LM: How did Witch On the Go come about?

CG: Witch On the Go came about because Jan Johnson, my boss at Weiser's, called me up and told me what she wanted me to write about. That's what they do - I am like a horse in a stable of authors at Weisers and when they want me to write something, they tell me what their thoughts are and we noodle around trying to figure out how to make it work for both of us. Around the time Jan asked me to do Witch On the Go out of necessity (because my life had turned into a whirlwind) I had already figured out how to do magic on the run. Interestingly, I didn't want to do this book - at first it pissed me off to have to write it because I am a bit of a snob and I thought it was too fluffy. BUT, as you know, everything happens for a reason so I went with it and soon discovered that I NEEDED to write this book. It gave me an opportunity to put down on paper all the ideas that had already become a part of my life as a witch that I hadn't up till then been able to articulate or share with anyone but my self.

 

LM:  Witch on the Go is your 5th book, and the third written specifically for witches. None of your books are about astrology (although they include astrological components) -- is that deliberate on your part?

CG: So far I have written and published; The Old Girls' Book of Spells, The Old Girls' Book of Dreams, Witch On the Go, The Symbol Book (renamed by Barnes and Noble -- due out in June '06 but finished in '03 - these things take forever), and Slim Spurling's Universe - Ancient Science Rediscovered to Restore the Health of the Environment and Mankind. I have also just finished a book called The Fat Book which deals with the root causes of obesity. Weiser's will probably publish it - we are negotiating that now. At the moment I am working on a book called Quantum Witchcraft and doing another one with Slim Spurling. The truth is I HAVE written an astrology book - it is all done and the title is Astrology 101 - The WISDOM Articles. It is a compilation of articles written over a four-year period that covers everything you might want to know about astrology from a REAL nuts and bolts perspective. I had gotten so fed up with most of what is out there on astrology and decided to do a book that would explain it in plain English and answer the questions that everyone has about the subject. That book is being held up due to the fact that Weiser's is reluctant to take on astrology books. The reason for this is, that if an astrology book is good and actually has good information in it, it doesn't sell. And publishers are practical - after all, they're in business to make money. The general public likes Linda Goodman and light fare or fluff when it comes to astrology - and Astrology 101 isn't fluffy enough. Sooner or later that book will be out there - it's a good one. I keep reminding Weiser's that they're stupid not to publish it!

 

LM: I certainly hope they do! Because truly good astrology books are few and far between, and for those of us who want to do more with it than just read a sun-sign horoscope getting MORE would be a blessing.

Tell me about how you write -- do you have a schedule, or a pattern?

CG: I write off the top of my head - and then I re-write, and re-write until I get what I want. But the "off the top of my head" part is important because the first things I think about saying are like what I would say to you if we were talking. And I want my books to be real. I don't want to be talking AT people and pontificating like the reader isn't even there. I want to have a conversation with whoever's reading my books.

 

When I begin a book, I think of what I want to say first. And it comes out as a sentence or a couple of sentences. Whatever I say first is the deciding factor in what I say next so the book unfolds like a Fibonacci Sequence – I don't know where I will go with the next thought until I see where I was with the last one. What happens when you do it this way is the book writes it self. I never make outlines. I never impose my Will on the book because I know it has a life of its own.

 

My own life is really crazy and fun whenever I have a book to write. It's normal for me to wake up at 3 AM, suck down a big cup of coffee and write until nine in the morning. Then I take a long nap, wake up around noon, drink more coffee and write till about 4 in the afternoon. After 4PM I have to focus on doing readings because my astrology readings are my bread and butter and I do that in the evening. Some days I don't feel like writing so I do whatever I please. Free time out of the house thrift shopping or just doing laundry and the other things normal people do re-energizes my brain. Sometimes my brain gets really tired. So tired I can't even think. Every now and then I have to take whole days off from working on my books.

 

LM: Your focus as a witch seems to be on 'doing magick,' as opposed to doing ritual or worshipping the God/dess. Can you tell me more about that perspective?

CG: My focus as a witch is on magic for sure - because my whole life is an exercise in bringing the spiritual down to earth instead of being theoretical or in my head about it all the time. I mean what's the point of all this? The Goddess is a living breathing force - her energy is everywhere, in every moment, in every atom - the Goddess is everything. Truthfully, I don't see my self as separate from her and I feel that I am a living channel for her energy. That being the case, with all of this flowing through me, I spend less time thinking about what she signifies and more time putting the force she endows me with to use.

 

I am a Virgo, and the whole thing with the Virgo archetype is about embodying the spiritual. When you embody anything all you're doing is bringing it out of the spiritual matrix and making it REAL.

 

I worship the Goddess through acts of magic - every magical act is an act of reverence for HER - because this energy she makes available to me isn't just for me to hang out at my altar and kiss her ass - she gives it to me so that I can honor her by bringing it out into the world. Look at it this way; if you were the Goddess would you want everyone to be on their knees in front of you? No, you probably wouldn't - you would want everyone to recognize that they are carriers or vessels for the very same energy that you appear to be the source of. The truth is, WE are the Goddess - SHE is US - and personally, I don't get a big kick out of worshipping my self. I came here to BE her, not worship her.

 

It's real tricky when you get into ritualizing and worshipping things. My sense is that way, way back, I mean WAY back, the women who did what we now call "Magick" had no rituals and they were so tuned to their innate powers everything they did was an act of praise. What I think is true is that all these women did was send their thoughts, dreams and desires into the ether. Because they fully understood that the etheric matrix is where absolutely everything originates. They FELT their love for the Goddess in their hearts and for them, there was no separation - they knew She lived in them. These women learned how to hold space within themselves for the Goddess energy and their practices were private, meditative acts that were completely unique to them. What happens inside the heart of a woman can't be nailed down or formalized in any specific way. Female energy is FORMLESS. The womb of creation is the Great Void, after all!

 

All the rituals that have grown up around witchcraft were imposed as time went on, because that's what happens to things here - they get more structured. In the beginning women were out there doing their own thing and developing their own way of doing it. Ideas built up about how magick ought to be done and all those different ideas made it necessary probably at some point along the line for some clever person to sit down and say, "Hey look - we have to decide what the right way to do this is." What had been free flowing got more organized and as this happened a lot of ritual got imposed.

 

My personal opinion is that the Wiccan rituals are remnants of the male imprint that came along later. The male traditions are very different than the female traditions - that's why the Druids had separate schools for the men and the women. Structure is a MALE attribute. Really when you examine all the Wiccan rituals that have come down to us, they're very Catholic. We all assume that they were there from the very beginning but I tend to doubt it. So to me, this thing of needing to have certain objects, and needing to have things placed in a specific order, and needing to make sure certain things are said at a certain time, and all that stuff doesn't necessarily act to make a witch feel more connected nor does it make her spell work more effective. It's easy to get lost in the "right way to do things" when really, it's what's in your heart that brings magic to life - you draw down the Moon with your heart.

 

When you ask about worshipping the Goddess what I feel is, it's not about lining up on a certain day, with specific ingredients, in a group and doing a ceremony inside a circle. You can do that for sure but there is no guarantee that the ritual will connect you to her - no guarantee whatsover. The danger with any formal ritual is that the people practicing it will assume that THAT is going to cover them. It's like people who attend church regularly and think that just showing up will bring them closer to God or Jesus, while their hearts and their minds are on their mistress, or the Big Mac they're going to pick up at the drive-thru when the service is over. It just doesn't work that way.

 

Witches have to be careful - all the formality, and these ceremonial things that women do when they worship the Goddess only work when the people involved are deeply and honestly connected to their intentions. There also has to be a high level of trust and mutual acceptance within the group. If those things aren't there, the ritual won't do a damned thing. I have been part of so many circles and I am sure you have too; where one or more of the participants were so involved with their egos it ruined the whole experience. Or they were so Hell bent on doing it "the right way" they couldn't go with the flow. One time I was in a circle - it was a big cross quarter - and one of the women flipped out because we didn't have enough Myrrh! She was so rigid about it she cut a door in the circle and drove off to get more Myrhh - and the rest of us couldn't dissuade her, even though we had plenty of sage to use as a substitute. Christ, we could have used sugar and it would have been fine. An hour later, she came back and we continued, but it was like riding on a flat tire after that.

 

I have to say that most of my magic is totally spontaneous. And my relationship to the Goddess is a daily thing. A lot of my inner work right now is about bringing her energy into me with every breath and knowing that I am Her, or that my purpose here has a lot to do with getting better at holding space for Her. So, I DO worship Her in a very real, but informal way. But there are times, when something is really important, that I get all my stuff together and do things "the right way". Like today, I am real concerned about my youngest daughter. So I am going to take a couple of hours, lock the door, unplug the phone, and do a circle in my kitchen just for Johanna. It's one of those times when I know that it has to be done that way.

 

(The academics may argue everything I have said here but I stand by it. So much knowledge about what went on with the Wiccan traditions in the old times was either lost deliberately or never even recorded. So whatever the academics who research this stuff have to say has its place - but all of them would be lying if they didn't acknowledge that they aren't working with a full deck.)

 

LM: Witch On the Go is actually a book for advanced practitioners, isn't it? I mean, most of us *need* the physical symbols and attunement that comes with formal ritual (no matter how informal the ritual structure may be).

CG: Yes, in a way you have to be advanced in your understanding of magic to really get what's in Witch On the Go. You have to be so relaxed and familiar with your knowledge of witchcraft that you don't even have to wonder whether you're "doing it right" anymore.

 

This takes a lot of practice and experience and a full knowledge of all the different elements witches use in their spell work. I started doing magic when I was sixteen. I didn't come out of the closet till I was 42. I am going on 57 now and since I came out, once I finally had the freedom to be a witch without having to hide and keep it all secret, I have put a lot of time in around the fire. All those years, and the ones that came before represent a body of wisdom and knowledge about what I am doing that you can't pick up in a day or by reading a book.

 

This wisdom and experience has bought me the freedom to do magic any way I please and have it work. BUT, it may be important for people to know that they really don't have to get too hung up on rituals or what the books tell them. Magic comes from inside you. I don't care if you've been doing it for years or if you're just starting out. Even though you are right when you say that Witch On the Go may be for the more advanced witch, it won't hurt for the novices to read it too. They might see that it's less about whether they have just the right amount of vervain and more about the joy they feel being part of the creation process.

 

At one point in the book I mentioned how I think it is important for any witch to spend at least one year in apprenticeship, honoring every New and Full Moon and going all out for every Cross-Quarter. And that apprenticeship would have to include time spent studying herbs and astrology and oils and candle making and all the other things a witch needs to know. A year wouldn't even be enough to get this all down and have it be part of you - but it would be a start. There's a saying that puts it well; "The price of freedom is discipline". There's another one that may be apt here too; "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing". New witches have to be humble and honest about their lack of experience - and be able to walk the line between freedom and discipline with integrity. You can be loose and relaxed and free but you need the confidence that comes from knowing what you're doing to really be able to do that.

 

LM: I agree with you whole-heartedly. I’ve been a practicing witch for two decades now, and I’ve gone through periods when formal ritual was the last thing I was interested in doing – so I didn’t. My results were as juicy as when I did formal ritual work at other times.

What was the most surprising thing about writing Witch On the Go?

CG: The most surprising thing is that I had absolutely no desire to write it - I was so ticked off that Weiser expected me to write on what I thought was a totally superficial topic – it was like, "Agghhh! Don't make me do this!" Amazingly, and don't ask me why, I ended up loving it. That doesn't mean that it was easy for me. This book was, believe it or not, very hard to write. But something beautiful happened in the process because I had to transmute tons of resistance to make it meaningful. The other thing that surprises me about it is - it is a really good little book. I just finished reading the copy Weiser sent me and I love it. Looking back on what was going on while I was getting it written (I had to write two other books while I was doing this one) it mystifies me that this book came out so well. Someone must have been watching over me while I wrote it. There's way more to this book than meets the eye.

 

LM: What has changed in your life since you wrote Witch On the Go?

CG: Everything has changed. All of it is good. I wish I could get into  explaining, but it would take too long and - you wouldn't believe it! Let's just say I know more about who I am than I did before and it's blowing me away. Writing this book had a lot to do with it.

 

LM: (laughing) Well, that’s about as positive you can get! It’s been a pleasure talking with you.

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