During the Covid-19 Crisis, digital interviews have really come into their own! Many thanks to Astrea Taylor, witch and author of Intuitive Witchcraft, for taking the time out to talk to PaganPagesOrg about her book, her craft and more.
Mabh Savage (MS): For those that haven’t yet read the book, can you tell us a little about what you mean by “The path without a path.”
Astrea Taylor (AT): In paganism and witchcraft, there’s a lot of talk about the pagan path or the path of a witch. This concept is popularized in pagan media, with book covers or blog photos depicting a forested path.
If you unpack the metaphor of the pagan path, the forest is spirituality, and the path is a well-trod method to experience the spirituality. Many of the books that reference the path are from Wiccan or Traditional Witches. They promote a journey in the same footsteps of the elders who first found those paths.
I came up with the concept of the path without a path because I was guided to go off the main spiritual paths and into explore the wild forest of spirituality, where anything could happen. I’m guided by my intuition about where to go and what to do. I don’t rely upon another person’s experience to inform me of what to do. Instead, I rely upon my ability to tap into my intuition, sense the energy within and around me, and make informed choices about my magic.
Traditions have so much meaning and wisdom, and I respect their long-standing banks of knowledge. They’re especially great for beginners because the learning curve is so steep. I’m just not a tradition kind of practitioner. I’ve always wanted to do things my own way, and my spirituality is no different.
MS: You speak of a call from the woods towards a more magical life. When did you first hear your call and how did it manifest in your life?
AT: I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child. I could always sense the energy of the trees and the animals. I also sensed spirits who would blow in on the wind or play with the water in a creek. Nature spirits and the fae have always been very interactive and playful with me. If they like you, they’re always calling, inviting you to join in and sit with them for a spell.
At a young age, I had premonitions and out-of-body experiences. I tried to make sense of them by studying as many religions as I could. However, none of them talked about that kind of stuff except for the new age community and witchcraft. The more I studied witchcraft and paganism, the more I felt at home.
MS: What inspired you to write this book?
AT: This is the book I longed to read when I was younger. There are very few books written for eclectic witches, so I wrote it in the hopes that it could be a guide for modern practitioners. I made it as progressive as possible so it would be inclusive for atheist witches, non-binary witches, people who don’t work with spirits, green witches, and others who are considered outsiders under the big pagan umbrella.
I wanted to show how intuition could be used in a magical practice. There are so many ways you can infuse it into spells, ritual, and daily life. My intuition has guided me so well, and I wanted to share that special relationship with others.
MS: Who do you think will get the most out of the book?
AT: The people who would benefit most from Intuitive Witchcraft are those who want to get in touch with their intuition and/or develop their own spiritual practices. I wrote it so beginners and advanced witches alike would find insights. Solitary practitioners will find much to love, but those on a main path will also find nuggets of wisdom and meaning.
MS: How do you think those on a magical or spiritual path can stay connected to their magic and intuition in these (or any) times of crisis?
AT: Shadow work is especially important in times of crisis. We have to accept our difficult emotions at this time rather than fight them. This means feeling them, acknowledging them, and thanking them for alerting us to their presence. It’s only then we can accept the things we can’t control and work with the things we can control.
I also believe it’s important to keep up our practices during these times. They can really connect us with our deepest inner selves and the higher powers.
Other things that have kept me connected with my intuition and magic are listening to music, reading magical books for an hour every night before bed, walking, communicating with friends, and being creative.
MS: How have you, personally, nurtured your craft during the covid-19 crisis?
AT: I haven’t been sick, so I feel very blessed. My focus has been on creating more of the magical lifestyle I want at home. My magical space had previously been out in the open, in the very first room that people enter in my home. That wasn’t the greatest place for it, but it was where I set up when I first moved in a couple of years ago. During this time, I moved most of my magical things to a more private place that only I use. The new space is removed from the common visitor and is ripe for magic.
MS: Would you describe yourself entirely as an intuitive witch, or is this just one aspect of your craft?
AT: I identify as an intuitive witch, first and foremost. Intuition guides all my other paths, and I have many other paths!
MS: Do you think everyone should work to hone and improve their intuition?
AT: Absolutely. There’s so much wisdom in delving into the depths. When we listen to our guts, we can find so much strength and inner knowing.
Of course, some people who commit to exploring their intuitions may encounter fear, societal conditionings, or imposter syndrome. Those are blocks to intuition, but they can be worked through to get to the heart of the matter. It may seem like hard work to chip away at those blocks that were constructed so long ago, but it’s the good, hard work that yields true growth.
MS: What’s your favourite season or festival, and why?
AT: I adore everything about Samhain season and its little cousin, Halloween. Every October, I feel something magical start to fly in the air all around me. I feel the joy and freedom of the spirits on the wind. That energy pervades so much of everyone’s lives—it seems like a lot of people feel energized at those times as well.
Beltane season is just as lovely too. Springtime is such a revelation from the cold winter I experience in my hometown.
MS: What’s your most magical experience that you’d be willing to share with us?
AT: Recently, during one of my moon rituals, I called upon Aphrodite to bless a new altar I had just reconstructed for her. Right after I said her name, waves of love emanated from the direction of her altar. For several minutes, I was washed in the waves of her love. Bliss took over my whole body and mind, and I lie still, absorbing it as much as I could. It was such a magical feeling.
This past Valentine’s Day, I recreated this experience for a big crowd at Pantheacon. At my bequest, the blissful feeling of Aphrodite’s waves rose again for all the participants. It was the first time I had ever led a public ritual, and I was absolutely thrilled to be able to share this ecstatic experience with others.
MS: What’s next on the horizon for you? Are you working on any other books or projects?
AT: My next book is Air Magic—it’s all about the magical element of air and how to work with its amazing energy. I learned so much about it during my research, especially the magical realm or plane of air. It’s where spirits travel, and it’s also where the energy of our thoughts, communications, and intentions are transmitted. I’m looking forward to sharing all of its stimulating aspects in 2021 when it’s published as part of a new elemental series through Llewellyn.
MS: Thank you so much for your time.
AT: Thank you! I truly appreciate your work!
What amazing insights! Truly one of my favourite interviews I’ve done to date. Find Astrea’s work on Amazon and from all good bookstores. Find out what else Astrea Taylor is up to at her website.
About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.