[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?
Lynn Klug: I use the word “Heathen” because I appreciate the emphasis on family/community and on the power of our ancestors. I feel a resonance of a sort with the runes as a complex tool. I find myself more readily inspired by the stories and powers of northern and western Europe. All that said, I also use the word “alchemist” to describe the way I craft tools and integrate lessons from a variety of sources. In the end, I use what works and if Heathen Alchemist is a thing, then I think that’s me.
ev0ke: Which Deities, powers, or other spirits are honored in your tradition?
LK: Short version, the ones who show up. More detailed, the ones who seem to show an interest in what’s going on in our community and in my personal practice. Collectively we honor our various ancestors, Frey, Freya, and Donner/Thor fairly regularly. We have also held feasts where Dionysuswas honored with drinking and tale telling. I personally keep a small shrine for Ares and for Aphrodite, as well as often meditating and seeking inspiration or aid from animal teachers, most often Vulture and Heron.
ev0ke: Among the various festivals and holy days celebrated in your tradition, which is the most important to you, and why?
LK: Summer Fest (which is not an historically heathen holiday) and Yule(which we date by the reconstructed lunar calendar) are our biggest celebrations. I personally love that we are balancing one historically attested and one rather modern feast as our primary points on the year. It’s a great metaphor for our approach overall. We’re inspired by history, but not limited to it. Because we are based around a farm we also take time to recognize planting and various harvests as they happen rather than on a calendar. And, yes, we will happily join our friends on other paths for their festivities as well whenever we’re invited. Beltane and Samhain seem to be collectively enjoyed a great deal.
ev0ke: Which texts, websites, or other resources would you recommend to someone interested in your tradition?
LK: Rather than drop names that are certain to ruffle feathers on multiple sides of any given issue, let me explain my general approach instead.
Read it all.
Seriously. Anything and everything that seems relevant and that you possibly have time to read, read. Read things that fall in line with your politics and preferences and read things that definitely don’t. Read things that are scholarly and things that are entertaining. Then shove it all into a small box and go meet people who are actually doing the practice. Going to my first public event was frightening and enlightening in ways that books and forums — while useful — will never be.
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?
LK: I’m currently gearing up for my spring vending and festival season. I’ll have tables at Viking Festival in Manassas, Virginia and at Blue Ridge Beltane in West Virginia as “The Spider’s Masque” with my assortment of crafts and divination services. Yes, I’m on Facebook under that name as well. We are already working on Midsummer VI which is, to the best of my knowledge, the largest pagan festival in southern Maryland. Friends of Midsummer is our active Facebook page where anyone local can keep up with the event.