[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?
RB: If the conversation is short, I identify as Pagan. If the conversation is slightly longer, I identify as Hellenic (meaning that I honor the ancient Greek Deities, with a few from other pantheons shouldering their way in). If the conversation is long and detailed, with lots of room for nuance, and time for in-depth explanations, I identify as an elemental storyweaver. My focus is on the elements and those Deities most closely associated with the natural world, as well as stories and myths. I weave these together into Pagan faerie tales, fantasy, science fiction, and new myths.
ev0ke: Which Deities, powers, or other spirits are honored in your tradition?
RB: In regards to Deities, I primarily honor those associated with nature and writing/wisdom/magic. So, Gaia, Artemis, Hermes, the Muses, and the Charites, as well as Odin. But I also honor the elements themselves and certain aspects of the nature world (particularly trees).
I should clarify that when I write “elements” I do mean the traditional four (earth, air, fire, and water), but also others. I’m working on a system which ties the eight holy days to eight elements.
ev0ke: Among the various festivals and holy days celebrated in your tradition, which is the most important to you, and why?
RB: The Solstices and Equinoxes are central to my practice (and those are the terms I use, rather than Wiccan terminology). Nothing equivalent to the Wheel of the Year exists in the Hellenic tradition, but I find that it suits my path very well. Marking the passage of time, the cycle of the seasons, the rhythm of dark and light, night and day, is deeply comforting to me.
ev0ke: Which texts, websites, or other resources would you recommend to someone interested in your tradition?
RB: Books which celebrate the natural world, and (re) examine the relationship between creation, humanity, and spirituality are high on my list. For example, Earth Mother by Jackson and Dillon; The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature by Starhawk; Mother Earth, Father Sky by Yolen; Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm by Buhner; A Reenchanted World: The Quest for a New Kinship With Nature by Gibson; The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature by Suzuki; Soulwind by Morse; The Sweet Breathing of Plants: Women Writing on the Green World, edited by Linda Hogan; to name a few.
(And, yes, there is just as much wisdom to be found in scholarly texts, graphic novels, and children’s books alike.)
Books by Pagans which re-tell old myths, weave new myths, or just tell a fantasy or science fiction or romance story from a Pagan point of view are equally important to me. There are too many others to possibly list here — though a few stand-outs include T. Thorn Coyle, Jolene Dawe, John Michael Greer, Andrew Gyll, Erynn Rowan Laurie, Archer Kay Leah, C.S. MacCath, Shirl Sazynski, and Shannon Connor Winward — so check out my reviews on BookMusings and here on ev0ke.
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?
RB: I edit the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer, which features new issues every Solstice. And I am the editor-in-chief of Bibliotheca Alexandrina; we usually have multiple projects going on at once. Plus, I am constantly writing my own stories and poems, a few of which I have published. Basically, when I am not reading, I am writing; and when I am not writing, I am reading. And when I am not doing either of those, I am outside, listening to the rain fall through the leaves.