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Book of Shadows (Anglais) Broché – 5 octobre 1999

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Thousands  of years ago, the Sumerians created a legendary collection of  invocations to the Goddess, ordaining their magical corpus of poetry and  songs a "Book of Shadows." Over time, Book of Shadows has come to  refer to a Witch's journal, a record of spiritual wisdom, a diary of  spells, songs, chants, rituals, and invocations. This is my Book of  Shadows, the story of my first encounter with the ancient ways of the  Goddess. It is the true story of a modern woman's spiritual journey into a  realm long forgotten by Western culture. It is a chronicle of discovery,  challenge, and transformation.

Over the past two decades, as a High Priestess and a teacher of the Old  Religion, I have found when I mention the word Witch, it often  brings to people's minds images of hurly-burly hags casting spells,  licentious young women consorting with the devil, and wizards commanding  supernatural demons to appear. On the lighter side, they might think of  glamorous Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch, sexy Kim Novak in  Bell, Book and Candle, or the adorable TV Witches in Bewitched  and  Sabrina lending some desperately needed excitement, as  well as some unexpected morality, to the American suburbs. Or perhaps they  will remember, with a child's delight, The Wizard of Oz and Glinda,  the Good Witch of the North, who tells young Dorothy the power to find her  happiness, and her way home, has been with her all along. This last image  comes closest to capturing the real and unknown truth about  Witchcraft.

Like most people, there was a time when I thought Witches existed only in  the realm of make-believe. Whether they were real, and whether they  actually had magical powers, were not questions I even considered as a  philosophy student at Brown University, and certainly not later as a young  practicing Manhattan attorney. After all, why would a well-educated,  professional  woman be interested Witches, let alone willingly become  one?

Then, twenty years ago, a series of mysterious coincidences led me to a  world where I discovered the answers not only to these questions, but to  questions buried at the center of my soul--questions, it turns out,  millions of people also want answered, for the answers are the hope for  humanity's future as we enter a new millennium. How are we to find our  lost souls? How can we rediscover the sacred from which we have been  separated for thousands of years? How can we live free of fear and filled  with divine love and compassion? How can we find and fulfill our magical  destinies? How can we restore and protect this Eden, which is our fragile  planet?

The answers were not found in the domain of make-believe, but in the  place one might least expect to find them--in the hidden world of real  Witches.  But contrary to the clichÚs in fairy tales and Hollywood  films, Witchcraft is not a subculture of satanic rites enacted by wacky  spinsters or mad demonologists. It is an ancient, elegant spirituality  that revives the magic of being alive--the kind of magic we have always  longed for, but sadly assumed only came true in storybooks.

Wicca, as Witchcraft is most often referred to by contemporary  practitioners, is the renaissance of a pre-Hebraic, pre-Christian, and  pre-Islamic Goddess spirituality. The word Witch actually comes  from the old Anglo-Saxon word wicce, meaning "wise one," a seer, a  priestess, or shaman who is able to work with unseen, divine forces.  Witches were the singers of sacred songs, the midwives and healers, guides  and teachers of the Goddess's spiritual wisdom. Like Native Americans,  Taoists, Australian Aborigines, the Yoruban tribes in Africa, Eskimos,  Hawaiians, Lapps, and other indigenous peoples, the people of old Europe  and the Fertile Crescent lived close to the earth and respected their  relationship with nature as sacred, for they experienced their world as  the embodiment of the divine.

The shamanic practices of the Old Religion enabled women and men to  attune their psyches and their daily lives to the cycles of nature and the  mystical wisdom found in the earth's profound rhythms. A spirituality of  divine empowerment, the holy magic practiced by Witches, shamans,  priestesses, and mystics celebrated an enlightened connection to the  earth.

Their sacred truths have been passed down by magical orders and within  families, who carefully preserved the religion of the great Goddess. Those  who practiced the old ways--in southern Italy, in the small towns of the  British Isles, and, several centuries later, in rural parts of West  Virginia and New England--were forced to do so secretly, having been  driven underground nearly five hundred years ago, when accusations of  Satanism first arose. From these accusations came the "Witchcraze," the  Church's crusade to suppress the  Old Religion of the Goddess and  establish religious hegemony in Europe.  Hundreds of thousands were killed  in an unholy campaign, most of whom were women, who suffered great losses  in economic and social power. But this was not the only wound to Western  culture. The ancient knowledge of the village wise woman, and man, was  nearly lost, as the sacred rites that maintained the connection between  people, the earth, and the divine were rent asunder.

Hundreds of years after the Witchcraze, the archetype of the horrific hag  continues to hold tremendous power as a repository for modern culture's  fear of women, sexuality, and individual freedom. The repulsive crone has  become our guardian at the gate, challenging our readiness to enter a  world of ecstasy and enchantment. Those with courage, curiosity,  compassion, and a taste for adventure may confront her, and when they do,  behind the mask of the wicked Witch, they will find the beatific face of  the Great Goddess.

As a young woman at the start of my career, I began studying with  priestesses of the Goddess. They introduced me to the timeless arts of  spiritual transformation, imparting tools and techniques that anyone can  use to experience the divine within themselves and in the world around  them. I entered a realm of magic that was as ancient as the history of  humanity, and as modern as the theories of quantum physics. And their ways  enabled me to see the world as vibrantly, divinely alive, rich with wisdom  and beauty.

Since I first began practicing the secret arts of the sacred earth,  Goddess spirituality has emerged from the shadows of misunderstanding as  the fastest growing spiritual practice in the United States. I have  addressed the public, the media, the legal system, Church congregations,  the Parliament of the World's Religions, and United Nations conferences. I  have taught the wisdom of the Great Goddess. I have found a beacon of  truth, a torch that I offer for your journey into the future, into realms  of wonder, magic, and divinity.

We are entering a new era, an age of the Divine Feminine, when the  illumined power of women and men will bring new life to a dying world. It  is a time of critical change that depends upon our spiritual awakening, a  collective epiphany, a summoning of the sacred into our lives. Now is the  time for the Goddess's return, for the return of our lost souls. For the  return of life to a world laid waste by spiritual and environmental  crises. Through the re-empowerment of the feminine principle, our world  can become a holy vessel of connectedness, grace, and joy for all. With  Her return, we will rediscover the Paradise which dwells within and which  encircles us on this sacred, beloved planet.

Revue de presse

"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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14 janvier 2012
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