[Welcome to our column, Talking My Path. Here, polytheists, witches, and Pagans of any tradition are invited to discuss and celebrate their spirituality in a series of five short questions. If you would like to participate, don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
ev0ke: How do you define your particular tradition or path? Does it have a specific name?
AM: I am initiated into a few different traditions (Neo-Wiccan, contemporary witchcraft, Gnostic) and my own tradition is a combination of all of the above. It’s kind of an accidental Orphic Tradition, and we call ourselves Oroboros. We’re an eclectic bunch, but we all strive towards personal evolution and mysticism. The tradition can take on many flavors among individuals, but fundamentally our core values and approach are the same.
ev0ke: Which Deities, powers, or other spirits are honored in your tradition?
AM: My first initiation was in a tradition that honored Dionysus and Ariadne as patron deities and as part of a regional land-based cultus. These two have the tendency to walk with those initiated into Oroboros, despite what our individual preferred pantheons may be. It’s also important for us that we honor our own deities, spirits, allies, Blessed Dead, et cetera. (sive Deus, sive Dea.)
ev0ke: Among the various festivals and holy days celebrated in your tradition, which is the most important to you, and why?
AM: Beltane or May Day tends to be a big deal within this tradition. I honestly feel as if many Neo-Pagans keep a shallow approach to the May Day Mysteries, but Beltane is a deeply sacred time of life and death, of ecstasy and rebirth, of sacrifice and salvation. Die and be reborn.
ev0ke: Which texts, websites, or other resources would you recommend to someone interested in your traditions?
AM: Oroboros tends to be a mentor/mentee tradition, but we very much have a deep respect for source materials, if available. My personal favorites are those associated the Gnostic corpus, such as the Gospel of Thomas, or Thunder, Perfect Mind. Honestly, we’ve all read Raymond Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft far too many times, more than we care to admit. It’s not because we love it, but because tradition is important to us. It was the first book given to me by my first High Priest, and nostalgia has compelled me to give it to so many others. It’s kind of become a treasured joke among the group, but we find Uncle Buck’s Big Blue Book valuable to read just to have conversations on why we don’t do things as much as why we do.
ev0ke: Is there anything you would like to add, such as creative projects you are undertaking, festivals or events you will be attending, and so on?
AM: I’m a big believer in community, networking, and connections. Times are tough and life is weird. Despite tradition, we are stronger together. I’m personally involved in a local networking group here in North Carolina, but I’ve also been majorly impressed with the work of Mystic South, a Pagan conference held every July in Atlanta. For Southern Pagans and magical folks, this is a great chance to see what magic and devotional work others are engaged in regionally. It’s such a great event, and deeply inspiring for Contemporary Pagans to be among peers doing very cool things.