Mat Auryn (Massachussetts) is a witch, writer, professional psychic, and occult teacher throughout New England. He has been drawn to the occult and metaphysical since an early age, reading books on witchcraft at an early age. He is a graduate of Black Rose Witchcraft and a priest in Sacred Fires Tradition of Witchcraft founded by Devin Hunter. He is a current student and mentee of Christopher Penczak in the Temple of Witchcraft Mystery School, Laurie Cabot in the Cabot-Kent Hermetic Tradition and Jason Miller in the Sorcery of Hekate. He is a devotee of the Covenant of Hekate founded by Sorita D’Este. He writes for Patheos Pagan in his blog For Puck’s Sake and on his personal website.
Q: How would you describe your own magical practice?
A: My personal magickal practice is very eclectic and always evolving. As I grow and change, so do my practices and vice versa. My relationship with the spirits and gods is a focal point at the moment. I’m diving deeper into working with the ancestors, the gods and various spirits from my traditions and outside of any tradition. I’m also currently super into working with plant spirits at the moment and have been communing regularly with my mandrake that just turned a year old. Regardless of where I am in my personal journey I ensure that I make the time for my practice, even if that’s a 15 minute meditation, an offerings of gratitude or elaborate rituals. I have come to find that if I make room for the spirits in my life, they make room for me. There are many parts of my practice that are insanely private and intimate, which I don’t think I’ll ever talk about publicly. But the main theme seems to be that of my practice slowly growing and evolving as I do.
Q: Who are your personal heroes, those who most inspired you on your own journey?
A: The two people who are alive that inspire me the most are Christopher Penczak and Devin Hunter. Both their written works and my study with them have been extremely inspirational and transformative. They have been so extremely patient, supportive and gently push me to ask the right questions without ever telling me what to believe. They’re always placing emphasis on discovering my own truth and my own voice and power and most importantly they’ve held up a mirror for me through different methods, which isn’t always the most fun but the most crucial when it comes to genuinely growing as both a witch and a human being.
I am also greatly inspired by Jason Miller and his approach towards magick as well as the insight and wisdom of elders like Raven Grimassi, Orion Foxwood and Ivo Dominguez, Jr. The ritual work of Storm Faerywolf is also insanely inspiring and I always encourage people to attend one of his public workings if possible. When it comes to those of the past who’ve inspired me greatly I would say that the work of Dion Fortune, Carl Jung, Doreen Valiente, Andrew Chumbley, Austin Spare, Madeline Montalban, Rosaleen Norton, and Aleister Crowley are the occultists and thinkers of the past who greatly inspire me – all in different aspects of my craft and spirituality.
Q: What do you consider your greatest magical achievement?
A: I would probably say something generic and cliché like “self growth”, as that has honestly been my greatest personal achievement and I honestly believe that my magickal and spiritual studies are why. Starhawk has a chant in the Reclaiming Tradition called the Kore chant and part of it says “She changes everything She touches and everything She touches changes.” It’s hard to legitimately come into contact with the gods and with magick itself and not be changed by it. While I have so much more changing and growing to do, I think I’ve become a much better human being because of my magickal pursuits.
Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve only been writing for a few years now. I’m always genuinely surprised that anyone reads it. These are the topics that I geek out on, the topics that are hard to talk about at say a party or other social situations but subjects that I’m deeply passionate about. I began writing on my personal blog and slowly more and more people began following it and reading it. What started with 20 readers a month quickly grew to thousands and thousands of readers a month. I was blown away when Jason Mankey approached me for Patheos Pagan asking if I wanted to write for them and I accepted. I have no formal education when it comes to writing and I rarely ever proof-read what I wrote before posting. My astrological chart is almost all fire and water, so I just write when I’m inspired and get impatient with re-reading or editing my work. I’m always amazed and humbled when strangers thank me for my blog posts as these are areas of discussion no one ever wanted to talk about in person in my past, so to see that people find resonance with it and can ignore the horrendous grammatical flaws is truly heart-warming and touching. Especially since, as we know, people who are the most vocal online are not the most supportive or often the voices of reason.
Q: What was your first “oh fuck, this shit is real” moment in your personal magical practice?
A: That’s really hard to say. I’ve come to know magick as a reality, so it’s hard to say what my first moment was. I’m not very big on blind faith, but I’ve had many experiences that have validated my practice for me. One profound moment was the first time I left my body several years ago and could see my physical body laying below me, that proved to me several things including the fact that I wasn’t just a body. Another profound experience was when the spirit of a friend visited me at night. The next day I found out that she had taken her life. I’ve watched my magick evolve from attempts and experiments of being unsure if the manifestation is coincidence or not to now being more surprised if for some reason the magick didn’t occur. Magick is often referred to as a “science” by its practitioners and I’ve found just like the science of anything, if you follow the rules properly you’ll achieve your result. If I follow all the ingredients and directions when it comes to baking a cake, the surprise comes if the cake somehow comes out wrong and it’s often because you didn’t follow something correctly.
I’ve had other profound experiences that I had no context for as well as interactions with spirits that I couldn’t find any information about, which luckily I had great mentors who could point me in the direction of looking into really old lore about witchcraft and magick to find the validity in it, things that are beginning to come back into the consciousness of the magickal community but seemed to be overlooked for hundreds of years – at least publicly. I’m also blown away by the Sacred Fires tradition. Something will happen to one of us and we’ll have a profound experience and those in the priesthood in other continents will know about it or have the information without understanding the context.
Taking Laurie Cabot’s classes was also really reaffirming. Her Witchcraft One is to essentially prove to you that magick and psychic ability is real and that anyone can do it successfully. You’re taught many things in the class but among them is the ability to psychically pick up on anyone, diagnose them and send them healing. She has us all find three people in our lives that are officially diagnosed by a doctor for purposes of validity and we fill out a sheet describing what they look like and what the official medical diagnosis is. We bring these to class and closely guard them until it’s time to perform the reading. We are each given the name and location of someone else’s sheet and we have to describe them and relay what is wrong with them medically without any clues or anything. No one fails this class. There’s a reason that the police have turned to her to successfully find missing people and killers on the run, all of which is well documented publicly.
Q: What is one piece of magical tech you could not live without?
A: I don’t think I can choose only one piece of magickal tech, primarily since every element works in such a synchronistic manner. I would probably say visualization. My training with the Temple of Witchcraft really enhanced my visualization, both inner and outer and this has tremendously enhanced both my magick and psychic ability. However, at this point in my practice, I would say that I cannot imagine what my magickal or spiritual practice was like before my familiar spirit. By that I don’t mean a “power animal” or a pet cat, but rather the older more traditional view of the familiar spirit in the folklore of old witchcraft, which is central to the practices of Black Rose Witchcraft, and Sacred Fires Witchcraft. My familiar spirit actually led me to witchcraft at a very young age and brought me back to it at a later time in my life.
Q: At what age did you start practicing magic and why?
A: I first stumbled upon witchcraft at the age of about seven or eight years old. I was raised in a very evangelical household and I was having experiences that didn’t fit with it and sometimes contradicted it. Then one night I saw the movie The Craft. And as silly as it sounds, it was like how some described “finding God”. There was something about the movie that resonated so deeply with me. I began searching my elementary school’s library for anything and everything on witches, which of course didn’t turn up much other than Roald Dahl. But I found this Time Life book on witches and magick. Most of it consisted of witches of fantasy and folklore, but there was one little section devoted to modern practitioners of witchcraft. Among all of it was a picture of Maxine Sanders, Alex Sanders and a group of their Alexandrian initiates on some hilltop. From this I discovered the word “Wicca” and began searching the Internet in secret for anything on the subject. This was the time of Netscape Navigator and Angelfire websites with horribly cheesy gifs and midi music.
Eventually on a trip to the mall with my family, I went to a bookstore and found Teen Witch by Silver Ravenwolf, which was obviously marketed towards kids inspired by the Craft by its cover. I bought it in secret, hid it beneath my mattress and it became my Bible for a while. Silver had a way of teaching that I could understand at such a young age, which was crucial for what I needed at that time in my path.
Q: What is your advice to the young aspiring magician just getting started today?
A: Read. Question. Do the work. Ask. Then rinse, wash and repeat.
Q: What projects do you have coming up later in 2017?
A: I have a few workshops coming up and am particularly excited about beginning a series of tarot workshops and development classes at Moth & Moon Studio soon. I’m also taking a lot of my previous workshops and compiling them into a manuscript, which hopefully will be well received, but I’m not publicly speaking about what the book subject matter is on at this point.
Q: How do you respond to Christian evangelists knocking on your door at dinnertime?
A: I don’t! I used to have a real problem Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and scams coming to my doorstep. I created a servitor to take care of it and haven’t had one single knock since and it’s been almost a year now. Servitor magick is something that I’ve really been into lately and I just finished teaching a workshop on it at TempleFest.
Q: What effect and focus do you think magic should have upon politics and world events?
A: Before all the mass binding spells against Trump, I reached out to several magickal elders of various traditions to ask them what their thoughts were. I later moved this article to Patheos Pagan. I really encourage people to read all the wisdom and diverse perspectives on this subject matter in that article.
I think everyone’s focus should be different. Not all of us are meant to build, not all of us are meant to destroy, and not all of us are meant to hold space. A successful village takes people skilled in different areas. As long as you’re doing something, you’re on the right track. In my experience, magick must be grounded by at least one physical action to open a channel for the magick to flow through in this plane of reality. While I have been doing political magick off and on this last year I ground it by volunteering in my local community, which is something I’ve been reluctant to discuss publicly, as I don’t necessarily want a cookie for it. But my point is that calling your representatives, going to protests, volunteering where it needs to be done and standing up for those under attack opens a channel in the physical plane which will make your magickal efforts much more effective.
While I’m not necessarily a curse-hurler and focus more on healing and building with my magick when I can, when it comes to cursing, particularly our current “president”, there’s many who say that such a thing cannot be done. I simply look at this administration, all the scandals, all the incompetence and all the resistance towards it and I can’t help but think that it’s almost like this presidency is cursed or something. Would it be so without formal curses being hurled? Perhaps. Perhaps not.