Column: Spotlight on Queer Pagan Creations
This month, when it seems like the world is falling faster and faster into a political fire, why not take a moment to stop scrolling fate and focus our attention on something positive? (Don’t worry, the unhappiness and sadness will still be here when we’re done.)
One of the things that I absolutely to like about our pagan community is the wealth of queer creatives and important voices among us. For a community that has traditionally had to hide and be silent, we have embraced the need for visibility as a tool for our liberation, and the liberation of others.
The paganism I was initially drawn to was a force of equality and empowerment, allowing the individual a space to connect directly with the divine, without the need for another spiritual authority. It has been a feature of our traditions that we recognize divinity in all things, and as such the work towards equality for all becomes a divine calling for many of us.
With that in mind, in no particular order, here are some brief introductions to a few of my favorite queer Pagan and Witchy creative voices that I believe offer the world tools to make the world a better place in some way:
- Enfys J. Book is the author of Queer Qabalah and the host of 4 quick questions podcast in which they ask the authors questions based on rolling a 20-sided die. I read their book. I blurred their book. I recommend their book. And I was on their show too, and they were super cool. Totally smart, totally kind, and totally the kind of occultist we want to showcase as we move forward into the future.
- Kristoff Hughes is Chief of the Druid Order of Anglesey and a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. He is an author, teacher and guest speaker at pagan conferences, camps and festivals across the UK, Europe and North America. He is the author of several books, including The Book of Celtic Magic, From the cauldron bornand Cerridwen: Celtic goddess of inspirationHe is also the man behind Welsh television Drag Queen Maggi Noggi’s wig. And it’s just delicious in person, too.
- Mhara Starling is an internet personality with nearly 130,000 followers on TikTok where she animatedly explains elements of Welsh folklore and magical practice. (His more serious persona is reserved for his YouTube channel which has over 5,000 subscribers at the time of this writing. The author of Welsh Witchcraft, Mhara is an outgoing trans woman and a wealth of knowledge of Welsh folklore and customs. And she is very approachable and eager to share her knowledge with kindness and enthusiasm. It’s people like her that give me hope for the next generation of pagans and witches.
- Christopher Penczak is the author of over 40 books on a myriad of occult, magical and spiritual subjects, including Gay Witchcraft, city magic, The Familiar of the Plant Spiritand the surprisingly popular Temple of Witchcraft series. He, with his two partners, Steve Kenson and Adam Sartwellfounded the Temple of Witchcraft, a church, school and tradition of witchcraft, based in Salem, New Hampshire. Besides being personal friends for many years, the three are all very talented and dedicated individuals who provide much needed service to the witchcraft and pagan communities. (And did I mention that Steve is a complete nerd? No really! He’s so good at it that he’s like, professional.)
- Durgadas Allon Duriel is an astrologer, psychotherapist, mystic and writer, author of The little job and the next worthy as you are. He is as compassionate as he is insightful and makes his living helping to share healing tools with his clients and now with the world. Follow his Twitter for witty takes and advice from someone who Actually does the job.
- Mortellus is a witch, necromancer, undertaker, and third-degree Gardnerian high priest. Author of Should I wear black?, a book focused on the customs and rituals around death and dying (something so important that we actually touch on) and the next The bones fall in a spiral. Mortellus not only writes on a powerful subject that is rarely discussed in modern paganism, but they have also been voice in awareness about how women and others with wombs are being brutalized by current anti-abortion forces in the United States. They were candid with their personal history of being denied painkillers for their chronic condition on the grounds that they could possibly be used to induce an abortion and that they are “viably fertile” i.e. simply because they have the potential to conceive, the law will now prevent them from doing other choices about their health and their bodies.
- Tomas Prower is a licensed funeral director and the author of the books queer magic, The Santa Muerte, Morbid magicand his most recent, Magic Warrior. I saw him back in the days of PantheaCon, usually dressed to perfection and serving up a quiet, dandy reality. Today, you can find him in Palm Springs, Calif., where he’s the communications director for the Coachella Valley LGBTQ Center.
- At the risk of revive our fake online duelI have to include Thumper’s Forge on this list. His blog, fivefold law over at Patheos Pagan is an insightful (and delightful) look at various social topics affecting Pagandom and the queer experience. Its tongue-in-cheek style makes for an enjoyable (and accessible) read; I’m always interested in reading what he has to say (but don’t tell him that or he’ll just insupportable.)
- Michelle Belanger (he/she/them) is an occult expert, teacher, presenter, author of over thirty books on the paranormal, and one of the most interesting people I have met. Do you want an example ? As they recently stated on Twitter, when they were only twenty-one, they “wrote the primary sacred text of a spiritual system that continues to influence beliefs and practices around the world. “. They are also quite public about their intersex, using their voice and platform to advocate for other members of the queer community. The general public might know them from the A&E TV show paranormal stateor Travel Channel Portals to Hell where they were introduced as a psychic medium and occult expert. Or maybe their classic books The Psychic Vampire Codex Where The Dictionary of Demons.
- Joe Phillips is the artist behind the witch boys series in which he drew his followers as sexy witches and wizards, had an impressive career working for many different comic book titles including wonder woman. His art is fun, sexy and affirms the queer spirit and I always get excited when he shares new things. Her Divine Diversity tarot was a beautiful contribution to a community hungry for a spirituality inclusive of all races, sexualities, genders and bodies.
- Allan Spire and jeff cullenthe magical queer bodybuilding duo that brought us such sinful delights as the Sabbath Tarot and a plethora of gorgeous (and sexy!) statues adorning the altar or temple space of many queer pagans (including mine!). I’ve written about some of their work before, but it seems like one or both of them always release something new to tempt the masses.
- Matthew Venus is the force behind Spiritus Aracanum, once a stylish presence online and at festivals, is now a full-fledged brick-and-mortar store in Salem, MA. I’ve been a fan of his art and style for many years, and his work has been popular at the festivals I’ve attended. I am so happy that he now has a storefront from which to offer his high quality products and services to the world. Take a look at his work, which carries a darker aesthetic of “traditional witchcraft” and roots.
Finally, before signing, I am contractually obligated to make a brief mention of my beloved husbands, the rest of “House Fourlocks”, if for no other reason than them. [intensifying adjective omitted by editor] impressive. (Plus, I have to live with them so it’s up to me to make them happy).
- Chas Bogan brightens up the salons of occult collectors since he opened his workshop, carnivalia, almost twenty years ago, selling handcrafted talking boards. Now he makes all sorts of wacky and cool treats, often inspired by divination.
- The next step is Diviner Hunterthe host of Modern Witch Podcast and author of the hit series Witch Power, who is currently awaiting the release of his 6e book even as he works on his 7e.
- And last but not least is Matt Aurynthe breakaway powerhouse behind the hit blockbuster psychic witch and the next Mastering Magicworks on multiple projects at once, as befits his Pisces nature.
I am blessed to live with such talented and creative occultists to nurture and inspire me. I am a lucky wizard.
Who are some of your your favorite queer creations and voices?