Letter: Pagan faiths excluded from the Sacred Land project

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The Independent Online
Sir: While it was good to read Paul Vallely's article which publicises the work of the Sacred Land project ("The sacred sites of Britain", 22 April), it is hard to express the dismay which I and other pagan women must feel on reading his article.

We are fortunate in Britain to be the inheritors of many places made sacred by the worship of our ancestors - our pagan ancestors. These include some of our best-known tourist spots, such as Stonehenge, Avebury and Silbury Hill; as well as lesser-known spots such as the well of St Mary's Willesden, whose patron pagan goddesses were later incorporated into masculine- dominated Christianity in the form of black virgins and saints.

For decades before the creation of the Sacred Land project, pagans in Britain have been campaigning for both the protection of these sacred sites and for respect for them as places of peace, meditation and veneration. Why is it then that pagan religion, which is goddess-venerating and the religious faith of many thousands of people in Britain - women and men - has no representation on the Sacred Land project, and that no representative of the pagan faiths has been invited to attend the ceremony today led by the Archbishop Canterbury?

For centuries women and the goddess have been excluded from any voice in mainstream religion. It seems that the Sacred Land project intends to perpetuate this. How strange when for so many people the Earth and its sacred sites are so strongly associated with the Divine as goddess and not god.

Dr VIVIANNE CROWLEY

Interfaith Committee

The Pagan Federation

London WC1

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