Something Wiccan this way comes: a lesbian witch? Yes, but Lexa Rosean breaks the Halloween stereotype by offering practical advice on spells and shopping for potions. (culture).
Lexa Rosean is a modern witch with old magic for the new millennium. Her latest book--Powerspells: Get the Magical Edge in Business, Work, Relationships, and Life (St. Martin's/Griffin)--offers rituals to catch a rich husband, kill your boss, change careers, and draw clients.
"In the '80s, love was the first question," says the attractive 43-year-old Wiccan high priestess, "but today, most people see me about work issues."
Rosean practices from her apartment in New York City's East Village, where a strategically placed broom greets visitors at the entrance and a backyard garden contains herbs for her spells. Yes, she has a black cat, a wand, a sword, altars with candies, and statues of gods, goddesses, and saints. She also has an agent and a Web site.
Raised an Orthodox Hasidic Jew in Denver, Rosean was excommunicated at 15 for studying the cabala That led her to ceremonial magic and Wicca. "Although I came out a year later, I think I was really excommunicated because I was gay," she says. "I felt this calling me spiritually, and it was very healing because I was ostracized. The idea of the goddess really attracted me, that I'm part of the divine energy."
After moving to New York in the late '70s, she joined a coven and went through a traditional learning process. She studied for a year and a day, was initiated in 1982, and then did advanced work for second and third degrees, learning the tarot, astrology, herbology, healing, crystals, and ritual magic. "I think the lesbian and the feminist movements had a lot to do with women turning toward Wicca," observes Rosean. "It's an older, more matriarchal religion."
She continues, "Historically, gay men and lesbians have been the shamans of the community. The ability to get in touch with the male-female, the yin-yang energy is very important to mystical and magical practices, and I think homosexuals are more in touch with both sides."
After her initiation, Rosean taught witchcraft for seven years while writing poetry and plays (I Married a Lesbian Witch), produced at the WOW Cafe and Dixon Place. How a playwright became the author of five books of spells, she says, is "a magical story."
While unhappily employed at an occult-goods store, she recalls, "I made a candle to Mercury, the god of writers, and was bitching about having to work there when the phone rang. Someone else picked up and said snottily, `We don't write books, we sell them.' I overheard him and said, `Give me that phone.'"
Her first book, The Supermarket Sorceress, introduced her approach: Most necessities for her spells can be bought in a grocery or health food store. (Example: Get a raise by baking bread.) "I try not to use hard-to-find ingredients," she says. "I am an eclectic witch, attracted to different pantheons, and I do lots of research."
Rosean's writing is spellbinding, as she tosses in funny anecdotes, folklore, and mythology. Spells, she explains, are based on three principles. First, they are a form of prayer. Second, the ingredients hold power and energy. Third, performing the ritual triggers the subconscious.
This reporter experimented. After several fruitless E-mails to a Web site that owed me money, I enacted Rosean's "Spell to Collect Debts." At the start of a new moon (most money magic is connected with phases of the moon), I chewed a clove hard for 10 minutes, grinding it with my teeth while visualizing the company feeling compelled to pay. After spitting the clove out as far as possible, I shouted the amount owed, clapped my hands three times, and put them in my pockets. Within two weeks, both checks had arrived.
Rosean, who believes she was a witch in a past life, always wanted to be both a witch and a writer. As a child she checked out all the library books on magic and witchcraft. "Being a witch is a lot like being a lesbian," she says. "Sometimes you want it to go away because you are sick of being different, and sometimes you are incredibly proud and feel special."
Find more on Lexa Rosean and the Wicca religion at www.advocate.com
Walter has written for The New York Times, the New York Daily News, and New Age magazine.