Community Spotlight: Erik Peterson
This week we caught up with Erik Peterson, the Resident Tarot Reader here at Ritual and the incredibly knowledgable host of our upcoming workshop, Foundational Hedgecraft. Scroll on to read our interview with them!
Tell us about who you are and your body of work...
My name is Erik Adriel Peterson and I am a visual artist, tarot reader, Hedgewitch, and end-of-life care consultant. I am agender (without gender) and use They/Them pronouns. I am currently attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for a Masters of Fine Arts degree with the hope of teaching at a collegiate level. Aside from my artist practice, I offer spiritual consultations via Tarot and trance. It is my great pleasure to be offering this ‘Foundational Hedgecraft’ workshop.
What is your origin story? Tell us where and how you grew up. Are there details from your culture and upbringing that influence your work today?
I grew up in southeastern Connecticut and spent my time equally between my mothers and my father and his wife. I was fortunate to have access to queer representation so early on in my life, as my own sexuality and gender would not have been so readily explored. Also, my mothers are magically inclined and have taught me much about spirit contact and communication.
Where do you currently live, and how does your community inform/influence your work?
I live in the Point Breeze area of Philadelphia. The immediate community around me is rapidly changing and therefore difficult to grasp. It is both long-standing and transient. Due to the area’s violent separation of nature, my spiritual practice has had to rely upon inner exploration and discipline. The land spirits here are more concealed, nervous to make themselves known, lest they are cast out.
What led you to start your journey in the healing arts, and how long have you been doing it?
I do not claim to be practicing a healing art. In my opinion, anyone who declares themselves able to “cure” is a charlatan. Even doctors don’t promise cures. That said, my practice centers around discovery. Only through discovery can you learn what needs to be healed within yourself, no one else can truly tell you that.
What makes your working & creation environment special to you?
The hub of my magical practice are my altars. I have three - ancestor altar, Archangel Michael altar, and my ‘all-purpose’ altar. It did not start out that way. Spirits speak and need arises and suddenly your entire home is a working magical space.
What words of advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur, artist, healer etc. that is wanting to get started?
If I could give advice to any starting witch (or artist!) is to try it all. Try everything. Fail at a lot of things - become decent at some things - and master one thing. Naturally, do not attempt to choose those things ahead of time. They will only make themselves known through doing.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning one’s own healing journey?
A “healing journey” looks different for everyone. One thing my mother says to me when I am feeling down about myself is, “We are all on our own path, and each of us takes our own time.” Meaning, don’t rush, and don’t compare yourself to others.
WHAT’S YOUR RITUAL? What are some of your most important self-care rituals?
Self-care is a continuously evolving practice. What I needed even 1 year ago is not always what I need today. The things that have lasted however are 1) Naps! I take them daily. 2) Shaving my head. Weird, perhaps, but that’s one thing a balding person has to do to feel refreshed. 3) Wearing a scent. I apply a scent called “Darcy,” by Aroma Sanctum (previously out of Salem, MA) to my wrists and neck. It brings me into myself, both when I apply it and later on in the day when I smell it.
Do you have any favorite spiritual tools—plants, herbs, crystals, decks, etc.—and how do you prefer to work with them?
My all time favorite magical tool is my mortar & pestle. I use it primarily for herbs, yes, but also for anything else that needs crushing (egg shells, resins, etc.). It is the first stop along the journey in making incense. I also use a pendulum quite often for simple yes/no spirit communication, which is often all I need. I am not a big crystal connoisseur, though I work with a polished slap of labradorite given to me by my late great-uncle. I do this by placing it on my chest during deep trance sessions, both to further ground me and also as a protective measure.
Tell us about things you incorporate into your day/life that help you feel more connected with yourself and your community?
My daily practice is very simple. I wear particular jewelry, put powdered clove in my shoes, say a little prayer, and I’m on my way out the door. In witchcraft, learning to tune into the magical becomes second nature. The little things are oftentimes more effectual than the big elaborate rituals.
What is your favorite product or service you offer?
I offer Tarot readings through Ritual Shoppe, and I enjoy them greatly! Through Tarot I have made many friendships.
What is the most fulfilling aspect for you about doing this work?
The most fulling aspect of witchcraft is becoming yourself; without dogmatic guilt or pressure. You become your most powerful when you are able to lean into all parts of yourself.
What are some of your biggest challenges you’ve encountered so far and how have you overcome them?
My greatest challenge must be my health. I have chronic kidney disease and because of it have required two kidney transplants and over two dozen other operations. My witchcraft and artistic practices are key to my survival. Without them I would feel weightless, moved by the slightest of wind. They are my anchors to this reality (and others).
Who are some of your favorite spiritual workers, artists, and/or designers that you are inspired by?
I have been most influenced by the witchcraft of Tara Love-Maguire and Christopher Orapello as well as the teachings of Dion Fortune and Paul Huson.
Do you have any books or podcast recommendations or any other links you’d like to share with the community?
Some authors that I would recommend are Draja Mickaharic, Nigel Pennick, and Gemma Gary. My most listened to podcasts are Down at the Crossroads, New World Witchery, and Invoking Witchcraft.
What are some of your favorite products at Ritual Shoppe?
My favorite jewelry designer at Ritual Shoppe is Hellhound! My partner and I have acquired a few of their pieces and wear them daily.