When non-Witches write about Magick
Author D.A. Botta writes about Witches.
But he isn't a Witch.
So...How'd he prepare?
I sent fellow Witchy author, D.A. Botta, some questions about how feels about Magick, Witches, and Witchcraft during and after writing the first of his Witchy books, Hysteriata (Elyzian Chronicles). I thought it was an interesting insight into the author's mind when learning about magick. Here you go:
What brought you to writing books about magick?
I came to magick in an indirect way. It’s a long story but the gist is this: in high school I went through a ton of shit that I wasn’t prepared for - psychologically, spiritually, psychically. I carried with me a guilt and a sorrow that lasted a decade. Coincidently, I had reunited with a friend who introduced me, for the first time, to Tarot. I asked the cards a simple question: Am I cursed? My friend read for me, and the gist of the reading was “Get out of your head.” The Tarot had told me to let it go. And I did. A month later, my life completely changed. The pieces fit together. The gods had yielded. It is then when I began researching Tarot and astrology – which lead me to magick. Magick lead me to write Hysteriata – a blend of astrology, Tarot, witchcraft, magick and symbolism – to tell a story of loss and the magnificence of inner power.
As a non-practicing witch/pagan, what research did you do?
I did a ton of research. I hadn’t been exposed to witchcraft other than being familiar with the Salem Witch Trials of MA and having studied all sorts of philosophy in college. These were good primers, but it wasn’t until I needed to learn that I submersed myself into the richness of magick.
Did you read any metaphysical books to learn?
Here are a few books which had taught me a lot about magick and witchcraft and all sorts of other things. This is not to say I have read them entirely, but I have gathered bits from each of them. I consider the first book listed here as my go-to reference book for recipes, herbs, crystals, gems, rituals, etc.
Book of Shadows by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler, 2005
Night of the Witches by Linda Raedisch, 2011
Witchcraft: a Mystery Tradition by Raven Grimassi, 2008
The Solitary Witch by Silver Ravenwolf, 2003
The Gospel and the Zodiac by Bill Darlison, 2008
On Earth as it is in Heaven by Michael Ledo, 2009
I also got a ton of on-the-fly information on Tarot from tarotteachings.com – just because it was easy to quick-reference that when I needed it.
The rest, meaning mostly Greek mythology, Celtic legends and Native American lore, I scoured Google and Wikipedia.
What is different about the magick in your books?
I have adapted different aspects of magick in my books. Witchcraft, to me, is a perception of individual power. I hope those concepts are universally appealing, but if they aren’t that’s okay too. What is not particularly different is that spellcasting is conducted in Latin. I’m not sure why, but it seems proper to me. Admittedly, they should be represented by Gaelic or Druidic language but Latin seemed more accessible to me. What is different is some of my portrayals of Wiccan practices. For instance, the ritual of “Leaping the Fire” is exaggerated for dramatic effect: the bonfire is massive. The Sabbats are more magnificent at the Covenstead, and the potions are sometimes altered (a smidge) to suit my taste. For instance, wine can be substituted for spring water in a love potion – but only for comedic effect (maybe).
Tell us about the magickal world you created.
Elyzia is a world beyond Earth. Elyzia is a land of covensteads and towns full of mystical beings. It is a realm where power and love and sacrifice are in constant struggle. It is full of witches and pirates, satyrs and hollowmen, fawn and faeries – but one thing is constant throughout: the inner power of the individual is paramount. Those who have reconciled their identity with the world around them are a step ahead of those who succumb to the artifice of control. Those who have embraced their powers have set out to create their future – despite what the fates have foretold. Elyzia is a place of possibility. Elyzia is a world of danger, destruction, marvel and mystery.
What are your main character’s magickal strengths/weaknesses?
Emily is from the same lineage of Sarah Goode. Her Tarot significant is the knight of wands, which personifies Emily’s primary characteristics: rebellious, determined, strong-willed, and unpredictable. Emily’s spellcasting abilities are primarily fire-based. Emily’s weaknesses stem from when she doubts herself or succumbs to the pressure/situation around her. Emily’s strengths are just the opposite: when she is naturally confident and courageous.
To learn more about D.A. Botta's books, visit www.dabotta.com