Unlock the Divine power that makes real magic
happen with this personal guide by America's highest profile Witch
A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic
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
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
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
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.
– 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.
– 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.
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.
live in a sacred, magical manner, because they live in a sacred,
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit www.broadwaybooks.com,
www.WitchCrafting.com, or www.bookofshadows.net