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Book of Shadows

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,180 ratings  ·  81 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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Wicca by Scott CunninghamThe Triumph of the Moon by Ronald HuttonThe Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott CunninghamCunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourc... by Scott CunninghamBook of Shadows by Phyllis Curott
5th out of 67 books — 36 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,193)
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Oct 31, 2012 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
Although the information regarding the middle ages and the 'burning times' is misinformed this is a wonderful novel for anyone who is interested in Witchcraft or neo-paganism. And as a note regarding the mis-information regarding the 'burning-times' and the medieval church: its wide spread misinformation in western culture-- everyone seems to have sterotyped the middle-ages as the "dark-ages", and many neo-pagans have accepted it as a fact. And that is my only real problem with this novel, but i ...more
Julie Decker
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
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
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.
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.
Vicky Wils
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
Gail Cleare
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.
Caroline Wilson
I adored this book about a lawyer's journey into witchcraft and how the two worlds collide. It is also beautifully written.
MiZzy Miz
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 t
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
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
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
Basically a Wicca 101 type book that's presented as a memoir. The author tells her story in an engaging way, while educating on the basics. I highly recommend this as introductory reading.
Mariah Stillbrook
This book made me feel like I was home. Phyllis opened up her heart and brought me along with her through her journey into Wicca. It truly is a magical read.
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
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
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.
Ding Ding
Very very very good!!
Ithinkican2 Scott
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
A well written enjoyable book, it had me hooked, it was very interesting.
Chris Hippe
If you are a struggling female, this book is for you. It did help me during a difficult time. Otherwise, you probably won't appreciate the book as much. It's a very genuine book. I believe was written with the best of intentions. Just don't look for any massive excitement. Its like a long chat with a good old friend.
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.
I have started this book twice. Each time I got about half way through and then lost interest. I don't know exactly what it is about this book that makes me stop reading it. It is either because the author comes off like a flakey ditz or because she is trying to tell a maybe 100 page story in 400 pages. Either way, I wouldn't recommend this one. There have to be some better "how I became a witch" books than this one!
"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
I really enjoyed this book. I found the story to be not only engrossing, but also very relatable. Although, I will admit there were several moments when history was presented in a skewed or just wrong fashion, that made my inner historian twitch. I found the Curott's story inspiring. I recommend this book to anyone who is unsure of his or her path.
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