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Book of Shadows

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  1,497 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
Since Phyllis Currot first published Book of Shadows, the story of her spiritual journey and initiation as a High Priestess in the Wiccan community, Witchcraft has captured America's imagination as a theme for fiction, television shows, and films. Now America's highest-profile Witch returns to dispel more myths and misrepresentations of her faith, and to share a practical ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published October 5th 1999 by Harmony (first published 1998)
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Oct 31, 2012 Jen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone exploring other religious paths
In honor of Samhain, I thought I would give props to my favorite book about Wicca and Paganism of all time. This book literally changed my life.

In Book of Shadows, Ms. Curott tells the incredibly compelling (and true) story of her personal journey finding the Goddess, and thereby her truest self. I found this book while I was just starting down that path myself, and it helped me release all of fear and shame I felt for leaving the religion I was raised in to find something that fit with my inhe
Feb 17, 2012 Sarah rated it did not like it
I was expecting to like this book based on many good reviews and recommendations. It was an easy read, and somewhat entertaining despite that it read like a chick flick movie script full of cliche situations.
From the beginning I had guessed that near the end she would declare some greatness via reincarnation. She kept talking about Isis and ancient priestesses. Everything came to her in a psychic premonition. She dreamed up everything before formally studying or learning about it. She was alway
Jan 02, 2012 Meg rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality, pagan
I have to give this book 4 stars because it's just so well written and enjoyable. It's an absorbing page-turner which does a beautiful job of integrating information about witchcraft with the author's personal journey.

Now we come to the reason I can't give it full marks: I want Phyllis Curott's life. It seems she doesn't ever have to do the laundry, call the phone company to sort out billing issues, or clean puked-up red jello off the living room couch. (Yeah, no one in this book has kids... for
May 06, 2013 Gaile rated it it was amazing
An American woman's journey into the ancient practice of Wiccan or the Old Religion of Europe.
This is a true story but it is not an easy read.
This book will give the reader much food for thought. It includes descriptions of the old ways of worship, the various tales and names of the goddess gathered from many lands and cultures. It describes not only what the author's group did in their circle meetings but also how the friendships she made and how it impacted both her personal and professional l
Ren Rabbit
Jan 31, 2017 Ren Rabbit rated it it was ok
I'm not fond of all the Wiccan bashing in other brands of Paganism and so it pains me to have to rate this book no more than two stars because it basically confirms all the ridiculous, negative stereotypes about Wiccans and "fluffy New-Agers" that are floating around on the internet.

I started reading this book expecting fully to like, yes, perhaps even love it, because I'd heard nothing but good things about it.
As a Pagan - though a tad more agnostic-leaning -I'm kind of spiritual myself, ther
Apr 09, 2013 Makereta rated it it was amazing
I have a soft spot for this book. I read it at a time I was making great changes inner changes and it influenced me profoundly. Phylis Currott's delivery will not appeal to everyone. Such books can only ever be written from one's own experience and Ms Currott does come from a strong academic background, and has built a career as a successful New York lawyer and peace activist, with a strong feminist streak. It was in fact the 'urban intellectual' edge that appealed to me, being as I was at the t ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Tanya rated it really liked it
This is one of the best books I have ever read about what it "feels like" to be a witch, to be in a coven. It is not a stand here say this type of novel. It describes the author's journey into Wicca. What I loved most about this book is how the author made you feel as though you were sitting right there in the group when the circle was cast. Descriptive and beautiful. This is a great book for a beginner to read to get the feel of how to begin the Wiccan path.
Megan Orr
Jun 22, 2015 Megan Orr rated it really liked it
The only thing that really bothers me about this book is the style of writing. I feel like the author is describing life through Cinderella's eyes or something. I feel like the author could spend an entire paragraph going into flowery description about the most mundane thing and it bothers me a bit.
Io ci ho provato ma proprio non fa per me, troppo didascalico e semplicistico. Racconta una storia fin troppo personale dove trovare qualcosa di universale che valga per tutti i neofiti wiccan è davvero difficile. Non penso che possa essermi utile per rispondere alle mie curiosità sull'argomento, che sono di natura più filosofico-teorica che pratica.
Mar 16, 2010 Hilary rated it it was amazing
On second reading of this book, I realized that my life now is mirroring the author's, with the whole "Persephone's descent into the Underworld" theme. All that glitters most certainly is not gold, and the thing of true value in this world are our spirits.

An amazing book, and highly recommended for those people still seeking out their own form of spirituality.
Gail Cleare
Jun 03, 2012 Gail Cleare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book on witchcraft for beginners that I have ever read. It is not a simple spellbook, but goes into the emotion and spirituality behind the magic.
Charis Branson
Jul 27, 2015 Charis Branson rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone interested in the Craft.
Caroline Wilson
May 10, 2010 Caroline Wilson rated it it was amazing
I adored this book about a lawyer's journey into witchcraft and how the two worlds collide. It is also beautifully written.
Jill Frederickson
Mar 13, 2017 Jill Frederickson rated it really liked it
A very good memoir of a woman getting started as a Wiccan.
Steve Cran
Back in the 70’s at age 25 Phyllis Currot was in her last year of law school. At age 25 she begin having prophetic visions and dreams that start coming true. In her dreams she hears the chanting dedicated to the Goddess. Isis, Astarte, Hecate, Diana, Demeter, Kali Inanna. She meets with Isis and starts doing research. Later she will move to Washington DC to fight organized crime for a labor union. The firm she works for eventually closes it’s doors and Phyllis returns to New York. While in Washi ...more
While this book does not compare to Curott's book WitchCrafting, it is still a very good read. This is Phyllis Curott's personal journey and apparently the best of her books by most reviews. I enjoyed reading this and would tell others to read it. Ms. Curott has an engaging voice and is able to keep the reader's interest. However, this book didn't grab me the way I wanted it to and I'm not sure why. Almost everyone I knew read this in a matter of days and it took me a long time to finish it (alt ...more
Nov 10, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
In Book of Shadows, the memoirist recounts her experiences as she encounters a group of Witches and becomes an initiate into their coven. This occurs in New York City sometime in the late 1970’s. She considers herself a rational, analytical person and at first has some difficulty merging her new discoveries with her scientific, factual background. This is helpful for the reader, as she explains how history , sociology, and quantum physics play a role in backing up what she is learning. At the sa ...more
Oct 31, 2014 Desiree' rated it liked it
Shelves: history, feminism, occult
I read this book based on the fact the author is a lawyer and I being a professional in the Human Services field necessary to read up on as many social topics as is important because you never know what type of person you will meet on the job, and what religion they practice. I wanted to know Ms. Curott's personal experiences with Wicca. I favor the book as an autobiographical account of her personal interests and struggles, especially with that sexist pig of a boss (small spoiler alert). I am g ...more
Julie Decker
Aug 10, 2014 Julie Decker rated it liked it
A decorated personal journey of a professional urban-dwelling woman being called by the Goddess into celebrating the Earth and joining her sisters in witchcraft. It's spun as the author's autobiographical introduction to Wicca, outlining her first brushes with elders, her first group meetings, her nailing down of her philosophy, the many spiritual messages that guided her path, and her choosing of a working name. It's fun to read because a lot of people who are interested in their own Craft begi ...more
 (shan) Littlebookcove
Feb 25, 2014 (shan) Littlebookcove rated it really liked it
Inner workings of a USA Real life coven. I wouldn't call this a occult book per say, but I know this is viewed. By Most “Witches and pagan's and druids and those of the Old way's” As an essential book to have in there collection. And I have to agree with them.
This book takes you on a journey Ms. Curott tells the incredibly compelling (and true) story of how she came to find her path and craft within a Coven. Were she learns all about the “Old ways “ and the “Wise craft” I have to say. Reading
Vicky Wils
Feb 19, 2015 Vicky Wils rated it did not like it
I think I was just too old to read this book. I bought it when I was in my teens but never got around to reading it till now. The fact that Curott says it's written out of her experiences and so it makes it a true tale made the first pages very hard to go through because in all honesty, reading about words flying out of the pages of a book because she's reading it in a museum just sounds like she's crazy. If it was a phantasy or thriller book it might have caught my attention but she couldn't gr ...more
Aug 27, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
Love this book! I first read this in my teens and it spoke to me in many ways in what was happening in my life. I'm not Wiccan but I think this book applies to most spiritual "awakenings". It's an awesome autobiography of a woman's path of finding the witch within.

Since it's set in Manhattan (where I've been) I could really see everything in front of me, including the fabulous old esoteric shop I had visited on every trip. That store that plays a big role (ungortunatelt closed since long) in the
I am currently reading...
I really dislike giving this book a low rating since I love paganism, witchcraft, Wicca, and the like. But, I can tell how much I like a book by how fast I finish it. This one took me about 1.5 months to get through. I just never looked forward to picking it up and reading it. I found it quite dry and boring. The story didn't flow well in my opinion and her style of writing didn't resonate with me. It seemed to spend more time talking about her mundane life than her magickal life. We are all dif ...more
Mar 31, 2008 Molly rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written memoir about a womans journey into the Old Religion. I was going through one of meny hard times when I read this and it mirrored alot of things for me. The author was not affiliated with any one religion and wasn't looking for one when she crossed paths with Wicca. Though she remained skeptical and academic about the whole thing, the universe just kept opening doors for her to walk through and explore eventually leading her to this wonderful outcome. Not just a book about W ...more
Ithinkican2 Scott
Feb 16, 2009 Ithinkican2 Scott rated it it was amazing
An interesting true story by a modern New Yorker who looks at the patterns in her life and tried a new lifestyle that flies in the face of convention.

This account is not dogmatic or New Agey in any way and fortunately, Curott just relates her life experiences without trying to 'convert' her readers.

As interesting as reading someone's diary without feeling like an intruder into too personal a place.

If you are at all interested in learning about wicca or witchcraft, this would make a valuable re
An interesting book about how a young lawyer in New York City became a high priestess in the Wiccan religion. Lots of history in the beginning, which I found fascinating, but the descriptions of the rituals got a bit tedious, I found myself skimming a lot of that, especially towards the end. She does a good job writing about her job and her boss who was sexually harrassing her, but pretty much nothing else. Just her job and the Wiccan rituals. Nothing else in her life made it into the book.
Jul 02, 2016 Jody rated it it was amazing
This was my second reading of this book and it's still a good book.

Curott goes through her whole beginning of a year and a day, learning and growing. It's interesting to see her progression.

I guess on this second reading I felt a little resentment. She studies for a year and considers herself a Priestess. Just a year -- well she really was a Priestess all along -- but the year and a day should be that she dedicated to the Craft -- not become a Priestess.

It's funny to me that her initiation was o
Nov 01, 2011 Kelly rated it really liked it
I first read Phyllis Curott's Book of Shadows three years ago, when I first became interested in Wicca and Paganism. It's unlike the typical Wiccan how-to book. I liked her story, but found it a bit boring at times. I also felt like she was bragging at times about romantic affairs. That being said, her descriptions of the rituals and magickal aspects of Wicca were nice though. Worth reading and worth keeping on your personal Pagan bookshelf.
Nov 02, 2008 beauregard rated it really liked it
Shelves: sacred
"As I watched her assured movements, I felt that perhaps, there was a community whose values might truly heal the wounds that haunted all of us, an ancient artistry that knew the body as a miraculous instrument through which the sounds of the Divine, if it existed, could reverberate into the world. It was an ancient system based upon the goodness, even more, the essential divinity of the human heart." p78
Nov 19, 2015 Silvia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ogni volta che ho bisogno di ritrovarmi, spiritualmente parlando, torno a questo viaggio magico e mi lascio trasportare dalla sua poesia. Non è un libro "perfetto", in certi punti lo trovo un po' prolisso, ma riesce sempre a riconnettermi a quella parte di me che a volte si perde nella frenesia della vita quotidiana e mi ritrovo a vivere in prima persona lo stesso percorso dell'autrice verso la Dea.
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“Most people know intuitively that when you fall in love, the world is full of magic. What they don't know is that when you discover the universe is full of magic, you fall in love with the world.” 11 likes
“Life is rich it’s full of gifts-the more you have the more there is to share. You know its men with small souls who think there isn’t enough to go around. They fight to keep their little grasp on their tiny piece of the world and they’re always angry because they’re never satisfied. They’re cursed with a hole they can never fill. They may get things done but they can never keep what they’ve achieved.” 4 likes
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