Chris Moore first became a Priest of what he refers to as the “Old Religion” when he was initiated as a British Tradition Witch in the ninth month of 1999. Already at that point, a proficient Rune worker, it was only a matter of time before he felt the pull towards the Northern Tradition of Witchcraft. Almost immediately, he began conducting runic workshops, poetry readings, and storytelling based on Old Norse myths and legends. As time progressed, he developed a spiritual practice that combined walking meditation, sitting meditation, followed by journaling. Over time, more and more entries took the shape of poetry.
Now a High Priest of the Northern Tradition of Witchcraft, Chris acts as a storyteller for his new and extended spiritual family, some local Unitarians at whose Congregation he now co-facilitates a Pagan Grove. Poetry has completely replaced the diary style of entries in his journal and he has put more emphasis on sharing his work through readings, rather than as a solely personal reflection.
BCP: Why poetry?
CM: Why Poetry? Because I am lazy and I hate writing! But I get these incredible ideas bursting in my head. And I have to express them. But I am frustrated because my hand moves so slow across the paper. My mind is already on the next paragraph. But my hand is still struggling to finish the first sentence. My keyboarding skills are terrible, so typing things is even worse. With Poetry every word has to be carefully selected to carry the meaning of things in as few words as possible. It is much more compact.
BCP: What is your process?
CM: My poetry emerges when it wants to, usually as a result of my meditation practices. Meditation leads me to poetry. And Poetry often gives me something to reflect on at the start of a meditation. The process feeds itself.
BCP: How long have you been writing poetry?
CM: Oh Hell, I don’t know. I remember writing as a kid, and not because the teacher told me to, but on my own, because I enjoyed writing Poetry.
BCP: Who are your influences?
CM: William Blake, William Shakespeare, and William Butler Yeats.
BCP: Your poetry is emotional, honest, and stimulating. What do you try to convey to your readers?
CM: Thank you, every poem is different with its own take. Sometimes it is about simply letting people know they are not alone, we all feel the same feelings, we all suffer the same pains, and we all laugh.
BCP: Does your spirituality play a part in your writing?
CM: Absolutely, more than anything else! Meditation is a deeply spiritual practice. And it is from there that my poetry emerges. The two go hand in hand.
BCP: Do you see poetry as a form of prayer?
CM: Yes and no, sometimes they are, sometimes they are a comment or reflection on my own prayer that I wish to share with others.
BCP: Do you share your poetry in your workshops and sermons?
CM: What a brilliant idea! Actually, I don’t really; I sometimes use my poetry as prayer in circle, but almost never in my workshops. It simply never occurred to me. Thank you for that!
BCP: The poetry you have shared with me is earth based and focuses on death. Is a lot of your poetry like that?
CM: No, some of it is. But I would not say most. But a lot? Hmmm…… I think I will stick with no. I chose the ones I did because of the time of year when I read them. This was autumn. The late fall is a time to reflect on our own mortality and to understand that death is not some weird and horrible anomaly. It is our destiny. And I have found that being afraid of death is one of the things which prevents us from truly living. This is a great shame. You cannot avoid dying, so make the most of the time you have.
BCP: You used to run readings at coffee shops. Why did you stop? Would you consider starting those up again?
CM: There are two sides to my being, the contemplative and the activist. And I go from one to the other. I stop writing/reading when the time for meditation is reduced. I always make sometime for meditation, but poetry comes from the still periods of my life. I have spent a long time now in the labour movement. I recently stepped down as President of my local, so who knows…..
BCP: What are you working on now?
CM: Loving-compassion, I am writing poetry on what I refer to as “loving-compassion” as a universal value we all need to display in our lives.
BCP: When do you expect to have your own collection of poetry published?
CM: When I get there, I promise, you will be the first to know. And I will be looking for an invitation to come back. So be careful what you wish for. But thanks for asking.
BCP: What do you want the Pagan and non-Pagan communities to get from hearing you read your poems?
CM: That there is a oneness to the Universe, Life is no accident. The natural order is awesome and deeply spiritual. Love and compassion are truly the answer.
BCP: What advice do you have for other writers out there who are having difficulties with their writing, or who have yet to see their work in print, or who are afraid to perform their poetry?
CM: I will let you know when I have some! You are talking about me! The best thing I can say is you are not alone, everything you feel, others feel to. They can overcome their barriers, and you can overcome yours.
Tune in to Black Coffee Poet Friday October 29, 2010 for a video of Chris Moore reading his poetry.