to join and be a member?
EP: Having known Doreen and later John and Julie I wanted to be a part of the Foundation because I felt that what was being done for the collection was excellent and was worthy of support. That sentiment has not changed to this day. By joining the Foundation people are helping to maintain a unique aspect of the history of Witchcraft as a religion and indeed as a unique cultural asset of the United Kingdom. All the funds that are raised go towards maintaining and protecting the collection and none of the Trustees receive a salary for their work.