• Michelle Simkins

Meet Our Authors: M.A. Phillips

Welcome to the latest installment of Meet Our Authors. Today's author is M.A. Phillips, who has short stories in both issue 1 and issue 2 of Stone, Root, and Bone. She was also a co-host of the Plant Spirit Ally Challenge which we hosted last May. Now here's M.A., to tell you more about herself in her own words:

What’s the primary focus of your spiritual and/or magical practice?

I’m a polytheist who is inspired and informed by Irish mythology and folklore. I often simplify and say I study Druidry, and I am a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF). I strive to deepen my relationship with the deities, primarily Brigid, my ancestors, and the land spirits. Along with regular offerings and divination, gardening and creative expression are my primary means of showing devotion to the Kindred. In particular, I’ve embraced the roles of storyteller and fiber artist. 

Tell us about one significant magical or spiritual experience that stands out in your memory

I went into the woods behind my parents house one gray autumn day. I wore the cloak I made, not for aesthetics, but to mute outside stimuli whilst meditating. Sitting in the leaf litter, I leaned against a maple tree. One breath linked with another. I can’t recall how long I sat. My mind never wandered into a deep trance, but I recall a sense of peace. 

A twig snapped, and I remember my muscles tensed as I strained to hear. Fallen leaves rustled nearby. I looked up to find a small herd of deer grazing around me. A loud snort drew my attention. A buck stood roughly ten feet away. He repeated the noise and stamped the ground. The male stared me down, and I decided I should remain still and as non threatening as possible. I willed him to understand I wouldn’t hurt him or the others. With a final thump of his hoof, he turned. The doe followed him into the forest. I sat processing for a long time. It was the first in a series of deer-related experiences that continues to guide me. It’s amazing what can happen when you go into the wild and sit quietly.

What are you reading right now?

I’m almost done with These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling. It’s a compelling coming of age that blends fantasy witches with modern Wiccans in Salem, MA. There are themes of love and forgiveness as the main character navigates relationships with her ex girlfriend and new love interest.

How long have you been writing? What types of things do you write?

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl thanks to my encouraging family. When I was a teenager, I wrote in the fantasy genre. Brian Jacques’ Redwall books inspired me, so the first full-length novel I wrote included sword-wielding anthropomorphic animals. As I grew, I realized that I enjoy writing more contemporary magical realism and romance featuring realistic polytheists and witches. The forests, lakes, and rivers of Northern NY often feature alongside my characters. I’m currently preparing a manuscript to query featuring a clairvoyant modern Druid who encounters a mermaid-like creature in the St. Lawrence River of Upstate NY.

I’m also a huge geek who has written some well-reviewed fan fiction.

Where else can we read your work?

Along with Stone, Root, and Bone, I’ve been published in ADF’s Oak Leaves magazine. Though I’ve prioritized my Druid manuscript, I’m also working on a  college-aged Pagan romance, The Circle, which you can read for free on Wattpad. For reflections on Druidry, chants, and prayers, visit my blog.

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