[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 email@example.com.]
ev0ke: How do you define your particular tradition or path? Does it have a specific name?
Lisa Wagoner: I define my path as Celtic Pagan Witch. Celtic witchcraft has a strong sense of spirituality and a love of the earth, which I share. I am not Wiccan, but consider myself a witch, in that I do spellwork or “workings,” as I call it. Pagan because I am not monotheistic, and my beliefs fall outside of most world traditions. I am called to nature, and find my spirituality best within forests, mountains, and trees. The ocean calls to me as well, but living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I don’t get there as often as I’d like. I identify most with the Celts and follow their traditions and practices, including the Wheel of the Year. I have always felt a strong pull towards Ireland, and that despite being only 3% Irish according to DNA testing. A few years ago, I discovered that the Celts settled in Germany and Austria, which is where my matriarchial ancestors come from, so I feel it is in my DNA, and I heard their call, so I follow it.
ev0ke: Which Deities, powers, or other spirits are honored in your tradition?
LW: I am a devoted follower of Brigid. I am her flame tender, and a priestess in her name at the local goddess temple (Mother Grove Goddess Temple). She is my main deity, although Artemis called to me first, and Aine has recently joined in the last year. They are the three main ones whom I follow, and I find that the other two recede when one of them has a message or path they want me to follow. My deities are a persistent bunch! My focus last summer was due to Aine, who bolstered me in strength as I was supporting my younger son when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He is now in remission and cancer-free, and I know that any fortitude I had was due to Aine stepping up and making herself known. She encouraged me with readings, music, and ritual. I had never heard of her before then, and I have honored her with thanks ever since.
ev0ke: Among the various festivals and holy days celebrated in your tradition, which is the most important to you, and why?
LW: Imbolc is the most important festival for me, followed by Beltane and Lammas. Imbolc was my first encounter with Brigid, who called me and claimed me as her own. Not only as a goddess of poetry, but of healing, beer, and sacred wells, among many other facets. My focus is on Brigid year-’round, but especially during the month of February. I honor her with candle lighting and smooring, tending the hearth, writing, and visiting our local sacred wells.
Beltane is one of my favorite festivals because I enjoy summer greatly, and it heralds in the warmth, the soft air and the freedom of the summer months. Life for me seems a bit more carefree in the summer,and I enjoy starting the season by celebrating Beltane. I am also partial to flower crowns, and I have to say, it is one of my favorite parts of the season! It’s also a great time to head outdoors, whether it be with festivals or celebrations.
Lammas has become a bit of a restart button for me, as that time of year can find me a bit weary, the altar a bit dusty, and life so very busy. Lammas reminds me to begin again, and to bake bread. I rarely bake bread, but have made it a point to bake a loaf to honor the season, and to note my gratitude for hitting the reset button provided by the Wheel of the Year. Baking bread grounds and centers me, and ties me to our agricultural traditions. After all, how easy is it to go out and buy a loaf of bread? Yet to make bread with your own hands is an experience that is so deeply satisfying and enriching. Our ancestors knew what they were doing, with the celebrations of the Wheel of the Year, and I remain thankful for aligning my personal year to them.
ev0ke: Which texts, websites, or other resources would you recommend to someone interested in your tradition?
LW: Anyone interested in following my tradition can find a great deal of information online. My blog on Patheos, “Witch, Indeed” covers my adventures as a Celtic Pagan Witch in Asheville, North Carolina. I highly recommend the book Tending Brigid’s Flame by Luanaea Weatherstone. Much can be found about Brigid both in books and websites, and I would suggest the site Kildare Heritage for the history and background of Brigid, with an eye towards a possible future visit!
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?
LW: As I mentioned, I have a blog on Patheos called “Witch, Indeed”, where you can find my weekly entries. I am presently working on a book for Llewellyn called Positive Pagan, which will be released in 2021. It is a guidebook for all those who feel overwhelmed by the world’s negativity, yet feeling positive themselves, not sure what to do with that positivity, or how to express it. Locally, I present workshops, and you can find all my upcoming events here.