Witch, counselor, priestess, astrologer, author…Danielle Blackwood certainly wears a lot of (pointed) hats! With one book already published and another coming soon, we were so excited to find a moment to catch up with her. In our Q&A below, we dive into Danielle’s magical journey, her advice for new witches, and a little sneak preview of her next book.
Q: How were you led to embrace the title of “witch”? Was there a particular moment or experience that prompted you to claim that label for yourself?
DB: I’ve been walking this path for a very long time. I have heeded the call of the Mysteries since I was old enough to perceive that there was more beneath the surface of things than is immediately apparent, and I have embraced the title “witch” for decades. When I was in Middle School, I found a copy of Waite’s Pictorial Guide to the Tarot at the school library in a free book bin. I took the book home, and cut out the pictures, thus creating my very first tarot deck (there were no shops selling such things in the small village I grew up in, and this was pre-internet). That was my first step on the path. Not too long after that, I ran away from home to the big city and found that there were places that sold all manner of witchy books and talismans. At 17, I began seriously studying astrology and soon found myself as part of a coven. Witchcraft has always been profoundly healing for me, a path to self knowledge, and a place of belonging.
Q: What traditions (magickal or otherwise!) have influenced your witchcraft training or spiritual background?
DB: Because I’ve identified as a witch for so long, my tradition has evolved and grown as I have. Many years ago I embraced Wicca and Starhawk, but in my early 30’s I lived in England for a time and was initiated into British and Avalonian traditions, which are still an integral part of my practice. Over the last few years, I have become deeply immersed in traditional cunning craft and the folkloric practice of the British Isles. I have also studied Jung for many years, and have found a profound spiritual connection in story, mythology and folklore. And of course, sacred astrology is also an important aspect of my training and background, because at its heart, sacred astrology is Spirit expressing itself through archetype and story.
Q: For readers who might be unfamiliar, can you tell us a bit about The Twelve Faces of the Goddess, and the inspiration behind the creation of your first book?
DB: Sure! To my knowledge The Twelve Faces of the Goddess is the first femme centric astrology book ever written. What many people don’t realize is that traditional astrology (like so many disciplines) has always been very male-centric, and because of my background in both psychology and gender studies, I made it my mission long ago to explore the archetypal feminine face of each sign. I wanted to write a book that spoke to my clients, people who don’t necessarily want to quit their day jobs to become astrologers, but want to learn enough astrology to apply it in a meaningful way for empowerment and self knowledge. And while this is a book written for people who identify as women, all are welcome. In the book you’ll learn which specific Guiding Goddesses reside in your birth chart, and work with them through ritual, story, and guided meditation. You’ll also learn how astrology is woven from the same threads as magick and connected to the wheel of the year.
Q: Have you worked with any magical mentors, or other teachers that were especially impactful for you?
DB: Yes, when I first came to this path, I studied with astrologer and herbalist Nikiah Jaguar (who has since passed). I became her apprentice and learned much with her as a mentor. I also count world renowned astrologer Erin Sullivan as one of my teachers. Later, I had the opportunity to study with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who Run with the Wolves). The teachers on my path have been many and varied, and I’m grateful for what I learned from each one.
Q: What is your favorite spellcasting method and why?
DB: An important part of my spellcasting is using astrology for right timing and to align with the archetypal energy of a given moment. Astrology can be such a useful part of magick. Using Moon phases, signs, and other astrological aspects can amplify your spells and rituals and focus your magickal intent.
Q: Being the book-obsessed witches we are, we would love to know – who is your favorite witchy author, and what is your favorite witchy book of all time?
DB: This is a difficult question, and I can’t pick just one! Books that have had a profound impact on my practice as a witch have been: Women Who Run with the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, The Witch by Ronald J. Hutton, Culpepper’s Complete Herbal, Cunningfolk and Familiar Spirits by Emma Wilby, and the works of C.G. Jung. Specific favorite witchy books include: Treading the Mill by Nigel Pearson, Traditional Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways by Gemma Gary and The Cunningman’s Handbook by Jim Baker. I’m also currently loving Mat Auryn’s new book, Psychic Witch, and I enjoyed Weaving the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff.
Q: We heard you have another book in the works! Can you share a bit about that with us (no spoilers, of course!)?
DB: Yes! I’m pleased to share that my next book, A Lantern in the Dark: Navigating Life’s Crossroads with Story, Ritual and Sacred Astrology comes out in 2021! All too often, when we find ourselves at a crossroads the usual ways of understanding where we’re at are just not enough. Intuitively, we know we need something more. In this book you’ll discover how myth, folklore and sacred astrology can be a source of guidance in challenging times. You’ll learn when to expect specific crossroads in your life, and how to navigate each with a self care tool kit including ritual, journal reflections, guided meditation, shadow work, crystals, plant allies and much more. The collective itself is at a crossroads, and I feel that perhaps more than any other time in recent history, many of us could use a light to guide our next steps.
Q: What is your favourite bit of witchy wisdom that you would like to leave for our readers?
DB: An interdisciplinary approach is so important for a deep, rich, well rounded practice. Read and study more than just “witch” books including mythology, folklore, history, comparative religion, herbalism, and depth psychology. When you find something that resonates, take the time to go deep with it. Remember that no one has the last word on witchcraft, and once you learn the basics, you can make it your own.
Thank you, Danielle!
Danielle Blackwood is the bestselling author of The Twelve Faces of The Goddess: Transform Your Life with Astrology, Magick and the Sacred Feminine (Llewellyn, 2018). Her work appears regularly in The Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook, The Witches’ Calendar, and The Magical Almanac. She is also a professional astrologer and Registered Counselor (RTC). Her passion is helping others through their rites of passage, finding meaning on their journey and consciously reframing their stories through an archetypal lens. Look for Danielle’s forthcoming book, A Lantern in the Dark: Navigating Life’s Crossroads with Story, Ritual and Sacred Astrology in 2021. Danielle has been a priestess and educator since 1994, and lives in an enchanted cottage on magical Salt Spring Island, the original lands and unceded territory of the xʷənen̕əč. Follow Danielle on Instagram @danielleblackwoodastrologer.