Digitalis, Raven (1983- ) Pagan priest and empathic healer, noted for his teaching of “Goth Craft,” a merger of Goth subcultures with Witchcraft and Pagan spiritual practices.
Raven Digitalis was born Colin Smith on July 29, 1983, in Missoula, Montana. As a youth, he identified with concepts in occultism, magic and Witchcraft. At age 16, he was introduced to the Craft by a friend and knew he had found his spiritual home, attracted to the Craft’s emphasis on self-empowerment, independent thought and direct contact with the divine.
Digitalis graduated from the University of Montana in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology. He works as a Gothic-industrial radio and club disc jockey and as a black-and-white photographic artist. He took his name Raven Digitalis from two of his spirit helpers, the raven and the plant digitalis (foxglove).
In 2003, several events took place that influenced Digitalis’ spiritual path. He became a Pagan priest. He and his high priestess, Estha McNevin, founded the disciplined eclectic shadow magic occult tradition of Opus Aima Obscurae (“Work of the Great Dark Mother”). The tradition draws upon Gardnerian Wicca, the Hermetica, the Kabbalah, shamanism and chaos magic and requires intense study, self-reflection, spiritual ordeals and sacraments such as fasting, tonsure and devotions as ways to progress spiritual development.
The same year, Digitalis undertook a psychedelic mushroom shamanic journey and had a vision to write a book on the growing convergence of the Goth and Witchcraft cultures. Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture was published in 2007. “Goth Craft” concerns spiritual exploration of one’s shadow side; it is not about “evil.” Dark aspects of deity are given more emphasis, and rituals encompass blood magic, death energy and body art/modification. Goth Craft has gained increasing acceptance among Witches and Pagans.
A second book, Shadow Magick Compendium: Exploring Darker Aspects of Magickal Spirituality, not specific to Goth, was published in 2008. The two books are intended as reference guides for working in the darker, yet progressive and evolutionary aspects of spirit and magical spirituality.
Digitalis sees Witchcraft/Paganism as an accessible, progressive spiritual community. Practitioners, he says, must live their magic and extend it to others in order for the community to realize its spiritual potential. Healing is an important aspect of Witchcraft and Paganism, and Digitalis uses his empathic healing ability to help others.
Digitalis, McNevin and their coven plan a metaphysical bookstore, cafe and resource center, Twigs and Brews, most likely for the Missoula area. In addition to Witchcraft, Paganism and occultism, Digitalis has studied Buddhist philosophy and trained in Georgian Wicca, a tradition similar to the Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions, founded in 1970 in California by George Patterson, Zanonia Silverknife and Tanith.
- Digitalis, Raven. Goth Craft: The Magickal Side of Dark Culture. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 2007.
- . Shadow Magick Compendium: Exploring Darker Aspects of Magickal Spirituality. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications, 2008.
- “Opus Anima Obscura.” Available online. URL: http://www. witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_gr.html? a=usmt&id= 30426. Downloaded December 10, 2007.
- Raven Digitalis Web site. Available online. URL: http://www. ravendigitalis.com. Downloaded November 30, 2007.
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