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Book of Shadows Paperback – October 5, 1999

163 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Over time, "book of shadows" has come to refer to a witch's journal, a diary of spells, chants, and rituals. Here Curott, a high priestess of the New York City-based Circle of Ara & the Minoan fellowship and a practicing lawyer, uses 13 chapters to tell the story of her personal encounter with the ways of the Goddess, with insight into the contemporary practice of witchcraft, or Wicca. The helpful appendix includes a table outlining the goddesses, gods, animals, and zodiacal signs connected with Wicca; spells, charms, and magical potions; special events of the Wicca year, with a resources section; and a list of books that provide further insight into Goddess and Wiccan practice, witchcraft, and white magic. Libraries seeking current material dealing with modern witchcraft will find this a helpful addition. Though no footnotes support any of the characterizations or opinions offered, the personal story will appeal to some readers.?Leroy Hommerding, Citrus Cty. Lib. System, Inverness, FL
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"This is destined to be a classic. The book is practical while maintaining that Wicca and magic are spiritual paths with a connection to the divine. I can honestly recommend it both for novices and the advanced alike."
--Janet Farrar, author of The Witches' Goddess

"A modern-day Persephone myth full of magic and mystery, Book of Shadows transcends the bounds of its genre."
--Deepak Chopra, M.D.

"An emotionally satisfying, riveting read, arguably the best--certainly the most unusual--memoir of the year. One might even be tempted to call it 'bewitching.'"
--Sonoma County Independent

"An engaging memoir of magic and self-discovery . . . [Book of Shadows] presents some fine insights into the role Witchcraft plays in the complex milieu of American religion."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Wise words from a smart and savvy priestess of the Goddess; the writing is beautiful, the rituals deep and compelling."
--Margot Adler, author of Drawing Down the Moon

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 3202 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (October 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767900553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767900553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By E. B. Davis on January 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the most amazing book on Wicca that I have ever read. I finished it in one sitting and plan to re-read it soon. Book of Shadows affected me on a deep level. After years of reading rather cut and dry (albeit informative) books on Wicca, Book of Shadows is a breath of fresh air.
Most books will tell you which direction to face (north, south, east, or west) while saying specific words and making certain hand gestures. Curott's book goes deeper than this window dressing. She actually describes the emotions and visions a person experiences during a spiritual journey.
I found this book to be spiritually and practically superior to almost everything I have read to date, standing alone with Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon.
If there were a Wicca 100 Class. Ms. Curott's book should be required reading. This book captures the essence and feeling of Wicca rather than the mundance aspects.
I wish I were more eloquent so that I could better express how moving, informative, and essential is the nature of The Book Of Shadows.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is not an encyclopedia of spells, or essays of philosophy. This is a touching novel of a woman's personal journey into a misunderstood- and often poorly represented- religion. Moving, enlightening, and inspiring, it is a lovely introduction to witchcraft, and a great read on any level. The downsides: some events are a bit overdramatized to keep the novel 'exciting,' and it does occasionally border on new age fluff, and also touches on gynocentricity and male-bashing. But hey, you read a book written by a woman about a woman-centered religion, working in a male-dominated industry, and you're going to get an opinion or two coming through at some points. I applaud the way she bares her thoughts, her feelings, her experinces, her relationships, and her trials to the public. Ms. Curott is a courageous woman in so many ways, as is clearly shown in this modern-day initiation story. This takes you inside, to see 'what witches do' ...and what they don't. It is a journey of discovery and reclaiming the ancient symbols of women's mysteries. Heartily recommended for the curious, the beginner, the pro, or anyone looking for a touch of the mystical in the corporate world.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By nature girl on August 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Don't let the title throw you!

Even if you are not interested in Wicca, this is a great read. The writing is a little uneven in places, but it's easily forgiven.

On one level, this is an interesting novel about one woman's journey thru life's ups and downs.

On another, its an inspiring biography.

On a third level, its an interesting glimpse into the world of Wicca. The presentation is accessible and suitable for a large audience.

I also recommend this book as a gift for friends that need a gentle reminder that 'woe is me' doesn't solve problems. I found it very refreshing in today's world of 'blame someone else for your unhappiness'.

Ok, now I have to gush a bit: This book really opened my eyes. I'd been stuck in 'woe is me' mode for a couple of years when I stumbled on it. I don't usually read books and then sit and contemplate what I've read. But I did with this one. My life isn't perfect now, but I *was* inspired to take an objective look at myself and identify what was and was not working for me. And make some changes accordingly!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Buanann on September 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
In "Book of Shadows", Phyllis Curott, a well-respected member of the New York City Wiccan community and an internationally-known spiritual activist on the frontlines of defending the religious liberties of Witches, recounts her introduction through initiation in a Witches' coven (contrary to one reviewer's assertion,the word "coven" is mentioned several times throughout the book, see, e.g. p. 50) As a NYC lawyer and a Wiccan priestess for over thirteen years, I was ecstatic to read this book. Reading Phyllis' account brought tears to my eyes, as it reminded me of my own experiences of discovering the Craft.
Rather than present a dry, past tense biographical account of her life, Phyllis brings her story to life by making it first-person present novel, thereby allowing the reader to experience this spiritual journey through her eyes. She does not just passively describe what occurs in her circle, she poetically invokes ones senses so that the reader can feel what it was like to be a member of Phyllis' coven. Unlike so many books on Witchcraft, which merely describe magic and Wiccan practices in mechanistic terms, Phyllis shows through her life experiences while training to become a priestess in the Wiccan religion how making magic can be a rewarding spiritual practice.
Phyllis does not just describe her coven training, instead she interweaves the parallel story of her rising law career, thus showing how she discovers herself by taking her spiritual beliefs outside of the magic circle, and imbuing them through her entire life.
I have read this book several times now (both the hardcover and the paperback) and have put "Book of Shadows" on the top of my required reading list for prospective students. I'm looking forward to the sequel!
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