[This issue, we sit down for a short interview with Mabh Savage. Here, they discuss their new book, Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Planet Friendly Living; their musical work; and their upcoming projects.]
ev0ke: How do you describe your personal spiritual practice? Does it have a name, or is more intimate and experiential?
Mabh Savage: Mainly nature-based, polytheistic, but no definitive name, no. Gazing in wide-eyed awe at birds and bugs and trees; is there a name for that? There should be, I think. 😊
ev0ke: Which Deities, spirits, or other powers do you honor in your tradition?
MS: I’ve been a devotee of An Mórrígan for the best part of two decades. I came to her through a coven initially, after already being fascinated with the lore. The group eventually went its separate ways and I rededicated as a solo devotee in 2020. I’m also a member of the Covenant of Hekate, and in May I performed the Rite of Her Sacred Fires for the twelfth year running. I recently became connected to Loki, which was a bit of a shock to me as I have never been a Norse Pagan or a Heathen, although I’m fascinated by the mythology and spirituality. That’s something I’m exploring from a “newbie” perspective right now.
ev0ke: Your newest title, Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Planet Friendly Living, was released by Moon Books in March 2022. First, congratulations! Second, how did this book come about? Did you approach Moon Books, or did they come to you?
MS: Thank you so much! This is the book I’m proudest of, so far. I’d already written two books with Moon Books: Pagan Portals- Celtic Witchcraft and A Modern Celt – Seeking The Ancestors. That existing relationship helped me secure the contract for this book, which was a labour of love. I really hope it resonates with people from all spiritual backgrounds who want to ensure their practice is mindful and kind to the planet.
ev0ke: Why a book on the intersection of environmentalism and Paganism? What appeals to you about these topics?
MS: I truly believe that we have to jump on the brakes right now in order to prevent a climate change disaster. I’m a member of the Green Party, and I do try to be as eco-friendly as possible, although like everyone, there’s more changes I could make. Being a Pagan, I think, makes us inherently more connected to nature. All Pagans honour nature, the world, the planet at some level, even if it’s only a very personal level. It feels like a natural extension of this to take action to do the right thing for our beloved Planet. As readers will find out, I was joyful to find that so many others within the various Pagan communities feel the same way.
ev0ke: You include many personal anecdotes and examples of steps that individuals can take in the fight against climate change. Which is your favorite small change (or not so small), and why?
MS: That’s a great question. One is a simple attitude adjustment: never feel like you can’t make a difference because you’re only one person. Every single person who believes they can make a difference becomes one drop of water in a huge wave of transformation. The second is to let your wallet talk — buy ethically where you can. Let big, greedy corporations know they can’t get away with unchecked deforestation/water crimes/pollution because no one will buy their stuff!
ev0ke: In the chapter on sacred space, you discuss the Pagan misuse of natural sites and event grounds. What advice can you offer to organizers or leaders who are planning outdoor rites? And attendees?
MS: I mention this in the book, but we have a mantra at our camps which is, “Leave Only Footprints”. That basically means be responsible for the site being as you found it. Ensure attendees know they’ll be responsible for their own trash. Make sure fires are off the ground unless there’s a dedicated, permanent fire place or pit, in which case, make sure everyone uses this. Set limits on how many people attend — of course, these can differ wildly depending on the size of the area! Have a crew ready to go round the site and pick up dropped bits of litter or other detritus — accidents happen, after all.
ev0ke: You are also a member of the Covenant of Hekate, which crafted the song, “Mother of Dreams.” How did this collaboration come about? What was the creative process like, and were you surprised by the end result?
MS: Wow, this was an amazing experience. It’s a few years back now, and someone in our group came up with the idea for a Song for Hekate, and as I had recording equipment set up for my own music, I offered to record and produce the song. People from all over the world sent ideas, lyrics, snippets of music and song; it was a genuinely global collaboration. The song is available for free on SoundCloud.
ev0ke: Where can readers and listeners find your work?
MS: My own music is on Spotify — just search Mabh Savage and you’ll find “Abyss” and “Seraphim”, two folk-pop songs with more to come. My books are all available at all good book stores, and you can keep up with what I’m doing at www.mabhsavage.com. Look out for my articles on Pagan Pages too, I have a monthly herbal column called Notes from the Apothecary, plus occasional bits about runes. I also share my poetry on there, rambling about everything from seasonal festivals to divine love. All my socials are @Mabherick (pronounced Maverick — it’s my gamer tag and I love it!).
ev0ke: Will you be attending any book fairs, conventions, or other events in the foreseeable future? Either in person or online?
MS: I’ve kept my plans to a minimum this year — I did a number of online talks last year but I’ve had to get my head down and do some actual writing this year! 😊 I’m hoping to be more public with my music, and recently joined TikTok, which is very new for me. My children tell me it’s the future; I guess that’s their department!
On TikTok, look out for lots of videos on “weeds” around the garden and local hedgerows — I’m a massive advocate for appreciating plant life and nurturing pollinators.
ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?
MS: I’m currently co-writing a book on parenting with the author of the fantastic Elemenpals: Meet the Pals, Debi Gregory. It’s really exciting to write with someone else, especially someone who is so talented and passionate about their subject. I’m also just finishing up another volume called The Magic of Birds, exploring folklore, spirituality, and magic (of course) to do with our feathered cousins. It’s illustrated by my fabulous sibling Kay Savage making it my first illustrated book, very exciting! I’m also the editor for Aether, the U.K Pagan Federation magazine for Children, and am currently busy bringing together the Summer Solstice issue. I’m hoping to expand on my nature-based eco-witchcraft by writing more about the creatures people seem to love a little less — bugs, spiders, tiny sea creatures and the scavengers of the world — to try and whip up some love for all the important yet oft-maligned members of our ecosystem.