This week, we talk with Reverend Melissa Hill, an ordained priest in the Árn Draíocht Féin druidic tradition, an educator, a spiritual artist, and author of the DandelionLady blog. Melissa covered quite a bit of ground in this interview, starting with a discussion of modern druidism and pan-cultural symbol systems. She spoke about her role as a priest and discussed the different roles of the priest, shaman and magician in a community or culture. Melissa spoke extensively about different varieties of nature spirits and spirits of the land and how they can be approached and communicated with. She attached emphasis to the idea that this requires the development of a specific skillset and also an investment of time. Knowing the history of the land is big part of this and she talked about how eventually, one begins to blend their magickal and mundane lives. I brought up my experiences communicating with the genius loci of my town and she had some excellent suggestions on how to pursue that further. We went on to discuss her experiences with animal spirits, particularly Bear and Swan. We touched on the nature of the Fae and she also described her work with both spirit traps and spirit houses.
In the Salvage League extended show, Melissa talked about the classes and workshops she runs and about the ritual she plans to run for Ann Arbor Pagan Pride Day. Part of this ritual will address promoting unity through diversity, rather than through attempting to make everyone the same. She compared the two approaches to monotheism and polytheism. She went on to talk about teaching general meditative techniques and her current project to bring ceremony and ritual to the secular realm. From there, we went on to our shared enthusiasm for bone preservation and crafting and the ethics involved. The conversation returned to spirits, specifically ancestral nature spirits. Overall, she says, Melissa is passionate about creating a new culture, more powerful and meaningful for people than what we’ve built thus far. I couldn’t agree with her more.
Before the interview, I discussed this new website and the new format for the podcast. Check out the “Salvage League” page for more information!