[This issue, we sit down for a quick interview with Rachel Patterson. Here, they discuss their new book on kitchen witchcraft, The Element of Fire.]
ev0ke:You recently released Kitchen Witchcraft: The Element of Fire. Congratulations! How and why did this book come about? Why a book specifically focused on fire in kitchen witchery?
Rachel Patterson: The elements (earth, air, fire and water) appear within Witchcraft quite prominently. Whether we use them in ritual, spell work, with elementals or magic of all kinds. The elements are really part of the foundations of the Craft. There are a lot of books that focus on the elements as a group, but I wanted to work with each one individually and really delve into what they are and how we can work with them. Whilst my pathway is mainly along the lines of Kitchen Witchcraft, the book focuses on the element of fire as a whole, whatever pathway you follow. The Element of Earth book was published last year and I am currently writing The Element of Water and the Element of Air, so there will be a complete in depth set eventually.
ev0ke: In the book, you discuss the many different magical and mundane uses of fire, including bindings, candle magic, cleansing, curses, scrying, and sex magic. For someone who is just getting started, what is a good way to get to know fire, and to engage with it in a magical practice?
RP: Probably the easiest way to begin working with fire is to light a candle. So much can be done with a simple candle, even just a small birthday candle can be used to make a simple spell. Or just light a candle and focus on the flame, watch it move and flicker. See the colours and the shapes that the flame creates. The other way of course is to use a cauldron or fireproof dish and burn petitions or incense. It is a very versatile element to work with. It also helps to think about the mundane tasks you do regularly that correspond with the element of fire such as cooking.
ev0ke: The book is divided into three sections. In “Working With Fire,” you discuss the different kinds of fire, including the symbolic and metaphorical. How did you create the exercises in this section? Trial and error? Discussion with other kitchen witches?
RP: The first book in the series, The Element of Earth is already published, so the Element of Fire is based on a similar layout, in fact all four of the books will correspond in structure. I wanted to include some practical ideas because actually getting your hands in and working with it is the best way to learn and experience. But I also appreciate that it isn’t always practical to reach certain places or work with particular items, that’s where the meditations come in. It is all based on experience from my own pathway but also from courses that I have run for students online and in person over the past ten years. Some things work, others don’t, so you learn from it all.
ev0ke: What sort of research went into this book? Long hours at the library? Wide-ranging discussions with other practitioners?
RP: Experience primarily, I have been on this pathway for more than thirty years and you pick up a thing or two! However I do put in a lot of hours of research when writing any of my books. My library of witchcraft reference books is huge and always growing and I also do some research online. Everything needs to be fact checked as well. I also run things past my Kitchen Witch team, if I get a query or my brain leaves for a moment (it happens), I ask the posse which is made up from very experienced witches who support running the Kitchen Witch online School of Witchcraft and the Kitchen Witch Coven. Sometimes I put out queries on the Kitchen Witch facebook group too, if I want to get different perspectives.
ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?
RP: Currently I have two books in production: one with Moon Books which is Pagan Portals: Gods & Goddesses of England and the other is with Llewellyn which is A Witch for Every Season: Spells, Rituals, Festivals & Magic (Publication 8th November 2022). I also have five other signed contracts for books that I am working on: With Moon Books: The Element of Water, Household Magic, Pagan Portals Sulis, and Witchcraft Daily Practice; and with Llewellyn, Practical Candle Magic.
This year I am also back out on the road giving talks at several Pagan events and I have a host of online talks that I have been invited to give too.