Phyllis Curott

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Phyllis Curott in Palermo

Phyllis Curott (born on February 8, 1954) is a Wiccan priestess, attorney, and author.[1]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Curott grew up in Lynbrook, Long Island.[2] Her parents were agnostic-atheist, socially liberal intellectuals who encouraged her to make her own decisions regarding theology but taught her to adhere to the Golden Rule. Her father, who had gone to work at sea aged twelve, worked as a trade union organizer, whilst her mother, who had come from a wealthy and well-educated background, was a diplomat involved in the civil rights movement for racial equality in the United States.[3]

Curott went on to gain a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Brown University before going on to study for a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law.[4][5] [6][7]

Legal and Film Careers[edit]

After graduating from law school, Curott worked in Washington, D.C. as a lobbyist for Ralph Nader.[8] Upon returning to New York City, Curott has practiced labor law, entertainment law and real estate law.[9][10][11][12] Additionally, she has been an outspoken advocate for the religious liberties of Wiccans and other religious minorities.[13][14][15] She won the right of Wiccan clergy to perform legally binding marriages and rituals in public parks.[16][17][18]

Curott produced several independent films, including “New Year’s Day” directed by Henry Jaglom.[19][20] “New Year’s Day” was selected as the US entry at the 1989 Venice Film Festival.[21] In addition, Curott played a journalist in “Venice Venice”[22]

Religious & Interfaith Work[edit]

After law school, while managing a rock band called The Dates. Curott befriended another female manager who introduced her to Witchcraft.[23] In 1981, Curott was initiated into Wicca and given the Craft name of Aradia.[24][25]

Curott is a High Priestess and the founder and President of the Temple of Ara (formerly known as the Circle of Ara), one of the oldest Wiccan congregations in America.[26][27][28][29] She is a President Emerita of Covenant of the Goddess (COG”).[30][31] She has also served as a frequent guest minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.[32][33] Curott has lectured and taught at the Learning Annex in New York[34] and at Neo-Pagan and interfaith events.

While she was First Officer (President) of COG, Curott was at the center of two controversies at the 1993 Parliament of the Worlds Religions in Chicago. The Greek and Russian Orthodox delegations boycotted the Parliament of the World’s Religions due to the inclusion of Curott as a speaker.[35] The Chicago Park Commission initially denied COG’s request for a permit to hold a ritual in Grant Park. After Curott challenged Chicago Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Bernadin on live television to support the Wiccans’ right to circle in the park, the Park Commission reversed its decision and Curott led an interfaith rite honoring Mother Earth at Grant Park.[36][37]

A global interfaith activist, Curott has advocated for women’s spirituality and eco-spiritual religions. She has addressed the Parliament of the World's Religions in 1993, 2004 and 2009 as a keynote speaker, along with the Dalai Lama. She is a Trustee of the Council for the Parliament of the World's Religions and serves on its Executive Committee. In November 2012, Curott was unanimously elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions for the year 2013.[38] has also served as a member of the Assembly of World Religious Leaders and Clergy Advisory Board of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. In 1999, Curott participated in the Harvard University Pluralism Project's Consultation on Religious Discrimination and Accommodation.[39] As a member of the United Nations’ NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Curott participated in the planning of the United Nation’s Beijing Forum on the Status of Women, addressing the Forum on the topic of religion and the status of women.[40] She is also spearheaded and serves as co-chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions inaugural Women’s Task Force.[41]

She was honored by Jane magazine as one of the "Ten Gutsiest Women of the Year".[42]

Publications[edit]

Curott is the author of three books on modern Witchcraft and Goddess spirituality and has contributed to several others. Curott wrote her memoir, Book of Shadows, which chronicled her introduction to modern Witchcraft through initiation as a Wiccan priestess, in an effort to dispel misconceptions about Witches.[43][44] Her works have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German and Turkish.

Bibliography[edit]

Wrote[edit]

Contributed[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Phyllis Curott,(1998) Book of Shadows: A Modern Women's Journey into the Wisdom of Witchcraft and the Magic of the Goddess Broadway Books
  2. ^ Charles W. Bell, "A Witch Explains Her Craft", New York Daily News, October 31, 1998, p. 21
  3. ^ Charles W. Bell, "A Witch Explains Her Craft", New York Daily News, October 31, 1998, p. 21
  4. ^ Larissa MacFarquhar, "Get Smart", New York Magazine, vol. 28, No. 31, Aug. 7, 1995, p. 48
  5. ^ Doreen Carvajal, "Better Living Through Sorcery: New Broom Sweeps Witches’ World", New York Times, Oct. 26, 1998, p. B1
  6. ^ Michael Kilian, "Bewitching Hour: Late ‘90s See a Revival in Goddess Worship", Chicago Tribune, Nov. 12, 1998, p. 10B
  7. ^ Mary Rourke, "She’s Got That Old Time Religion: Witchcraft; A Premonition Led a Lawyer to Find Her Calling as a High Priestess of Witchcraft", Los Angeles Times, Sept. 3, 1998, p. E1
  8. ^ Michael Kilian, "Bewitching Hour: Late ‘90s See a Revival in Goddess Worship", Chicago Tribune, Nov. 12, 1998, p. 10B
  9. ^ Charles W. Bell, "A Witch Explains Her Craft", New York Daily News, October 31, 1998, p. 21>
  10. ^ Michael Kilian, "Bewitching Hour: Late ‘90s See a Revival in Goddess Worship", Chicago Tribune, Nov. 12, 1998, p. 10B
  11. ^ Mary Rourke, "She’s Got That Old Time Religion: Witchcraft; A Premonition Led a Lawyer to Find Her Calling as a High Priestess of Witchcraft", Los Angeles Times, Sept. 3, 1998, p. E1
  12. ^ Robert Walters, “Feds Fail to Police the Unions”, Waycross Journal-Herald (GA), Nov. 11, 1980, p.3
  13. ^ ”A Newfound Religious Freedom at the City Clerk’s Office” New York Magazine May 27, 1985 p. 14
  14. ^ James R. Lewis “Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions”, ABC CLIO, (Santa Barbara, CA), 1999, p. 66
  15. ^ Laura Williams, “The Fair Witch Project: High Priestess Out to Clean Up Frightful Image”, New York Post, Oct. 31, 1999, p. 5
  16. ^ Larissa MacFarquhar, “Get Smart” New York Magazine, vol. 28 No. 31, Aug 7, 1995, p. 48
  17. ^ Don Lattin, “‘Pagans’ At Parliament Irk Orthodox”, Spartanburg Herald-Journal (SC), Sept. 3, 1993
  18. ^ James R. Lewis “Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions”, ABC CLIO, (Santa Barbara, CA), 1999, p. 66
  19. ^ David Friedman, “That Old Time Religion With a Drop of Oil and a Kiss on the Cheek, a Coven of New Yorkers Regularly Enters the `Sacred Space' of Modern Witchery”, Newsday, Oct. 10, 1991, p. 92.
  20. ^ Kevin Thomas, “Jaglom Caps Decade of Romantic Angst With 'New Year's Day'” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 1989
  21. ^ Michael Wilmington, “Life Invades a Film Festival in Jaglom’s ‘Venice’: Shooting Once Again on a Near Shoestring, the Director Constructs an Unusually Lush Imaginary Cinematic Diary”, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 9, 1992
  22. ^ “Turner Movie Classics”
  23. ^ David Friedman, “That Old Time Religion With a Drop of Oil and a Kiss on the Cheek, a Coven of New Yorkers Regularly Enters the `Sacred Space' of Modern Witchery”, Newsday, Oct. 10, 1991, p. 92.
  24. ^ David Friedman, “That Old Time Religion With a Drop of Oil and a Kiss on the Cheek, a Coven of New Yorkers Regularly Enters the `Sacred Space' of Modern Witchery”, Newsday, Oct. 10, 1991, p. 92.
  25. ^ Charles W. Bell, "A Witch Explains Her Craft", New York Daily News, October 31, 1998, p. 21
  26. ^ http://templeofara.com/about/history/"Our Story" Temple of Ara official website
  27. ^ Doreen Carvajal, “Better Living Through Sorcery: New Broom Sweeps Witches’ World”, New York Times, Oct. 26, 1998, p. B1
  28. ^ Charles W. Bell, "A Witch Explains Her Craft", New York Daily News, October 31, 1998, p. 21
  29. ^ “Talk of the Nation”, NPR, Oct. 29, 1998 (transcript #98102902-211)
  30. ^ Michael Kilian, "Bewitching Hour: Late ‘90s See a Revival in Goddess Worship", Chicago Tribune, Nov. 12, 1998, p. 10B
  31. ^ Mary Rourke, "She’s Got That Old Time Religion: Witchcraft; A Premonition Led a Lawyer to Find Her Calling as a High Priestess of Witchcraft", Los Angeles Times, Sept. 3, 1998, p. E1
  32. ^ Molly O’Neill, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Solstice”, NY Times, Dec. 19, 1993
  33. ^ Mary Rourke, "She’s Got That Old Time Religion: Witchcraft; A Premonition Led a Lawyer to Find Her Calling as a High Priestess of Witchcraft", Los Angeles Times, Sept. 3, 1998, p. E1
  34. ^ Larissa MacFarquhar, “Get Smart” New York Magazine, vol. 28 No. 31, Aug 7, 1995, p. 48
  35. ^ Don Lattin, “‘Pagans’ At Parliament Irk Orthodox”, Spartanburg Herald-Journal (SC), Sept. 3, 1993
  36. ^ Don Lattin, “‘Pagans’ At Parliament Irk Orthodox”, Spartanburg Herald-Journal (SC), Sept. 3, 1993
  37. ^ James R. Lewis “Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions”, ABC CLIO, (Santa Barbara, CA), 1999, p. 66
  38. ^ “The Parliament Board Reaffirms its Direction”
  39. ^ ”Consultation on Religious Discrimination and Accommodation” The Pluralism Project at Harvard University
  40. ^ Grove Harris, “Priestesses of the Goddess”, The Pluralism Project at Harvard University
  41. ^ “Womens Task Force at the Parliament of the World's Religions”
  42. ^ Making Love in Public: An Interview with Author Phyllis Curott by Allyson E. Peltier - Absolute Write Website
  43. ^ Doreen Carvajal, “Better Living Through Sorcery: New Broom Sweeps Witches’ World”, New York Times, Oct. 26, 1998, p. B1
  44. ^ Linda Drogin, “The Witches of New York”, Spotlight Magazine, vol. 23, No. 10, Oct. 1999 p. 32.

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