1. Your new book, Modern Witch, is a much more visual book than your previous three books (The Witch's Book of Power, The Witch's Book of Spirits, and The Witch's Book of Mysteries). What inspired you to write it?
While I am beyond proud of the Witch Power series and the magic presented in those three books, Modern Witch is actually the book that I originally sought out to produce. I have always thought of witchcraft as a beautifully dynamic and colorful way of life, and over time have really grown to appreciate it as both a spiritual practice and a spiritual artform. I've been taking photos of my workings (when appropriate) in some capacity for almost fifteen years, just as an act of trying to preserve the beauty of a moment in my own magical history. I have also always been a big fan of the pictorial style of the coffee-table book as well as the layout of the magical formulary. About seven years ago it dawned on me that the two would be a natural fit and I started the process of flushing out concepts and ideas for what would eventually become this book!
Aside from that personal element, the process was also highly guided by the listeners of my podcast and members of the global Modern Witch community. Much of the content I address comes from questions I have gotten over the years, and I really thank them for the inspiration to see this through and ultimately for the type of workings that are represented in the book.
2. The book features stunning color photographs of your magical workings. What inspires your style and aesthetic?
While some of the photos were staged because I do some step-by-step instruction, the majority of them were snapshots of actual workings that I had been performing either for myself or a client at the time they were taken. I wanted to stay true to the authentic look and feel of practicing a spell or blending an incense recipe in your own kitchen, altar, or backyard. That is easy to conceptualize, but I quickly found that it's not easy to convey the essence of real magic to people in the way I wanted to with this book. Magic isn't exactly something we can make pose for a photo. The second we try to hold magic, it disappears. The photos had to be candid and intimate and emotional when possible, and my magic tends to be a bit raw and (some might say) moody; so, getting that on camera took a lot of time!
To me witchcraft is mysterious and inviting; it's daring and full of color; and has a lot of candlelit shadows, crystals, and metallic accents. I don't know that that is how everyone feels, but that's how it feels to me so that's what I tried to capture with the art and photography. I also got to work with an incredible layout editor who made sure to do everything she could to help me actualize the vision for this book. She took my style and my intention and made it happen. (Becky, if you read this, you are my hero!)
3. Can anyone use the spells, rituals, and recipes in the book? Or is previous knowledge or experience required?
This is, hands-down, written for everyone regardless of experience level. I know a lot of books say that, but this is a spell book and formulary, and I knew it was going to be some people's first formulary while it would be the fifteenth for others. So, when we sat down to hash the details out, my editor and I made sure to bring (at the very least) a little something extra for people at any stage in their practice, be it beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Come for the spells and witty commentary; stay for the pictures, recipes, and charts. I truly believe there is something for everyone and we have made the subject matter as approachable as possible.
4. Modern Witch does aim to help readers make their magical practice entirely their own. Why do you feel this is so important?
I do not believe that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to witchcraft; I have never seen that be successful for people, and when I had tried to be the witch I assumed I was supposed to be because of what I read in a book, I was miserable. I have studied a lot of occultism and have spent a lot of time chasing teachers and approval from others in my magic. Everything changed when I threw out the rulebook and became a bit of a mad scientist, making magic that fit my needs versus magic that couldn't possibly address my unique situation. For example, a love spell for men who love men is going to be different than one for cis women who love cis men or cis men who love transwomen, for that matter; but just about every love spell you see is for cis heterosexual partnering. Another example might be that you have a healing spell, but it's so generalized that it isn't addressing the tumor in your body, just the nausea from the chemotherapy meds.
No two people are alike. No two situations are identical. No two spells are ever the same. So why not make it personal and figure out what it takes to get you exactly what you want in a way that is tailored to your specific needs. You know, again, for me witchcraft is just as much an artform as it is a spiritual practice, and I think good art, successful art, is both thought provoking and personal even if you are the only one who sees it.
5. What do you hope readers will take away from Modern Witch?
From the beginning of this project there was one singular message that we were all unified behind, be it my editor Elysia, the design team, the sales team, or myself. We all agreed that this was going to be a book that put the power in the reader's hands. Everything I write about I do so critically, with as much depth as possible, and I get to what I consider to be the heart of the matter. We took a lot of extra care to be as diverse with the content as possible, even going so far as to provide explanations on how to alter a recipe to personalize it for your own needs and providing step-by-step instruction for some of the harder to conceptualize workings. We didn't just want this to be a beautiful book—we wanted it to be one that filled a gap for readers.
When people pick up Modern Witch, I want them to have an experience and I want them to feel inspired to take the power of magic into their own hands. Then I hope they join us over at ModernWitch.com for videos, podcasts, playlists, and a couple of extra goodies that I've made just for them.