[This month we sit down for an interview with Irisanya Moon, author of Honoring the Wild. Here, we discuss their new book, their activism, and their upcoming projects.]
ev0ke: You recently published Honoring the Wild: Reclaiming Witchcraft and Environmental Activism. First, congratulations! Second, how did this book come about? What was the impetus?
Irisanya Moon: Thanks, I’m proud of this book. As part of the Earth Spirit book series at Moon Books, there was interest in environmental activism being covered – and I proposed a book about Reclaiming. Reclaiming Witchcraft has a long history of environmental actions and magick, and as a part of that tradition, I thought it would be helpful to see how one tradition has worked to unify spirit and politics since the 1970s.
ev0ke: In the Introduction, you note that “the work of activism is ongoing, imperfect, and an invitation to continue.” For those who are uncertain how to begin, what would you suggest?
IM: The word ‘activism’ has become charged and often intimidating, sometimes sounding like it’s only for certain kinds of people – not true! Activism begins where you can begin. I encourage people to find something they care about deeply, and just one thing. This allows you to take action to support that thing and make an impact in a sustainable way. Find a cause and then seek out those already doing activist work and support their needs.
ev0ke: How did you become involved in eco-activism? What has been one of your most memorable experiences?
IM: I often tell a story about how I was an ardent letter writer as a child, actually getting published in a local newspaper for writing to the president at the time about how I wanted him to take care of the Earth. As a child, I was an early adopter of recycling and reusing, much to my parents’ confusion. I turned to vegetarianism and veganism in high school to offset the impact of meat production. I’ve done magick for the waters and my local lands and rituals to support environmental actions. I remember one ritual in which we went out into the redwoods and held them in love and support.
ev0ke: Among the many traditions that fall under the Pagan umbrella, Reclaiming Witchcraft is particularly interested in environmental action. Why is that? What is it about Reclaiming Witchcraft that draws its members towards eco-activism?
IM: While I’m sure different Reclaiming Witches will say different things and have personal reasons, I feel Reclaiming Witchcraft emerged when goddess spirituality was becoming more popular. The idea of protecting Mother Earth became intertwined with the growing practice of magick, and this magick helped in actions and demonstrations against nuclear plants and other environmental tragedies. There is a shared desire to honor the wild in Reclaiming, as it is a part of the Principles of Unity, a document that holds the shared beliefs for Reclaiming.
ev0ke: Honoring the Wild includes discussions with and essays by a number of different Reclaiming Witches. How did you come to include these particular people in the book? Was there an open call or did you reach out to specific individuals? Or a bit of both?
IM: One of my goals with Honoring the Wild was to have a wide variety of voices, so I reached out with a larger call to the community. I explained what I wanted to do and what the goal of the book was at the time, as that changed when I received submissions. I didn’t want to constrain anyone with specific ideas, so I asked for things like rituals, essays, poetry, etc. I didn’t know what I was going to get, so I left it open-ended, and it resulted in a mixture of pieces that wove a lovely tapestry of what Reclaiming Witches do. Of course, it could be a lot longer and have more voices, but I see this as a starting point from which we can continue to tell more stories.
ev0ke: You also contributed to The Gorgon’s Guide to Magical Resistance. How did that come about and how did you decide what to submit?
IM: I previously submitted a piece to The New Aradia from the same editors, so when I saw the new call for submissions, I was interested in offering something. My writing often travels in spaces of heart magick, which I define as the magick of self, divine, and community to fuel sustainable magick and activism. In this piece, I detailed a ritual that uses these pieces to send strength and resilience to ourselves for the coming challenges in the world.
ev0ke: Will you be attending any book fairs, conventions, or other events in the foreseeable future?
IM: I’ve just returned from a witchcamp in Australia, where I was a part of a team that planned and held four days of magick with Aphrodite as our guide. I’m still enjoying the ripples (waves?) of that magick. As the first in-person camp I’ve done since 2020, I am grateful to have shared that magick in a loving community who held each other with grace and kindness.
From here, I have online classes I teach, but I will also be traveling to Canada in September to teach at another withcamp – BC Witchcamp https://bcwitchcamp.ca/.This camp will be following a story of Brigid and her friends, and I am excited to see how that unfolds. As part of the camp, I will be co-facilitating “Elements of Liberation: Where Flame Calls Us Forth” with Sharon Pink. The site will be updated soon with the description.
In October 2023, I’ll be leading rituals and supporting a group during a trip to Greece. I am a priestess of Aphrodite, so my heart is delighted by this. My friend Sasha is organizing all the details, and there are a few spots left the last time I checked. To be on sacred lands and at sacred sites will be a dream. It’s a two-week journey and the itinerary and details are here: https://www.sashazeilig.com/g3.html
ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?
IM: Thanks for asking. I’m always working on things, so my website (www.irisanyamoon.com) is the best place to stay caught up. I recently published a book of poetry, “wrecked: the insistence of grief,” which is a passion project of mine, and it’s on my website and other bookseller sites.
Here’s what I’m working on right now – the full details are on my website:
I have two classes left in a three-class online, live series on Aphrodite, hosted by The Raven’s Wing Magical Co-op. We’ll be covering Beauty on April 29 and Initiation on May 6. These classes are on Zoom, and are recorded, so if you can’t make it, you can watch it later.
In May, I am starting an online, live, series of classes on Iris, the goddess of the rainbow. She is my namesake and someone who continues to inspire me in my writing and magick. She’s not well-known, so I’m hoping to expand awareness of how her service to the godds (*I use this spelling to be more gender-expansive) can teach us about our own service in community.
In July, I start another online, live series on Aphrodite, focusing on Aphrodisia (a celebration held in July), celebrating with Her and for Her and for ourselves. We will move in the steps of so many before: purification, procession, devotion, and celebration (knowing these don’t always happen in this order, often all at the same time).
I anticipate a year-long online class on Aphrodite in 2024. It was last offered in this format in 2021, and I’m excited to bring it back. Singing up for my newsletter on my site will get you the details as I have them prepared.
Finally, I have a few books coming out in the next year. August-ish 2023 will be the release of “Norns: Weavers of Fate & Magick,” a book that talks about another set of beings I work with regularly from the Norse tradition.
In November-ish 2023, Gaia: Saving Her, Saving Ourselves will be released, and it is another book for the Earth Spirit series. This book talks about building a relationship with Gaia as well as how to help the planet with concrete actions.
March-ish 2024, Artemis: Goddess of the Wild Heart & Sovereign Heart will be released. This is a book that is really dives into the complexities of Artemis and her influence in the modern world.
I’m also writing a few other things that will emerge in the next year or so.
I’m sure there is more to come, as I have lots more to say about things…and some collaborations that are still finding form and structure.
Thank you for this interview and the chance to share my magick. “Honoring the Wild” is a book that I hope will inspire others into activism, in any way they can!