[Today, we sit down for a short interview with Morgan Daimler. The author of several books in the Pagan Portals series, as well as an on-going fiction series, Daimler here discusses their faith, their writing, and their current and future projects.]
ev0ke: How do you define your personal spiritual path? Does it have a name?
Morgan Daimler: For simplicity’s sake, I tend to call what I practice Fairy Witchcraft. It’s a kind of witchcraft based on blending neopagan and early modern witchcraft with the Fairy Faith. My personal approach is primarily Irish, but does blend in some German and Norse beliefs as well. In a Norse context I use the term Alfatru, faith or belief in the Alfar. My belief in and connection to the Fair Folk, and in that Norse context the Alfar and Huldufolk, is the bedrock of my own spirituality.
ev0ke: You have written several Pagan Portals books for Moon Books. How did that come about? Did you approach them, or did they come to you?
MD: I’ve written about a dozen at this point. I love the Pagan Portals format, which is concise, accessible, and focused. I wrote my first Pagan Portals for Moon in 2014, after having previously written a full length book for them in 2013. I like Moon as a publisher and so when I had the idea to write a concise introduction to the Morrigan I immediately thought of them and their Pagan Portals series. It seemed a natural fit, so I pitched the idea to them.
ev0ke: How did you decide which topics to write about for Pagan Portals? Are there other topics you would like to address in future volumes?
MD: Generally I look at things that I feel like I know a comfortable amount about — that I have a solid familiarity with, if you will — and which I feel like other people are also interested in. I’ve written about my Fairy witchcraft, about Irish Paganism and deities, and about a selection of specific Irish Gods, as well as Odin and now Thor. I am working on a book about Lugh and have debated writing one about the various Otherworlds, although I don’t know if that would be a Pagan Portal or not.
ev0ke: Pagan Portals: Thor releases on 27 March 2020. Congratulations! First, why a book about that particular Norse God?
MD: Thor is a perfect topic, in my opinion, because he is a deity who interests a lot of people, but also one who has a lot more depth than most people realize. After the Marvel movies came out, Thor’s popularity skyrocketed, but with it there was surge in misinformation and confusion. A nice short intro book about him seemed like a great idea at this point, and when my editor suggested it, I was eager to get on board with the project.
ev0ke: What common misconception about Thor would you most like to correct?
MD: I think the biggest misconception that I want to address is that Thor is just a simple warrior. The truth is that he is so much more nuanced and layered than that. Seeing him as just a killer of giants, in my opinion, misses out on a lot of other aspects to him, but that can be the thing that people focus on.
Secondarily, I suppose I’d want to clarify that Thor and Loki aren’t brothers, because that’s everywhere thanks to the movies.
ev0ke: What sort of research went into the book? Which sources did you consult (written, archaeological, personal), and did you discover anything particularly surprising?
MD: It would be a long list to mention every source I used, but I looked to the original sagas and tales of Iceland, and to scholars like HR Ellis Davidson and Rudolf Simek. I sought out references to Thor or of people connected to Thor, like priests and skalds, for mentions of his statues in temples. Also, folktales mentioning him or characters likely based on him. It’s fun to take that sort of deep dive into mythology and folklore and try to learn as much as you can about a single focused topic.
The most surprising thing I learned about Thor in my research was his deep role in the Heathenry of the conversion period. I had known that he was important to the pagan Norse, but I hadn’t understood exactly how pivotal he was during that crucial period when Christianity was coming in. That was fun to learn about.
ev0ke: If someone is interested in honoring Thor and developing a relationship with him, how would you recommend they start?
MD: I think the best start is always to dig into the myths and folklore. A lot of Thor’s stories are found in the Prose and Poetic Eddas, so that’s a good first step. I find that having that grounding in the stories really helps create and nurture a spiritual connection.
ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?
MD: I like to keep busy. I am currently working on a novel as part of my fiction series, Between the Worlds; a creative project blending art and prose with the amazing Valerie Herron; a couple of magazine articles; getting started on Pagan Portals: Lugh; and translating the Cath Maige Tuired from the original language into English. I also have been doing a series of YouTube videos about fairies, as well as my usual blogging.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. A complete list of her publications can be found there.]