Recently, I have wanted to get perspectives and insights from a few of those individuals who have inspired and influenced my philosophy, approach and witchcraft, and who I believe have a considerable amount to contribute to the community. It is my firm determination that these voices should be made available for those who wish to learn more. One of those significant voices is Mat Auryn, whom I am glad to call colleague as a fellow author for Patheos Pagan at For Puck’s Sake. Mat first made an impact upon me with a viral blag post in which he describes an intimate and personal experience with Lucifer, That Time I Danced With The Devil.
With my gratitude, Mat kindly agreed to be interviewed and provide some insight into his life and craft.
Mat, firstly could you share a little bit of your background and how you began upon the path of witchcraft?
Mat Auryn (MA): My path into witchcraft began at an early age around 7 or 8 years old. Mainly, I saw the movie The Craft, and it struck some deep chord, which I know sounds cliché. This led to me trying to get my hands on anything related to the topic that I could whether that was fiction or non-fiction. Eventually, I found the works of Silver Ravenwolf and slowly read all of her works. Then I moved on to Scott Cunningham and a few other books that I could digest at a young age. In High School, I organized our school’s first Witchcraft club, since there was a Christian one. This was also when I started to go through a rebellious phase and began dressing head to toe in black. Near the end of High School, I went through an Anton LeVay phase and read all his works and became extremely atheistic and to be honest, quite a selfish jerk.
After High School, I decided one day to move to Oregon from California on an impulse, without knowing anyone or what I was going to do. I lived there for about four years somehow surviving. It was in Oregon that I had a fairly profound experience with the divine which killed all of my atheism. Eventually, I moved back to California and was back on the spiritual path, though this time it was a much more of new age path. I dived into Reiki, the Munay Ki rites, was practicing Anusara Yoga and would see the Dalai Lama when he was in the city to listen, learn, and receive empowerments, I was super deep into channeled material which included taking a lot of Sanaya Roman’s courses. After a few years of this, I began having spontaneous astral projection experiences and came into contact with my familiar spirit who would lead me back to witchcraft.
I ended up moving to the West Coast following the guidance of my Familiar Spirit and enrolled in the Temple of Witchcraft Mystery School, and attended various workshops on Witchcraft. I began devouring anything and everything I could get my hands on in regards to witchcraft and magick – whether that was books or courses. It didn’t matter what type of magick it was, Wicca, Trad Craft, Sabbatical Craft, Folk Magick, Thelema, whatever. Then I met Devin Hunter, and we hit it off. We had so much in common in regards to how we saw witchcraft, psychic ability, interaction with spirits, as well as our own personal experiences and personal gnosis with it. I enrolled in the Black Rose Witchcraft training and was then invited to join Sacred Fires Tradition of Witchcraft which he founded, where I am currently a priest.
As a follow up, would you be able to tell us a little about your teachers, influences and any significant events which have impacted, positively or negatively (but have had a definite effect), your journey?
MA: This is a hard question because I’ve had so many teachers and I’ve had so many people who I see as teaching me something profound whether that was in a formal teacher-student relationship or whether that was through their books or a conversation or a workshop. I’m continually trying to see things through beginner’s mind and trying to understand what every single person has to teach me, even if it’s about how my mind works and who I am through my reaction to them.
But for formal magick teachers. In chronological order, I have studied under Christopher Penczak, Laurie Cabot, Devin Hunter, Storm Faerywolf, Chas Bogan, and Jason Miller. When it comes to formal training, I’m very selective about who I will train under and have been blessed to study under what I consider to be some of the best modern teachers in magick. Every single one of these people has shaped me into who I am, though many would argue that I did the work myself, I tend to disagree. It’s their guidance, teachings, and perspectives that have had the most significant impact on who I am and how I approach magick myself. No one emerges from a vacuum. Each of these individuals approaches magick in such a beautifully unique way that it has helped me gain a broader palette to work from when it comes to magick. As for significant events, that’s a bit harder since a lot of those experience, and that work is so profoundly personal and private.
The article you wrote, ‘That Time I Danced With The Devil’ went viral and resonated profoundly with many who identify as witches. You mentioned in that honest piece that the name you were given was Lumiel. Many of us first heard that particular identity of the Luciferian spirit from the work of Mike Howard and his own mentor, Madeline Montalban, who developed a magical system in which Lumiel is venerated under the Order of the Morning Star. Would you mind sharing a little of your subsequent relationship with this angelic force?
MA: For me, Lumiel or Lucifer is more than merely an angelic force. In Black Rose Witchcraft we work with three main deities which is Diana, Lucifer, and Aradia. In Sacred Fires we continue working with these spirits and unravel their mysteries deeper and come to know all their different sides and currents of energy. In Sacred Fires we work with him as Dianus, which ties together all of the experiences of who Lumiel is from my experiences into one paradigm. Dianus is the solar deity, the angel of light, as well as the horned god of the wild, and the Devil or Magister of the Sabbath. Again, it just depends on how you’re approaching him, which current of energy you’re tapping into and which garb he’s presenting himself in. This is again what I’m talking about when I discuss how in sync the experiences and views of Devin Hunter and myself are.
Traditional Witchcraft has become rather popular of late, along with the emphasis upon Luciferian currents. What advice would you give to those who are feeling drawn to this from your own experiences?
MA: Well, I don’t feel I’m an authority on Trad Craft, though it holds a great place in my heart and I’ve incorporated a lot of it into my practices. Two major things I tend to see with those who are drawn to Trad Craft is getting lost in its glamour. There’s a beautifully dark and primitive aesthetic with Trad Craft, and sometimes it seems like a lot of seekers can get lost in that and not seek out the more profound practices and wisdom in it. When it comes to Lucifer, in my own experience, he’s not nearly as “spoopy” as I see him worked with or portrayed by certain people interested in Trad Craft. In my experience, he has always been the light bearer first and foremost, though there’s that dark side to his mysteries as well. I think it’s similar to how some folks who work with Hekate will focus on purely the dark aspects of her, which historically are only a small portion of who she is. She too is a light-bearer, having among her main epithets that of Phosphoros.
The other thing I find is a lot of witches here in the United States will try to perform workings from Trad Craft books without any modification. Trad Craft usually emphasizes working with the spirits of the land, and a lot of those spirits are specific to regions in Europe. The United States is enormous, and has its own diverse set of unique spirits native to it from area to area, just as the spirits of Wales differs from the spirits of Ireland, which not many have touched on in regards to practicing Trad Craft in non-European countries. The difference of region spirits native to an area was made super clear when I visited New Orleans. I’m used to the spirits here that I work with in New England, but New Orleans had so many spirits that I couldn’t even recognize and had to ask a local voodoo priestess about because I didn’t even have a frame of reference for what type of spirits certain ones were. I had never come across anything like them. I imagine that this difference is just as big if not bigger between the two continents. In that regard, I’m excited for Christopher Orapello and Tara-Love Maguire’s upcoming book Besom, Stang, and Sword to see how they approach Trad Craft as a Americans.
You are currently writing your first book for Lewellyn, would you be able to discuss a little of what it will be about?
MA: The book I’m writing is tentatively titled “Psychic Witch.” Psychic Witch interweaves psychic ability and magick to create a strong foundation for accessing the full potential of your mind, body, and spirit. The book explores how psychic ability has a symbiotic relationship with magickal practices and how they enhance and strengthen one another. The material requires no tools, nor complicated rituals or spells, but instead provides inner tools to perform magick with your mind anywhere and at any time.
The book will assist the reader in becoming a powerful psychic witch, one who is not only able to perceive hidden information and energy with all of their inner and outer senses but one who is also able to experience, interact and manipulate them for their advantage directly. Through this book, comprehensive information, practices, meditations, secrets, and tips are shared that enable the reader to take control of their life by tuning into themselves and the subtle energies of the world around them.
This book serves as an entry point into psychic ability and witchcraft, but also adds new depth and insight, which anyone of any experience level can benefit from. It requires no complex cosmological view or blind faith, but preferably allows the reader to experience and strengthen the psychic and magickal for themselves directly. The information and exercises are free from the trappings of any particular religion, witchcraft tradition, or spiritual path, and avoids cultural appropriation. This makes the book beneficial for anyone of any belief system whether Pagan, New Age, Spiritualist, Agnostic, or even Atheist, without being a disservice to any existing ones.
You also do readings for people. How does this work and what is the best way for people to find out more?
MA: For my personal practice I do them online. They fill out a form on my website asking for their name and a general idea of what they’d like a reading about. I then take that information and tune into their energy using their name and perform the reading without them. I record the reading as an mp3 and email it back to them. Right now I’m only doing 15 minute readings though, as I just don’t have the time to be doing more than that for people with all the other projects on my plate at the moment.
Thanks to Mat Auryn for taking the time to do this interview and for sharing his experiences and thoughts. Anybody interested is advised to go to www.matauryntarot.com.