1. You are an initiated priest, Witch, and co-founder of the Mother Coven of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft in Brisbane, Australia. How would you describe your path?
2. How did your journey with Paganism begin?
As with all Witches and Pagans, and indeed all beings, my path changes and evolves as I do. I decidedly define my personal path as highly syncretic, rather than eclectic, though I do acknowledge that in order to be syncretic one must have an eclectic framework so that inspiration may come from multiple sources. The traditions and cultures that I weave together with purpose into a whole (syncretism) are Greek Paganism (focusing on the mystery cults, such as the Eleusinian and Orphic), British Traditional Witchcraft, Stregheria, WildWood, Faerie/Feri, Reclaiming, and my ancestral traditions of Bali and Eire. In fact I was born into a living mystical tradition of a version of Balinese Hinduism. My family's tradition focuses on divination, sacred mantras and prayers, rituals of the tides of Nature (rice-harvest and lunar flow), and on communication and possession with spirits and deities. Both of my Balinese grandparents were strong medicine people and my Dadong (grandmother) in particular was well-known for her prowess and potency at the hidden arts. My path as ever is centered around the shamanic core or foundation of the Craft and of devotion to the priesthood that means service.
As I mentioned above I was born into a mystical tradition; however, I was not born into Witchcraft, which I define as a European magickal tradition of pre-Christian origin/inspiration. When I was twelve I began to realize and unravel my personal spirituality and I knew without a doubt that it was Pagan, which essentially means that I experience the Earth as sacred, as Mother and Goddess, and that I relate to matter as spirit incarnate, and therefore all things are sacred. This attitude colors my life.
I began my path as an eclectic "Wiccan
," without ever really understanding what that meant, and it was only after the Goddess Persephone came into my life that I truly felt I had found a path that was of and for me. It was through Persephone and the many Gods that followed that I became syncretic, rather than eclectic.
3. Your new book, By Land, Sky & Sea, discusses three realms of Shamanic Witchcraft. Why did you choose to focus on these three elements of earth, air, and water?
In the traditional shamanic cosmology there are three realms or three levels of reality in which other worlds may exist (of similar vibration/type). Generally-speaking these realms are identified as the Upperworld, the Middleworld, and the Underworld. The Celts had their own unique way of remarking upon this cosmological experience and called it "Land, Sky and Sea." Technically speaking, the Three Realms do not constitute the Elements, so Land is not Earth, Sky is not Air, and Sea is not Water in the elemental sense. They are names associated with differing vibrations that are allocated to the upper (higher vibration), middle (lower vibration), and lower (subtle vibration) segments of the shamanic World Tree (the cosmic pillar that joins the worlds in wholeness). However, I did write in By Land, Sky & Sea that by writing about the Three Realms I am not negating the importance of the fourfold elemental philosophy (joined by Spirit, the fifth essence), but speaking about something else entirely, of which the Elements are definitely a part. If we do see Land as Earth, Sky as Air, and Sea as Water, then (I conjecture) Fire is lit at the sacred meeting-place of the Three Realms, thus the Celts were solar/fire-oriented people.
4. Like Spirited, your earlier book, By Land, Sky & Sea is open to Pagans of any tradition. What can readers take away from By Land, Sky & Sea to deepen their Craft?
I wrote By Land, Sky & Sea originally to open a Celtic-inspired spirituality to my readers; however, the book became what it needed to be and set the foundation of what I teach to those who come to me (whether in workshops or in structured coven work). I teach Shamanic Witchcraft, which is simply another way of saying the ancient and ancestral foundation of the Craft, its vital core. The definition I put forward for Witchcraft is ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition/s. This definition illustrates the three key components that identify a Witchcraft tradition (in my experience). Witchcraft focuses on spiritual technology that opens the mind, dissolves the barriers of the ego, and liberates the spirit, the definition of ecstasy (from ek stasis, to stand outside). Witchcraft concerns the attunement to the cycles of the cosmos as manifest in this planet we call Earth because we revere and honor matter (from mater, or Mother) as sacred; the principle of sacred equality, that all are divine, is central to the experience of the world as alive and ever-evolving through the power of immanent divinity, rather than mechanistic and hierarchically-organized by a transcendent creator deity. Mystery tradition because magick, spirit, God/dess, the Divine, etc. are essentially mysteries that can never be fully or rationally explained, and thus are intimated through the heart, through experience cultivated by the Witch, Mystic, Shaman. This philosophy and therefore the skills that are interwoven with it (the Sight, spirit-flight, trance, oracular seership, etc.) are the meat of By Land, Sky & Sea.
5. What separates By Land, Sky & Sea from other books on Shamanic Witchcraft?
All books are written by human beings who have consciously decided to accept the charge to express a message, teaching, or idea publicly. Spiritual publications tend to be very personal, as the spiritual definitely is personal, and thus each book will differ and be unique. Non-fiction can often be dry and hard to get through; however, in my writing I always include personality, stories, anecdotes, and love notes, as I know that when I read I am really interested in the person, just as much as the message, teaching, or idea they are putting forth. Essentially, By Land, Sky & Sea is both a poetic expression of my love of the shamanic arts, as well as a how-to explanation of conducting and personalizing them.
6. In these difficult political, economic, and social times, what do you hope your readers will gain from By Land, Sky & Sea?
In my first book, Spirited, I was decidedly and emphatically political towards the end. I truly agree with the idea that the personal is political and vice versa. When I write, I acknowledge that the paradigms that inform and structure our western societies are based on ideologies of transcendence, hierarchy, power-over and oppression, inequality and consumerism. Witchcraft and Pagan spirituality bears a message that is the very antithesis of global, industrialized, western societies: that all things are sacred, are equal, are joined by and in Spirit, and all is Divine. Therefore immanence, sustainability and community, power-with and power-from-within, equality and balance are our ideals and ethics. This is the politics that pervades my work and I hope to lend the gifts that are Gods-given and have worked for me to others so that more may free themselves from the shackles that bind them and embrace the magickal destiny of actualizing sovereignty of self – becoming Deity.