I am officially kicking off this interview series – Meet with a Maven! I had the joy of connecting with Astrea Taylor. Blogger, fire dancer (the coolest!), and upcoming author, Astrea has found her place within the community.
How did you find your way to practice?
I’ve known I was pagan since I was very young. I picked up a book about Greek Mythology in grade school and felt my entire soul swoon as if my heart were on fire. Even before that, my mother took me to a Christian church and when everyone sang, “amen” at the end of a song, I sang “aw women!” Even at that young of an age, I knew my heart belonged to goddesses.
How would you describe your practice?
I call myself an intuitive witch. It’s a form of eclectic witchcraft, but it’s slightly different because I practice according to my intuition and energy. I work with a few goddesses, some spirits, and my ancestors. My practice is a magical celebration of mostly modern Greek and Norse deities. I have rituals every new moon and full moon, and I also celebrate all of the solar stations. Of course, I have several magical practices I do throughout the day as well.
Who and/or what has been most influential to you in developing your path & practice?
My fairy godmother Penny took me under her wing when I was a teen. She is a Wiccan and exudes charm, confidence, and an ease with her magical life and skills as a psychic.
My mother also encouraged my path. She gave me tarot cards when I was ten and bought me an astrological birth chart reading for my 16th birthday. I think she knows that I would have chosen this path with or without her blessing. It’s a testament to her wisdom that she let me do what I loved.
How has your practice shifted in the last few months and/or years in an unexpected way?
Recently, I took a class on Hekate and became enamored with her. She’s a Titan goddess known as ‘The Queen of Witchcraft.’ As the other Titans, she’s a force of nature, but instead of ruling an object, like the sea, the earth, or the sky, she rules that which is between things. She rules change, opportunity, magic, mystery, and the void.
She is a liminal goddess and walks the crossroads. Her symbols are the moon, the key, the dog, and the torch, illuminating the dark night and showing the way. This aspect of her is reinforced in myth. She is the goddess who helped Persephone escape Hades and returned her to her mother. She has become incorporated into my practice.
How do you discern spiritual messages from everyday coincidence? Do you believe in coincidence?
I believe the world of spirit is always speaking to us. The best way I know to tell if something is an omen from spirit is through timing, personal significance, repetition, and whether the sign is somewhat odd.
What meal always reconnects you with Spirit?
A glass of wine.
I would 100% agree if I could drink wine any longer! Oh, the trials of food sensitivities.
Your perspective on…
What is something in the community that fires you up? Positively or negatively – whatever you want to bring light too.
I don’t like it when people demonize non-traditional witchcraft. I heard one person say that anyone who practices outside of the major traditions like Wicca is as dangerous as an unschooled surgeon performing surgery. It’s ridiculous to me that people think we all need to be on the same path.
Llewellyn Worldwide will be publishing my book, Intuitive Witchcraft, in 2020. It’ll revolutionize and ground eclectic witchcraft into something with a more solid foundation. The book will discuss using intuition, science, emotion, logic, magic, and spirituality on a whole other level. It’ll give options on using intuition to make their magic more personal to them.
Spiritual practice can be highly commercialized and appropriative of the sacred traditions of marginalized cultures and peoples. How do you navigate building an inclusive practice that still honors where Spirit guides you?
De-colonizing pagan practice is an important concept. If we choose to work with gods from a different culture, I believe we need an abundance of respect. Especially if the culture who birthed those gods is still alive today.
We also need humility, source information, and a sign from the gods that they want to work with us. I believe in letting source-level people from the culture lead and teach whenever possible. Learning from those people and citing them is the best way to avoid sharing misinformation.
What is next…
What projects have you been pouring your passion into?
Besides my book, I blog regularly on Patheos Pagan. I never thought I’d have over 170K page views in 2018! I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to spread the light in such a big way.
I also have a business called The Blessed Be Box that sells a ‘ritual in a box’ for the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter holidays. I write the rituals and chose the items, and my friend, a certified aromatherapist, creates oils and another product like an incense blend or bath salts. Together, we come up with a complete package that gives you everything you need to have a spiritual ritual.
We’re putting together the box for Imbolc right now, and it’s going to be so great! This work is my dream come true. I’m so grateful to share my spirituality with so many other people. We’ll have other ritual boxes in the shop soon, so be sure to follow us for updates and photos of our boxes.
Astrea has been so supportive of MM since we crossed paths. Her fire dancing always leaves me in awe and her ability to see magick in the every day is inspiring. I cannot wait for her book to publish in 2020.
You can follow her platforms with the links below!
Contact me if you are interested in being featured.