1. What first drew you to magical practices?
In the mid-nineties I was doing research for a storytelling project. I’d decided a character was going to be a modern witch, but I had no idea what that might entail, let alone in an urban setting the way I was planning. So I found a local metaphysical bookstore and browsed the shelves. It only took about ten minutes to realize that all these ideas I was seeing really resonated deeply with me. And I’ve never looked back, only gone deeper!
2. Your latest book, “The House Witch”, focuses on hearthcraft. What is it?
I define it as the recognition and celebration of the home as sacred space, and magic that focuses specifically on the home.
3. How does it differ from kitchen witchery?
I feel kitchen witchery is focused on practical magic done within the kitchen itself, associated with food and herbal-based energy. There’s absolutely an element of that within hearthcraft, and kitchen witchery is certainly an aspect of hearthcraft practice, but hearthcraft goes beyond kitchen magic to encompass the energies of the entire home, the people living in it, the land around it, and honoring the spiritual aspect of all those things and how they interact. It specifically focuses on the home and living space.
4. What’s the most magical room in your home?
This is going to sound cliched, but whatever room I’m in at the moment. We work hard to make sure the energies in all the rooms of my house are welcoming and supportive. We tweak things a lot here; it’s an ongoing process, because we feel that the space should respond to our needs as we should respond to the needs of the space. It’s a dynamic relationship, always active and shifting.
There are two places I gravitate to, though. One room is the living room, the main room of the house. It has our family altar in it, as well as lots of original art. My biggest spinning wheel lives there, as does the stereo and my CDs (music is a huge part of my life). The second is my office, which is in the lovely attic my husband built. It’s airy and light, and I have one of my smaller spinning wheels up there, an upholstered rocking chair, lots of books, my desk, my cello, all my spinning fibre… it’s where I do my yoga and my meditation, as well as write my books. I have inspirational quotes and pins and art all around me there. It’s lovely. The cats seem to like it, and my kids often end up here as well.
5. If you could change anything about your house, what would it be?
I would have a fireplace! Or possibly my bedroom would be bigger and not in the basement.
6. You wrote “The House Witch”, “The Green Witch” (that focuses on herbs, flowers, etc.), “Protection Spells”, and more. How do you incorporate all this magic into your daily life?
I don’t make a big defined effort to inject or impose magical activity. For me, it’s part of living, part of the everyday, so I don’t work to incorporate it; it grows out of my daily life.
7. People may not be aware, but you’re Canadian. Do you find the witch culture in Canada differs from other countries?
That’s a hard question to answer, because I don’t spend enough time in other countries to make a valid observation. I can say that where I live, things are pretty laid back. There’s a solid Pagan community here, with a core of people who facilitate activities. I live in Quebec, so we have the added bonus of anglophone/francophone communities offering different activities for the community to share. On a practical level, we have weather that is unfavourable to outdoor meetings a lot of the time, so our rituals tend to take place indoors perhaps more often than in other places. On the other hand, with such markedly different seasons, we get to fully immerse ourselves in the energies of seasonal change.
8. In looking over books written by Arin Murphy-Hiscock I couldn’t help but notice “Assassin’s Creed: The Ultimate Guide” showed up. Did you author this book? And oh my gosh, tell me how that came about if you did! (We’re Assassin’s Creed fans!)
I did write it! I started working with the AC team in Montreal a few years ago when Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was being made. They were looking for a copyeditor to help synthesize the writing styles and material coming in from the different Ubisoft studios working on the project. I had done work for Ubisoft about ten years before, and a good friend on the writing team for Syndicate said “Hey, I know a terrific editor!” The brand team liked what I did enough to call me back for other AC-associated editorial work, and then the idea of writing the Essential Guide came up. I do a lot of writing work centered on the AC brand now. I love working with them; they’re terrific people.
9. Do you have any upcoming projects my readers can look out for?
Protection Spells was my first new book in a long time, and it’s been good to slip back into writing New Age and witchcraft topics.
In December 2018 my new book The Witch’s Book of Self-Care is coming out, and it’s a project that is very close to my heart! Ironically, I was juggling a zillion things when I was asked to write it, and I had to weigh the pros and cons before accepting the offer. In the end I decided putting the book out there was important enough to short my own self-care for a while; I ended up working two full-time jobs as well as single-parenting my kids while my husband was out of town for two months to hit the deadline. I absolutely made the right decision, because I think the topic of self-care is really important in general, but it certainly had repercussions. Part of self-care is knowing and accepting the consequences of something, and going into a situation with your eyes open and with all the facts. I did that, and I’m not sorry. I’m still handling the long-term healing, that’s all.
After that one, there are a couple more new editions coming out! One of them is The Hidden Meaning of Birds, a revision of another book that is close to my heart. I’m thrilled it’s going to find new readership. And there are more projects coming down the pipe… in fact, I’m scribbling notes for a new project I plan to propose to the editorial team sometime in January!
10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.
How do you define self care? Do you do enough of it? In what ways could you take better care of your energy?
I suppose I define self care as taking time for yourself. I think most people assume restful activity, but I feel that if it’s something you enjoy and makes you happy, carving out time to indulge in the activity counts as self care.
It’s hard to say how I could better take care of my energy. I suffer from chronic migraines and small fiber neuropathy. It’s pretty draining so I spend a lot of time sleeping on our sofa. It doesn’t really feel like self care, because it’s almost like I don’t have no say in the matter. I almost feel like the times I force myself to go out and see friends is more like self care. However draining it may be.
About Arin Murphy-Hiscock:
Arin Murphy-Hiscock is the author of “The Way of the Green Witch”, “The Green Witch”, “The Way of the Hedge Witch”, “Pagan Pregnancy”, “Power Spellcraft for Life”, “Solitary Wicca for Life”, and “The Hidden Meaning of Birds: A Spiritual Field Guide”. She has been active in the field of alternative spirituality for over twenty years, and lives in Montreal, Canada.
You can learn more here.