Lucya Starza: The Bad Witch
Lucya is the author of the very popular Pagan Portals: Candle Magic, which has now spawned a series of workshops. Lucya also has a ‘bad witch’s blog’ which I hoped she would be able to tell me more about…
What inspired the name of your popular blog, badwitch.co.uk?
The name A Bad Witch’s Blog was inspired by the book How to be a Bad Birdwatcher, about birdwatching for people who only know how to identify normal garden birds. I wanted to get better at being a witch. I had been a witch for some time, but wanted an incentive to do more witchy things and learn more. Writing a regular blog forced me to read books that I’d meant to read for ages, to get to more pagan events and generally to be more active.
When did you first become drawn to witchcraft?
That’s a difficult question, because it depends how you define witchcraft. I came from a family that was into all things magical. My grandma was a Theosophist and had worked as an astrologer. My parents would probably best be described as New Age. My dad taught me palmistry and dowsing when I was a kid. Back in the 1960s, the word witch was still not a polite thing to call people. My school friends called my family witches – actually they also called my family The Addams Family – but that wouldn’t have been what anyone in my family called themselves.
When I was in my 20s I became interested in Celtic spirituality with a boyfriend. We would go into the countryside or onto the beach and spend time honouring the Celtic gods and goddesses in prayer or meditation. However, I didn’t technically become a witch until I was about 30. I trained with Shan at House of the Goddess, in London, and then later joined a Wiccan coven, where I was initiated.
Tell us a bit about Pagan Portals: Candle Magic. What prompted you to write this volume, and who is it aimed at?
Friends had been saying for a long time that I should write a book based on the type of things I write about in A Bad Witch’s Blog. Candle magic is my favourite type of magic, so it was the obvious choice of subject for me. The book is in Moon Books’ Pagan Portals series, aimed at beginners to the Craft.
Can anyone perform candle magic?
Yes – and pretty much everyone does. Who hasn’t made a wish over the candles on a birthday cake?
How was the launch party at Treadwell’s?
It was lovely. Treadwell’s is a wonderful venue for the launch of any esoteric book. As well as being one of London’s best occult bookshops, it has a great basement room that is ideal for book launches. The staff looked after me very well too. Christina, who owns the shop, told me to just let the staff organise everything so I could be the “belle of the ball”. I must admit I did get a little tiddly, so perhaps it was best that I wasn’t doing the organising!
Are you planning workshops or courses on candle magic or similar subjects?
Christina invited me to run workshops on candle magic at Treadwell’s. The first one was a couple of days after the launch and was fully sold out. The next one is on April 9, but I think that’s sold out too. I expect I will run another later in the year. Here are the details: https://www.treadwells-london.com/event/practical-candle-magic-2/.
Was it a shock to find Sainsbury’s selling your book in the Satanism and Demonology section? Do youthink this is indicative of a wider misunderstanding of esoteric topics? Or is it more reassuring thatSainsbury’s is quite happy to even have a Satanism and Demonology section?
I think it is quite funny, but it is a bit sad that there is such a misunderstanding and that some people still think that anything to do with spellcraft and magic must also be Satanism.
Are you planning more books? What other projects do you have on the horizon?
Yes – when I get time to start writing it! I still write A Bad Witch’s Blog and put new posts up every day.
You recently used Thunderclap to promote your book. How do you think social media has transformed the way we market our products, whether these be books, crafts, music or any other creation?
Social media has transformed marketing massively. I used to work on a local newspaper and before social media most marketing involved sending out press releases to journalists and trying to get reviews in magazines and papers. That’s all changed. Now you need to promote products online first and foremost.
What are you looking forward to most in 2016?
I’m going to the Druid Camp (http://www.druidcamp.org.uk/) in the summer. I’ve been invited along to give tarot readings, but I am likely to also give a talk or workshop on candle magic. I’m very much looking forward to that.
Do you have a favourite season or time of the year, and why?
I love all the seasons; the first flowers in springtime, the long hot days of summer, the golden leaves in autumn and the festivals of midwinter. However, if I had to pick one as my absolute favourite it would be spring, when blossom is on the trees and the woods are a carpet of bluebells.
And is there a particular place that you find more magical than any other?
Yes indeed. To quote Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”