Fangoria Radio Friday June 12
Marvel Witch
Last minute news but such is my life: I'm on Fangoria radio Friday night June 12th. Here's the link:

Last minute!!
Marvel Witch
I know this is late notice but I will be at New York City Comic Con tomorrow, Friday, February 6th. I'll be walking around, mainly in the dealer's room (because I love my shopping!) but I'll also be at the HarperCollins booth and will be signing copies of the new Encyclopedia of Spirits. If you're there, please look for me and come say "hi"!

Ritual of Unity and Inauguration for the Presidential Inauguration
black cat
The Washington, D.C. community of magical and spiritual progressives will join together on Monday afternoon, January 19th, at the Jefferson Memorial Plaza, to sweep the town clean and welcome President-elect Obama and his administration to the White House.

The Ritual of Unity and Blessing is organized by a triumvirate of native Washingtonians, one of whom is the great-granddaughter of slaves, one the great-granddaughter of slave owners, and one the daughter of a populist New Deal Congressman. The ceremony will begin promptly at 2pm with a Witches’ Broom Dance, intended to cleanse Washington of the malfeasance, deceit and partisanship of the last eight years.

Washington Witchdoctor Caroline Kenner, a Pagan shamanic healer and organizer for the Sacred Space Foundation, says, “Many of us are worried by the ruinous course our country has taken for the last eight years, and we are also concerned for the safety of the Obama and Biden families. This ceremony gives us a chance to request help from our loving ancestors and our multitude of deities, and to bless and protect the incoming administration. We will begin the work by magically sweeping away the detritus of the worst administration in American history with our consecrated Witches’ Brooms.”

Wiccan Priestess Katrina Messenger, founder of Connect DC and the Reflections Mystery School, and faculty member at Cherry Hill Seminary, says, "We have an opportunity not only to sweep away the old, we also need to bless this beautiful city in preparation for what is to come. With all that is churning around the world in recent times, we need clear leadership and compassionate hearts at the helm of this great nation. Washington is such a jewel in the larger fabric of peace, freedom, beauty and justice, let us charge this historic incoming administration with all the good juice we can conjure!”

Caroline W. Casey, founder of Coyote Network News (the Compassionate Trickster Mythological News Service) as well as the host-creator of Pacifica Radio Network's, "The Visionary Activist Show," says, “The word "inauguration" comes from the word "augur", the pattern-tracker, the diviner within us all. The augur would walk out into nature to divine the patterns indicating which human was deemed the most responsible steward of the Common Wealth, the well-being of all our relations. And that chosen person would be "inaugurated" as the ruler who weds the land. We invite you to contribute your medicine blessing to our collective brew, and toast our new President, with whom we vow to collaborate: Barack Hussein Obama!”

A large quartz crystal resembling the Washington Monument will be charged with the blessings of unity and protection during the ritual. At the culmination of the ceremony, the crystal will be sacrificed into the Tidal Basin, whence it will broadcast the energies of the ritual to the Potomac River and the world at large. A Drum Circle will follow, lasting until 4:45pm. People from all religious faiths and spiritual traditions, or none, are welcome to join us.

A detailed description of the ceremony, including instructions for parking and what to bring, can be found at starting January 6th

New Book and the Return of 5000 Spells
black cat
Well, only 122 weeks since my last LJ entry! Among my New Year's resolutions this year, I vowed to be a more consistent, regular blogger: we'll see this year if my resolution holds true.

What have I been doing the last 122 weeks? Writing a new encyclopedia, pretty much full time. The Encyclopedia of Spirits will be out at the end of this month. That's the official title; I've been calling it my Monster Book of Spirits. It's another thousand-pager and this may be the book that ate my life. If I owe you mail, phone calls, anything: I'm so sorry. I'm digging my way out now and slowly getting back to normal.

You'll note that it's not the Element Encyclopedia of Spirits: that's because a different publisher is involved, a different division of HarperCollins. HarperOne will be publishing this new book and I'm very happy to announce that they will simultaneously also be bringing out a new American edition of 5000 Spells.

The normal thing for authors is that we beg people to read our books. The last three years have been very surreal for me: people, booksellers and individuals alike, have been e-mailing almost daily asking where they can get copies of 5000 Spells. They actually want to read my book and I've had to explain how difficult it is to get copies in the US (and how easy everywhere else).

5000 Spells has NEVER been out of print. It would have been easier for American readers if it had been, I could have found another publisher. It was simply not readily available in the United States. That's it. Whole story. The British publisher HarperElement closed up shop in the US in January 2006 and stopped wholesaling books. The only US outlets were Barnes and Noble and, for a while, OneSpirit book club. Essentially Barnes and Noble had an exclusive (except that they didn't advertise and let people know). So while some people were paying exorbitant prices for copies on e-Bay, if you had a local Barnes and Noble with copies, you could get 5000 Spells at list price or less.

Bookstores get their copies from book wholesalers or directly from publishers: but only Barnes and Noble had access to any Element products, hence the scarcity in the US. Meanwhile, it was available in Canada, Europe and literally throughout the world. This is what I mean by surreal: on any given day, I'd receive a handful of e-mails from US booksellers asking where they could get copies while simultaneously I was receiving photos from Serbia of bookstore window displays featuring 5000 Spells. A client e-mailed to say she had seen 5000 Spells in an airport bookstore in Dubai.

Even more surreal: readers or would-be readers would write to me and explain to me why 5000 Spells was unavailable. They repeated what booksellers told them: the standard explanation was that it was out-of-print, hence their attempts at contacting the author. (Tip: even if books are out-of-print, authors often do have copies and are happy to sell them , often at list price.)But I heard other explanations and conspiracy theories: 5000 Spells was unavailable because a new edition was in the works (news to me!); Barnes and Noble was hoarding copies and making them unavailable because they disapproved of the topic and my personal favorite, one bookseller told would-be buyers that she chose not to carry copies because customers asked too many questions about the book. Most booksellers I know (or merchants of any kind) are delighted when customers engage in conversation: it's their opportunity to sell more. And vendors who can't be bothered to answer questions for me are usually vendors I stop patronizing.

All stories: the truth is that 5000 Spells just wasn't generally available in the US and independent sellers as well as chains other than B and N couldn't get it, whether or not they wished to sell it.

But it's 2009, it's a new year and that's all in the past. HarperElement and HarperOne have made arrangements to release an American edition, to be published at the end of the month in conjunction with the Encyclopedia of Spirits. (They work well together. In the Spirits encyclopedia I was able to go into depth and discuss spirits only briefly mentioned in 5000 Spells. ) People have e-mailed and told me how much money they've spent on 5000 Spells. I'm so honored that you think that the book is worthy but don't do it, use that cash for something else and buy a book at a normal price. (It's the equivalent of ticket scalping: I don't get a dime more and neither does the publisher. Whatever extra you pay goes into the pocket of whoever sold it to you. If you've bought books from me at various Pagan fesivals, you know that I never charge more than list price and sometimes less.) Amazon is taking pre-orders, as is Barnes and Noble but I would also recommend supporting your local witch and Pagan stores and putting money back into our community.

The new edition is just called the Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells (no "Element"); I have not seen a copy yet but I think it will have different cover art but otherwise it is EXACTLY the same book. If for any reason, you cannot wait until the end of the month for a copy, don't spend $100 (or $50 either) for the book, contact me directly and let's see what I can find for you.

Many blessings for the New Year!

Upcoming Spell-casting Workshop in Baltimore
black cat
My apologies to anyone who is waiting for an e-mail from me. The last month has been spent either out of town or busy writing in my cave--- I have a bit of a reprieve this coming week and hope to get caught up on my e-mail then.
If you are in the Baltimore area, I will be leading a spell-casting workshop on Saturday, September 9th at 6pm. The class will be at The Turning Wheel on Belair Road. Please contact the store for details and reservations: (410)882-8060.
This workshop is appropriate for any level of expertise, beginner or adept or anyplace in between. We'll discuss mechanics and ingredients but also the inner truths and depths of spell-casting: what the practitioner needs to bring to a spell for optimum success, the realities of spell-casting, the psychology of spell-casting, the complex nuances that can be very hard to learn from a book.
There are some updates on my website too: if you look at the Marketplace page, you'll find new links for sellers of top-quality Hydrosols, Plants & Seeds and Magical Inks.
Okay, I'm going to go answer some e-mails now-- I'll write a longer post when I return from Baltimore.
With many blessings,

New Orleans Hurricane Ceremony
black cat
I'd like to pass on an invitation from Manbo Sallie Ann Glassman, the author of "Vodou Visions" and the creator of the images on the New Orleans Tarot Deck. Hurricane season approaches: there will be a public prayer ceremony dedicated to Our Lady of Prompt Succor (who has intervened historically on New Orleans’ behalf when a hurricane has threatened) and Ezili Danto (also associated with Mater Salvatoris and Moumt Carmel) to ask for protection from hurricanes:

When: Saturday, July 15th. 7:00 p.m.

Where: Achade Meadows Peristyle, 3319 Rosalie Alley (off of Rampart, between Piety and Desire)

What to bring in offering:
For Our Lady: flowers, statues, candles, religious pictures, jewelry.
For Danto: Barbancourt Rum, Florida Water, candles, daggers, dolls dressed in red and blue with gold trim or calico prints, spicy black beans, peasant cakes, unfiltered cigarettes, fried pork, white crème de menthe.

What to wear: Please dress in white (the color of purity), with red head scarves, or all red (the color of Petwo rites)

Those of us too far from the Crescent City to attend can certainly contribute prayers, petitions, blessings and positive thoughts.

A Love Letter to Memphis
black cat
Two months to post an update! That's too long! My sole excuse is that the past two months have been dominated by travel. (I travel computer-less.)

The Ponderosa Stomp brought me to Memphis. The Ponderosa Stomp is an annual American roots music festival organized by the fabulously dedicated Mystic Knights of the Mau Mau. (There's a link to their site on the Fellow Travelers page of my website, if you'd like further information.)

Up until this year, the Stomp has been held in New Orleans where many of its organizers and musicians both live but, in the wake of Katrina, festivities were moved to Memphis with proceeds benefiting New Orleans musicians, many of whom were so hard-hit by the hurricane and its aftermath.

What a great week! I wish we could be ponderosa-stomping every night of the year! The musicians so rightly celebrated by and at the Stomp so rarely receive the acclaim they so richly deserve. Those of you who love any of the too many art-forms that do not receive mass acclaim or recognition, can appreciate how special it is to be in a room with other people who share your passions. For the three days of the Ponderosa Stomp (and related festivities before and after), these wonderful singers and musicians, so often unappreciated and under-paid, were feted as the stars they truly are. Many of these artists rarely tour or travel widely; many are now elderly or semi-retired. It was an honor and a privilege to hear them play and sing. And lots of fun, too!

It's a small festival: many fans, organizers and musicians alike shared the same hotel. I was privileged to meet the brilliant New Orleans musician Willie Tee one morning over breakfast. I was also so lucky to meet and converse with Herbert Hardesty, Sleepy LaBeef and Lazy Lester. For me, musical highlights of the festival included bluesmen Willie Cobb and Mem Shannon, Eddie Bo and Lady Bo and my own personal highlight, the peak moment of my week: the amazing Tami Lynn singing "Mojo Hanna." Although Tami Lynn (a.k.a. Tamiya Lynn) has sung on so many other artists' recordings (for instance, the Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street" and various Dr John records), she has very few solo recordings and what exists is hard to find. What a rare treat to see her live--- thank you so much, Mystic Knights, for creating this opportunity.

And the city of Memphis! There are many places that I've fallen passionately in love with: New Orleans, New York, the Caribbean. I can now add Memphis to that list, too. The Ponderosa Stomp may return to New Orleans next year and I certainly hope to be there but I also hope to return to Memphis. This was my very first visit and, once again, I fell in love.

The kindness and generosity of the people of Memphis was incredibly moving (you have to appreciate that I've spent much of the last few years in New Jersey, which certainly has its good points, but kindness to strangers is not one of them.)

I did not make it to Graceland on this trip, that's waiting for the future, but we did visit Sun Studios, the Stax Museum and the Museum of Rock & Soul Music. We ate Memphis barbeque virtually daily. I came home with fun t-shirts, lots of soul and blues CDs, lodestone powder from the famed Schwab's Drugstore on Beale Street plus this great pack of Ponderosa Stomp trading cards, featuring images of various singers and musicians who've appeared at the Stomp, painted by artist Shmuela.

In addition to reading tarot, oracle and playing cards, sometimes I do readings with all sorts of non-traditional cards, Japanese anime cards for instance-- sometimes they work as divination decks, sometimes they don't. I'm looking forward to playing with these cards and seeing what sorts of results they produce.

I came home from Memphis and immediately began to prepare for my next trip: the Gaia's Womb weekend workshop on the shores of Lake Michigan. More about that incredible experience coming soon!


First time blogger, long time writer
black cat
I confess. I'm a techno-idiot. Pretty much the only things I can do on the computer are write and research. Normally this isn't a problem for me. Usually those are the only things I want to do anyway but the major downside is that I have a very hard time keeping my website ( up-to-date. I'm dependant on the kindness of others who are more computer-proficient. (If it wasn't for my kid, believe me, I wouldn't be attempting this blog. Let's just say she did not inherit her wonderful computer skills from me!)
Hopefully this blog will enable me to give better updates regarding books and classes plus keep in better contact with readers. I've been trying to answer all e-mail individually but I know I'm falling desperately behind (I'm so sorry!)and so maybe I can answer questions that are of general interest here.
First of all, to the many who have written to me, frustrated because they can't find a copy of 5000 Spells: despite what some booksellers may tell you, the book is NOT out of print. The situation involves distribution. The publisher of my two encyclopedias is not based in the United States and so the US is not their primary focus. There is currently only limited distribution in the United States; the book is very much available elsewhere. I know that it is available at the One Spirit Book Club. If it isn't in stock at Barnes and Noble, it should be soon. It is widely available in Canada both in stores and with Canadian on-line sellers, including Canada as well as through British and European booksellers. If I can find out which independent booksellers in the US have the book in stock, I'll post the information here (and please, independent booksellers, feel free to be in touch with me via my website.)
Speaking of independent booksellers and magickal stores, for those in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) I'll be doing two different workshops this coming weekend at Envision Crystal in Port Jefferson, New York. I am so happy to be returning there.
I'll be teaching a spellcasting workshop on Saturday, August 22nd at 3pm. Topics will include techniques, traditions and ingredients but also that special something extra that divides the adepts from beginners: the crucial psychology of successful spellcasting. This class is suitable for all levels of experience. No prior experience required but spellcasting will be approached from a different angle than the usual 101 class, so it's suitable for the experienced, too.
On Sunday, August 23rd at 11am, I'll be doing a Fertility Workshop. I have been fascinated with traditional magical/spiritual/medicinal approaches to fertility and infertility for more years than I like to admit; I've been researching the topic for almost 20 years now and continue to do so.
Infertility is in the news a lot lately but it is not a new predicament. Instead it’s among the oldest. Finding solutions to the challenges of conception isn’t new either: among the most ancient surviving written records are those detailing magical approaches to healing infertility and enhancing fertility.
In this workshop we will explore spiritual and magical techniques as well as traditional methods of physical healing including aromatherapy, massage, flower essence remedies and various schools of herbalism. Some of these techniques can be used in conjunction with conventional modern medical infertility treatment; others may be used as an alternative. Both male and female fertility challenges will be discussed. All techniques are comparatively inexpensive and non-invasive.
Port Jefferson is really easy to get to. There's great train service from New York's Penn Station via the Long Island Railroad (that's how I'm getting there!) Get off at the Port Jefferson station. The store is very close to the train. (The owners are incredibly nice people; if you're unfamiliar with the area and nervous, they will probably even pick you up from the train station.)There is also ferry service from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Trains and ferries run late but if you can, Port Jefferson is a very nice place to spend the weekend (potentially romantic, too!), right on the water, lots of antique stores, bars, restaurants. If you're interested in more information or would like to make reservations, please contact Envision Crystal(
I will also be doing readings/consultations at the store on Sunday after the workshop (if you call the store and ask, it may be possible to schedule other times too.) If you're interested, please contact Envision Crystal.
Another wonderful independent magickal store is Soul Journey in Butler, New Jersey ( After alot of packing and hard work, they will be re-opening in a new, beautiful, bigger location just a little farther down Main Street in Butler. Sandi, the proprietress, has one of the most incredible selections of magickal/occult/witchcraft/metaphsyical books. She has virtually everything (even a few signed copies of my Earth Mother Magic, which is really out of print and hard to find.)The books aren't listed on her website but if there's something you're looking for, you might trying calling or e-mailing Sandi.
The store will be reopening this Tuesday, April 18th. If you have a chance, go take a look at the new store and tell Sandi I said "hi."
With all blessings for your happiness,


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