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The Lost Magic of Scott Cunningham

This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig
posted under Pagan

Cunningham's Magical SamplerIt seems hard for me to believe that it was thirty-two years ago when the house I was living in became unhealthy and I needed a place to live. I was directed by a hand-written, three-by-five index card at a friend's shop to call a young writer by the name of Scott Cunningham. I literally brought a tape rule with me to make sure that the room he was subletting was large enough for my needs. Indeed, there was just enough room for my desk and bookcases, as well as space for a foam mattress for the floor.

With a handshake and a check, I moved in. We shared the apartment for more than half a decade. During that time we became great friends. We remained friends until he passed to the Summerlands on my birthday in 1993.

Scott wrote numerous books sharing his explorations of magic (he never liked the spelling "magick"), Wicca, and the Goddess. There was never an in-depth exploration of his motivations and why he wrote the books that he did until I wrote the eBook, The Magical Life of Scott Cunningham. You can obtain it from the Kindle Store, Kobo, Sony, and iTunes for just $1.99. I think you'll learn more about my friend Scott there than in any other book.

While I do give some examples of Scott's magical methods, the focus is on him and his motivations, and I share some personal stories about him that have never been published before. I think that sometimes it's important to understand why a person wrote a book or many books as part of understanding the content of that book (or books) itself. The Magical Life of Scott Cunningham provides a real understanding of Scott.

Scott was a Wiccan and Witch. He loved The Goddess as much as anyone I've ever met. He also felt a responsibility to share what he had learned. And so, he wrote his books.

Indeed, being a writer was another important part of Scott's life. He wrote novels. He wrote to friends and associates all over the world, and he wrote articles for small journals and newsletters that were popular at the time. Were he still among us I have no doubt that he'd been writing more books and also have an active blog.

For the past few decades, Llewellyn has been publishing Llewellyn's Magical Almanac. As an almanac, it's new every year. It of course has almanac-type things, including a calendar with all sorts of information and listings of holidays, astrological data, etc. Each issue was, and is, also filled with articles by famous or soon-to-be-famous writers.

Two decades ago, Scott wrote many articles for the yearly Almanac. Unless you kept copies of those old books, you would have no access to that information. Now, Scott's long unavailable writings are available once again, this time in a single source: Cunningham's Magical Sampler.

Perhaps the one person who has been as vitally important to Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism as was Scott is Ray Buckland. His book Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft is simply one of the most important and popular practical books in the history of modern Paganism. He provides a new foreword for Cunningham's Magical Sampler, for the first time combining in one book the words of two of the leading lights of Wicca.

The text of Cunningham's Magical Sampler is divided into five major sections:

  1. Personal Power and Growth
  2. Instruction and Applied Magic
  3. Herbs and Food
  4. Nature and Earth Power
  5. Ancient Cultures and Lore

Each of these sections is filled with Scott's own words, drawn from his writing, and not seen for decades. Topics include how to dress for magical power, protective magic, science and magic, tattooing, a wide range of practical magic and spells, foods for the Sabbats, how to gather magical plants, and even how to do magical container gardening.

Discover the key to a code for certain herbs used by Shakespeare, weather omens, bird charms, how to use trees as tools of psychic awareness, and the magic of shells. Included, too, are ancient Egyptian incense formulas and spells, Mexican Magic, Greek and Roman magic, the magic of string and the secrets of working with magic wells. And, of course, the traditional magic in his beloved Hawaii is also included.

These wonderful articles by Scott have never been available in this format before, and many have not been seen for many, many years (unless you happen to have decades-old copies of Llewellyn's Magical Almanac, that is). I'm sure you'll value your copy as much as I value mine.

Donald Michael KraigDonald Michael Kraig
Donald Michael Kraig graduated from UCLA with a degree in philosophy. He also studied public speaking and music (traditional and experimental) on the university level. After a decade of personal study and practice, he began ten years of teaching courses...  Read more

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