Nimue Brown interviews Kitchen Witch, Rachel Patterson
by Nimue Brown
I met Rachel Patterson through Moon Books. From my perspective she came out of nowhere and set people’s imaginations on fire with her books on kitchen witchcraft. Her friendly accessible style has won her a lot of fans (me amongst them). Down to earth, can do, user friendly writing is something that I really value. For me, kitchen witchcraft is part of folk magic, part of the kind of thing quietly pagan people have always done. If high magic and very ceremonial rituals don’t call to you, then this probably will.
Nimue: Your sixth book comes out in June 2015. What was your first title and what prompted you to start writing books?
Rachel: I never had a desire to write books and it was not something on my to-do or bucket list, it all happened totally be accident. I saw a request on the Moon Books Facebook page asking for suggestions for their Pagan Portals series and as I run an online school based on Kitchen Witchcraft, I suggested that as the subject. The editor contacted me and said he liked the idea and asked if I would be interested in submitting a proposal. Eeek! I was totally petrified but as I had experience with writing lessons for the school and a few magazine articles I gave it a shot. Pagan Portals – Kitchen Witchcraft was born and I am extremely happy to say that even two years later it continues to sell and be received very well. It was the start of an avalanche really.
Nimue: Is all of your magic / ritual about indoors spaces or do you leave the kitchen as well?
Rachel: I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but that’s because I love to bake, cook and eat! But I also have a lovely little garden stuffed full of plants and herbs that I like to spend time in and I usually take a walk outside in my local area every day. We also hold regular open rituals in a local country park where we have the use of beautiful beech and yew tree groves. Nature is a huge part of my witchcraft.
Nimue: What makes Kitchen Witchcraft different from other approaches?
Rachel: When I first started on the witchcraft pathway a gazillion years ago the only structure of training at the time was Wicca, so that’s what I started to learn, but fairly early on in my training I struggled as it didn’t feel like quite the right fit for me personally. I went on to complete my Wiccan training but I also started to ‘get out there’ and be a part of rituals, moots and working alongside other Wtches, Pagans and Druids and I studied anything I could get my hands on from Druidry to Shamanic practices to Hoodoo. Along with my life-long love of cooking and food my journey as a Kitchen Witch began to make more sense to me. I started to use bits and pieces from one tradition and work them into my own and then take something from another pathway and fit that into my way of working as well. Kitchen Witchcraft is about using whatever is to hand, no fancy tools or specific rule book ways of doing things; I work with my intuition and instinct all of the time. I work a lot with herbs, plants and flowers and of course the magic of food is at the core. There is also a lot of Hedge Witchcraft in with it as well, foraging and walking between the worlds and Green Witchcraft for the natural items, recycling and eco-warrior add in a bit of folk magic and traditional witchcraft and there you have it.
Nimue: Who / what inspires you?
Rachel: Nature and life itself are my biggest inspirations but also people; some of our students come up with the most amazing insights.
Nimue: What would you most like to achieve through your writing and teaching?
Rachel: I feel extremely blessed that I am able to share my own experiences and knowledge that I have learnt along the way with others, but I do believe it is a two way thing; I learn from the feedback with my books and sharing with students. I don’t know everything, not by a long shot and I never will. Continuing to learn alongside others is all part of the journey. If I can help give one person clarity with something then that is an achievement I am more than happy with.
Nimue: What comes next for you?
Rachel: There is another Pagan Portals title with the publisher at the moment this time on Meditation and a new book that I am just starting to write about called The Art of Ritual, alongside new courses being run with Kitchen Witch and the day to day lessons life is always busy.
Nimue: How do people find out more?