A Chat with Thea Sabin, Pagan Author and Teacher

Posted October 31, 2012 by Melissa in Author Interview | 3 Comments

1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself.  
I am a professional editor and writer. I have a master’s degree in education and have been a teacher, both professionally and privately, for more than two decades. A practicing Wiccan since her teens, I first started teaching Wicca—very, very badly and long before I was ready—in college. I wrote Teaching Wicca and Paganism in the hope that it would help other teachers get a better start than I did. I have also taught classes in writing, editing, gardening, cooking, crafts, and astrology. My first book was Wicca for Beginners.

2. When did you first discover your interest in magick & witchcraft and how/when did you decide to start sharing your knowledge through writing?  
I’m not sure when I first discovered it. I think it has always been with me. I loved the natural world as a child and was fascinated by anything supernatural. My grandmother was an astrologer, and she used to tell me stories about the fairies that she said lived in her garden, so I suppose you could say I was encouraged early on. I decided to start writing about it when I was working for a Pagan newspaper. Not long afterward, my publisher approached me about writing a beginner book that became Wicca for Beginners, and I followed up with Teaching Wicca and Paganism a few years after that.

3. How exactly would you define magick?
Working with the rhythms of nature to affect change.

4.  What do you hope that readers take way with them after reading your books?
That Wicca is a path of empowerment as well as communion with nature and the divine.

5.  I find it interesting to know what environment authors find most productive… Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room at home or bustling café? Basically, what gets your creative juices flowing?
Good question. I write the book mostly in my head—deciding how I’ll organize it and how I’ll say what—before I ever start typing. Then I sit down with my laptop in my office, lock the cats out, and type like a madwoman. It’s kind of like downloading my brain. It looks like I write quickly because people only see the typing part, not the thinking part. I also really need music to write, and have found that Mozart is great for writers’ block, at least for me. Otherwise I usually listen to blues.

6.  What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
A guy who writes an atheist blog tore Wicca for Beginners apart because it didn’t meet his standards of logic. You can’t win when you’re playing by somebody else’s rules, so I didn’t respond. I think the best compliments have been from folks who read the books and say they’ve helped them. The starred review in Publisher’s Weekly for Wicca for Beginners made me pretty happy too! I worked in publishing for a long time, so for me that was the gold standard, even if the comments from readers were ultimately more personal and important to me.

7.  What book is currently on your nightstand? And who are some of your favorite authors? 
Sex at Dawn is on my nightstand. Fascinating stuff. Too many favorite authors to name, but here are a few: China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, David Sedaris, Laurie Notaro, Dorothy Parker, Tolkein, J.K. Rowling, Oscar Wilde, Jeanette Winterson, Barbara Hambly, Jim Butcher, Poe, the Beat poets, Shakespeare.

8.   Now to get more specific: What are some of your favorite Witchy reads?
I love T. Thorn Coyle’s books. They’re very positive, thoughtful, and empowering. I think it’s good to read Gerald Gardner’s Witchcraft Today and Meaning of Witchcraft if you’re interested in Wicca, if only for the “historical” perspective. I also like Vivienne Crowley, Ronald Hutton, and Philip Heselton.

9.   Do you have any favorite Witchy Movies?
Interesting that you ask…I’m writing a book about this! I love Bell, Book, and Candle, although I find the ending regrettable. What self-respecting Witch would give up her magic, even for Jimmy Stewart? Hermione Gingold, Elsa Lanchester, and Jack Lemmon are hilarious in it though. I like the Roman Polanski version of Macbeth, although it’s quite gory. The Wicker Man is an absolute personal favorite—and I mean the original from the ‘70s, not the Nicolas Cage/Neil LaButte atrocity. I love I Walked with a Zombie, a Val Lewton retelling of Jane Eyre with a twist of Voodoo. One of my favorite movies of all time is Like Water for Chocolate, which is magical realism as opposed to witchcraft, but wonderful just the same. And although it’s kind of a cliché, I have to mention the Wizard of Oz. It is a witchy film not because there are witches in it, but because Dorothy undertakes a shamanic journey. (When Glinda asks Dorothy if she’s a good witch or a bad witch, she’s right on track—Dorothy is the most powerful Witch in the movie.)

10.   What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 
Well, as you might guess, I love movies. I like to get outside, hang out with my friends and my beloved parrot, and do tai chi and art.

Wicca for Beginners
Fundamentals of Philosophy & Practice

By: Thea Sabin
Imprint: Llewellyn
Size: 288 pages
Pub Date: April 2006

Find it:      Goodreads  | Llewellyn 


Due to the sheer number of Wicca 101 books on the market, many newcomers to the Craft find themselves piecing together their Wiccan education by reading a chapter from one book, a few pages from another. Rather than depending on snippets of wisdom to build a new faith, Wicca for Beginners provides a solid foundation to Wicca without limiting the reader to one tradition or path. 
Embracing both the spiritual and the practical, Wicca for Beginners is a primer on the philosophies, culture, and beliefs behind the religion, without losing the mystery that draws many students to want to learn. Detailing practices such as grounding, raising energy, visualization, and meditation, this book offers exercises for core techniques before launching into more complicated rituals and spellwork. 



A Teaching Handbook for Wiccans and Pagans
Practical Guidance for Sharing Your Path

By: Thea Sabin
Imprint: Llewellyn
Size: 312 pages
Pub Date: May 2012

 Find it:      Goodreads  | Llewellyn 

—Manage group dynamics
—Give great presentations
—Find and screen students
—Set up online classes
—Cultivate patience and humility

As the Pagan and Wiccan communities grow, so does the need for teachers, mentors, and role models. For those who want to share their knowledge, teaching can be a very empowering and spiritual experience. But practicing the Craft and teaching it are two very different things.
In this timely guide, popular Wiccan author and teacher Thea Sabin presents clear techniques for creating a curriculum, including sample syllabi. She also provides instruction and guidance on crucial aspects of becoming an effective and inspiring teacher of Wicca and Paganism.
—Develop teaching methods for adult learners
You will also find interviews and advice from several respected Pagan teachers, such as Patrick McCollum, Holli Emore of Cherry Hill Seminary, Christopher Penczak, and T. Thorn Coyle.
Thea Sabin is an editor and writer whose professional work currently focuses on web content management, curriculum development, and instructional design. She holds a master’s degree in education and has taught a variety of subjects—including writing, editing, high school English and theater, gardening, cooking, crafts, Wicca, and astrology—off and on for more than two decades. A practicing Wiccan since her teens, she first started teaching Wicca—very, very badly and long before she was ready—in college. She wrote Teaching Wicca and Paganism in the hope that it would help other teachers find the confidence to teach Paganism and get a better start than she did. Currently she and her husband run a coven in the Pacific Northwest. Her first book was Wicca for Beginners. In the little spare time she has, she likes to do anything related to art, play with her megalomaniacal parrot, watch very bad foreign movies, and travel whenever possible.
Thea Sabin is an editor and writer whose professional work currently focuses on web content management, curriculum development, and instructional design. She holds a master’s degree in education and has taught a variety of subjects—including writing, editing, high school English and theater, gardening, cooking, crafts, Wicca, and astrology—off and on for more than two decades. A practicing Wiccan since her teens, she first started teaching Wicca—very, very badly and long before she was ready—in college. She wrote Teaching Wicca and Paganism in the hope that it would help other teachers find the confidence to teach Paganism and get a better start than she did. Currently she and her husband run a coven in the Pacific Northwest. Her first book was Wicca for Beginners. In the little spare time she has, she likes to do anything related to art, play with her megalomaniacal parrot, watch very bad foreign movies, and travel whenever possible.
Connect with Thea: Website  | Twitter  | Facebook 
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3 responses to “A Chat with Thea Sabin, Pagan Author and Teacher

  1. I love how she specified she has to lock the cats out before she starts writing, I feel the need to do that with my dogs all the time. I work from home, and both dogs will just come to my disk, sit, and then look at me as though they can will me to take them for a walk just by prolonged staring. It usually works. Fail.

  2. I’ve had a couple of people approach me to be introduced to the Wicca, but I’m such a solitare, I’ve been hesitant. I would love to enjoy it with them, to share it, but just don’t know how. I have added your book to my wishlist!! Ooohhhhhh, payday!! Thank you for sharing!

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