I’ve never been part of a coven. I’ve never even had anyone to practise with, apart from my very forgiving partner who participates with me on occasion. I can remember being a young woman of about 16, drawn completely towards witchcraft, but without any kind of access to information about it. I went to high school in a small city of about 20,000 people, where we had one bookshop which most certainly did not carry books on the occult.
I was in there one day, desperately perusing the one shelf of vaguely spiritual books, when a complete stranger walked up to me and said, “Something is telling me that you need to read Scott Cunningham.” I thanked her, and went home and booted up the old dial-up internet and googled it. There it was, sure enough – Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. And the price tag on it was eye-watering. I didn’t have a job or anything – I made $30 a week teaching music and sold some jewellery occasionally, but this was a whole new level. Books are really expensive in Australia, or at least, they were back then.