Congratulations to Carol Jones. You are the winner of Natalie’s book. Please send me you address.
Congratulations to Natalie Zaman for her new book, MAGICAL DESTINATIONS OF THE NORTHEAST. Natalie has agreed to give do a book giveaway. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back on November 14th to discover the winner.
Every state in America has sacred sites―places that change you, heal you, and make you feel alive. Magical Destinations of the Northeast details more than 300 spiritual destinations in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York that are perfect for meditation, magic, and just plain fun. This hands-on guidebook also includes spells and rituals and provides tips for the magical uses of official state plants, flowers, gems, minerals, and trees.
There are pockets of magic to be found everywhere―places that make you stop in your tracks as powerful energies speak to your soul. This book is filled with awe-inspiring destinations, featuring little-known gems, natural landscapes, and manmade creations, as well as Native American and African American heritage sites. With everything from witch’s temples to Druid circles, spiritualist communities to mysterious stones, this book will make your next trip a truly magical journey.
Magical Destinations of the Northeast’s Magical Journey…
Magic is always happening though you may not be aware of it. The journey of Magical Destinations of the Northeast started about 4 or 5 years ago when, while I was working on edits for Sirenz Back In Fashion, an editor at Llewellyn approached me about contributing to one of the house’s annual publications. This was when Flux was still a part of Llewellyn, one of the oldest publishers of Mind, Body Spirit books. I’ve always loved the occult and new age studies such as astrology, spell-crafting and divination, and I’d been writing a travel feature, The Wandering Witch for BBI Media for a few years, so I was really excited for the opportunity. I continued to write for the annuals for a couple of years when I got an idea.
In 2013 my family and I drove out to California. There’s nothing—seriously, nothing—like seeing the United States at road-level. The landscape changes before your eyes. Sometimes it’s very subtle, and sometimes, it surprises you. One of the places we visited was Devil’s Tower out in Wyoming. I remember seeing it from a distance and thinking that it looked the stump of a giant petrified tree. When we got there, we were the only folks on the property (apart from the park rangers) even though it was a gorgeous June day (read: tourist season). Maybe we just got lucky. I’ve always lived in urban/suburban areas, so I’m used to the kind of background noises one takes for granted, but here there was no sound except the wind in the trees—no planes overhead, no cars on the road. There were prayer bundles in the trees and the whole place smelled of incense and flowers; it looked like the area around the mountain had been burned off (a Native American practice used to encourage new plant growth). It was one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had. I wondered why no one was there, and I thought, “I wish I could tell people about this place, and other places…” and the idea for Magical Destinations was born.
My agent Natalie Lakosil really liked the idea when I proposed it, and when we pitched the project (then called “Mapping the Magic”) we billed it as “Weird NJ” meets “The Spiritual Traveler.” The original idea was to do one book about all 50 states. There would be two sites for each state (one natural, one manmade), the esoteric properties of the state symbols, and what would become “Stop by for a Spell” with local practitioners contributing a spell or ritual that was “of that state.” Besides the sites, I wanted the project to provide a venue for local practitioners to have a voice, because whatever research I could do, or whatever I could capture of a place, there’s nothing like the point of view of someone who’s from there or who’s lived there. When I was in 5th or 6th grade I did an extra credit project that was a kind of mini encyclopedia that listed all the states and their capitols and symbols. I thought it would be cool to explore the magical properties of some of the state emblems. As for the sites, I wanted each place or event I included to have some “magical” aspect to it—and I tried to keep my mind as open as possible about this, because “magic” can mean many things to many people. Every state has lots of weird and eerie places—that doesn’t necessarily make them magical. It also isn’t a book about haunted places, even though I’ve included some haunted places.
The proposal got quite a bit of interest, but I loved Llewellyn’s idea to expand the work—cover more sites to give a better picture of what each state had to offer. We worked with the sales force to divide the country up by region, and it was decided that the first book would cover the Northeast. If I get to do the whole series (crossables crossed!), the next book will be the West, followed by the South and then rounded out with the Midwest.
Once we had a plan, I got right to work. From start to finish, the entire project took about two years to complete: We made the road trip in the summer of 2013, and agent-Natalie sold the proposal a year later. We didn’t stop adding and fixing and adjusting until it went to print in August of this year (2016)!
I started with what I knew. Then I did Google searches using all sorts of words to try and describe the kind of places I was looking for example: Spiritual New Jersey, Occult New Jersey, Witchy New Jersey, Unusual New Jersey, Odd New Jersey, etc. Following these leads, I read articles, books and blog posts, listened to podcasts, watched videos, interviewed people and made many, many road trips. I think I’ve been to about 85% of the sites in the book. I wish I could have gone to all of them, but there just wasn’t enough time, especially as many were added after each edit round. The street view and earth view of Google Maps were really helpful for this. You can see Old Sow Whirlpool on Google maps (type in Old Sow and switch to earth view)!
After I turned in the first draft of the manuscript, we honed the content, adding Magical Monuments, and Bewitching Tidbits to include bits of cemeteries, personalities, folklore, and history. There were sites I had to cut to make room for more variety. One of the biggest challenges was to decide what to keep and what to let go, and then how to organize it into an easy to use format. My editor Rebecca Zins also designed the interior of the book. I love the little witch flying across the bottom of each page—it really makes the book an entire package: super user friendly and it looks amazing! I love what Llewellyn designer Lisa Novak did with the cover. It includes all the elements that will tell you what the book’s about—road tripping, the map of the northeast with the little witch flying across and my favorite element, that pentacle compass. I also love the fact that it has a retro look.
I’m so thrilled to see this project realized, and I’m hoping that it connects people to places as well as other resources to dig deeper if they want to keep exploring.
Natalie Zaman is the author of Magical Destinations of the Northeast and co-author of the Graven Images Oracle deck (Galde Press). She is also the co-author (with Charlotte Bennardo) of three young adult novels, Sirenz and Sirenz Back In Fashion (Flux) and Blonde Ops (Thomas Dunne Books). A regular contributor to various Llewellyn annual publications, she also writes the recurring feature “Wandering Witch” for Witches & Pagans Magazine. When not on the road, she’s busy chasing a flock of free range hens around her magical back-garden. Visit Natalie online at http://nataliezaman.blogspot.com.
Thank you Natalie for sharing your journey with us and offering MAGICAL DESTINATIONS OF THE NORTHEAST to one lucky winner.