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Gerina Dunwich

From Academic Kids

Gerina Dunwich (born December 27, 1959, in Illinois) is a professional astrologer, occult historian, and popular New Age author, best known for her books on Wicca and various occult subjects. She is also well known for being a Witch, and describes herself as a "Priestess of the Old Religion."

After discovering at a very young age that she possessed certain psychic gifts and the ability to make contact with spirits of the dead, Gerina Dunwich soon developed an intense interest in the world of the occult. In the summer of 1969 she was formally introduced to Witchcraft and spiritualism by an older family member, and has since devoted her personal life and writing career to educating the public about the ways of the Craft. It is her hope to dispel the myths and misconceptions that many people have about Witches and Pagans. In addition, she has studied, and experimented with, various magickal traditions...some dark and some light. She follows the path of Traditional Witchcraft, and dabbles in Ceremonial Magick and Hoodoo. She is also involved in paranormal research and possesses a passion for investigating ghosts and hauntings.

As a teenager, Gerina Dunwich (using a different nom de plume at the time) began writing poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and stage plays complete with musical scores. October of 1976 saw the publication of her first published newspaper article, His Voice was His Vehicle - an interview with singer/songwriter Jim Peterik from the local Chicago band, the Ides of March (and later, Survivor). In the spring of 1977 Gerina left Illinois and moved to Southern California, where she began doing research for a book on occult terms (later to be published as The Concise Lexicon of the Occult by Citadel Press in 1990). A growing interest in astrology and cartomancy developed, and she soon found herself casting natal charts and reading tarot cards; first as a mere hobby, and then as a means to supplement her income while she pursued a career in the entertainment industry and continued writing. By the spring of 1980 she was publishing a small press literary journal called Golden Isis, a one-woman operation that specialized in Goddess-inspired poetry and off-beat fiction. Its international circulation grew to nearly 3600 and it attracted subscribers (both Pagan and non-Pagan) from places as far away as Puerto Rico, Australia, Italy, and Japan. The success of Golden Isis inspired Dunwich to write poetry on a daily basis and soon she began putting together a collection of magickal verse that she would self-publish a decade later under the title, Circle of Shadows.

After visiting Salem, Massachusetts, in April of 1984, Gerina relocated to the North Shore of Boston, residing first in Beverly, and then in Ipswich. In the winter of 1986, she purchased the historic Moses Day Homestead - a stately 17th century Colonial house in Haverhill that had been built around the time of the infamous Salem witchcraft trials. The house, which had been featured in a local television documentary about haunted houses in the Boston area, was a hotbed of paranormal activity. Soon after moving there, Gerina experienced a vivid dream in which the spirit of Sybil Leek appeared and whispered to her that her destiny as an author was "written in the stars." The dream proved to be prophetic when, in 1987, Gerina succeeded in landing a book contract with a major publishing house. (Appropriately, the contract was dated October 31st.) The following year saw the publication of her first book, Candlelight Spells, and the start of her successful career as a prolific book author.

Gerina eventually sold the Moses Day Homestead and returned to the Los Angeles area for a few more years where she continued to write. In December of 1993 she moved into a century-old Victorian mansion located in the quaint and historic town of Fort Covington, New York. She soon opened a small shop on High Street called "The Country Witch" (later renamed "The Calico Cat Whatnot Shop"), which sold antiques, curios and various occult supplies. (Coincidentally, the antique shop run by Sybil Leek in the New Forest was also located on a High Street.) The business proved to be instrumental in bringing together many of the area's Pagans, including several who would later become Gerina's close friends and coven sisters. An eclectic circle called Coven Mandragora was officially established on Candlemas 1996 and Gerina (as Lady Mandragora) was elected to be its High Priestess. That same year Gerina established the Wheel of Wisdom School (an educational organization offering correspondence courses on the sabbats) and the Pagan Poets Society (a distinguished literary circle for writers and publishers of Pagan poetry), along with a local networking organization known as North Country Wicca. In February of 1998 she received a ministerial license from the Universal Life Church. Ironically, the first Pagan handfasting she performed as a legally ordained minister was for the younger brother of the cousin who had introduced her to witchcraft nearly thirty years earlier.

Three months after a devastating ice storm hit northern New York in January 1998, Gerina once again returned to the West Coast to thaw out. She became interested in computers after a friend introduced her to the Internet, and by November of 1999 Gerina had founded two Yahoo groups - Gerina Dunwich's Cauldron and the Pagan Poets Society - and was designing her first website, The Mystical Magickal World of Gerina Dunwich, for the promotion of her books.

During the summer of 2000, she befriended actress Fairuza Balk ("The Craft") after meeting her in person at a birthday party in the Hollywood hills where Gerina had been hired to read tarot cards for the evening. Gerina was frequently invited to sign books at Fairuza's popular occult shop, Panpipes Magickal Marketplace, and made public appearances at several of Panpipes' annual Pagan Day Festivals. When Fairuza decided to sell the business, she contacted Gerina first and offered her the opportunity to be its new owner. Gerina was delighted at the idea and agreed to purchase Panpipes from the actress. However, fate had other plans and the deal fell through at the last minute.

A respected spokesperson for the Wiccan/Pagan community, Gerina has been a guest on numerous radio talk shows throughout the United States and Canada. She has lectured and presented workshops at festivals and gatherings across the country, such as the CraftWise Pagan Gathering (Waterbury, Connecticut), the Real Witches' Ball (Columbus, Ohio), and Panpipes' Pagan Day Festival (West Hollywood, California). A member of the Fellowship of Isis, Circle, the Pagan Poets Society, the Authors Guild, and the Authors League of America, Dunwich's biography is listed in a number of reference works, such as Who's Who in the East; Personalities of America; The Wicca Source Book; The Modern Witch's Complete Sourcebook; and Crossroads: Who's Who of the Magickal Community (published by The Witching Well Education and Research Center, 1988). She is also mentioned in Anne Carson's Goddesses and Wise Women (The Crossing Press, 1992) and other works. Her articles, poetry, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including Sage Woman, Magical Blend, Circle Network News, Pagan Free Press, and American Woman.

In addition to her own book writing, Gerina Dunwich has contributed to:

  • Circles, Groves and Sanctuaries by Dan & Pauline Campanelli (Llewellyn, 1992)
  • The Cat Book of Lists by Stephen J. Spignesi (New Page Books, 2001)
  • A Witch Like Me by Sirona Knight (New Page Books, 2001)
  • The Witch Book by Raymond Buckland (Visible Ink Press, 2002)
  • Haunted Northern New York by Cheri Revai (North Country Books, 2002)
  • The Action Hero's Handbook by Joe and David Borgenicht (Quirk Books, 2002)
  • American Witch by Anthony Paige (Citadel Press, 2003)
  • Encyclopedia of Haunted Places by Jeff Belanger (New Page Books, 2005)
  • Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook (various years)
  • Llewellyn's Witches' Calendar (various years)
  • Llewellyn's Magical Almanac (various years)
  • Llewellyn's Herbal Almanac (2001)
  • Llewellyn's Spell-A-Day Calendar (2001)

Bibliography

The following is a complete list of Gerina Dunwich's published works to date:

  • Candlelight Spells (1988) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1106-0

  • The Magick of Candleburning (1989) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1141-9

  • Circle of Shadows (1990) Golden Isis Press

ISBN 0-9628-6380-7

  • The Concise Lexicon of the Occult (1990) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1191-5

ISBN 0-8065-1238-5

ISBN 85-286-0150-1 (Portuguese)

ISBN 3-478-08613-2 (German)

  • Secrets of Love Magick (1992) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1365-9

ISBN 3-635-60303-1 (German)

ISBN 85-2860-325-3 (Portuguese)

ISBN 0-7090-5162-X (British)

  • The Wicca Spellbook (1993) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1476-0

  • The Wicca Book of Days (1995) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1685-2

ISBN 0-7522-2108-6 (British)

  • The Wicca Source Book (1996) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1830-8

  • The Wicca Garden (1996) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1777-8

  • Wicca Love Spells (1996) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1782-4

  • A Wiccan’s Guide to Prophecy & Divination (1997) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1864-2

  • Everyday Wicca (1997) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1869-3

  • Wicca Candle Magick (1997) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1831-6

ISBN 85-286-0865-4 (Portuguese)

  • Magick Potions (1998) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1982-7

  • Wicca A to Z (1998) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-1930-4

ISBN 0-7522-2107-8 (British)

  • Wicca Source Book - Revised 2nd Ed. (1998) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-2027-2

  • The Wiccan's Dictionary of Prophecy and Omens (1999) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-2067-1

  • The Pagan Book of Halloween (2000) Penguin/Compass

ISBN 0-14-019616-1

  • Your Magickal Cat (2000) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-2094-9

  • The Modern Witch's Complete Sourcebook (2001) Citadel Press

ISBN 0-8065-2293-3

  • Exploring Spellcraft (2001) New Page Books

ISBN 1-56414-494-1

  • Herbal Magick (2002) New Page Books

ISBN 1-56414-575-1

  • The Cauldron of Dreams (2002) Original Publications

ISBN 0-942272-74-9

  • A Witch's Guide to Ghosts and the Supernatural (2002) New Page Books

ISBN 1-56414-616-2

  • Dunwich's Guide to Gemstone Sorcery (2003) New Page Books

ISBN 1-56414-672-3

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