1. Your new book, A Witch's World of Magick
, covers Pagan
and magical traditions the world over. What inspired such a diverse collection?
I love researching folklore and magickal traditions, and I find it fascinating that there are so many commonalities in magickal practices and techniques from around the world, from different cultures and in different time periods. I wanted to highlight the fact that even in our great diversity lies principles of magick that could arguably be called universal, so I made a point of including a broad selection of magickal practices from each of the world's populated continents to help illustrate that and to inspire further thought and research on the part of the reader.
2. You are quite active in the Pagan community, from the United Witches global coven (of which you are founder) and Denver Pagans to writing for Llewellyn’s almanacs and other Pagan and metaphysical publications. How did your magical journey begin?
I was blessed with a magical mother, and from my early childhood onward she taught me how to do things (like affect the weather using visualization and concentration) and played little games with me to help nurture my psychic skills. As I got older, when I was around ten, she started teaching me how to read tarot cards and also how to communicate with the dead using a spirit board. But, I didn't discover witchcraft per sé until I was fifteen years old. I found a copy of Scott Cunningham's The Truth about Witchcraft Today in the very hidden, very limited "Paranormal" section of a local bookstore in the small town in Georgia where I lived at the time, and after that, it was on! I finally had words to describe what I did and what I felt, and my eyes were opened to the fact that I wasn't alone, that there were other people that did this stuff, too!
3. Your previous book, A Witch's Bag of Tricks, also presented ways to enhance a magical practice. How do you cultivate your ideas to enhance your magical practice?
It usually starts with a need, or a curiosity. I'll get an idea of something I want to do, or I'll have a question about how something works, then from there I have to figure out how to best go about it, how to work the magick or test the magick or whatever it is I have in mind. And that's the fun part! I like to base my practices off tried-and-true methods, but I also like to adapt techniques to make them more personal and better suited to my own beliefs, needs, and environment. It's challenging, and I never quite manage to figure things out to my satisfaction, but the challenge is what helps us grow and learn in the magickal arts, so I love it!
4. How can readers integrate new ideas from other customs into their own magical practice?
It's really up to the individual practitioner, what they want and need, what they want to experience, and what their own personal practice entails. A person might use an ancient magickal formula as precisely in line with tradition as possible, or they might use an idea or a component from a tried-and-true spell as part of a totally unique, brand new working of their own design. It's also very useful to compare and contrast different magickal techniques from different cultures, because in doing so, the core elements of what makes it all work become apparent. When we have that foundation of time-honored magickal tradition, we're better able to craft our own effective magickal techniques because we understand the principles underlying the operation, and we're aware of numerous ways in which to carry those out. When we're familiar with lots of different magickal customs, we're never without options. There's always a way to work whatever magick is needed at the time using whatever resources you happen to have on hand, and learning about lots of different magickal methods makes it way easier to develop that skill.
5. What do you hope readers will take away from A Witch's World of Magick?
I'm hoping that readers will discover a whole world of magick that warrants further study and investigation! A Witch's World of Magick includes a broad and extensive sampling of traditional magickal methods from around the globe, which I hope will spark curiosity and lead people to research more about the various cultures from which these techniques come. Most of all, I hope the book will offer readers new ways of looking at the magickal arts. I want readers to become more curious about the core operating principles of magick, so that they'll do their best to contribute their own insights and reasoning powers towards discovering even more about this magick we all share and how we can use it to its fullest potentials. Magick is a human art, and an ancient yet timeless one. As modern practitioners, we are a part of a timeless tradition, fluid and ever-changing yet at the same time, everlasting. Our outward methods may differ, but the heart of the magick beats the same all the world over.