[This issue, we sit down for a quick interview with author and witch, Rachel Patterson. Here, she discusses her upcoming book, Pagan Portals: The Triple Goddess; her personal spiritual practices; and her future projects.]
ev0ke: How do you define your personal spiritual tradition? Does it have a name or is it more intuitive and eclectic?
Rachel Patterson: My spiritual pathway is definitely that of a Pagan Witch, but my intuition is key. I have learnt to trust it over the years. I work with the old gods, these days more specifically those that are tied to ancient Britain, but I have worked with deities from across the globe in the past. My initial training was in Wicca and I have worked through the three degrees and gained my High Priestess title. Wicca gave me a good base to start from. Then I wandered all over the place, adding flotsam and jetsam to my personal pathway as I went, and I still do. I love to learn and am always delving into new courses and ways to gain new knowledge. If I had to give myself a label it would be Pagan Kitchen Witch but I am very miscellaneous.
ev0ke: Which Deities, spirits, or other powers are honored in your tradition?
RP: The old gods. Originally many years ago I started off working with the Celtic deities, it made sense to me as I live in the UK. But over time deities from other places made themselves known to me and I have worked with all sorts. I still do have a strong connection to Ganesha in particular. The Cailleach walked beside me for nearly twenty years, but over the last couple of years I have been steered to work with the Gods from ancient Britain, specifically England. I have been researching those that were honoured before the Romans arrived. It has been a fascinating journey and I have made a very strong connection with the goddess Sulis. I also work with animal spirit guides, my main guide being a wild boar. One of my passions is to work with the energy or spirit of place. It is really important for me to connect with the energy of the ground I walk on and the surroundings I am in, whether it is my own home, my garden or any building I am in.
ev0ke: Your book The Triple Goddess: An Updated Approach for Working with the Triple Goddess in Modern Times is due out from Moon Books in December. First, congratulations! Second, how did this book come about? Why a book about the Triple Goddess?
RP: Thank you! It has been a long time in the making. I signed the contract a few years back and kept starting on the manuscript then doubting myself and leaving it. Then going back and starting again. I was conscious of getting it right! One of the first subjects I learnt about on this pathway was that of the Triple Goddess, the idea of Maiden, Mother and Crone. You see the moon symbol for the triple goddess all over the place, in jewellery, on t shirts and altar cloths. It must be one of the most recognisable symbols. Originally I thought it was an ancient idea, but over time I learnt more about it and the modern interpretation. I wanted to clear up any misunderstandings about the history, but also to bring it up to date and make it a workable idea for modern times. I also wanted to add in an extra fourth phase, for me it needed another goddess phase in between mother and crone to bring it more up to date.
ev0ke: In the book, you discuss the different kinds of “tripleness” that can be expressed by the Goddess. Why was it important to you to highlight that in the book? And what were some of the more unusual, or intriguing, examples that you discovered?
RP: I think the whole idea of reflecting our own life phases with those of the triple goddess can be extremely helpful. We can learn from them and gain support and understanding. One of the interesting parts was looking at the triple goddess from a modern perspective, looking at how a maiden would present now or how different the idea of mother is for different people. The mother phase in particular can cause some dispute!
ev0ke: If you could correct one misconception about the Triple Goddess, what would it be, and why?
RP: Anyone and everyone can work with any of the phases of the Triple Goddess. It doesn’t matter what gender you are or identify with, it doesn’t matter what age you are, the Goddess does not judge, she does not discriminate. Any one can work with any phase of the Goddess, at any time.
ev0ke: What sort of research went into The Triple Goddess? Big stacks of books? Long hours online or at the library?
RP: I always have a big stack of books! My library grows daily. I already have a huge resource to draw from but whenever I am writing a new book I buy more books to study from. My local library is good, but it is small and doesn’t carry a huge amount of books in the genre that I work in. I also research online, but am always careful to check sources and facts. Online resources often give links to books that I can then track down. With this book in particular I also drew on my own experience and how I work personally with the Goddesses.
ev0ke: What interesting historical tidbit did you absolutely have to include?
RP: It had to include the connection to Robert Graves, The White Goddess. His book was instrumental in pushing the maiden, mother, crone idea. But it is also a controversial point, so I had to cover the details!
ev0ke: In addition to your own book, which resources would you recommend to someone interested in the Triple Goddess?
RP: I would recommend reading The White Goddess by Robert Graves, although it covers other subjects not just the Triple Goddess. The information is dated and not necessarily factually correct. But I would counter it by reading Mark Carter’s book Stalking the Goddess where he breaks down the details and fact checks.
Gerald Gardner also wrote an essay titled “The Triad of the Goddess” which is interesting.
If you are interested in working with the Goddess generally I can highly recommend Jane Meredith’s books particularly, Aspecting the Goddess.
ev0ke: Where can readers find your work?
RP: I have a main website as well as my Kitchen Witch Hearth. Both have blogs and details about my books and any events I am speaking at. Links can also be found on my website to my facebook, twitter and Instagram pages. I also give regular live talks via facebook and my YouTube channel.
ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?
RP: It is a bit bonkers, but I currently have six signed contracts for books. Four with Moon Books and two with Llewellyn. At the moment I am doing the final edits for a book on the seasons and sabbats for Llewellyn. Alongside writing Pagan Portals: Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Britain for Moon Books. Once those are both done I have another book in my Kitchen Witchcraft series, The Element of Water. Then Practical Candle Magic with Llewellyn. And Household Magic and a book on Sulis with Moon Books. Together with running my online School of Witchcraft and talking at various Pagan events, I am kept pretty busy!