Power of the Witch: The Earth, the Moon, and the Magical Path to Enlightenment

Power of the Witch: The Earth, the Moon, and the Magical Path to Enlightenment

by Laurie Cabot, Tom Cowan

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804152211
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/18/2013
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 526,780
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Laurie Cabot, known as the “official Witch of Salem,” has been a practicing Witch for more than 40 years. She conducts classes and seminars on Witchcraft as a science and, as founder of the Witches’ League for Public Awareness, makes frequent media appearances on behalf of that organization. Cabot has two daughters, Jody and Penny, and lives in Salem, Massachusetts.

Tom Cowan attended a Jesuit seminary and received a PhD in history from Saint Louis University. He has been a student and teacher of religions and mysticism since the 1960s. He frequently lectures and conducts workshops nationwide on various aspects of spirituality, Celtic shamanism, dreamwork, and creativity. The author or coauthor of more than 25 books, he lives in Highland, New York.

Read an Excerpt

Certain things are everlasting. Magic is one of them. It comes from the Persian and Greek roots magus and magos which mean wise. The English word magi, meaning wise men, comes from them. Witches are among the wise ones who participate in the work of creation in order to nourish the people and protect the earth. Magic belongs to no one culture, society, or tribe—it is part of the universal wisdom. Magic-makers in every century and in every culture have played similar roles and shared similar characteristics. Whether they were called Witches, shamans, priests, priestesses, sages, medicine people, or mystics, they knew how to heal the sick, summon the herds, grow crops, assist at births, track the influence of stars and planets, and build temples and sacred mounds. They knew the secrets of the earth, the powers of the moon, the longings of the human heart. They invented language, writing, metallurgy, law, agriculture, and the arts. Their rituals and ceremonies, their spells and incantations, their prayers and sacrifices were expressions of their oneness with the source of all life, the Great Mother of all living things.
First and foremost the magic-makers were healers who could diagnose illness and prescribe the correct medicine and ritual to heal their patients. Always performed in a social context that included the family and relatives, the ancient healers’ magic worked because it was holistic, drawing on the patient’s own healing power and working with the elements and spirits of the patient’s environment. It dealt with both the physical and spiritual causes of disease—the invasion of harmful spirits or substances and the debilitating effects of soul loss. Ancient healers could withdraw the harmful objects from the body and retrieve lost souls.
Ancient magic-workers were also spiritual leaders and counselors who officiated at important rites of passage. They performed marriages, sanctified births, anointed the newborn, initiated young people into adulthood, and led the souls of the dying into the next world. Because they stood “between the worlds” of spirit and matter, they could serve as bridgers and mediators between the human and the divine. People came to them with their visions and dreams. Sometimes they alone could help an individual discover his or her guardian spirits and sacred names.
As compelling seers, prophets, and visionaries, they answered questions about the past and the future. They interpreted omens. They advised on auspicious times to plant, get married, travel, go on vision quests. Some of them had the power to raise storms, bring rain, and calm seas.
They were the Animal Masters, who understood our kinship with all creatures. They knew the minds and hearts of the beasts and were at home with wild things. They could communicate with animals and plants and prowl in sacred places. They knew the arcane language with which creation speaks to itself. They knew how to listen.
And the wise ones were master storytellers who knew the ancient myths—for even ancient peoples had ancient myths that contained their collective folk memory. As custodians of legend and custom, they could recite poems and sing songs for hours or days at a time, mesmerizing their listeners with the magic of their voices. They were the original bards.
When we think about the gifts and talents that these ancient magic-workers possessed, something inside us glimmers. We resonate to them because we know that we, too, possess these gifts and talents. On some level of consciousness we know that these skills are not supernatural but natural, and that we have used them—in memory, in imagination, in another life, in our dreams. We understand the deep truths that the Witch, the shaman, and the mystic embody, truths so old the world will never get rid of them. Although many modern people will not admit it, the Witch’s worldview still makes sense. We still sense a connectedness with nature that has not been totally lost. We instinctively know that all creation contains a magnificent vitality, that everything is alive, that all creatures contain spirit. In our heart of hearts we agree with the philosopher Thales, who told the ancient Greeks, “All things are filled with gods.”
Every culture has had its magicians and visionaries. We find them in the histories of Sumer, Crete, India, Egypt, Greece, Africa, the Americas, Polynesia, Tibet, Siberia, and the Middle East. In Western Europe they appeared as the Druids, the priests and priestesses of the Celtic race whose origins are still shrouded in the mists of history. The migrating Celts spread Druidic wisdom and magic from China to Spain. In mining and metalworking, sculpture and art, poetry and literature, law and social customs the Celtic peoples left an indelible stamp on European culture. From their scientific and spiritual customs the modern Witch derives much of her Craft. With a remarkable ability to blend both the practical and the metaphysical—the Celts developed the traction plow, rectangular field systems, and crop rotation, as well as theories about the immortality of the soul and reincarnation—the Druidic leaders of the Celts stand as shining models for the modern Witch.
A Witch’s knowledge is old. Her worldview is ancient. People who pride themselves on being modern often dismiss Witchcraft as fantasy, superstition, or make-believe. Biased accounts of ancient people, written by historians who were convinced of their own culture’s superiority, have made our ancestors’ civilizations look barbaric, ignorant, and savage. But the truth about the ancient ways can’t be suppressed. Witchcraft thrived in the so-called primitive cultures of the past; it thrived in the highly developed cultures of the past. It thrives today.
What is true in the macrocosm is true in the microcosm. Many modern Witches trace their first encounters with magic back to very early times in their childhoods, when their innocence and ability to wonder paralleled that of our earliest ancestors. In fact, even when recognized later in life, magic fills us with a sense of awe as it breaks forth in our lives. Adults feel a kind of childlike wonder and surprise during their first magical experiences.
Just as the child loses its sense of oneness with the universe as it develops ego boundaries and learns how to protect its separate and distinct body from the rest of the world, human societies lost that sense of unity as they evolved away from nature. As men and women created societies more and more removed from the natural world, they found themselves working against nature, subduing it, exploiting it. In time they thought of nature as neither intelligent nor divine. Eventually they came to view it as the enemy.
But Witches have never forgotten the basic truth about creation: The world is not our enemy; neither is it inert, dumb matter. The earth and all living things share the same life force; the earth and all living things are composed of Divine Intelligence. All life is a web of interconnected beings, and we are woven into it as sisters and brothers of the All.
If you think back into your early childhood, you will probably remember an incident when you knew something others didn’t know, an occasion when knowledge came spontaneously and intuitively. Perhaps you read someone’s thoughts, knew what was inside a present before you unwrapped it, made an improbable wish and it came true. You may have felt a strong kinship with nature, a bond with animals and plants, a certain power coming to you from the stars. You may have seen spirits or little people or heard them in the night. Ancient tales of Gods and Goddesses may have resonated with something deep in your soul, and you knew the old myths were as true as the scriptures you may have read in church or temple.
They may have seemed even more true.

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Power of the Witch 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am convinced, more and more, that this important work found its way to me as the answer to a prayer. Simply because, when I first embarked upon this Path, many of the books spoke of spells in a rather dodgy manner. One 'popular' author simply adressed this by staiting, 'You have to believe in spells for them to work' and left it at that, without giving the reader any reason 'to believe'! How aggrivating! I was almost ready to drop what we call 'spells'...at least before this book found its way into my heart. Laurie Cabot uses science and the latest developements in theoretical physics, and physics in general, (which are all proported by such illuminaries as Einstein, Niel Bhor and Stephen Hawking, etc...) to discuss how spells work. Her book describes a Universe which makes sense to the Witch! For this, alone, it is worth the purchase of the book! Her description of The Science Tradition of Witchcraft is fully grounded in fact, as revealed by her bibliography and such authors as Michael Talbot, Fritja Capra, F. David Peat, Itzhak Bentov, PhD. Fred Alan Wolfe and John Gribbin, etc... While her non-'Wiccan' history is certainly very well grounded in fact, her Wiccan history stummbles on the very odd occasion (only once, or maybe twice, as I can currently recall). But, we must take into account the date in which it was printed- in fact, the date in which it was written, as the 2 are usually off by a number of years. She may, very well, have been told something by a Gardnerian Witch, from the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, and neither of them were the wiser. However, 10 years has elapsed since then. She is always very well researched. Interestingly enough, the British version of 'Power Of The Witch' is apparently being sold commercially throughout the US as its current printing! Although, I must say, I am a little baffled by the current cover-art. Call me a critic, but...I just don't 'get it'! Also, the sub-title is different than the original US publication, which was 'The Earth, The Moon, and the Magickal Path to Enlightenment.' However, I must admit, I am more partial to 'A Witch's Guide to Her Craft'. To sum it up, if you have ever wondered how/why spells work- I can't recommend this book highly enough! Also, if you've wished to explain how spells work to a student, using a logical, rational, left-brained approach, the same applies! Because, to briefly quote the author, 'The Science Tradition draws on both ancient wisdom and the latest in theoretical physics. Using science as an approach to Witchcraft gives my students a solid grounding on which to stand. Some teachers in The Craft present our practices & beliefs in terms of art or religion or psychology or mythology, and these have their merits, but at some point the student wants to know 'how magick works'. Science is our country, it is where we feel at home. ...Science describes a world that makes sense.' Actually, what's most fascinating is that one of the authors whom her Tradition draws upon is F. David Peat, who is reknowned for 'Synchronicity', which at its most basic level states, 'coincidences that are so unusual and so psychologically meaningful they don't seem to be the result of chance alone.' Thus, what I have seen at the tail end of last year, and at the beginning of this year (indeed from various Craft Elders within recent months, whom also happen to teach similarly) is that a variety of Pagan books being published also use quantum physics/mechanics to teach what we refer to as 'spells'. I haven't seen this since the publication of 'Power Of The Witch'! How extraordinary! This book deserves 5-stars, and more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of several given to me by a more experienced Witch, when I began my studies in The Craft nine or so years ago. I began with 'Buckland's Complete Guide to Witchcraft' (another highly recommended title, if not just as a reference book), but it wasn't until I discovered 'Power of the Witch' that I truly felt my magick, and that I first truly felt myself a Witch. This book belongs in every Witch's library!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been studying witchcraft for 4 years, and this is not only the first book I read on the subject; but by far the best. There is an entire chapter devoted to the history of witchcraft. This book is a must have.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of all my books on Wicca, this one's the most dog-eared, beaten, and highlighted. Laurie Cabot gives not only a spiritual guide, but also a history of the religion, and the scientific how's and why's (read 'wise') of the craft. I find it intelligent, loving, and inclusive. It truly is a MUST HAVE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an outstanding guide for those who are just beginning in the craft, and/or who are looking for more information on the basics of Wicca. It is very simple, practical, easy reading, and straightforward. I am now reading this book for my fourth time! This book brings me back to the powerful basics of Wicca.
the_hag on LibraryThing 23 days ago
I have mixed feelings about this book¿on one hand I found it to be a very interesting read, Cabot is easy to read and her book is very accessible. She cites the same questionable history (and exorbitantly high death tolls) that a number of authors of beginner books seem to favor, though I suspect it¿s more a product of when the book was written, than anything else. Few authors ¿today¿ cite these figures, and while she does admit that few, if any of the women who died were actually ¿witches¿ she does encourage today¿s witches to claim this tragedy as their own. I also didn¿t like the rabid way in which claims we all need to educate the public and to dress and act like witches¿like we¿re so different and special we shouldn¿t ever appear as ¿normal¿ people. Cabot loses additional credibility points from me for using the phrase ¿brain scientists¿¿ I mean it just sounds, well, unprofessional of this high profile, professional witch. I also came to hate the phrase ¿because all witches know¿ and the other variations on this theme that are prevalent throughout this book. Don¿t get me wrong, I think we¿re wonderful, but I don¿t embrace this way of thinking that says witches were and are the pinnacle of human development and we¿ve ¿always¿ known the best and right ways to live, believe, and so on. It¿s utter B.S. and no matter how interesting the material is, this grated on my nerves the entire time I read this book. To me, her ¿science¿ seems solid, but I have to be honest, I don¿t really know enough about physics to know if her extrapolations from the source data hold water. It SOUNDS good, but I¿d have to do a lot more reading/research or asking questions of the right people to find out if what she says is true. I was intrigued by her crystal countdown¿I¿ve never seen this method before and would be curious if anyone has tried it or used it successfully. Overall I liked the book, despite some of the more annoying things about it. I¿ll have to do some follow up research and/or question asking though to see how much of her info really pans out based on her sources. I also would really have liked a bibliography at the end, rather than the few books she listed in the text, it¿d be easier to be able to have them in one place, rather than having to scour the text if you want to look one of them up.
MorgannaKerrie on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The Wiccan book of Wiccan books. Why? It looks at how science connects to witchcraft. It also explains the fantastic Alpha State Countdown. This is very useful information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PLEASE CONSIDER THIS BEFORE BUYING! I used to think this was the best manual for beginners on Witchcraft, until, upon further study and research, I realized that the author, dare I say, stole MUCH of this book from The Kybalion (albeit she gives credit to the Kybalion) but also so much was stolen from The Silva Mind Control Method. So much so that it was embarrassing and offensive to see her use the same "experiences" and try to pass them off as her own. Just a fraud. Sorry. I call it like I see it. But don't take my word for it. Buy "The Silva Mind Control Method" and then read chapter 6 of "Power of the Witch" called "Alpha" and you tell me.
kekyxoxo More than 1 year ago
i find this book very helpful and informative
Anonymous More than 1 year ago