Cabot Laurie

Cabot Laurie

accept her. Over the years, she has had to deal with jokes, aversion and accusations that her dress is for purposes of commercial exploitation.

At the urging of a friend, Cabot moved to Boston, where she and the friend rented a house that was the first house built on Salem's historic Chesnut Street, and had been home to NATHANIEL Hawthorne for a year. Three years earlier, Cabot had gone through a past-life regression to see the life of a Susan Sarah Prescott who supposedly had lived in Salem during the 1700s. Cabot believes she picked up on traces of a genetic memory. She discovered that Prescott had indeed existed and that her father had been the builder of their house. She stayed in the house one year.

Cabot also discovered that Salem had little idea what to think of modern Witches. Members of the public derided her for believing "in all that," and other Witches criticized her for her appearance. Through a new friend, she began teaching "Witchcraft as a Science" classes for the public, forming the beginnings of her Science Tradition of Witchcraft. She also taught classes for seven years in the Salem State College continuing education program.

She opened The Witch Shop in Salem, which did not do well and closed; a second venture, Crow Haven Corner, was successful and has become a tourist attraction in Salem. Cabot turned the shop over to daughter Jody in the late 1970s.

In 1973, Cabot established the annual Witches' Ball, a costume party to celebrate Samhain (All Hallow's Eve) in Salem, which each year draws an international crowd of participants and media.

Since 1971, Cabot had sought to be named "the Official Witch of Salem," but was turned down by local government; then-Mayor Samuel Zoll was quoted saying he thought it would be "improper" and that "the historical recognition of the city would be internationally demeaned by allowing a commercial capitalization by one individual." In 1977, Michael Dukakis, then governor of Massachusetts, signed a citation granting Cabot the title. The "Paul Revere" citation, as it is called, is recognition given to various citizens courtesy of members of the legislature. Cabot received hers for her work with dyslexic children.

Cabot has long urged Witches to take a stronger stand for their civil rights and public image. In 1986, she founded the witches League of public Awareness to serve as a media watchdog and civil rights advocate for Witchcraft.

She entered the Salem mayoral race in 1987 after incumbent Anthony V. Salvo made derogatory comments about Witchcraft and Witches in the press. One of Salvo's opponents, Robert E. Gauthier, a friend of Cabot's, was rumored to be a "warlock," a term not favored by Witches of either sex. Gauthier denied this and blamed the Salvo camp for spreading the rumors. Salvo denied the accusation, saying he discounted witchcraft, and no one with "average intelligence" believed in it. Cabot jumped into the race "to prove that Witches have civil rights" and ran a spirited campaign that attracted local support and national media attention. But on August 11, the deadline for returning nominating papers, she dropped out of the race, citing business commitments, including work on a book. Cabot continued to serve Salem as a member of the executive board of the Chamber of Commerce, which she joined in 1980.

In 1988 she established the Temple of Isis, a chapter of the National Alliance of Pantheists. Through the National Alliance of Pantheists, she was ordained Reverend Cabot and may perform legal marriages.

In 1955, Cabot founded the Cabot Tradition of the Science of Witchcraft (originally called Witchcraft as a Science), which she described as Celtic and "pre-Gardnerian" (see GERALD B. Gardner). It teaches practical magic and adheres to the WICCAN REDE ("Do what you will and harm none") and the Threefold Law of Karma (everything one does returns threefold). Classes and workshops in the science tradition continue; one of Cabot's premier students is Christopher Penczak. Cabot also teaches classes in Witchcraft as religion and art.

Cabot's books include Practical Magic: A Salem Witch's Handbook (1986); The Power of the Witch, with Tom Cowan (1990); Love Magic, with Tom Cowan (1992); Celebrate the Earth: A Year of Holidays in the Pagan Tradition, with Jean

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