Biography

PHYLLIS W. CUROTT, J.D. H. Ps.

Phyllis Curott is a pioneering spiritual teacher and one of America's first public Wiccan Priestess. She is an attorney and outspoken advocate in the courts and media on behalf of Pagans, Wiccans and other religious minorities and is also the internationally best selling author of Book of Shadows: A Modern Woman’s Journey into the Wisdom of Witchcraft and the Magic of the Goddess (Broadway Books 1998), WitchCrafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic (Broadway Books 2001) and The Love Spell (Gotham/​Penguin 2005).

An interfaith activist for many years, Phyllis was the Vice Chair of the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions, creator of the historic Inaugural Women’s Assembly and drafter of the Declaration for the Dignity ad Human Rights of Women, adopted by the 2015 Parliament. She is the founder of SistrumSpirit a groundbreaking project to catalyze cultural awareness of the Divine Feminine.

Phyllis was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars and honored by Jane Magazine as one of the Ten Gutsiest Women of the Year. New York Magazine described her teaching on Earth-based spirituality and the Divine Feminine as one of the culture's “next big ideas” and Time Magazine featured her writing in their Ideas column, a forum for America’s “leading voices."

Phyllis lectures and teaches internationally on the Divine Feminine, the spiritual wisdom of the Earth and the rapidly reemerging indigenous spiritual traditions of ancient Europe and the Middle East as well as her unique tradition of shamanic Wicca. She has been widely profiled in the national and international media including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Nation, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Self, The View, The O’Reilly Factor, Lifetime, Oxygen, The Roseanne Show, and CNN & Company. She is featured in Howcast youtube series on Wicca, Beliefnet’s Preachers and Teachers, PBS's What's Your Calling and in the documentary Many Voices, One Faith. She is currently producing a series of mini documentaries on women and religion.

Phyllis was the first Wiccan Trustee of the Council for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the oldest and largest international interfaith organization. She has participated in the esteemed Assembly of World Religious Leaders, participated in the United Nations’ NGO Committee on the Status of Women in the planning of the UN’s Beijing Forum on the Status of Women and addressed the Forum on the topic of the status of women and the world’s religions. She was also the Wiccan representative to the Harvard University Religious Pluralism Project’s Consultation on Religious Discrimination and Accommodation and addressed Union Seminary's 2015 conference on Religious Leadership and the Environment.

As an attorney and outspoken advocate for the rights of Wiccans and other religious minorities. Phyllis has successfully won the right of Wiccan clergy to perform legally binding marriages in New York City and rituals in the public parks of Chicago and has been a pro bono consultant on numerous religious liberties cases. She is co-founder of the Religious Liberties Lawyers Network, a member of the Lady Liberty League and a long standing member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Phyllis is founder of the Temple of Ara, one of the oldest Wiccan congregations in America, a shamanic tradition rooted in the experience and ethics of immanent divinity. Phyllis was initiated in 1981 into the Mother Grove of the Minoan Sisterhood, an early neo-Gardnerian feminist tradition and after receiving her High Priestess ordination, went on to found her own circle in the early 80's, which ultimately became its own tradition In 1982, Phyllis joined the Brooklyn Drumming Group, the first shamanic circle to emerge from the teaching of Dr. Michael Harner. The Temple of Ara was the first Wiccan tradition to incorporate core shamanic practices in its practice. Phyllis is also President Emerita of the Covenant of the Goddess. She has served as a guest minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in New York City and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Phyllis received her B.A. in philosophy from Brown University and her Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law. She studied filmmaking at NYU’s Graduate Film Program with Thierry Pathe and was an Associate Producer of New Year’s Day, directed by Henry Jaglom, the only American film in the Venice Film Festival competition of 1989, and worked with Jaglom again on Venice, Venice. She is currently working on her fourth book and spends as much time as possible with her Cairn terrier Foxy in their home on the east end of Long Island, sailing or in the wilderness where she is reminded of what life is really all about.

Phyllis can be reached at templeofara.org or phylliscurott.com. She is represented by literary agent Cullen Stanley of Janklow & Nesbit.

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