When setting out to write my Witchcraft Mystery series, I was determined not to create a Bewitched-style witch as my protagonist. As much as I loved that show as a girl (Endora was the best, and remember Dr. Bombay? And Aunt Clara?), I knew that witchcraft was a serious subject with an important history. So I set out to portray witches and witchcraft with respect for their diversity, both past and present. Want to know more? Read the Witchcraft Mystery series! Or…check out these suggestions:
- Visit your friendly local coven. I kid you not; many covens are open to the public (at least on certain days) and would love the opportunity to explain some aspects of their belief system. And if you think there aren’t any covens near you…you may be surprised. They’re everywhere!
- Wander the aisles of a botanica. This is a kind of traditional latino herbal/spiritual supply store; there are botanicas in most large cities in the U.S. The owners are usually women with a wealth of information about folk medicine, everyday “magic”, and basic human psychology.
- Talk to your mother-in-law. This might work better if you have my mother-in-law (ex-mother-in-law, actually, but that’s another story). But still, the elders in your life might well offer vast well of knowledge about traditional remedies and “folk” beliefs. Remember, “witches” were usually considered community healers and Wise Women, so there’s a lot of overlap.
- Go to Pantheacon, a conference dedicated to all things pagan/Wiccan/etc. Amazing.
- Read anti-magic websites and tracts. I learned this trick one October when a very sweet woman approached me at a gas station and handed me a pamphlet on the evils of Halloween. These tracts go into great detail about fascinating demons and unruly desires and all sorts of flights of fancy that are perfect fodder for a novel. I’m not coming down on anyone’s belief system; but I’m just saying…I couldn’t make this up!
- Read folklore. There are traditions of witchcraft, magical thinking, and “folk” healing in every culture around the world. Again, I couldn’t make all this up – it’s fascinating stuff. And you just might learn a cure for warts, while you’re at it.
- Spend a night in the woods (far from city lights) during a full moon. Gaze at the sky, peruse the shadowy woods, and imagine there is energy and life in the rocks and trees and stars that surround you. This is what witches have done throughout the millennia…you might just feel a connection! If not, it’s still a nice night out in the woods 😉
- Wander the aisles of the Halloween supply store. I know, I know, these are stereotypical renditions of witches and the like, but sometimes they get things right. And most witches I know have a great sense of humor and a true appreciation for Halloween, even the kitschy bits.
- Invite a few good friends to hold a ceremony in a beautiful place outside, at night. Look up a simple ceremony for promoting harmony, lay out a few items that are meaningful to you, and speak a few words of friendship and communion. You might feel silly. On the other hand, you might feel stronger for having focused your intent in a circle of friends. It’s powerful stuff, witch or no.
- Adopt a black cat. Because…shouldn’t everyone have a black cat?
Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot from New York and an editor from Texas. She graduated with a degree in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn Masters degrees in Anthropology and Social Work from the State University of New York, Albany. Upon her return to California she owned and operated her own decorative painting, historical renovation, and domestic design studio for more than a decade. Juliet pens the New York Times Bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series, and will release her first mainstream novel, The Paris Key, in September. As Hailey Lind she wrote the Agatha-Award nominated Art Lover’s Mystery series. She is past president of Northern California Sisters in Crime and former board member of Mystery Writers of America. Juliet lives in a hundred-year-old house with extensive botanical gardens in Northern California, but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. Juliet believes in the magic of language, travel, and cultural exchange to open hearts, minds, and souls.