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  • Eleven Things Every Witch Should Know
  • Create Your Own Book of Shadows/Magic Journal
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  • How to Join the Temple of Ara and Study with Phyllis
  • The real Secret of Spell Casting
  • 9 Steps to Casting Your Spell
  • 5 Facts for Successful Spellcasting
  • What is Wicca?
  • What are the spiritual principles of Wicca?
 
A social and spiritual activist, Phyllis Curott has been an attorney and Wiccan priestess for more than 20 years.
 
 
 
 

Press Release

Unlock the Divine power that makes real magic happen with this personal guide by America's highest profile Witch

WITCH CRAFTING
A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic
by
Phyllis Curott

High Priestess of the Tradition and Temple of Ara Author of Book of Shadows

At a recent lecture I was approached by a young man who had been working on his own for about a year. He knew Wicca was the path for him, and he wanted to practice, not just read about it. "But I'm confused," he said, obviously frustrated. "One book says place my altar in the north, another says the east. Some of these books say you have to follow word for word, and others say it's okay to make it all up yourself as you go along. Which one's right?" He shook his head.

All the Wiccan guidebooks in the world, including this one, are useless if you don't use them. You must move from information to experience, because it is only through practicing that you can begin to determine if the information, perspective, guidance, and tools work for you. If they don't, try a different approach. Each of us has singular interests, capacities, and inclinations. The goal is to find what works for you. Wicca is not about information – it's about transformation.

 


 

It has been three years since High Priestess Phyllis Curott, a New York lawyer and civil rights activist, made a splash with Book of Shadows, her memoir about being initiated into the Wiccan community. Since then, countless Witches have "come out of the broom closet," but like practitioners of any religion, many are still seeking guidance – a reference that offers the perfect blend of wisdom, philosophy, practical advice, and personal storytelling. Now, Phyllis Curott has done it again, blending her amicable style with her deep and well-studied knowledge of this ancient, and yet thoroughly modern, spirituality, in a new book that speaks at once on a multitude of levels – to the curious, the novice Witch, and the seasoned practitioner: WITCH CRAFTING: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic (Broadway Books; September 11, 2001; $25.00; Hardcover).

Unlike the books currently available, WITCH CRAFTING is not a book for simply reading and believing. It is not, as the author points out, "the gospel according to St. Phyllis." Instead, it is a book to experience and do, to question and ponder, to use when anyone, of any faith, is seeking the Divine. It is also the first guidebook that explains not only the how-to of Wicca, but the why, unlocking the secrets to making real magic happen.

But what is magic? Or, more importantly, what is it not? On one hand, the prejudices of a patriarchal heritage have instilled in us a fear that the magic of Witchcraft is a dangerous power, somehow innately evil. Curott herself had to overcome those beliefs in her initial exploration of the craft. On the other hand, our quick-fix society has led us to believe that if magic is good, it should be accompanied by a puff of smoke and instant gratification. Why must one learn the history of and philosophy behind ancient rituals when it would be so much easier to just whip up a potion and achieve our heart's desire? Because, writes Curott, magic is not just a tool that one uses; it is a transforming experience. "Magic is what happens when you have encountered the Divine…. Real magic is your relationship with immanent divinity, and it is how you craft yourself as a Witch." Wiccans strive to experience the Divine – the Goddess and the God – in all things, all humans, all of nature. There is no requirement of belief, for if the reader of WITCH CRAFTING will open her heart to see, feel, and experience the Divine, she will then have the key to creating a powerful magic.

The chapters of WITCH CRAFTING guide the reader through the elements of Wicca, from fundamental beliefs to incarnations of the Divine to specific tools and potions to help one on her or his journey. But Curott encourages experienced Witches, even those leading covens of their own, not to write off these "basics" as "Wiccan boot camp." Through the basics she helps the reader to explore:

  • Real Magic – Science is finally recognizing what Witches, shamans, and mystics have long known – that the human mind has profound capacities to affect the outcome of events. There is a hidden reality that exists at the quantum level (a "nonordinary reality"). By using the circle as a container, as a vessel for sacred space, real magic shifts your consciousness from being distracted by ordinary, everyday matters to perceiving the nonordinary reality and the presence of divinity.
  • Divination – An oft-overlooked magical method. Curott begins with this tool which is helpful for anyone on a spiritual journey. Divination is the means by which you engage in dialogue with the Divine, by which you learn to see the face of the Goddess or God in nature and in yourself. It offers you a view of the future but also explains and clarifies the present, providing guidance when you most need it.
  • The Goddess/The God – Because Witchcraft focuses on experiencing the Divine within the world, rather than just believing in a Divine presence that is removed from creation, every woman you meet is the Goddess, every man you encounter is the God. The Goddess is the world, in all of its myriad forms and expressions, and an important part of women's liberation and empowerment through this non-patriarchal religion. The God is not just warrior, father, and king, but also the playful, joyous, erotic, and ecstatic. He is the man who can dance, a force of creative genius, personal strength, courage, and determination.
  • Spellcasting – Admittedly, writes Curott, spellcasting is the "good stuff" that most readers will look for when opening WITCH CRAFTING. But she emphasizes that magic is not about instant gratification, nor is it about mechanical, formulaic spells. Magic will never work if the spellcaster doesn't experience it with an open mind and heart. Spells draw upon your own sacred gifts, and upon the power of immanent divinity, which is infinitely greater than any one person. And just as important as being thankful when spells work is understanding why they sometimes don't.
  • Potions, Notions, and Tools – While these elements for magic-making are an integral part of Wicca's celebratory and participatory tradition, it is important to remember that magic isn't just in the tools. With that in mind, the reader will discover that spells and rituals are a gorgeous form of spiritual expression, charged with divinity and creativity when done right and from the heart.
  • Energy – If you remember to stay connected to the sacred source, energy will flow through you as you practice magic. Raising energy within a circle is a crucial element of crafting yourself as a Witch; it is a real power that you can send off into the world, or draw into yourself, to help you accomplish your goals.
  • Sabbats – Whether you call it the Goddess, the God, or the Tao, there exists a Divine force that spins the Wheel of the Earth and of time. This ceaseless cycle, the enchantment of life changing its form, is marked by Sabbats – "holy days" – that allow you to re-attune your soul to the rhythm of the sacred.

WITCH CRAFTING lays out these concepts, and the practices that bring them to life, so that they, like the Divine, are accessible to each reader. And while she does include specific spells, rituals, and potions, Curott emphasizes the role of individual creativity in incorporating them into personal practice. Even after over twenty years of practice, she is constantly questioning, meditating on, and deepening her own rites and methods of connecting with divinity to create a magical life. Each practitioner of Wicca is capable of, and responsible for, experiencing her own direct encounter with the Sacred. No matter what books, teachers, Priestesses, or Priests have served as a guide, writes Curott, "at the moment of revelation and communion, every Witch is a solitary." WITCH CRAFTING teaches that there are no mistakes in the craft – "getting it right" is not important as long as one understands the spiritual meaning of the practice and creates her magic with an open heart. Hardly anyone has done more to overcome the negative stereotyping of Witches, covens, and Witchcraft than Phyllis Curott. She has educated the thousands who have attended her lectures, watched her on television, and listened to her radio interviews on the beauty and reverence involved in modern Wicca. WITCH CRAFTING even contains a new definition of Witch that Phyllis crafted to explain the heart of Wiccan spirituality: A Witch is someone who is paying attention, who is aware of the Divine Presence in all things. Above all, WITCH CRAFTING offers guidance for developing personal rituals that will open your eyes to the Divine and will fill your life with real magic.

Witches live in a sacred, magical manner, because they live in a sacred, magical world.

About the Author: Wiccan High Priestess Phyllis Curott is an attorney and the author of Book of Shadows (Broadway Books, 1998). Curott was named one of the 10 Gutsiest Women of the Year in 1999 by Jane magazine. Described as one of the hippest and most intellectually cutting-edge speakers in New York City by New York magazine, she has been profiled widely in the media, lectures frequently, and is widely respected for her work promoting civil liberties and religious freedom. She lives in New York City with her familiar, the Cairn terrier Webster.

 

WITCHCRAFTING
A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic
by Phyllis Curott
Broadway Books; September 11, 2001; $25.00 Hardcover; 355 pages
ISBN: 0-7679-0825-2 Contact: Alana Watkins, 212.782.8941 or awatkins@randomhouse.com

For more information, visit www.broadwaybooks.com, www.WitchCrafting.com, or www.bookofshadows.net

From Witch Crafting. Copyright (c) 2001 by Phyllis Curott. All rights reserved.