Publisher at Moon Books, a Pagan imprint for John Hunt Publishing, Trevor kindly took some time out to answer a few questions...
When I was eighteen I took Religious Studies as an A Level option. I think I thought it sounded easy. It wasn’t as I recall, but it was fascinating. Old Testament studies, The Genesis material and the Exodus, Prophets, Judges and Kings, Yahweh versus Baal… great stuff. To this day I think there are fewer greater pleasures than a TV documentary exploring Biblical history and the fact that half the world’s archaeologists say the Exodus never happened and the other half say it did just makes it better… the romance, the believing, the not-believing, the wondering, the search, the not knowing.
So I went to College and read Religious for my BA and MA which got me into Christianity and Christian Theology which is another really cool thing to get into. It’s funny, I was reading a new discussion on Anselm’s Ontological Argument the other day and it occurred to me that Philosophers have spent a thousand years debunking his argument on the grounds that thought and reality aren’t linked and now some scientists are saying the opposite.
Anyway I ended up a Christian (didn’t even see it coming). Then I got into Radical Theology, you know, God is Dead, Christian Atheism, that sort of thing and then one Sunday I was reciting the Nicene Creed in Broadwater Church and it occurred to me that I didn’t understand it… not didn’t believe it, just didn’t understand it and didn’t have the capability to do so. And then the serendipity moment, Philip Carr Gomm turned up at our College to do a lecture on modern Druidry and that was it… I just knew that was how religion had to develop, subjectively, free from dogma.
Meanwhile, I had been considering a PhD in Theology and wanted to do radical Theology. I made a start but it was so boring I gave up and the material I had turned into “Introduction to Radical Theology” published by O-Books. Through that I ended up working as an editor for JHP. So, one day, when John said we need to split up into imprints I said, I’m interested in Paganism and that’s how Moon Books started.
So the answer, I suppose, is the Old Testament came first, then Anselm and then Philip Carr Gomm!
2. How would you describe yourself as a writer?
I think I’m pretty much retired. I have plans to write a book with my daughters next year titles ‘Finding Frederick’. By chance we found out we had unknown relative who died in the Great War which has given rise to a lot of research that we would like to get together in book form. Other than just writing a blog article can leave me exhausted for days! So, getting to be Publisher of moon Books was ideal, I can flit about in the book world and be bookish without having to make the effort to write one!
3. How have your own spiritual beliefs developed/changed since heading Moon Books and coming into contact with so many diverse points of view..?
I don’t think my underlying beliefs have changed in that I am still theistic in outlook. I have always believed in a creator deity and I still think that if you consider the totality of human experience throughout history (and not just what scientists today tell us) then a worldview that includes a deity is the most complete one. In that respect Paganism simply allows for a non-doctrinal expression. So I can believe in God or Goddess without the requisite requirement to want to kill anyone who doesn’t agree with me. Having said that, I am hugely more intolerant of some religious views than I ever used to be, but I think that’s more to do with the ageing process and becoming a miserable old git, a life-role I increasingly embrace!
4. Where do you think contemporary Paganism is heading and how do you see your own part in that?
I think that’s a really interesting question. Personally I think the future is Pagan. I don’t think religious belief will disappear, it’s innate in human character. But I think Paganism offers a spirituality for Western secular society. How people express that belief will vary widely from performing rituals at Avebury to recycling. Of course, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, the world’s major religions aren’t going to disappear, but once the media grow tired of the popular characterisation of Pagans as weirdos, hippies, whatever and start writing about them as being a significant part of the spiritual landscape and as offering a valid spirituality for the modern world, more people will take the ideas on board. And as the tradition is essentially subjective in nature it presents an attractive option to dogma and doctrine. What part will I play? Well I’d love Moon Books to publish the book that helped to change people’s perceptions. Or perhaps I could write it; that would be cool!
5. What do you read for pleasure?!
I like to read books on history, any period really, but mainly British History. I read books about life after death because that’s an interest of mine. But here’s my guilty pleasure… back in the 1990s just by chance I read Robert Goddard’s debut novel, ‘Past Caring’ and I’ve read every one he’s published since then. He’s the perfect way to lose a couple of days!
6. If you could have half an hour with anyone (famous or not) from the Great Cauldron in the Sky, who would it be and what would you say to them?
The famous person would have to be Jesus of Nazareth. After two thousand years of devotion, scholarship and speculation I’d love to hear from him what he believed and the meaning behind what it is claimed he said. The non-famous person would be great-uncle Frederick. My daughters and I have been researching his life but it would be great to have his side of it!
7. What advice would you give to any aspiring and unpublished writer?
If you’re going into writing to make money, forget it. You’ve got to write because you love to write. Be prepared to accept criticism. What you’ve written might be very good but it won’t be appreciated by everyone.
8. What do you do to relax/switch off?
I love football. I’m a Brighton & Hove Albion season ticket holder and I go along with my daughters (my son hates football, not sure what happened there, it’s like bringing up an atheist!) I also watch way too much TV; sport, comedy, documentaries. And I like the cinema. On a slightly more active note I like walking the Downs.
Some great answers... thank you Trevor!
For more information about Trevor- visit: http://www.moon-books.net/authors/trevor-greenfield