While some of you may know me as the author of Lucinda's Web, Everyday Magic, The Craft, Utterly Wicked and many other books, you probably don't know much else about me. And a good number of you probably have no earthly idea who I am at all. So, why not read a little further and let me introduce myself!
A native Texan, I now live in Virginia with my husband, Mark. I'm a Third Degree Wiccan High Priestess of the Georgian Tradition, founded the Coven of the Crystal Garden in 1986, and spent many years teaching the Craft to students in eight states and in Australia. Since I'm the eternal student, though - who isn't?! - I'm currently ensconced in studies of the RavenMyst Circle Tradition, and enjoy membership in the Coven of the Raven.
But that's just the stuff pertinent to the Craft. Outside of my religious practices and spiritual beliefs, I'm a pretty well-rounded person as well. I've worked as an accounts payable clerk, a legal secretary, an administrative assistant, an office manager, a commissioned sales person, a personnel consultant, and in the City of Houston's Civil Service and Housing Code & Dangerous Buildings departments. I've also held positions as a hospital ward clerk, an animal shelter administrator and am a licensed nail tech. So, the truth of the matter is that I really am a jack of all trades - although whether I'm a master of any is still up for debate. Chuckle! [Photograph courtesy of K.A. Varner Photography, Norfolk, VA]
Of course, all of those experiences - some absolutely delightful and others, just downright awful - helped to shape the person I am today. But they didn't do it alone. They had help. And while I won't bore you with all the details, I thought you might enjoy a brief journey through my life. So...grab a cup of coffee, relax, and let me tell you a story...
It all begin centuries ago with my ancestors. I'm a direct descendant of William the Conqueror (King of England), Robert the Bruce of Scotland, and various doctors, lawyers, ministers, and patriots, as well as the eighth Governor of Kentucky, the first Poet Laureate of Texas, and a charter member of the Texas Rangers - all of whom were spunky, opinionated, and tenacious. So when I'm accused of being sassy - an accusation that seems to be spouted on a regular basis - I can't help but grin. I do, after all, come by it honestly.
I was born on May 6, 1955 in a small Texas town to a deputy sheriff - who later became Chief of Police - and his wife. My mother wanted to name me Penelope, but my father nixed the idea. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the name. Not at all. It was just that his criteria for naming anything - cats, dogs, horses, or children - was that he had to be able to remember it when he was mad. And sadly, Penelope just didn't fit the bill. That being the case, he opted for something he could remember and named me after his little sister.
Much to my father's delight, I was quite the tomboy; in fact, he put me on a horse before I could walk. [This guaranteed my first real photo op with Western Horseman magazine when I was only two years old. It seems that I was the youngest rider in the Texas Trail Ride Association who could truly handle her own horse - even though that horse was sixteen hands high.] But good equestrian skills were just the beginning of his lessons. He instilled in me a love for all animals - both domestic and wild - and in doing so, taught me about the balance of Nature and animal conservation. He taught me to fish - looking back, I'm sure all those "driveway casting lessons" really tested his patience, but he stuck with it anyway - and it's something I still love to do today. He even taught me how to swing a hammer. But, perhaps, the most important thing he ever taught me was how to spin a good tale - a lesson I've been putting into practice for most of my life.
Mama, however, had her own set of lessons to teach. A master gardener, she taught me the joys of digging in the dirt and making things grow. [Okay...so my thumb will never be as green as hers, but I'm still pretty good at it. ;)] She shared her love of needles, threads, fabrics and yarns, and showed me what I could create with them. [It was the beginning of my life-long love affair with needlework of every sort, and I blame her to this day not only for my inability to walk by a fabric store without going in, but for not being able to walk out without a huge bag of goodies in tow.] She encouraged me to test my artistic abilities - something which included, but wasn't limited to oil painting lessons at a very early age - and stretch them to the limit. [Although she didn't scrapbook, the fact that I'm a paper junkie is probably her fault, too! Chuckle!] She taught me the joys of reading and writing. But most of all, she taught me how to tell that good tale I'd learned to spin - and do so in such an entertaining fashion, that it couldn't help but capture the attention of everyone within earshot.
But I digress.
I grew up in a Catholic family, went to a Catholic school, and at one time, even entertained the idea of becoming a nun. Of course, that didn't last long. [Can you imagine?! I'd have made a great Mother Superior - but I'd have never made it that far! Chuckle!] It was just about that time that the Pope decided that birth control - regardless of the reason - was a heinous crime against humanity, and no matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn't support his reasoning. That was when I begged my folks to let me attend the public high school. [The photo above was taken on Christmas Eve, 1971 with my niece, Theresa. I was a high school sophomore.]
I graduated from Columbus High School in 1973 - the same year that my mother introduced me to the Tarot by way of gifting me with a deck for Christmas - and moved to Houston, where I was introduced to the Craft. Eventually, I moved to California - where I furthered my Craft studies - and from there, to Missouri. It was in Missouri that I discovered archery and realized that I was pretty good at it. It wasn't long before I became a manufacturer-sponsored shooter. And during my second year on the circuit, I held three state championship titles. [The trophies I won during the first year are shown in the photo at the left above.]
During that time, my writing career began to bud. I was not only writing for every Pagan journal and quarterly I could find, but was also on the writing staff of several bowhunting magazines. And it was because of the latter that the opportunity for the fallow deer hunt - the same hunt I discussed in the award-winning In Praise of the Crone - took place.
Many things happened after that. I went on to run two Humane Society animal shelters. [While it wasn't the pleasant work I'd envisioned, it did much to deepen my relationship with the Dark Mother.] Everything went along fine for a few years. At least, until my first book hit the shelves. You see, the Humane Society didn't take kindly to the public discovery that I was a Witch, and I was fired on the first business day after a local signing. And while I was terribly upset, it turned out to be one of the best things which ever happened to me, as is usually the case with life's turning points.
Undoubtedly, though, the most important turning point in my life - the one event which changed me forever -came on Christmas Day of 1998, when I met my husband, Mark. For the first time in my life, I truly came to understand what perfect love and perfect trust really meant. And it's that understanding which has truly shaped the person I am today, and the person I may yet become. [Photo taken at my 50th birthday party in New Orleans.]
Had it not been for Mark - or my dismissal as administrator from the Humane Society - my life would be much different than it is today. I'd have never been able to fully explore life as a writer. I'd have never been able to author eleven books and a tarot deck in less than four years. And I certainly wouldn't be able to travel across the country several months out of each year to meet you. And that's the most important thing of all!
If you haven't read any of my books, wander into the Library and check them out. Then look for them on the book shelves at your local metaphysical or new age shop.
Don't forget to check my tour schedule to find out when I'll be in your area, then make plans to come out and say hello. I'll be looking forward to seeing you!
Interested in having me give lectures, seminars, or sign books at your store?
Just e-mail me at the address listed below,
and we'll work out the details!