About 8 months ago, I met Laura, suburban hedgewitch, blogger,& author, through our high priestess program. She seemed just my type, very wise and a little serious at times in class like Hermione Granger, yet also full of light and laughter. I decided to reach out and connect virtually on social media. I quickly found we had similar interests and humor and I have found a supportive friend in the making. She started her magickal blog, Belle, Book and Bramble, during our high priestess training. Go there are read her articles that range from doorways to faery to magick gardens to building altars and more. Her words weave a magickal web that will pull you in (trust me, I know, I can not put her novel, Nine of Stars, down).
Here’s more about this magic(k)al babe directly from the source–
Hi! I’m Laura Bickle. I write young adult and contemporary fantasy novels with a magical twist. I write about whatever strikes my fancy: alchemy, ghosts, oracles, dragons. More deets on those are at my website.
Where did you grow up and where are you now?
I grew up in rural Ohio. It was a pretty magical place, near a sluggish river. Frogs sang at night and fireflies swam through the forest. I spent evenings fishing and searching for salamanders beneath rocks. I developed a deep respect for nature that stuck with me my whole life. Even though I now live in a pretty big city, I try to preserve some of that with my backyard garden. Home is where you’ve planted, and what you’ve planted!
We met through our high priestess program. How did you come to find your path? Tell us your magickal story.
I’ve spent twenty-five years in the broom closet, since I was sixteen or so. I was always a solitary practitioner, and really didn’t find any groups I connected to. I studied a lot on my own, and occasionally sought out teachers for specific things I wanted to learn, like meditation and Reiki. Several years ago, I stumbled across Lisa Michaels’s website, and I liked the idea of her priestess program. I wanted to do a deeper level of self-improvement in a safe space. The priestess program and becoming a high priestess were like that for me. It took years of study and a lot of reflection, but I’m very thrilled to have found a community of like-minded sisters like you who encourage each other!
Here at Apothecary of Avalon we love to support all things magickal! Tell us, what is the inspiration behind your blog, “Belle, Book, and Bramble,” and where did the idea come from?
My new blog is Belle, Book and Bramble. I wanted to play a bit with the idea of everyday magic, about the little things that make life extra-shiny. Magic is everywhere – in the color I painted my office, in the flowers I’m growing, in what I’m cooking for dinner – and I wanted to share that.
I think there’s an idea that magic has to always be high ceremonial magick to be truly important. And yes, full moons and new moons are super-powerful! But I think the little things add up to a lot. So I spend some time talking about floor wash, salt baths, and the spices that one can use that one doesn’t necessarily have to find the right planetary alignment to use.
Belle, Book and Bramble is my chance to play, to smear around some mud and glitter and giggle about the weird thing I just made.
You also call yourself a Suburban Hedgewitch, can you tell us a little more about what that means?
For me, a hedgewitch is a solitary practitioner who’s close to the earth. I play with stones and plants. I chat with the birds that come to my backyard. I make mint tea and grow catnip and marvel at the DeKay’s snakes sunning themselves. I watch for falling stars and write wishes in chalk on old bricks.
Once in a while, a feral cat will come into the garden and stay when he realizes that I’ll feed him. Over time, he decides to trust me, and I move him into the house. Honestly, that’s the biggest magic that I’ve ever experienced…when a wild creature puts his head in your hand for the first time.
It’s not high magick, so I rarely use the “k” designation. It’s just getting my hands dirty and kneeling on the ground.
What is one of your favorite posts you’ve written and can share with us? What made it so special?
My favorite post is a conversation I had with friend Iris Groveland about cleaning second-hand magical items. Both of us collect magical treasures from used book stores, flea markets, and online. One never knows what kind of residual gunk could be left in them, so Iris an I swap ideas on how to get those crystals and candleholders sparkly-clean and ready for use in a new environment.
From the many books you’ve written, blogs, and more, you love writing! When did you know you were going to be a writer?
You know, I didn’t set out to be a writer. I did a pivot and started writing seriously a few years ago. It’s a huge leap of faith to believe that something I did for fun could be a thriving career. I want to remember what it’s like to play with words, to make something from a blank page. And it’s a lot of fun.
Anything inspirational you can share with aspiring writers? What does your creative process look like?
I tell folks to try National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo – at least once. It challenges writers to write 50,000 words in a month. It really helped me clear away all my notions about what I thought the writing process should look like and focus on actually doing it. Having the perfect blank books and beautiful pens and wonderful ideas means nothing if I’m not putting words on the page.
Tell us about your pen name and do you have a magickal name?
I think pen names are magical names, in many ways! I write as Laura Bickle and Alayna Williams. I’m on Belle, Book and Bramble as “Belle.” I’ve got several other in my pocket, some secret, and some not-so-secret. My favorite is “Swimming Woman,” which I picked up during our high priestess program. That one reminds me to connect with the element of water and go with the flow.
What’s your favorite tarot card? Why?
In Tarot, I think of hedgewitches when I look at the Nine of Pentacles. That card shows a woman walking through a garden, holding a phoenix. She’s my ideal for magical practice – self-contained, at one with the earth, and choosing the harvest of her garden to advance her goals.
Have you visited anywhere sacred to you? Where was it?
The sacred site I’ve visited most often is Serpent Mound in Ohio. It’s an effigy mound in a clearing, constructed in the shape of a serpent devouring what might be the moon, the sun, or an egg. My grandfather took me there for the first time as a little girl, and I knew it was magic back then. It unwinds across a beautiful grassy clearing, facing toward forest. It’s incredibly still and silent there. I wrote about it once in a book, and for that story, it was a place where a dragon slept underground, watched by a spiritual guardian.
Tell us more about your biggest goals and dreams so we can add you to our New Moon Circle for Manifestation and send good vibes your way!
Ahhh! Thank you! My dreams right now are writing successful books that people want to read. I would love to grow my writing career and practice in a way that readers enjoy, and to keep the spirit of fun in the process.
But my biggest, most outrageous dream is to make enough money with my books to eventually open a feral cat ranch. I want to take care of so many of those little cats that lurk in the shadows, afraid. I want to someday have a big chunk of land where I could work with more of them, keep them safe, and hire a veterinarian. I’d love to be able to teach folks that it is entirely possible to socialize adult feral cats. I’ve done it many times. It just requires a lot of patience, time, commitment, and love.
Favorite magickal author?
Tess Whitehurst is one of my favorites. She does a wonderful job of making magic accessible in a very clear and practical way.
There are soooo, soooo many! I think I’d have to pick Robin McKinley’s THE HERO AND THE CROWN. I was twelve or thirteen when I read it, and it was the first fantasy book I’d read with a female protagonist who slew her own dragons. I was hooked ever since.
Lammas is my favorite. I love summer days when everything is ripe and juicy, when the sun is close and the grass is warm underfoot. Lammas is the first harvest, when we get to reap what we’ve sown from early spring, and I love getting to see the results of my work in my garden and professionally. This time of year always goes too fast for me, but celebrating Lammas reminds me to slow down and savor the moment. Barefoot.
What’s your favorite food and place?
My perfect afternoon would be reading pretty much anything from my out-of-control unread book stack while drinking a Coca-Cola (my favorite guilty pleasure) in my garden.
Is there anything else we don’t know about the amazing Laura Bickle?
I’m doing a new experiment this summer. I have a new book called THE DRAGON’S PLAYLIST, about a young musician from West Virginia who encounters a dragon in coal country. It’s a book about how you can never really go home again, and the big and little disasters that occur when one does. More details are here: http://www.laurabickle.com/the-dragons-playlist/
Thanks so much for chatting with me today!
Find out more about Laura on the links provided in her interview and on her Facebook Fan Page!