Behind the Broom: What the Books Don't Tell You

Witchcraft Philosophies, Action, Leadership, Humor, Outrage, Awkward Mishaps, Lovable Lessons, and a search for Grace with a clumsy Witch.

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Courtney Weber

Courtney Weber

Courtney Weber is a Priestess, writer, Tarot Advisor, performer and activist originally from Portland, OR living in New York City.She is the High Priestess of Novices of the Old Ways, a Progressive Wiccan and Pagan Coven and community. Her writings on Witchcraft have been published in numerous publications. She host public Circles in the city, teaches locally and nationally, and is available for Tarot consultation. Her first book "Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess" will be released by Weiser Books in February, 2015.


b2ap3_thumbnail_witch14.jpgLast week, a younger member of my outer community emailed me with a story that bothered her. She’d attended a ritual led by people she didn’t know and when she told one of them about her path as a Witch, they started running down a list of everything she was doing wrong in her practice. While understandably bothered, what bothered her most her disappointment. She thought that within the Pagan community, she wouldn’t run into the kind of size-you-up-what-are-you-well-that’s-stupid attitude she’d encountered in the Church of her youth.

I told her, sadly, that no communities were exempt from that attitude; even, and maybe especially, our own.

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Forgive me if I've said this to you— i've said it so many times for over a decade, i forget who i said it to—but you may find it s

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Path-1.jpgI knew a Witch for a time who frequently said to me, "No one just gives you High Priestess status in my Tradition. That's something you have to earn." I try not to take stupid sayings personally, but after the third or so time she said it, I realized she was probably talking about me.

First of all, screw her. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_A-Christmas-Carol.jpgIf I could reach through the folds of time and explain a few things to new-Priestess me, here is what I would say about who I might want to re-consider letting into the Coven:

The woman with the brassy-sassy personality who called you at work crying because it looks like she'll be getting fired wants to know because if it's because the Gods rejected her offerings...and gets rancid-offended when you suggest it's probably less about the offering and more because she slapped a co-worker that morning...she's going to be a bit tough to work with.

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  • Naya Aerodiode
    Naya Aerodiode says #
    I, too, work in a closed coven with a strict vetting process. Though my path is an initiatory one, I've experienced a lot of the

My apologies to Anne and the crew at Witches and Pagans for being absent for awhile. I started several pieces--one of which is polished and ready to publish, but it still sits in my draft-box. Every time I would start to write something seemingly poignant and important, the world would change with either horror or triumph and would render the piece no longer relevant--at least for now.

Several years ago....

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My Coven was tired.

We had been busy--for years, actually. Between leading public rituals and attending festivals, there was a mess of parties thrown by other Coveners. Several members were performers of different kinds and had shows. A couple of people started teaching locally. Then there was our standard working group time. Like "good" Coveners, we traveled to the festivals together, attended the parties, formed cheering sections at the shows and dutifully attended the classes our members led. We somehow still found the time to offer rituals and work as a group, but not a lot. I felt badly offering Coven homework when we were already such a busy group.

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  • Philipp Kessler
    Philipp Kessler says #
    Two things. First, I just received a copy of your book from the publisher. Looking forward to reading it. Second, an earlier art
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    Hi Phillipp! The earlier article you mentioned was not written by me, but by Hilary Parry. Thanks for stopping by!
  • Philipp Kessler
    Philipp Kessler says #
    Ah, my apologies. I had misremembered who wrote it. I do hope that you get a chance to read what I write anyway. And looking forw

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b2ap3_thumbnail_nametag.jpgMy suitcase still isn't unpacked. My brain isn't, either. Several other writers have already blogged about this past weekend's Pantheacon and eloquently so. I needed more time. 

First of all, it was great. I spent most of my party time in the Black Rose Witchcraft Suite (thank you Devin Hunter for the laughs at night and the headaches in the mornings) and my worky-work time attending rituals, classes on rituals, and discussions on issues surrounding racism in our beloved community. I met new friends in those rituals (#heygwion) and even sat on a panel, myself! "Turning the Wheel: Nurturing Young Leaders and Embracing Change" led by Thorn Coyle. It was more than an honor to be up there with such incredible minds. 

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Blessed Darkness....Soothe now my Burned Soul,
In the Cooling Blanket of Your Blackness,
Alleviate my Blistered Heart....

Twice a year, my Coven takes Dark Time. We do not meet or lead rituals. I do not email our broader community. These two time periods take place Yule-Imbolc and Lughnasadh-Mabon. We are a very public, hard-working group and these two breaks are indelibly helpful to our work. I still assign Craft homework during this period, and this period's assignment was to treat this time as more than a few more free Saturdays on our calendars. Each of us would need to surrender something in our lives and actively use the newly gained time to pursue individual rest.

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  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Really appreciated this and the link to the "delegate" article as well.

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