Meet Jenny Luddington

Don’t be fooled by these jerks that I got.

I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block.

Well Jenny from South East and I’m your Disability Liaison. The jerks to which I refer are my myoclonic seizures. I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy when I was 17 and had a bit of tough time getting my tonic clonic and absence seizures under control but did manage in my mid 20’s after a couple of years I asked to try to be weaned of meds and all went well for about a decade. Had a breakthrough seizure in 2012 and suddenly started having myoclonic seizures, which I didn’t know where even a thing, they’re brief muscle contractions, I throw things and fall over. Again I have gained control of T/C’s but the jerks not so much!

I’ve been walking a Pagan path since my mid 20’s I was solitary and then joined a (w)icca learning circle, which pretty spectacularly imploded. I vowed off ever playing with others. Alas, I do like a bit of ritual and I’ve a soft spot for a sabbatical chant. Initially I joined the Dover Moot, but alas lots of people moved away. I then joined the Kent Goddess Group (a women’s ceremonial group) and my personal practice was becoming more Hellenic Recon.

Eventually some of the Dover Moot people who had moved away moved to Folkestone (hooray). We founded Folkestone Pagan Circle and I have helped to facilitate a Pop-Up Temple, Open Beach Rituals, Moot and Red Tent. I have recently stood down as chair and was looking for a new challenge.

This was around the time of the first Pagan Disability Team Online Festival. Nature, abhorring vacuums as she does, I thought ‘That’s a marvellous idea’. I was called to contact the lovely Debi and offer my services to Disability Liaison for the South East. Debi said ‘There isn’t one, would you like the job?’

When Goddess calls who are we to refuse?!?

So why volunteer? What do I want to bring to this role? For me I think one of the hardest things about living with a disability or chronic illness is isolation. Not everyone wants to go to a Moot or be involved in group ceremony and it’s awesome to be a solitary practitioner. However, it is nice to have the choice, whether that is helping groups to think about making events and venues accessible or using technology to bring the Sabats to you. What I hope to do is include you too. I want you to feel a little more connected to your Pagan community. Please share your ideas on how we can make that happen.


Jenny Luddington is the Deputy Disabilities Manager and the District Liaison for South East region.

Remembering Petra Lucas

This post is now a memorial to our dear friend and team member Petra Lucas who very sadly died young in January 2017

I’m Petra. I’m one of the Deputy Disabilities Managers. My job is basically to keep up with the goings on in the Disabilities Team and work with the lovely Debi Gregory and Beth Murray to keep us going in the right direction.

So far that has seen me appear live on camera to co-host an Online Festival and talk to people who have been hugely influential in my own path and get them to speak at our Online Festivals. I also leaped out of my comfort zone and gave a talk at Pagan Pride with Beth Murray. I work with Beth Murray to get the Disabled Pagans Voices Project out to you, the people . And now, I am delving back into the blogsphere to manage this blog on behalf of the team.

Petra is speaking here as part of our online festival for Lughnasadh 2016, introducing herself as East Midlands District Liaison and Deputy Disabilities Manager.

That was the scariest 10 minutes ever! But I’m glad I did it.

I’ve been knowingly Pagan for something like 15 years. However, I grew up in a rural family with Granny’s Way of Doing Things. You did things a certain way because Granny had told you to and it felt natural to always mix cake clockwise or to salt the lintels of a new home. I thought everyone swept the area out before starting a new project or refused to let May Blossom in the house before May. It was only when I met a group of friends that were Pagan that I realised that other people didn’t!! I was suddenly being taught all these interesting things… that were totally normal to me. I now know my devoutly Christian Granny had a few secrets but it was good to have a name for the life I led.

My path has always been decidedly Celtic. I loved the Welsh tales growing up and was drawn to modern stories that drew from Welsh legend. Alan Garner, Jenny Nimmo and Susan Cooper sang to my soul and still do. I often reread those books and I look forward to sharing them with my kids. In recent years, I have found myself walking through the woods on the path of the Druid. As is my nature, I read around and have now realised I am a Hedge Druid. I prefer the woods to the maze of buildings but I still love my city home.

My family is very important to me. I love my kids – even when I want to pitch them out of a window. They are a light in my life and they bring me joy. My son is 5 and we are in process of getting a diagnosis for him for Sensory Processing Disorder. My daughter has just turned 1 years old and she is a lively, curious creature like her brother and fierce like her mother. She gets her stubbornness from her father, honest.

My husband of 15 years is my partner in life. He has been with me through my discovery of my path. He walks beside me asking me questions and applying his scientific mind to my world. We agree to disagree sometimes but we both view the world as an amazing place to be in. We work together to raise our kids to see the beauty out there and to trust their own minds about the people they encounter. We know bad things happen in the world but we believe if we can raise resilient, thoughtful children then even the bad things can be dealt with.

My experience of disability is that of parent, wife and patient. My husband suffers from clinical depression; my son has learning disabilities and I have Fibromyalgia. We all have our challenges and we do what we can to help each other. My husband is the main carer for the kids – he cooks, cleans and launders for us all. I take care of the emotional and organisational side of family life. In our family, like my path, balance and service is key.

It’s this belief that got me where I am today, sitting here and talking to you. I heard about an Online Pagan Festival and spent an excited week taking part in the brain child of Debi and Kate Large (Editor of the Pagan Dawn). At the end of that week, I knew I needed to be part of the process. I wanted to help. I knew stuff that could help and I had to reach out to Debi.

That was the start of a great friendship and a fabulous working relationship. The Team has grown and each person adds a new dimension to the team. We all get on well and chat often. When I tentatively asked way back at Beltane if I could help out locally, I did not expect to be whole heartedly welcomed into such a generous spirited group. I have gained so many friends and met so many people thanks to my role first as District Liaison and then as Deputy Manager that I feel blessed that Debi said yes!

When I’m not online, I can be usually be found with yarn nearby or my artist’s pens. I love crafts! They give me breathing room and space to be me. I love to see the pretty things that my hands can create. I love that I can take a simple piece of yarn or a black line and make something with meaning and love. I give away a lot of crafts because I want to share the love and time with others. If something I have made can make someone smile on a sad day, then I think I’ve done my job.

Now as I set out on a new adventure on behalf of the Team and the lively PF Facebook Group for Pagans with Disabilities, I am excited and humbled by the stories I hear and the assistance that is offered. I am truly honoured to be trusted to speak with you all and to share my stories with you.

Thanks for listening to me and I hope to get to know you all in the comments.


Debi Gregory: meet the Disabilities Manager

Hi folks! My name is Debi Gregory and I’m the National Disabilities Manager for the Pagan Federation (England & Wales). I’ve been Pagan for almost fifteen years and follow a solitary ancestral path.

Family plays an important part in my life. I have a huge family with three brothers, six sisters, five nieces and four nephews, not to mention my huge extended family, which I’m very close to. My sisters and I get up to a lot of mischief. My children are my world. They’re noisy, mischievous and full of an energy that they certainly didn’t inherit from me! We go all over the place, they love exploring woodland, they adore history. Elaina is artistic, Julia is a daredevil, Stevie is an adventurer.

My husband is my all and my everything. My rock, my solace, my sweet nights sleep. He’s also the prat, the thorn in my side and my early morning wake up! Forget the kids, it’s him that interrupts my peaceful dawns!


I wasn’t born disabled, although I was born with slight learning difficulties. It wasn’t until having my children that my health started to seriously affect my life. Now, three babies, three nervous breakdowns, almost dying twice and almost being crippled twice later, I think it’s safe to say I’m about done and have kindly petitioned the Gods to leave me the hell alone!

Just when I had given up on my hopes and my dreams, the Gods sent me a message. They sent me Mike Stygal and the Pagan Federation. An opportunity more than fell into my lap, it was a huge cat, sitting on my chest and glaring at me to pet it. I obviously decided to pet said God cat and took up the role of Disabilities Manager. Mike encouraged me to try my hand when no one else was willing, obviously there was slim pickings or he’d have asked someone else. I’m not entirely sure he didn’t beg on his knees for others to do it but he’s stuck with me now!

My disabilities are varied and much too much to write down all in one place but they range from severe depression to using crutches due to pregnancy complications aggravated by Hypermobility. I try to use my crutches as little as possible but during the winter they tend to come out about 80% of the time. I may never be rid of them but I’m not giving up!

Since becoming Disabilities Manager I’ve met, online and in person, so many inspirational people. They’ve given me the strength and determination to keep my head above water even if only to be there for them. The first person to inspire me, many years ago, to take a bigger step into my faith, was the woman who would eventually become my Disabilities Deputy, the fabulous Ms Beth Murray, who lit a fire in me that I was afraid would never spark again. She’s now dating my best friend too so it means I get to see her even more than before, which I’m very happy about!

My best friends and I are a good sort. We’re always the height of maturity. A shining example to all on the finer things in life.

I’m also a writer. I recently published my first novella and I edit my mum’s books, which are set in a fantasy world ruled by women. These books are so inclusive of all faiths that it wasn’t until I started editing them that I realised just how intelligent, compassionate and fair my mum really was and it gave me a deeper respect and love for her. I may be biased but I highly recommend her books, the second of which is due out soon, to anyone wanting a good adventure! You may even notice that one of the characters is based on yours truly but I won’t say which one.

My own book is of the erotic variety. In what seems like another lifetime, I did a lot of work with forces charities. I performed for veterans, helped to raise money and generally just tried to do right by those I consider to be most deserving of our respect and reverence. I particularly enjoyed singing for the golden veterans. I sang songs from the war to take them back and when I was with them, they shared with me the stories of their amazing lives. I also wrote short scenes for some military wives in a group I’m in, to distract them while their husbands were away and they encouraged me to get it published, so I did. Unfortunately it reflects a side of me that some wouldn’t approve of because the book is basically twenty odd thousand words of sarcasm and sex. If that sounds like something you’d be up for, feel free to download and leave me a review! 😉

That’s a lot of information about me so I’m not going to bore you further. What I would like to end with is by saying that, while I didn’t want this job to begin with, that was more about my self doubt and my lack of confidence than anything else. With the help of this awe inspiring team I hope that I can do what I feel in my bones is my calling in this life and that’s to help others. It’s what I’ve always felt I was meant to do.

I struggled to fit in so much when I was growing up. At school, with my peers, in my own family and even in my own skin but I finally feel that I’m right where I belong. Right where I’m needed. With you, helping you. I hope that this insight into me and my life has helped you to feel that you know me well enough to trust that I will do whatever I can to help you all. I may not be perfect, who is? But I will always do my utmost to be open, honest and realistic about what we can do and I promise that, while ever you still want me, I’ll be here for you all.

Be kind to yourselves and to each other.

Remember, without trust, we have nothing!

Be blessed, folks!

xXx Debi xXx