Astrea comes from a very non-traditional background. She identified as a witch far before she ever heard about Wicca or any other historical figure. The out-of-body experiences she had at young ages showed her a whole other world out there that’s made of energy and spirit. Her other witchy childhood activities included poppet magic, glamor, weather magic, faery workings, spirit communication, and trance states. She has always had a sense of energy. She had some prophetic dreams and psychic experiences too. These practices came naturally to her. She was drawn to repeat them because of the mysterious, ecstatic way they made her feel.
After studying several religions as a teen, she concluded that none of them fit her well enough besides new age paganism and eclectic witchcraft. She delved into books like When God Was a Woman, The Chalice and the Blade, Women Who Run With the Wolves, and The Spiral Dance.
Astrea began blogging on Patheos in July 2017, which to her was really fun. She was amazed that people were interested in her opinion.
Intuitive Witchcraft was the result of decades of personal study and practice, both as a solitary practitioner and in groups. It incorporates absolute freedom with intuition and options to create a personally relevant spirituality. It also includes supportive psychology. While the book has some well-researched information the originated from witchcraft traditions, everything is presented as options. They’re not necessarily indicative of her practice, but they could be yours if they feel right.
She loves writing. Sharing her thoughts, visions, and stories with other people brings her so much joy. She self-published two fiction books in 2015 and 2017, and a poetry zine in 2000. When she's not writing or working at her full-time job, she enjoys walking in forests, lounging with her enormous cat, dancing with fire, wearing elf ears, acting goofy, relaxing with her muggle husband, and dressing up with friends.
Astrea is a big believer in equality for all people, doing charity work, and donating time and money to charitable/non-profit organizations. Her favorite groups match her ethos of anti-racism, religious freedom, pro-LGTBQIA+ issues, and charities that assist victims of violence. It’s her hope that we can all lift each other up, respect our individualities, and be compassionate about our differences.
Click here to read our interview with Astrea Taylor
“The highlights of creating artwork includes the tactile feeling of just pushing paint around a surface, seeing the drama and storytelling emerge as the piece grows, and hearing different people read their own meanings and narratives into an image, giving it extra layers of life. These are to name just a few highlights. The downside can be the prolonged isolation of sitting at the drawing board for hours, which during the cold winter months can be pretty testing if you can't afford the luxury of cranking the heating up to full!" Steve Hutton
"Wildwood's origins began as a personal project in 2007 to sharpen my figure drawing skills. But I still wanted a fictional element, so I opted to 'draw a few witches'. That snowballed into dozens of characters all of whom I wrote a few lines of back-story for. As the drawings became better and more lifelike their potted histories became grittier and more in-depth. It was a steep learning curve but a highly creative and energetic time of my life. I often found myself drawing into the early hours."
"Lastly on the subject of pencils, don’t forget to include a good range of grey shades. I’ll often add a hint of grey to skin tones, sandwiched in between other pigments. Relying on colours alone can give an artificial ‘Disney’ look to a scene. So don’t forget the greys. I rely on my range of French Greys a lot."
The Doreen Valiente Foundation: TWPT talks to Emlyn Price
Emlyn Price, Chair, Doreen Valiente Foundation has been a member of the DVF for a number of years and a Trustee and Chair since November 2019. Emlyn comes from a background in Local Government and Utilities where he specialised in Business Resilience, Threat Intelligence and Anti Terrorism. He brings to the organisation knowledge across a number of areas including policy design and implementation, financial and business resilience. Emlyn is a 2nd Degree Gardnerian witch of the Whitecroft tradition and has been a Craft practitioner for about 43 years. When not engaged in D.V.F. business, he can be found pursuing his hobbies which include photography, reading and astronomy.
Welcome to 2021. I’ve never been so happy to say goodbye to a year than I have with 2020.
It was a year of suffering. It was a year of stress. It was a year of mourning.
It was a draining year that continually pulled away our energy so that we were unable to do anything
other than hunker down and stay in survival mode. The only bright spots in the
entire year were the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our new
President and Vice President beginning on January 20 and the development of a
vaccine for the covid19 virus which has been a thorn in our side for most of
that 2021 will not be a perfect year because of the lingering effects of the
pandemic but I do have hope that we will see an improving situation as we move
through this year. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all the
readers of The Wiccan/Pagan Times who have been with us over the last 21 years
as we have worked to bring you information that you can use in your own journey
along this path. As always, we are happy to hear from our readers and encourage
you to send us links that pertain to the Wiccan/Pagan path that you think others
might find interesting. We also encourage readers to share their suggestions
and ideas for the betterment of TWPT with us as well. If you are a Wiccan/Witch/Pagan
writer that would like to share their work through TWPT please contact me and
let’s discuss what you have in mind.
Cherry Hill Seminary Mourns the Passing
of Wendy Griffin, former Academic Dean
Columbia, S.C.--With heavy hearts Cherry Hill Seminary shares the sad news of the passing of Wendy Griffin Ph.D., Academic Dean Emeritus. Perhaps the first American academic to publish while identifying as openly Pagan, she was a pioneer in the study of Goddess Spirituality and Wicca, was an active member of the American Academy of Religion, and on the editorial board of The Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies. Wendy published numerous academic articles on Pagan women's groups and edited Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, Identity and Empowerment, a 13-essay survey of contemporary Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality by British and American writers.
As Cherry Hill Seminary's first permanent Academic Dean, Wendy brought a dedication to academic integrity and a devotion to Pagan and Nature Spirituality. By the time she retired in 2018, Griffin had inspired students and colleagues alike with her intellect, skills and engagement. Only recently, the seminary Votaries alumni group created the Wendy Griffin Professor of the Year award in her honor. They will hold a public virtual event on February 27 to present the first award.
Prior to becoming the Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary, Wendy served as Chair of the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where she taught for many years.
Pam is a writer, curator, and teacher of magical practice and history. She is the host of The Witch Wave podcast
(“the Terry Gross of Witches” - Vulture) and the author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power (Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster, June 2019) and What Is A Witch (Tin Can Forest Press).
Her group art shows and projects, including Language of the Birds: Occult and Art at NYU’s 80WSE Gallery, have been featured by such outlets as Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art in America, New York Magazine, and Teen Vogue.
Pam’s writing has appeared in numerous mediums, including The New York Times, The Atlantic, TIME.com, Ms. Magazine, Electric Literature, Huffington Post, Film Comment, Sabat, Ravenous Zine, and various Fulgur press publications. She has maintained Phantasmaphile, a blog that specializes in art with an esoteric or fantastical bent, since 2005.
Pam is a frequent lecturer on such topics as “The Occult in Modern Art 101,” and “Witch Pictures: Female Magic and Transgression in Western Art,” and she also teaches classes on spellcraft and ritual. As a featured guest on WNYC’s All of It, NPR’s 1A, HuffPost LIVE, The Midnight Archive web series, and myriad other radio shows and podcasts, she has discussed the role of magic in contemporary life. She has also consulted for such brands as Charlotte
Tilbury and Treadwell’s Books, as well as for film and television, including the forthcoming reboot of The Craft (Blumhouse/Sony Pictures).
Pam is a graduate of New York University, where she studied cultural anthropology, art history, and comparative religion. A resident of Brooklyn, she lives with her husband, Matthew Freeman, and their two feline familiars.
Sacred Space – it is the space where we reside. It is a place where we sit and meditate. It is our “cube” at work; it is our backyard. It is a place where we invite Deity. It is our home, our hotel room, our tent, our circle or a park. It is the places where we find comfort, where we shut out the mundane. It is the place we make secure. It is where we come home to at the end of the day or at the end of a journey.
In other words, Sacred Space is all around us. However, when I say We are going to clear our Sacred Space I bet you all reach for the smudge stick and a lighter.
There are folks, like myself, who do not take too kindly to smoke. With allergies, a history of being a smoker who quit and not wanting to deal with second hand smoke, this is awkward. Most circles you go to, they smudge you before you enter a circle. Many folks will use smudge sticks and incense to purify their house, their car and their tools.
Every moment of life is magickal, but our awareness and ability to hold that awareness is the challenge. The mundane aspects of life might trick us into believing that regular tasks lack magick. This feeling increases when we have to do things we don't want to do. There are ways to make everyday moments magickal—it just takes a little shift in perspective. That shift comes through the form of ritual. Ritual is the deeply reverent practice of casting a circle, calling the corners, and performing magickal arte, but ritual is also done in the small places of everyday life.
Daily practice and rituals don't have to look like sitting in silence; long, quiet meditations; or a special drawn-out process. So, how do you add simple practical rituals into your everyday moments without the pomp and drama of a fully fledged ritual? Good news, it's totally easy.
There are parts of daily life that can be ritualized with just a simple shift in focus and attention. By shifting your energy when you engage in these tasks, you bring more of your spirit and power into them. We all have daily tasks that must be done; why not add magick into these moments?
2020 Trauma Survival Guide: 5 Things to Have in Your Emotional Toolkit
So, you are nearing the end of the year 2020. Almost made it, right? Wrong. It turns out that the negativity of 2020 was a miasma that weakened and sickened nearly all of us in either a literal or figurative way. The losses have piled up, and the grief from each of them is real. Many people lost a job, felt a best friend drift away, lost a parent to COVID-19, or had a marriage crumble under the stress of being home-bound. The emotional and spiritual impacts
from 2020 are diverse and immeasurable, yet universal. Even those who were fortunate enough to whether the pandemic storm in physical health have been left with residual emotional trauma and limitations. Here are five things that you should have in your spiritual first aid and emergency preparedness kit.
1. A journal: A prolonged emergency can cripple your sense of perspective. A journal will help you understand the enormity of what you have been going through, which can allow you to have more compassion towards yourself.
Over the past year, due to the pandemic, many people have transitioned to working at home, and to home-schooling their children. This hearkens back to the days when most folks lived on their small homesteads, or kept an apartment above their workplace. The butcher, baker, candlestick maker, as well as farmers, weavers, potters, and yes, folk healers and other "witches" did much of their work at home-based businesses. Children were taught how to
manage a household, and how to help their parents with a profession, right alongside their reading, writing, and arithmetic. Thus, people came up with ways to spiritually protect their homes, workspaces, and their families. People shielded themselves, and did protective rites for their workplace, to prevent malicious beings and negative energies from entering their buildings. This type of folk magick can help to promote a calm, pleasant work environment—especially helpful when your business is also your home!
Our forebearers also used folk magick to help them get their work done. In the past, craftspeople would bless the tools of their trade. Workers would perform rituals to help their tasks to go smoothly and to earn a good income. Homemakers sang chants to make butter from cream, and blacksmiths did rites to pound out a horseshoe from iron. In the present day, we can easily adapt these traditional folkways to our computer or smartphone.
While the internet is the gateway to the world, it can also be a portal for unpleasant energies. People may still have to deal with difficult tasks, disgruntled clients, and crabby bosses, while communicating online. Businesses still need to attract customers, and make money, while their employees are laboring at home. Simple folk magick, which has been performed over the centuries, can help working witches to cope with online commerce.
First, start with a clean slate. The home office should be smoke-cleansed with an incense of protection, such as dragon's blood. Use a feather, hand fan, or small broom (besom) to waft the smoke through the air and across the furnishings. Open windows and doors to release any harmful energies. Walk counter-clockwise (widdershins) around the perimeter of the workspace, fanning the smoke, paying special attention to windows, doors, electrical outlets, heating
ducts, vents, wifi cables and connectors, and yes, your computer itself. Speak words of intent, such as, "I cast out any harmful influences, I banish any disturbing emotions." Ancestors, deities, or other beings can be called upon to help.
Wild Magic: Simple Ways to Step Into Celtic Folk Magick
Much of modern western magic has its roots in the early 20th century, including Wicca and modern Druidry. However, when seeking to learn more about the magical traditions of the Celtic and British lands, it is possible to find a whole host of ancient lore and practices that have survived well into the modern period. Despite modern misconceptions that very little of our earlier pagan lore can be known, our folklore and oral literature actually contain a host
of charms and spells, rituals and prayers, and our tales and mythology contain many spiritual lessons and practical demonstrations of how to interact with our native spirit world and those who inhabit it. Never fixed in a particular period of time or geographical area, these magical treasures have an ancient history with their roots in our pre-Christian traditions, with local and regional variations that have evolved over time and with cultural changes. This makes them uniquely suited to adapt and continue to
be used in ways that suit us today. This is not to suggest that we can just make things up; we need to keep those roots strong, and the magical relationships our ancestors held with the unknown honoured and maintained, but we are able to make this our own, as previous generations have. This is a magic for the people, based on our organic relationship to the living spirits and resources of our landscape—it is a Wild Magic.
When we think of the Celtic lands over the last two thousand years there is often the presumption that these were Christian countries, but these days modern research shows that this was not really the whole story. Throughout most of the period from the Middle Ages to the modern era, Christianity was the religion of the aristocracy and literary classes, the landowners and the lawmakers, but in the lower classes and rural areas, church attendance has fluctuated
wildly. In the past common folk were often chastised and harried into going to church even at the most important times of the liturgical year. A practical understanding of Christian values also varied widely in these largely illiterate communities and church attendance did not always equate to Christian belief as it would be understood today. Instead, when they were in need, the workers of the fields and the villages would often go to the local healers and magical practitioners. Known as Bean Feasa in Ireland,
wisewomen, or more generally across Britain and Ireland, the Cunning Folk, these healers and practitioners served their local communities in a host of activities from tending the sick people as well as any ill livestock, birthing babies, tending to the dead, and protecting people from ill wishes and finding lost and stolen goods. They performed this work often with great success with the aid of verbal and practical charms and spells that were handed down orally, as well as a vast knowledge of herbal medicine
drawn from their landscape, often impressive psychic skills, known as seership, and almost invariably with the assistance of various helping spirits. Famous examples include Biddy Early in Ireland, Isobel Gowdie and Bessie Dunlop in Scotland, and the Physicians of the Myddfai in Wales, who were so respected that they also attended Welsh royalty.
Wendy has always carved a unique and individual path. Since the release of her first album Zero in 1996, she has defied categorisation, always walking to the beat of her own drum. Combining elements of gothic, folk, world, ambient and cabaret music, and crossing over into Pagan and New Age catagories with her many mythological, esoteric, and ritual references, Wendy is as individual as she is prolific.
A dedicated live performer, Wendy has toured extensively since her first album’s release - starting in Australia, then branching out with her first international tour in 2001. Renowned for her extraordinary voice and live shows that blur the line between music, ritual and theatre, Wendy has gained a loyal following in Australia, the USA, Europe and the UK. From the most intimate solo house concerts, to festival gigs with her band (featuring long term musical
collaborator Rachel Samuel on cello), Wendy takes her audience on an otherworldly journey of depth and passion.
With the help of her loyal fanbase Wendy continues to maintain her musical independence, unbound by the confines of the mainstream. Two hugely successful crowdfunding campaigns have helped bring both Persephone, and her previous album Black Snake (2014) to life. In the past few years she has continued to grow her audience, not only with her dedicated touring schedule, but also with her performance as ‘La Llorano’ in the 2016 feature film Boys in the Trees
by director Nicholas Verso (now screening on Netflix), andwith her popular monthly Full Moon Magic Iive-streamed concerts.
In 2014 Wendy relocated from Australia to the USA, and is now living in the beautiful High Desert city of Santa Fe, New Mexico - allowing her an even stronger connection to her ever growing US fanbase, and providing daily access to the wild Nature that inspires her unique and transformational work.
Persephone, the new double- album from Australian visionary songstress Wendy Rule is the culmination of over twelve years work, and although drawing on Wendy’s musical journey over the past 2 decades, is unlike anything that she has done before. This beautifully evocative retelling of the Ancient Greek myth of the Goddess Persephone’s descent into the Underworld is almost like an opera, designed to guide the listener through this ancient tale of the cycles
of Nature. With subtle textures that reference her early life as a jazz singer in her home town of Melbourne, and the trademark dark, gothic soundscapes and souring vocals of her previous 7 major albums, Persephone is an ambitious and unique 24 track journey through the realms of Life, Death, and human emotion.
TWPT is proud to present a talk we hand with Wendy about her music and her new album Persephone. Without further ado.....enjoy!
Transformative Witchcraft TWPT talks to Jason Mankey
Jason lives in California with his wife Ari and two cats. Each of those cats has claimed one of them as their human. Jason belongs to their black cat Evie (short for Evening), while the high-strung tortie Summer (short for Midsummer) has claimed Jason's wife Ari.
Jason spends most of his time in front of his computer these days. Not only does he write Raise the Horns here at Patheos Pagan, but he is the channel editor there too! That doesn’t mean he edits every post that comes out, but he does some editorial type stuff. He recruits writers, schedules social media for articles, and about ten other little things.
It’s mostly fun because he works with some truly awesome people, not only there at Patheos Pagan, but at Patheos Central too.
When he is not writing on the blog he also writes books. His first book for Llewellyn is called The Witch’s Athame and was released in January of 2016. Jason was really proud of most of it, especially the rituals. He also writes for Witches and Pagans magazine and for their online site Pagan Square.
When he is not writing he is a pretty active Witch. He es an initiated Gardnerian and helps run a coven out of his house known as The Oak Court. Jason realizes thtt the name is rather pretentious sounding, but it’s really just the name of the street he lives on. He also helps facilitate an eclectic Pagan circle in Silicon Valley. All this keeps him rather busy.
He loves being on the road and visiting Pagan Festivals. His hobbies include Pagan history, Steeler football, Penguin hockey, and he is a big fan of the Michigan State Spartans and Tennessee Volunteers. (Luckily for him they don’t play each other very often.) he is also a whiskey enthusiast, a lover of hard cider, and a giant music nerd.
Living Spirits explores the various types of spirits which exist in Western Magic and how they can be approached in a world alive with their presence and power. Living Spirits invites readers to jump off the sidelines and reach deep into the rich soil of a magical world and explore its power and mysteries so as to apply them for the purposes of real and effective magic. The book explores the traditions of the grimoires but goes beyond that and explores spirit
magic in a broader current based on building relationships with spirits.
TWPT: How about we start off with an introduction of yourself for the readers of TWPT as to how you define your current path you are on, whether you view it as a magical path or a spiritual path or little bit of both and how it was that you discovered it or how it made itself known to you.
BJS: I suppose I foremost consider myself a magician. In some regard I would say this answer describes me almost occupationally, magic is the skill set and knowledge system to which I have devoted my time. That said it has also been a part of my life since the start so it’s something I think of as intrinsic to my experience as well. While I don’t think of magic as religion or as spirituality per se they overlap and
relate to one another and all are both informed by as well as informants of one’s philosophy and worldview. They all kind of interweave together as far as an outlook or path, or more a structure for being. In that sense I am fairly ecumenical. I am a Gnostic Catholic Priest and a Thelemite, but I also am very tied to traditional Catholicism. I hold Pagan beliefs and am very influenced by Neo-Platonism. Practically speaking my approach to magic is informed and influenced by these things, but my practice of magic
is its own thing, itself drawing on many disciplines, and my experience of magic and the mystical helps build my pluralistic experience of religion and spirituality.
Now comes the vernal equinox, and the season of spring
reaches its apex, halfway through its journey from Candlemas to Beltane. Once
again, night and day stand in perfect balance, with the powers of light on the
ascendancy. The God of Light now wins a victory over his twin, the God of
Darkness. In The Mabinogion myth reconstruction that I have proposed, this is
the day on which the restored Llew takes his vengeance on Goronwy by piercing
him with the sunlight spear. For Llew was restored/reborn at the winter
solstice and is now well/old enough to vanquish his rival/twin and mate with
his lover/ mother. And the Great Mother Goddess, who has returned to her Virgin
aspect at Candlemas, welcomes the young Sun God’s embraces and conceives a
child. The child will be born nine months from now, at the next winter
solstice. And so the cycle closes at last.
We think that the customs surrounding the celebration of the
spring equinox were imported from Mediterranean lands, although there can be no
doubt that the first inhabitants of the British Isles observed it, as evidence
from megalithic sites shows. But it was certainly more popular to the south,
where people celebrated the holiday as New Year’s Day, and claimed it as the
first day of the first sign of the zodiac, Aries. However you look at it, it is
certainly a time of new beginnings, as a simple glance at nature will prove.
In the Roman Catholic Church, there are two holidays that
get mixed up with the vernal equinox. The first, occurring on the fixed
calendar day of March 25 in the old liturgical calendar, is called the Feast of
the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (or B.V.M., as she was typically
abbreviated in Catholic missals). Annunciation means an “announcement”. This is
the day that the archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was “in the
family way”. Naturally, this had to be announced since Mary, being still a
virgin, would have no other means of knowing it. (Quit scoffing, O ye of little
faith!) Why did the church pick the vernal equinox for the commemoration of
this event? Because it was necessary to have Mary conceive the child Jesus a
full nine months before his birth at the winter solstice (i.e., Christmas,
celebrated on the fixed calendar date of December 25). Mary’s pregnancy would
take the natural nine months to complete, even if the conception was a bit
For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Ostara click here
Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: the Autumnal Equinox
March 20, 2021
For an article on Atumnal Equinox by Mike Nichols click here.
Can you feel the chill in your bones? In the coldest, darkest of times, perhaps
that’s when we enjoy warmth the most.
gentle cool, we turn to the extreme of Winter.
Winter sorts out those things which are strong enough to survive the
harsh cruel times, to sow their seeds again in Spring. After the new birth of Spring, the growth of
Summer, and the fruition of Autumn -- Winter brings a cold dark sleep to the
busy Earth. Likewise, our own lives
“chill out” a bit during Winter, as we put away our Summer toys. We turn inward; we renew our love affair with
hearth and home.
In Winter, we
need to make our own warmth and light, rather than merely find it in the Summer
sun. We proactively create warmth in our
home. Blankets and boots, sweaters and
scarves, heaters and hot cocoa – these are the magical tools of Winter, with
which we evoke the warmth that we crave.
Whether you use a wood-burning fire place, or modern-day furnace, you
invite the powers of fire to enter your home.
To make an analogy, for food we can hunt and gather what is already
available, or we can farm -- and actually create the food that we eat. Likewise, in Winter, we create the “fires” we
need to survive, warmth that otherwise would not be there. Creating something is one of the most magical
events we ever do. How do you create
fire and warmth? How do you relate to
the warmth-making tools you use, year over year? Celebrate the people, places and things which
keep you warm when you need it most. See
them as a magical part of your life, and honor them for the gifts that they
give. Say a few special words each time
you light your flame, set your thermostat, or prepare your warm wooly clothes.
the outdoors looks much different than it did just a few weeks ago. The trees stand naked. They let us see their true shape, expose the
gentle curves of their branches, unclothed by leafy green. Look at your favorite trees now. See them right down to the bone. As each individual tree becomes leafless, the
entire forest opens itself up to be seen.
In the lush green of Summer, leafy trees are so full that they hide what
stands behind them. They let us see only
a few feet ahead of us to what is on the surface. But in Winter, we can see much further, much
deeper into the forest than any time of year.
What do you notice now that otherwise was hidden? See your favorite places in a new way, in a
way that only Winter can show you.
apparent lifelessness takes away so much foliage, that we focus on those few
plants left. Perhaps it is no accident
that we associate Evergreens with this season.
Even in the darkest of times, what parts of you always seem to hang in
there, no matter how rough life gets?
What within you manages to cope with your bleakest moments, pulling you
through till brighter days appear?
Perhaps we all have a spark within us that is truly ever green!
Everyday Witch Tarot TWPT talks to Deborah Blake & Elisabeth Alba
Deborah Blake is the award-winning author of Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice, Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft, The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch, Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook, Witchcraft on a Shoestring, Everyday Witch Book of Rituals and The Witch’s Broom (all from Llewellyn). She has published numerous articles in Llewellyn
annuals, as well as other Pagan publications, and her ongoing column, “Everyday Witchcraft” is featured in Witches & Pagans Magazine.
Deborah is also the author of the paranormal romance Baba Yaga series from Berkley Publishing, which includes novella Wickedly Magical, and books Wickedly Dangerous and Wickedly Wonderful.
Her short story, “Dead and (Mostly) Gone” is included in the Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales (Llewellyn, 2008). Her fiction is primarily Paranormal Romance, although she also writes Fantasy, Mystery and Young Adult. She is represented by agent Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.
Deborah had been interviewed on television, radio and podcast, and can be found online at Facebook, Twitter and http://deborahblake.blogspot.com as well as The Creativity Cauldron, a loop she founded for writers and aspiring writers.
When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker, tarot reader, and energy healer. She lives in a 120 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.
Elisabeth is a recent transplant to Western Massachusetts, after having moved there from New York City where she lived for eight years, and where she completed her MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay at the School of Visual Arts. Before then, she had received her dual degree BA in English (with a focus on children’s literature) and visual art studies at the University of Florida. She's traveled a lot, which has led to an obsession
with history and an interest in other cultures throughout the ages. She has always loved children’s literature and film, especially fantasy and historical fiction.
Her clients include Scholastic, Simon + Schuster, Llewellyn Worldwide, Oxford University Press, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Metropolitan Books, Small Beer Press, AAA Traveler magazine, and MTV Books. I’m the illustrator of Diamond and Fancy, both published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic, and part of the Breyer Stablemates easy-to-read series. She also illustrated I am Martin Luther King Jr., I am George Lucas, and I
Am Cleopatra, all written by Grace Norwich and published by Scholastic; and she contributed illustrations for The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare, Simon & Schuster.
Witches&Pagans #38 - Magic of the People: Folk Magic & Conjure
Folk magic is simply the magic of the people: down-to-earth, pragmatic practices that address everyday human needs. In this issue of Witches&Pagans we share the experiences of all kinds of Pagans & Heathens: witches, conjure practitioners, artists, writers, artisans, and others, making magic with what they have to benefit themselves, their friends & families, and their communities. Join us!
Focus on Folk Magic & Conjure
Hillfolk Hoodoo: The Village Witch of Asheville tells it like it is. Meet H. Byron Ballard: a Western North Carolina native, teacher, folklorist and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at many Pagan conferences, written many books on Pagan culture and American Folk magic, and is the village witch of Asheville, North Carolina. Interview by Diotima Mantinea.
The Foundation Laid Before Us: How I Serve the Ancestors and 9 Ways You Can Serve Yours, Too. Hoodoo Sen Moise has been studying this tradition and working with Conjure for over 35 years. In this exclusive excerpt from his book Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic, Moise teaches his methods of honoring the ancestors. With original artwork by Greg Spalenka.
Aim for the Moon: A Visit to Lucky Mojo Curio Shop. Tina Riddle Deason takes a drive to the country and discovers a place full of magic and visions. With original artwork by Greg Spalenka.
Tracing the Roots: Folk Magic, Wicca, & British Traditional Magic. Join Pagan historian and ethnologist A. C. Fisher Aldaag as she sorts out the complicated backstories of magical traditions originally based in the complex traditions of the British Isles.
The Art & Magic of Poppets. Sit down with Laura Tempest Zakroff and enjoy a cozy visit with Pagan author, artisan, and celebrity Silver Ravenwolf.
People, Place, and Practice
How Did We Get Here? Far-Right Ideology in Pagan and Heathen America. White nationalism has grown bolder recently and Paganism, like other religions, has been drawn into its orbit. Jefferson F. Calico explores both the peril of white supremacy and what is being done to counteract its influence in contemporary Pagan/Heathen culture. Plus: Heathen vs. Hate: A Trollslayer’s Guide by Erin Lale.
Witch, Please: Finding Magic in Changing Times with Misty Bell Stiers. Deborah Castenella catches up with this very urban witchy mama to discuss how she make family magic in these challenging times.
The Tarot Garden of Garavicchio. Lisa McSherry is our guide to a walk through the monumental creations of an Italian visionary.
Focus on Pagan Living
Our columnists weigh in on all kinds of magic, devotion, and practice.
Christopher Penczak -- Mysteries of the Sovereign.
Jamie Della -- Face your fears with Aspen.
Hecate Demetersdatter – The rules of witchcraft: none. And Mason jars.
Deborah Blake -- In Spring, looking towards the Harvest to come.
Diotima Mantineia – If you want to live in a better world, now is the time to up your magical game. (The stars are on your side.)
Archer – The fresh water spring is where above and below come together.
Ivo Dominguez, Jr – Working locally is at the heart of Folk Magic.
Sara Amis – Folk Magic is based on finding power in the ordinary material world.
Mat Auryn – Hitting the Books: An introduction to Bibliomancy.
Thorn Mooney & Eurus offer answers to your witchy questions. In this issue: "What is the difference between folk magic and witchcraft.
88 pages, publication date August 2020
Note from the publishers
We are taking a short break from printing and publishing until the pandemic situation improves.
We have a new edition ready to release once restrictions have ended.
Stay safe all. Love from The Magical Times
Inside the beautifully illustrated pages of this latest copy Caitlin Matthews talks about faeries and the holy grail. Mabh Savage shares the myths and folklore behind Crows and Rachel Patterson talks about the link between food and magic.
Diana Cooper writes about the wonder of unicorns and Cat Treadwell explains how to live your magic. Lucy Pringle talks about the phenomena of crop circles and Morgan Daimler speaks about Faerie Queens.
Art and photography inside includes the work by Angela Harper, Grace Almera, Bronte, Ivana Desancic, Freerange Faeries, Linda Ravenscroft, Wendy Andrew and many more!
We interview pagan speedfolk band Perkelt and the much loved stage compere Chris Wadeson. Both be attending Sussex Faerie Festival in 2020.
Plus our usual columns, event listings, news and more!
Witchcraft & Wicca magazine includes articles on Witchcraft, Paganism, Mythology, Occultism, and many other related subjects, a vital read for any Pagan, Witch or Wiccan. The magazine is professionally presented with attractive artwork and images to enhance your reading experience.
This issue is available in both digital and print formats
Witchcraft & Wicca Magazine Issue 34 features:
Handfastings - a History - Lyn Baylis
Mental Health and the Suit of Swords - Inbaal
Scent of the Gods - Kevin Groves
The Light and Shadow of the Elder Mother - Carole Carlton
The High Priestess - Fiona Dowson
Bloodied Moon - Carole Carlton
Meeting your Animal Spirit Guides Through Tarot - Katie Giles
Raving about Ravens - Pete Jennings
Why we Need a Pagan Seminary - Lyn Baylis
Flower Magic - Rachel Patterson
Howling at the Moon - Diane Narraway
Witchfest Moves Online for 2020!
Gatherings & Calendar
Articles 'Round the Web
Interview with illustrator Elisabeth Alba by Kelley McMorris
When I heard that that Deborah Blake had a new tarot deck coming out in January 2017 I went looking for the illustrator to find out more about them. I found this older interview from last year that I wanted to share with the readers of TWPT. It was conducted by Kelley McMorris and I only share an excerpt here on the site with a link back to the entire interview on Kelley's blog page. You also might check out Elisabeth's artist
site to get a more detailed look at some of the cards that will be gracing Deborah's deck next year. The great thing is that the ones that I saw all had cats in them. What more could you ask for? Enjoy!----Imajicka
"Today is the beginning of a new series on this blog where I interview illustrators and others in the publishing industry. I've met so many interesting people at art school, conferences, and online, who have stories I want to hear!
I am honored to have our first interviewee, Elisabeth Alba, on the blog today.
Elisabeth has been a freelance illustrator in the children's book and fantasy industries for several years now, and recently quit her part-time job to go full-time. Elisabeth and I have never met in person - YET - but we've been online acquaintances for a year or two. I was curious about how she has managed to build up her freelance career from the ground up, and what it's like being married to ponytail-rocking fellow illustrator Scott Murphy.
When did you first decide to become an illustrator, and what did you do to
I loved reading, picture books, graphic novels, fantasy movies, animated
films - what all illustrators like, really! I had this urge to create
things that would be seen by other people on book covers and inside
books so that they'd have the same pleasure I got when looking at them.
It definitely started in high school, if not earlier, but I still
struggled a bit thinking maybe I should be a doctor or biologist or an
English professor or something more stable career-wise."
Samhain is approaching and with only 8 days remaining before it arrives perhaps you might be thinking you want to understand the Sabbat a little better before celebrating on the 31st. Well you have come to the right place and we can point you to some great information to raise your understanding of what it is that Samhain means to a variety of people both here on TWPT and some written materials around the net that will help too. Right off the bat I can say you should
check out our new
interview with Diana Rajchel about her book about Samahain that was released as one of the Sabbat Essentials series over at Llewellyn. Here on TWPT we have a section called Seasonal Celebrations that has an article by Mike Nichols about each of the eight sabbats on the wheel of the year. You can find his article
about Samhain by clicking here and you'll get a good look at what Samhain is all about.
Also on TWPT is a page of articles about Samhain by a variety of writers and quite a few topics. If you'd like to check into some of these articles you can click here. And finally if you really want to go in depth with the subject of Samhain then head on over to Amazon and try a couple of these books: Samhain: Rituals,
Recipes & Lore for Halloween by Diana Rajchel, Pagan
Mysteries of Halloween by Jean Markale, or Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara by Ashleen O'Gaea. Spend some time with Google and I'm sure you will find many more sources for information about the upcoming sabbat. And if you are looking for a Samhain ritual for a solitary you might try Boudica's ideas in an article that you can find by clicking here. Another great place for a large
chunk of information on Samhain is
over at about Religion. This is curated by Patti Wigington and covers Paganism/Wicca including this link to info about Samhain.
Being of the male persuasion I had my doubts as to how much
I would relate to and be drawn into a novel about a group of older women who follow
Goddess traditions and teachings. After reading Secret Lives I now see that my
doubts were wholly unfounded and that Barbara Ardinger has written a marvelous
book that is engaging, heartwarming and even instructive if you are open to the
spirit in which this novel was written. The grandmothers, the daughters and the
granddaughters of this novel are well drawn characters that personify the
struggles that women in general face living in a world that still sees them as
worth less than their male counterparts but in particular it also delves into
the struggles that women face who follow a spiritual path that does not adhere
to a patriarchal model that has come to dominate this modern world we live in.
Traditionally, Samhain is considered to be the day when the
dead and living can mingle. The veils of the world are at their thinnest and
there is a sense of liminal space in the air. Liminal space is border space,
the in between place, where anything can happen. This flexibility time means
that contact with our ancestors is easier than during the rest of the year. A
lot of rituals I've attended for Samhain have involved remembrances of the
For me, Samhain is a time for change. The nights are getting
longer, the air is cooler, the leaves are falling, and we are going into a time
of the year that tends to make many people insular. At this time of the year I
remember past regrets and assess the overall direction of my life. This has
caused me to start doing an annual ritual for just this time of the year.
This annual ritual involves choosing an element and
dedicating myself to working with it for an entire year. I originally chose the
five classic Western elements to work with. Since these elements have a lot of
behavioral characteristics associated with them, I felt that choosing to work
with an element that represented desired behavioral traits could be useful for
helping a person modify hir behavior.
From Taylor's article called The Samhain Elemental Ritual. Click here to read the entire article.
benign New Spiritual practices can suffer from some of the same
pitfalls as conventional organized religion. Fortunately, once we’re
aware of these diversions we can make the informed choices that reunite
us with the inspirited world, rather than contribute to our
my life of pilgrimage the voices of the earthen Anima have repeatedly
contradicted what I’ve read, was taught, once thought, and so badly
wanted to believe... Thus as I became a teacher myself, I deferred
again and again— not to presumed authorities or established traditions,
but to the actual Source of every real truth they contain. Our
realization of wholeness/holiness begins not in contemplation or
conclusion but in a great listening. It begins in a vulnerable
condition of openness, with fierce focus, gentle humility, and the
overwhelming gratitude that makes us worthy of such gifts.
Developing the Magickal Personality By David Rankine
"I for my part, knew how
little the true adept needs for his magic, but I had to work upon men's
imaginations, and for that I needed a stage setting...and to this end I had to
have about me that which should suggest the great days of the past when the
cult to which I belonged was at the height of its power...And so, little by
little, I had collected ancient things from the old temples...I also used
colours for my background, knowing their power over the mind - over my mind as
well as over the minds of those who came to visit me.There is a science of colours...for my
purpose I use the pale opalescent moon-colours on a base of silver; the purple
that is a plum-colour, and the reds that are magenta or maroon, and the blues
of sea-water and the sky at night; never the strong primaries such as a man
uses when he is a magus.Always the
shadowy, blended colours are mine, for I am the shadow in the background.
"As for my body, I had made
that to be an instrument of my personality, training it, supplying it, learning
its arts and powers.Nature had not been
unkind, but she had not been lavish, and I had to make of myself something that
I could use for the purpose I had in hand...I am bold, even rash, in the matter
of lipsticks, and I love long ear-rings.It would require Huysmans to do justice to the ear-rings I have
possessed - jade, amber, coral, lapis, malachite for day; and for the night I
have great jewels...I wear my own fashions, and they come from the "soft
furnishings" as often one does not find in the dress materials...I like
rings, too, so big that I can hardly get my gloves on over them; and bracelets
like fetters on my wrists.My hands are
supple with ritual...and I wear my nails long to match my tiger teeth.I like my shoes to be very soft and light and
supple, like gloves rather than shoes, so that I can move in them without
sound...I know the meaning of movement - how it should flow like water.I know too how the body should swing and
balance from the waist..."(from
Moon Magic by Dion Fortune)
The above passage, from Dion
Fortune's magickal novel Moon Magic, gives a description of how her character,
Vivien Le Fay Morgan, has developed her magickal personality.She chooses clothing, colours, jewellery, and
even the way she moves her body, and speaks, in a conscious way, to project her
magickal personality.The way we dress,
and how we look, not only tells others a lot about ourselves, but also affects
the way we feel about ourselves.
When we take our clothes off to work
rituals sky clad, we are casting off our social selves, and coming to a more
natural state, closer to nature.Putting
on ritual jewellery, which is associated with the magickal personality helps
one to transform into the Magickal Self, or to identify more strongly with
it.If you work robed, changing into a
robe is also a way of changing one's identity to that of the magickal
personality, and this should be done consciously.