LH: Firstly, for our readers can you introduce yourself?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: This is my first book, so I’m new at this publishing and interviewing stuff. I’ve been a student of spiritual practices for much of my life and I’ve been an active member of my local Pagan community for over 30 years. I’ve done public speaking and chaplaincy work in interfaith environments.
LH: You mention in your book as being aware of magic at a young age, was that something that was frightening for you or was it something that was ‘encouraged’ by those around you?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I was never “frightened” by it. Magical experiences were pretty normal in my household. When the phone rang my Mother always told whoever it was for to answer it – back in the days of landlines. Whenever anyone would ask how she did that my Dad would say, “She’s a witch.” We just took it for granted that was a good thing.
LH: How do you find divine connection works within communities that perhaps have a much stronger leaning towards ‘academia’ do you see issues of connecting the divine when the divine is viewed as somewhat the ‘last’ step in the stairway so to speak?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I’m not quite sure what you mean by the “‘last’ step in the stairway” but I don’t really see an issue given how broadly I’ve defined the Divine. Even academics acknowledge first hand experience as valid data and the book is full of primary examples of what I am addressing. The Awe experience happens to all of us, regardless of our religious framework or lack thereof. There is nothing in the book that demands looking for the Divine where it would be uncomfortable. It simply offers a perspective of possibility that may be broader than many people have ever considered possible.
LH: Do you think that one of the issues in accepting Divinity is in the fact that people put gods into ‘boxes’ or label them making it impossible for them to see ‘variations’ or alternative faces of the gods they are looking to connect with?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: This is the advantage polytheists have in that they acknowledge a multiplicity of Divine forms. I actually think putting Divinity into a form sometimes makes it easier to deal with as “real”. The problems come in communicating with someone who’s framework of the Divine is vastly different than yours. I hope that I emphasize that whatever personal experience the reader has with the Divine is valid, and that experience does not invalidate someone else’s different experience. The language and variations that I offer, I hope, will make it easier to communicate those experiences when they are different.
LH: What do you think are the absolute NO NO’s for people to avoid when manifesting divinity?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I think giving up free will is a huge no no – hence an entire chapter about Choice. Doing everything the voices in your head tell you to do without question or concern for the consequences is, to my personal, unqualified, non-medical point of view, psychopathic behavior.
LH: What importance do you think prayer plays within manifestation?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: Prayer is a form of incantation. It is a means to call on the Divine, either for invocation or evocation. Prayer can be an expression of Divine Inspiration. It can be a means to Divine Alignment. But I also think that prayer classically is different from what many people practice today. The prayers that we hold over time are not “gimme” lists, but rather honor and glorify an expression of the Divine nature.
LH: Do you think that most people have lost the connection with divinity because of the ‘tight’ regulations often surrounding the ‘structured’ religious organization
Lisa Spiral Besnett: Any time you have a regimented form it can become rote, and practiced without feeling or meaning. Much of spiritual practice is about what you bring to the practice. I think that people have looked to organized religion for the evocation of the Divine and for a community connection. When the form and regulations do not meet the experience of the people they look elsewhere. It is the groups that have been disenfranchised by organized religion (women, GLBT) who lead the exodus into simply spiritual practice. But with personal practice there is no community. Again, having a language to discuss personal experience with someone else who’s personal experience may differ can help build a community within personal practice.
LH: How did you come to know Immanion Press?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I am friends with a few of your authors and they encouraged me to look at Immanion. I wanted a publisher that had a connection to the Spiritual community. I also wanted a publisher with credibility. I really like that Immanion is looking to fill a niche between the basic 101 material that can be found anywhere and the dry entirely academic texts. It was a good fit.
LH: What do you think of working with an independent and how has it benefited you so far?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I appreciate the support I’ve gotten from Immanion as I go through this process for the first time. The publishing industry is so dynamic and changing so rapidly that there is no way I could keep up on my own. In particular I appreciate the editing process Immanion offers that is missing from so many self published works.
LH: What can we expect from you in the future?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I’m working on a second book and thinking about a third on the same theme of exploring the Divine. I’m also working on a series of Meditation CDs.
LH: Is there anything you would like our readers to know about you or the book?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I really hope this book provides a platform to begin a conversation about spiritual experience and practices. I certainly don’t think that what I’ve written is the “only” way to look at the Divine. I read a blog the other day about a Catholic pilgrimage. It was a very personal experience and the author did a great job of conveying his connection with the Divine. We don’t see the Divine the same way. We don’t share common views on some core political issues. But I could easily recognize his experience as Invocation and Evocation of Alignment and Inspiration and appreciate its Awe-someness.
LH: Do you offer any workshops related to manifesting the divine?
Lisa Spiral Besnett: I do. I have a workshop I’m giving at the Women and Spirituality Conference at Mankato State University in MN in October called “Daily Practice Sucks!”. I encourage daily practice in the book, but it’s not easy and the workshop addresses ways to make it easier and more effective. I also have a workshop called “The Path of the Oracle” based on the premise that Resonance plus Inspiration defines Oracular work.
LH: Finally, what strikes you as the one most important thing you wanted people to take away from the book??
Lisa Spiral Besnett: Truly I hope what people take away is the sense that we are surrounded by the Awesome Divine. That the Awe experience is available to us if we are willing to be open to look for it.