To catch up, go here for part I of this conversation. So we also share an appreciation for mystery. What sort of traditions and rituals do you have?

As a solitary practitioner I lean toward a more eclectic approach. I perform a personalized ritual during full and new moons, the eight holy days of the wheel, Leif Eriksson Day (which is also my son’s birthday) and my birthday. I also perform a libation and sacrifice during each of the twelve days of the Yuletide honoring Odinn and the Wild Hunt.

Additionally I honor Aleister Crowley’s birth and death, the nativity of the Scarlet Woman, and the anniversary of the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law.

What are the best ways for you to connect/commune with your ancestors?

Meditation. Trance. Ascending to the Astral Plane… Every ritual I perform, I invite my ancestors into my circle. They are always with me. Blood will have blood.

Is it too personal to ask how your faith journey is worked out practically? Like what a worship time would look like?

Generically speaking, at midnight I would purify my sacred space, conjuring a magic circle about me and whatever tools I might be working with. By will and sacred word I would cast out negative energies and invite in my ancestors and whatever gods I intend to work with that night. Then I’d go to work, either reciting poetry or weaving magick… Most often it is a relaxed atmosphere, unless I have a major undertaking planned.

I know you’ve said that you practice your religion in a solitary way, but are there occasions where those who share faith similar to yours can gather as a community?

Asatruar gather locally in Kindreds (think Covens, though they would balk at that comparison) while nationally, Kindreds are invited to The Althing, which is akin to a “gathering of the clans”. Non-solitary Thelemites can join, for example, the Ordo Templi Orientis, or Kenneth Grant’s Typhonian OTO…

Does your family hold to your religion or is it just you? How do you pass it down/along or do you?

My wife is a Christian, though she doesn’t attend Church or read the Bible. She believes what she was taught by her mother and that’s good enough for her. She thinks I’m a nutter, as my British friends say.

My son is only four so everything is still a mystery to him. He believes in everything… from Santa Claus to Giant Alien Robots. I have read to him some of the Norse myths, just as I’ve told him the Nativity story. He will get to find his own path. It is my job as a father to lead by example. His mind is his own, and if he comes to view the world as I do, then I will be thrilled, but it is his journey. All I can do is show him where the road begins…

Could you explain “the nativity of the Scarlet Woman” a bit more? It reminds me of a passage in the Book of Revelation.

The Scarlet Woman, or Babalon as she is known in Thelema, represents the liberated woman and the full expression of the sexual impulse. From Chapter I of The Book of the Law:

15. Now ye shall know that the chosen priest & apostle of infinite space is the prince-priest the Beast; and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given. They shall gather my children into their fold: they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men. 16. For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight. —AL I:15-16

How do you (or do you see yourself doing this at all) work out your faith in your fiction?

I cut my teeth on Robert E. Howard and bought into the whole “barbarism is the natural state of man” that was such a large part of his fiction. What I try to impart in my work is a sense of wonder, coupled with, at times, a savage brutality that is often but a heartbeat away. I always try to look at the light and the dark and how they dance with one another, the beauty and the beast, if you will. I think you’ll find that, in my stories, I bring an air of “power, mystery, and the hammer of the gods” to every tale. And that is indicative of the conflict that rages inside of me, and my faith in the elder gods, the primal forces, are played out in my characters more often than not, because that’s what’s boiling inside of me, seeking release. If my writing were a stew, the ingredients would be comprised of the sword and sorcery of Robert E. Howard, the paranormal mystery of Algernon Blackwood, the gothic romance of Dan Curtis, all tied together with the historical resonance of Katherine Kurtz. But in the end, the defining ingredient, the spice, if you will, is the heart of my ancestors that is beating strong inside my chest.

Speaking of similarity, one of the rituals of Kwanzaa, the pouring of libations, is about remembering my ancestors.

I’ve always felt it important to meet over the common ground, rather than to become mired in our differences. Those differences are, more often than not, superficial at best.

That’s my guiding philosophy. That and mutual respect and you can have meaningful dialogue about religion and spirituality. I thought I’d leave you all with a peek at a book trailer for his latest project, Keepers of the Dead. What else can we be looking forward to from you?

The sequel to Shadows Over Somerset, Keepers of the Dead, will be released this coming Spring by Black Death Books. I’m very excited about the Indiana Horror Writers anthology, Dark Harvest, that we’re both a part of. It’s very strong, filled with some truly fantastic fiction. I’m honored to be a part of it. You can also read a non-fiction article on my paranormal investigations of the Eastern Woodland Carvers Building that will be in the March issue of Doorways magazine (which also features a short story by a certain “sinister minister”, if I’m not mistaken). You can also catch me in a few upcoming anthologies, including Michael Knost’s Legends of the Mountain State 2 (which again, you’re a part of). I also have some artwork gracing the covers of two of Dr. Kim Paffenroth’s works, Orpheus and the Pearl (published by Magus Press) and Dying to Live 2: Life Sentence (published by Permuted Press), as well as some art that has found its way into various private collections by some rather prestigious Occult Orders that I have become associated with.