Jamie Della is the author of nine books, including the bestselling The Book of Spells: The Magick of Witchcraft and The Teen Spell Book. We caught up with her to find out more about her journey as a witch and an author and to hear more about her upcoming book.
Q: Many of our witches are new to the craft. Can you tell us about the moment you accepted the “witch” label and what that looked like for you?
JD: I had been leading a barefooted, tree-hugging spiritual path since I was a child. I studied a variety of religions and pieced together my favorite spiritual ideas and rituals. My girlfriends and I gathered for house blessings, shared psychic readings, full moon smudgings and prayers with crystals and herbs. I didn’t realize I was developing skills that would eventually grow into a Witchcraft practice. The Witch within me rose up tall and fast when I began attending pagan sabbats in the middle of my Saturn’s Return. I became a massage therapist and dedicated myself to healing myself, others, and the planet. I was also a literary agent assistant, and around the one year mark of attending rituals a New York editor asked my agent if she knew someone who could write The Wicca Cookbook. My agent suggested that I do it, so I wrote the book and slowly began to claim the Witch label as I wrote myself into the narrative. The book was an immediate success so I was then asked to write The Teen Spell Book. The spells I wrote were answers to the questions I posed in my teen diaries and healed me of so much pain and sadness. The Witch within me healed me and so I had to be Her, a Witch in Her Power as much in my spiritual practice as out in the world.
Q: Who or what influenced your magickal training or spiritual background?
JD: My Nanas taught me the spiritual path, one as an angel and the other as a tarot psychic reader. Nana Della died the month before I was born. She was my maternal grandmother with a captivating family line as the Early California Spanish rancheros, so I was drawn to pulling stories from the Spirit World. The family had lived on the same land, beside a river, for hundreds of years which had created a relationship with terrapsychology, or the knowledge and presence of the land. I felt the life in all things through my family history and the with the help of my Nana Mame, I learned to interpret symbols in the tarot, coincidence, serendipity, past lives, and energy. I attended Christian Science Sunday school every Sunday and testimonial meetings (prayers answered from healing bones to healing anger) on Wednesday nights. Mexican Catholicism and a love of ritual seeped in through my mother’s parenting and Christmas Eve mass.
Q: Who were your magickal mentors?
JD: Jeanette Reynolds opened her home to show me how to hold circle and pagan rituals. I loved how her circles always had the same structure but with unique originality that would coincide with each of the sabbats’s seasonal message. For example, sometimes she fluttered roses in the air for the Goddess and other times she sprinkled fruit juice or wine on the ground. My Elder High Priestess Connie deMasters taught me the secrets of Wicca and how Magick worked in one on one sessions at her house. My payment was rapt attention, a grande carmel macchiato, and maple nut scone.
Q: What does healing have to do with witchcraft?
JD: Once you see yourself as a beloved child of a Mother Father God pleased to help you co-create your wishes and dreams, the healing begins. The broken, fragmented part of your soul come together with healing spells. The feeling of being disconnected erases when you feel the life pulse underneath your feet. The feeling of being disempowered fades as your fingertips tingle putting together a sacred altar or clasping hands in circle. Healing and Witchcraft are the same, the Craft of the Wise, the Craft to bend and shape the unseen forces for healing is the work that we do.
Q: Why did you write a spell book?
JD: I bared my heart and soul in The Teen Spell Book because as Anis Nin has said,
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I wrote spells to empower myself and in turn, for the last eighteen years, that book has sold thousands of copies, guiding and helping young people to understand their power to co-create their world with a loving deity and magick. TheBook of Spells builds on that momentum with augmented sections on tarot, herbs, crystals, moon phases, plus new spells based on my experience and the wisdom gained in the years between writing those two books.
Q: What is your favorite spellcasting method and why?
JD: I always prefer to call in the Four Directions for my spells. All of magick rests on these pillars and the Natural World that they represent outside and within us. I create an altar with symbols for each of the four directions and three items that represent my wish. I used three pieces to embody my desire because three is the number of manifestation.
Q: What is next for you on your witchy journey?
JD: I am writing a book that I have been researching since I was eight years-old. Walking Between Rooms: A Magickal Realism Memoir is a coming of age journey guided by the voices of the ancestors and land to better understand the deeper story of power and belonging. Based in southern California, this story traces over 200 years of my matriarchal lineage through Spanish colonists to Native peoples to Mexican Californians.
Q: What is one piece of witchy wisdom that you can leave us with?
JD: Listen. Listen to the Four Directions. Sit with your medicine, whether that is a soft breeze, a flickering flame, a bubbling creek, or a stone. Listen until you are so full that the sharing only increases the love for the natural world and is not for your edification. Listen to each other. We are all unique rays of Light from the same Divine source. Remember our connection and that eventually we all live downstream. So listen with your heart and always keep that spark of self love and magick alive within you. You hold the paintbrushes to the canvas of your life. You are the magick you have been waiting for.
Thank you, Jamie!
Jamie Della has studied magick and spirituality from around the world for more than twenty years. As a practitioner of healing arts, she leads workshops and ritual retreats on earth-based spirituality. Jamie is the author of nine books, including The Book of Spells: The Magick of Witchcraft and The Wicca Cookbook. She changed her name from Jamie Wood to Jamie Della two years ago to honor her grandmother and drop all patriarchy. Jamie writes the “Herbal Journeys” column in Witches & Pagans Magazine and several of her essays and articles have also been featured in online and print publications such as SageWoman Magazine, edible Institute, Rebelle Society, Manifest-Station, among others. When not writing, Jamie is either in creative meditation at her potter’s wheel, backpacking the Eastern Sierra Mountains or creating hearth magick at her guesthouse in the Aspen trees.