BLOGGING - what a word!

Me and Bill O'Reilly

April 20, 2017

Tags: Bill O'Reilly, Phyllis Curott, FoxNews, sexual predators, Wicca, Paganism

I'm not surprised that Fox has finally booted O'Reilly. When my first memoir, Book of Shadows, which dealt with the contrast between discovering the magic of the Goddess and the day to day reality of sexual harassment as a young lawyer, was released in '98, I was interviewed on O'Reilly's show. How ironic. I've always been proud that I'd been able to win him over. I knew that fighting wouldn't work, so before my segment I asked the make-up artist for advice. She chuckled and told me that he liked "pretty women" and that if I "flirted with him" I'd be fine. I didn't flirt, but when the hardball questions came at me, I did use humor and charm and the interview went well. "Soft overcame hard" but when the segment was over, I got to leave. The second time I went on his show for my next book, WitchCrafting, O'Reilly respectfully introduced me as his "Wiccan friend" and we talked about the rights of Pagans in the military and women as Priestesses. I've never liked his politics and find his sexual predation pathetic and disgusting, but I appreciated the opportunity to stand up for what I believed in and I'd do it again, no matter how challenging or creepy my opponent might be. In the toxic patriarchy created by Roger Ailes at FoxNews, O'Reilly could abuse the enormous power that he had by abusing women. And so Bill and I won't be having any more conversations about Pagans, or the egregious role of religion in demeaning and thwarting the rights of women, or how sexuality can be sacred rather than exploitive when we reconnect to the divinity of the natural world and heal how unnatural we've become. But I will have those conversations with whoever takes his place. In the end, the arc of history, media, culture and religion all bend towards justice.

BP Oil Spill and Lessons Learned, or not...

February 14, 2017

Tags: Love, environmental disaster, BP Oil Spill, Mother Nature, spiritual wisdom

This is a letter I wrote in 2010 about the BP oil spill. Maybe we all need reminding, given what is happening in the halls of power now:

"We want Mother Nature to bless us," George Schoegil, Mayor of Gulfport, Louisiana said to MSNBC reporter Chuck Todd during an interview yesterday, right before he assured the American public that BP had "done a remarkable job under the circumstances…"

Remarkable? Not the first word that comes to my mind. Murderous better describes BP's behavior—from the very beginning when they misrepresented their capacity to either prevent or clean up a spill, to their orders to continue drilling despite reports of dangerous problems, to the non-stop spraying of toxic dispersants into the oil that is gushing from the wound they tore into the Gulf's seabed.

Hours after the interview, it wasn't the word remarkable that haunted me. It was Mayor Schoegil's request for Mother Nature's blessing. Mother Nature has already blessed us, Mayor Schoegil. Every moment we're alive is because of her blessings. We wouldn't last more than minutes without the oxygen her plants create. We couldn't survive more than a few days without the water or a few weeks without the food she blesses us with. All of which are intimately dependent upon the health and well being of the Gulf of Mexico and the rest of our battered and exploited planet.

And yet Mr. Schoegil has the audacity to ask for more—to ask that Mother Nature spare his town an inundation of tar balls and death—as he simultaneously praises the murderer of the source of the blessings he asks for. But who can blame him? He's hardly unique. He's the product of his moment in history, his culture, class, religion, his commonly held point of view. He's entitled, or so he thinks, to all those blessings and the damage be damned. We all know the mantra: No risk, no reward.

But what Mr. Schoegil and we and BP and our government have so callously been willing to risk is more than we can afford to lose. And the reward is meaningless. In a very real sense, as a culture, we've already lost our souls. We've sold them for cheap fuel and fast cars, overheated houses and overcooled offices, for comforts and convenience and the newest toy technology--and the exploitation of "resources"—can provide. Like the hole in the floor of the Gulf, we've opened up holes in our hearts, and no junk shot—filled with all the stuff and nonsense of our consumer culture—is going to fill either one.

And now it's life itself that's at risk. Eight weeks ago eleven men died and today an entire ecosystem is dying because of corporate negligence and greed and a culture that permits it. Somehow that has to change. Probably just like you, I've spent the last eight weeks in pain, grief, rage, frustration and physical sickness, feeling helpless and desperately needing to do something, anything, to help. Every day I have a desire to jump on a fossil fuel burning, planet polluting airplane and go the Gulf to volunteer, to clean beaches, wetlands, pelicans, turtles, dolphins, all the creatures who are dying. But with BP and the government controlling the clean up, or should I say cover-up, it's not clear how much help I would actually be. So I've asked myself what I can do right here right now. Of course it always comes back to our own energy consumption – I've run around the house trying to figure out what else I can turn off, taking the bicycle instead of the car to run the daily errands, donating to environmental groups and asking questions I want answers to:

How could this happen in the first place? Why was BP allowed to drill when they didn't have a way to prevent or clean up a spill? Why isn't more being done now? Where are all the clean-up crews? Why aren't there more booms? More skimmers? Why aren't there more reporters showing us the effects of the worst environmental disaster in our country's history? Why is the EPA allowing BP to pour more than a million gallons of toxic dispersant into the Gulf? Why haven't BP executives been arrested?

I may not get answers to those questions, but I can answer one: What can I do? The answer came loud and clear: Work on the next book. After several years of contemplation and gestation, it's theme is the spiritual wisdom of Mother Nature, the wisdom we've lost that can heal the hole in our hearts and the rupture in our relationship with the grace that blesses every living thing. It is my small way of expressing gratitude for the blessings Mother Nature has showered upon us. So, let me end by asking you the same question: What can you do? I'm looking forward to your answers, and I suspect, so is Mother Nature.

Love and blessings,

Phyllis



Light in the Time of Darkness

November 22, 2016

Tags: Winter Solstice 2016

I am an enemy of the way the things are. Combative and startling language in this season of peace, light and love, I know. But despite daily proclamation from one spiritual front or another, even “Paganism,” I can’t subscribe to the notion that all is as it was meant to be.

Just look (more…)

Selected Works

Memoir
"A modern-day Persephone myth full of magic and mystery,{it} transcends the bounds of its genre."
--Deepak Chopra
The spellbinding sequel to Book of Shadows - the story of a love spell that worked.
Nonfiction
"...a treasure trove of foundational information that will be cherished by readers..."

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