Name: Mark Townsend
Where you live: In a quaint little Market Town situated near the English/Welsh Border
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I served as an Anglican (Episcopal) Priest for ten years, but now work in a free-lance capacity as a Writer, Magician and Retreat Leader
Your two favorite books: His Dark Materials (trilogy) by Philip Pulman and The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Your two favorite songs: Word on a Wing by David Bowie and The Man with the Child in His Eyes by Kate Bush
Why you are interested in spirituality? I was about ten when I first started asking spiritual questions. I’m 41 now. Those initial questions triggered the start of a journey that continues to this day. The questions are still not fully answered – hence the adventure never ceases. I have passed through many traditions, both inside and outside the realms of the Church. As a natural questioner I usually find myself squeezed out of groups and communities that have closed, set answers. As a natural mystic I also get quickly bored by over-intellectualized and literalistic belief systems. In June 2007 I left the world of intuitional religion. It was the most frightening and bruising experience of my life yet, as I discover time and time again, it is through the cracks we often discover pure gold. A few weeks after my decision I sent the following email to a close friend:
“Life is still really tough Caroline. Every day flies by with so much to do and still hardly any cash coming in to pay the mortgage, rent and bills etc. But I’m free – OH GOD I’M FREE – freer than I’ve felt in thirty years. I can’t express how frightening and at the same time how liberating all this feels. Caroline, something’s happening to me. It’s as if I’ve entered a new stage in my magical journey, and it’s rapidly moving me out of institutional / organized religion altogether and into something totally different… and yes Jesus is coming with me (because he’s not the property of the Church alone). I am feeling my dried up wells of the last few years of life within the dear old C of E (which I still love so much) beginning to be re-filled with living water, and it tastes fresh and magical. I’m not sure where all this is leading but I know I need to let go and trust in the path – the Path of The Blue Raven.”
Your favorite quote: “…no one can teach you anything about being human. Your essence itself knows already what there is to know. It understands, and already is, more than anyone can speak of. Already, in your potential, you surpass the wise sayings of any guru, enlightened one, or prophet. These people can startle, provoke or point you towards your essence, but they must then back away, and shade their eyes – for your essence outshines them.” Simon Parke
Your favorite web sites: Again, there are so many but here are a few:
Your hero? There are so many. and one of them has to be Jesus because he left us with so many shell shocking and spine tingling stories that I still find quite breathtaking. However I no longer see him as the founder of a new religion – rather, a universal hero whose message is a beautiful gift that can be unwrapped and embraced by all. The Inner-Christ is the divine spark within all from every religious tradition, or none. It is there in Christian America, Buddhist Tibet, and Magical Avalon, but simply called by different names. For a Tibetan it is the ‘Buddha Nature’ – for a follower of Merlin, the ‘Wizard Within’.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? To be truly myself, without fear of rejection.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected?” The Forest! It is my natural cathedral. I wrote my second book there – The Wizard’s Gift. I find it to be the place that most connects me to mother earth and to my true inner Self.
For further information on my books and my work please visit his website http://www.magicofsoul.com/ and