Ellen Dugan and her "Garden Witchery"
By Ceara

After reading Ellen Dugan's book, "Garden Witchery," which was very inviting from the beginning, funny and most of all sparking an interest for me to once again try giving my thumb a chance to learn to grow plants, I requested an interview with her. Dugan is a Master Gardener in her home state of Missouri. She is also a teacher at a local college, sharing her passion with young and up-and-coming gardeners.

I had reached Dugan on her day off and we had plenty of time to indulge ourselves in conversation.

C: Hi Ellen, I'm glad to have this opportunity to speak with you. How was your Beltane? (Beltane is a Pagan High Holiday which celebrates health and well being, as well as life and the awaking of mother earth.)

ED: Oh you know, always eventful like usual.

C: Isn't always so. It's one of my favorites. Well if you are ready we can, get started with the interview.

ED excitedly: Ok! I'm ready!

C: Ellen, can you tell me what your first memory of gardening is?

ED: Hmm. my first memory was when I was kid. My mom had a little flower garden at the house where I grew up. She was really proud of that garden too. Well my sister and I had a great big sandbox and one day we went and made this huge cake in the middle of it. I was so pleased with myself that I wanted to decorate it and I decapitated all her flowers so I could decorate it! I decapitated every flower she had. Scalped them all! I was so busy decorating this thing that I just wanted to make it pretty. I remember showing my mother this beautiful cake and her laughing. Then the next day I remember her that she went to buy new flowers and she made us plant them. So I guess that is kind of how I got started planting thins. She said, "If your going to kill the miracles, then you must plant them."

As Ellen is telling me this story I'm laughing, because this is so typical of a child.

ED continues: My mom always had the typical suburban house, with the irises along the sides; a couple of rose bushes. When I was older and we moved, we always had some green beans, and tomatoes. My grandmothers always had some expensive gardens as well. One grandmother, who lived in the city of St. Louis, had this rose garden. Every rose bush was pink and all the pink roses just fascinated me! My other grandmother lived in the country, she had the wildflowers and the woods all around her. She is the one taught me about wildflowers, the trees and the birds. My grandmother that lived in St. Louis was like, "These are my pink roses, and if you touch, I will break your fingers!"

ED laughs: It was more like, "There they are children. Don't mess with them." So that is how I had gotten interested in gardening. I was always fascinated with the plants and stuff. Both my parents are big in conservation, wildlife and stuff. We grew up with the whole nature thing in my house. It was something I had always done and enjoyed!

C: Remembering when I grew up, there were seven of us kids, and the yard was the boy's job and the house was for the girls. My dad had always liked working in the yard and one year I remember he grew the sweetest tomatoes. I never had the ability to grow anything, it seems whatever I tried planting would just die off. I killed a cactus-- actually I did that twice!

ED: Actually cacti are really easy to kill. That is because people water them and think that they are actually helping them. However, cacti don't want the water, so.

C laughing: No, I didn't even water them and they still died. I read the directions and it said to water the cactus once a month. So I did, and it stilled died. (Dugan laughs too). When did you realize that you waned to make gardening a career for you?

ED: Geez... Well, when my kids were little. I have been in my house for almost 20 years now. There was nothing here but a bunch of big trees and we have a corner lot. The trees that we have around here are a lot and big, being an older home. I tired to my hand at planting some flowers, and every time I did, I would kill them every year. I couldn't figure it out, I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I was the stereotypical modest gardener. I would put impatiens in full sun, because I was thinking they had shade in the morning. You know those little signs on the flowers that tell you plant in shade. Well, I had shade in the morning until 10 a.m. I did everything backwards. You name it, I did it all wrong. I pretty much gave up on that and started doing container gardening. So I pretty much contained myself to window boxes because it seemed like everything else I did went to go wrong. Then a girlfriend of mine, who had the most incredible garden, said to me, "If you really wants plants that will come back every year, I am going to divide some of perennials. Get every bucket you own and get over to my house. I'll set you up with a bunch of perennials." So I showed up at her house and she gave me cup flowers, yarrow, tall garden flocks, brown-eyed Susans, tiger lilies, and irises. You name it, she gave it to me. She loaded me down with all this stuff and I took them home and planted them. She then said, "Now do a little reading about perennials and I think you will be just fine." Well I went and picked up a couple of books on perennials and I was like, "Oh-Oh-Oh," all of a sudden. it clicked. And so that year, I decided that I would take a job at a nursery. I took a part-time job for the spring and summer while the kids where still in school. I discovered this fascinating place, you know, it's like, I could feed my sickness here. Here were the plants to learn with. I got a discount. I could learn so much about the plants, because there were horticulturists on staff. You could pick their brains all day long! So that was it. I was hooked. I totally fell in love with gardening. Where before it was always enjoyable, it now became, "Oh WOW! This is for me!" The longer I worked in nurseries, the more I learned and the more I appreciated it. I started picking up some tips and tricks, here and there. I picked up a few more books and little by little I started to expand out my gardens. When the perennials would expand in a couple of years, I would divide them up and move them again. It was just a very slow kind of evolvement. It wasn't like one summer I woke up and said, "This year I plant completely around the house." It was a very slow process of realizing what would grow well here. Every year I would pick up a few more plants and talk to a few more gardeners. Every year I would take a job at a different nursery. One year I worked at a tree farm. I worked at a greenhouse, and I learned something new every place that I went. I was able to take that which I learned and apply it my own yard.

When Ellen first started telling me how she became interested in gardening, I could relate her story to my own, as I had never had success in growing anything. I had these pictures of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo pop into my head, you know, that one sitcom where Lucy accidentally cut up her neighbor's garden the day before Better Homes and Gardens is to come out to judge the entries for their magazine? And the flowers in Lucy's own garden are plastic and melt under the hot sun because the lawnmower had gotten away from Ricky and Fred. This would be my garden. I bring myself back to what Ellen is saying and I am very intrigued with her story of how she had gotten started. My next question is what is a Master Gardener? I had read in your book that you are one. Please explain.

ED: Well a Master is a volunteer position that is always associated with a university outreach and extension office. To become a Certified Master Gardener means that you put in a semester's worth of college level horticulture classes. One has to do a year's worth of internship; you have to put in at least 30 hours of volunteer time that first year as an intern. I did mine in a bunch of different ways. I designed, I helped plant a butterfly garden at a local park, I helped maintain a historical garden in my hometown, I lectured and taught classes on containers gardening, perennial gardening and stuff like that. You build up your volunteer time. Once I completed that, I was certified as a Master Gardener. It is basically something you want to do because you want to help others learn about gardening. It is all about giving back to your community. To stay a Master Gardener, you have to put in six hours of continued education time and 20 hours of volunteer time annually to keep yourself current. I do that by teaching flower folklore classes at a local community college. I do this as a volunteer, I am not paid for teaching; any money that is made from the classes, I give back to the Master Gardeners program. I love it because I get to teach more people about gardening. The master program is about 30 years old here in the United States and is a volunteer program pretty much all over the states. If you looked into your phonebook under university extension office, they could pretty much tell you where to find or even maybe hook you up in finding a Master Gardener specific to your county.

C: Geez! I never knew there was such a thing! So they would help me in finding someone to teach me about gardening?

ED: Yeah, pretty much.

C: That's interesting to know. So tell me what is the difference between pruning and topping a tree or plant?

ED: Well, pruning is where you pick out the unproductive or weak branches and trim it to give it some shape. Topping is where you cut off the top of the trees. This is harmful to the plants and trees. It puts them into shock, much like you would if you lost a limb. No pun intended. (But I laughed anyway.)  What happens is, it causes the branches to become more prone to breakage and wind damage. It's better and healthier to be selective in picking out the branches that are weak or unproductive. Sometimes you will see trees that look whitish after topping has been done. This is because the tree went into shock. Also, too, you will see the little tiny branches shooting out of the places where the tree was cut. This is because the leaves give the tree food and the tree will shoot out these little branches so it can generate it.

C: Ah! No wonder the tree where I park my car looks all white. I also see all these little branches everywhere. Actually, the tree has even lost its bark.

ED: Well, that is because the tree went into shock after it was topped. Actually, topping a tree can kill it because of the stress and shock it's been subjected to.

C: What about chemical pesticides and fertilizers?

ED: I don't! I really, really don't. I am really careful as to what I put down. I usually use a fish emulsion fertilizer or I will use Miracle-Gro, it is technically considered safe; it is used in zoos and botanical gardens. It doesn't have any residue, so it isn't harmful to animals. If you don a lot of research, you will find that there had been a lot of research done that tells you if a product is safe to use or not. Miracle-Gro is considered safe. You just have to use it carefully, mix it EXACTLY as it says on the package. When you do use fertilizers, you use them selectively and carefully.

C: Fish emulsion fertilizer? That must really be smelly.

ED: Yeah, it has an odor, but it is safe to use.

C: I live in a condo and the walkways aren't very big. Maybe, I could really get my neighbors to close their windows that way-- sometimes, during the summer, they have radio wars. (Dugan laughs). So what kind of plants would you suggest for beginners?

ED: I would suggest plants that will grow in your area, some easy perennials that are a little more tough, durable and drought-hardy; the ones that aren't so fussy about their soils. Kind of look around and see what is growing. Ask your neighbors that have a garden and ask them what grows well for them. You could even go to the nurseries and ask. Pay attention to your yard. Check when and where the sun is during the day. You don't want to plant full shade plants in the sun.

C: So after you find out where to plant, when is the best time to water?

ED: Well, if you are doing container gardening, you water in the morning and you water them at night. Don't be afraid to stick your finger into the dirt. It will tell you how much you need to water your plants. Don't use the sticks for fertilizer either. They don't do anything and you're just wasting your money. Get yourself a plastic watering can and a cheap box of Miracle-Gro; use it as your food for your plants. You use that the first time you replant your plants. Like I said earlier, follow the mixing directions exactly. If you don't, you will burn them out. You need to fertilize your container plants every other week. Those puppies are very heavy feeders and demand a lot of nutrition. The more you fertilize them, the better performance they will give you. The stakes stay solid and never dissolve.

C: I never knew that, I bought some of those stakes.

ED: Honey, you are just wasting your money. Do yourself a favor and throw them away. Go get a box of Miracle-Gro.

C: How did you come to the idea for writing a book on gardening? What prompted you do so?

ED: When I first started writing for Llwellyn, I started out writing for the Almanac. The first article that I wrote was on the Lady of Guadalupe. Then, the next article, I had an idea about a witch's garden. I thought about this because everything I plant in my garden I use. I really rely on flower folklore. As you know, you read the book, if it's in my yard it gets put to use. I am really a firm believer in that. Anyway, I was kicking around the idea about writing an article called, The Witch's Garden. So I wrote this article, I sent it in and they really liked the article and asked me to make it longer and expand it, they wanted it to be bigger. So I did that. I got contracted and I was told that it would be in next year's June Almanac. The I really started thinking, "You know? I have enough stuff here that I could write a book!" I thought, "Hmmm, should I or shouldn't I?" So I kind of sat on the idea for a while. I hit a point that sooner or later every witch or pagan hits, you know, the point where you're like there isn't anything new. If you hit one more 101 book you're going to scream into the night. I thought somebody needed to write a book for me. So the more I thought about it, I thought, "Well, I could do this! I could write a book about gardening and herbalism and hand balm stuff." Everybody expects to read books and have them say it will answer all your questions, I thought, What about a book that says, here, read me and teach yourself something new. The idea took root, the longer I thought about. The longer I thought about it the more I was like, yeah!!! So I saved my money for about a year and bought a really good computer. I did research about six months to kind of track down ideas and to get ideas on how I could do a book. I made notes as to what kind of chapters I would have. What I would discuss. I sat sown and started writing the book in 2001 and I mailed out last year in August. I got a letter back from the publishing company saying that they really enjoyed it... Here are the reviews remarks... We would like to see some changes... This isn't a contract but we are interested... I thought, OK. I followed the reviewer's recommendations and made a couple of changes and sent it back. They contracted it! Half of the fun of writing the book was going to the botanical gardens' library and getting to go through all the books. There were some books dated from the 1800s and manuscripts all through the library. Being a Master Gardener gave me access to this wonderful world of literature and information.

C: How exciting for you. Do you find that the writers of the past are more thorough compared to the writers of today?

ED: One of my pet peeves is finding a book without a decent bibliography. If I pick up a book, I always want to see where they had gotten their information. I want to know that it was researched and this writer really busted their butt trying to get the information to me. I think bibliographies are important in a book. Sometimes you don't see enough in the books and that is a shame. There is a lot of neat magical information out there, but you really have to search for it. You can't just walk in the library and expect to find a book written on magic dating back to the 1800s, it's not going to happen. But you can find books from the Victorian times dealing with folklore. It's not easy to find and most people don't dig deep enough because they don't know where to look. If you keep digging, you will find it. You know what I mean? People just have to be willing to roll up their sleeves and dig. They will find a treasure chest of information! It's so cool! I find it neat that someone took the time to dig and share the information!

C: Talking about digging deep, when did you get into the Craft?

ED: Well, technically when I was a kid. I was always fascinated with the whole idea of magic. I grew up with a lot of psychic abilities and, being a kid, I didn't know what it was or that it even had a name. So I was always in trouble. I would always see pictures and had a habit of blurting out what I saw and felt. When I got to be a teenager, my abilities had gotten to where I could not control them. I couldn't touch or shake anybody's hand. I didn't like getting too close to people because I could feel what they were feeling. If somebody would get sick, I would get sick. If somebody had a headache, I would get a headache. It was always things like that when I was a teenager. To pass these feelings off, I started covering them up with humor. I basically became a smart ass. I became kind of standoffish. As I became older, I started to research more and more about psychic phenomena, empathy and clairvoyance. That's when I realized that there was a name for what I had; it opened a whole new way of looking at things for me. The harder I kept looking into metaphysics, I kept running into magic. I kept researching because I wanted to learn more about my psychic abilities, I want to learn how to control them. I went to a psychic fair one day and they where giving classes on how to improve your psychic abilities. I talked to my husband and he said, "Yes, go!" I was the caller ID before it was even invented, because I always knew who was calling me when I answered the phone. So I went and this guy had us doing some psychometrics. He had all of us take off a ring. So I held this one girl's ring and told her what I saw.  I was dead on the money. That lead to me holding a watch of another person and again I was dead on the money. So the teacher had me focus on him and tell him what I saw. So I told him, "You're very sad." The guy kind of flinched and I thought this isn't good. He asked me why and I told him it was about a child. He had asked to speak to me after class. He asked me what I was doing there and I told him I am trying to learn more. He gave me some books and said, "Here, read and learn to use the Tarot deck." So I did. I started out doing readings for friends and family. Reading for friends is one thing, but doing a stranger is completely different. So I proceeded to read a stranger and I was able to do so. I kept researching metaphysics and the more I researched, the more I run into folk magic. I finally bumped into Wicca. The more I read about it, the more I said, "This is us," it described pretty much what I always thought and I couldn't believe it had a name.

C: I know. It's like you're coming home! At least that is what it was like for me. When I was introduced to it, a friend of mine asked if I was a Wiccan. I told him no and asked what is that? He told me it was a witch and of course I told him no. He explained it further and took me to a shop that offered classes. It really intrigued me, so I signed up for some courses. I still thank him to this day. When I was a kid I had a slumber party for my 13th birthday. It was something that a large mid-western family member never really got to have, so this was special. Well, my mom and I planned a seance as part of the party entertainment. My mom had a crystal ball that you could put a flower in water in, so we dumped all that out and made my crystal ball like a fortuneteller had. When we were all done doing the skit thing, my sister came into the bedroom in her scuba dive outfit, right after my mom threw a stuffed dog in the room. Well, that scared all my friends. My mom noticed afterward that I was all sweaty and asked if I was feeling OK. I told her I was just nervous and scared. It wasn't a lie because I really was, not because of my sister, but because I could feel that I was doing something and it made me really uncomfortable. I remember after that night I bought a book on metaphysics with some babysitting money. I started to read about it and hid the book in one of my drawers that I used as a junk drawer. I thought if I hid it in there, no one would find it and I wouldn't get into trouble. When I went back it pick it up again to read it was gone. It never did surface.

ED: Yeah, you know you're doing something, but you don't understand it.

C: Yeah, it's creepy when you're young. Can you tell me how you came to put the Craft and gardening together?

ED: Actually I wanted supplies and wanted my own sacred space to work in. It always seemed silly to me that there is all this high profile stuff that you can buy nowadays. If this is a natural and nature religion, it seemed to me, more natural to be working with all natural objects. Also, too, back then you couldn't jut walk into a store and by the things you needed. After I had bought the book of Scott Cunningham's, "Magical Herbalism," and read it, I realized, "Hey! I have this stuff in my yard." Like I stated before, the main reason I wrote "Garden Witchery" was because I kept thinking, why doesn't anybody write a book like I would want? You know, a more hands-on and something that teaches you something different, new and exciting. You know, come on, let's face it, we all can't be be-bopping around in a cape or a robe. We have families that need to get to soccer practice, families dropping in and just regular everyday life stuff. So why not have a whole garden slue of supplies that you can use. If you live in small spaces, you can have window boxes or containers with magical plants that you can work with. They can be part of everyday life, as opposed to something that you have to keep hidden in a closet somewhere. My thought was, why keep this all hush-hush. Why can't we keep it more practical, down-to-earth and realistic? I think a lot of people forget that this is a natural and nature religion. They get so wrapped up in the tools and the items that are sold. I'm not saying that I don't like all this fun stuff and do-dads, because I do and have some things. I wear the jewelry and stuff, but people tend to forget that this is a nature religion. You want to learn the mystery of the universe? Walk outside! Talk to your trees, Sit outside and watch the moon rise, watch the crescent moon set one night. Go out in your yard, put your belly on the grass and watch the ants and other insects. You know, you did this as a kid and it was fascinating then. So do it again. Don't be afraid to rediscover. Then you will take a step back and go "OHHHH!"

C: I agree with you on that. You know people of today are becoming way too stuck in the mundane world. They are too busy running here and there and not taking the time to reconnect to the natural wonders of the world. I remember reading an article about this little boy who at the young age of three or four was given a camera by his father, who is a very well-known photographer. The father ended up rediscovering the world around him through his child's eyes. Why? Because his son was taking pictures of his world. Living on the West Coast here in California, we live at such a higher pace of life. We are too busy running here and there; everything is at a faster rate. This is the land of Hollywood, the land of the fake and bake. You know?

ED laughing: I never heard that before. That's funny.

C(laughing): Well, that's what we called it after we moved out here 14 years ago. It's the land of the fake body parts, noses and just plastic surgery in general. When we first moved out here, it was difficult for me to make friends because everyone was so wrapped up in their own life. They seemed more surface in general. Back home in the Mid-West, a farmer waves to you from his fields. Yet since I started on this path about seven years ago, I have met more people who I can associate with. Maybe it's because the pagan community is small and still kept semi-quiet.

ED: I think that the funniest thing that I have discovered this year while signing books is when I am sitting in a Border's and I hear, "Today we have a new author, Ms. Ellen Dugan in the New Age section, signing her new book, "Garden Witchery." You're thinking, oh how nice, then you hear, "Ellen Dugan who is a practicing psychic and practicing WITCH of 17 years." And at this point you're thinking, "Oh my God!" While everyone in the store is peeking around the stacks to see who this person is. I just smile, wave and nod like, "Yep, here I am!" I actually had this happen to me in a Border's in Illinois! I actually saw all the people look around the stacks to see what I look like.

I had someone approach me sideways. I guess she thought if she did that, she could run faster. The lady said to me in a high-pitched voice, "Hi." I said, "Hi how are you?" She got all teary-eyed and said, "Oh, you're normal." I said, "Yes ma'am, I am." This lady says, "Oh, look at you. You're-- you're normal!" I replied, "Yes, ma'am." Then that was it. She said, "Let's talk." She was Wiccan and dressed totally normal. She had on a T-shirt and jeans. No one would of picked her out of a crowd; she was so excited to meet me because I was normal.

I had another gentleman come up to me and say, "So you're a witch." I replied, "Yes, I am." He said, "Really?" I said, "Yes."  He said, "Well, you're not what I expected." I looked at him and said, "Well, I left my pointy hat at home." He said, "No-no-no, that's not what I meant." He proceeded to reach under his shirt and pull out his pentagram. He said, "I'm impressed! Thank you, for being so normal. You make the rest of us look so good. Please sign this book for my wife. It's our anniversary and I am going to be a hero when I get home!" When you have people approach you like that you think, uh-oh am I going to be in trouble here?

C: You know I have another career besides this one and I have taken great pains to be hush-hush as to my beliefs. I always find a way to skirt around the issue when I answer certain question. I don't dress in black or funky, I don't dress Goth you know, I dress normal. I am not the walking dead yet.

ED: Hey, there isn't anything wrong with keeping a low profile. There is a certain time and place for that. But you know when you're out running around it's best to keep a low profile. I think it needs to be said that it's OK to be normal; it's OK to blend in. You don't have to make a statement. It's OK to follow your path and acknowledge the old ones. It's OK to raise your kids and be a good person. I really think people kind of miss the boat on that one. It's not all Hollywood flash and boom hype. It's about living your life, practicing your craft, raising a nice family and being the best person you can be. If someone says, "Oh, I'm Wiccan," that should be all and the end of discussion. There is no reason to debate their religious beliefs.

C: I agree. How does the Craft connect you to gardening?

ED: Everything you do, the planting, the harvesting, it's all connected. It's how your life is. It's more spiritual for me. It's one thing to go to the store and buy your candles and herbs, it's another to have grown, raised and harvest your plants at the right phase of the moon and doing magic with them. It's deep and more personal when you have made it yourself. Something that you have made yourself has so much more power. It might not look as sweet and nice as something you purchased, but there is more sense of pride and love for the object. You know what I mean? I think it's great that you can incorporate your religion into the things that you can create and do on your own. It keeps things together and tightens the bond even more so.

C: I know exactly what you mean. It helps me at least to understand my reason for being here and life in general.

ED: For me, it's a sign of a very powerful witch, one that is in tune with nature and the things around them. To know the signs of the season, the
phases of the moon and so forth, you know?

C: It's good to hear you say that, because a few weeks back, I was going somewhere with my husband and I was driving. I was doing 60 mph and I felt like I was crawling. I had turned to my husband and said, "Gee, I'm doing 60 and I feel like I'm just crawling!" I'm thinking, well I at least I won't get a ticket. Then about a day later, I found out that Mercury went into retrograde. It was weird that I could feel that. At least now I know I wasn't crazy.

ED laughing: I could see that, "Excuse me officer, but Mercury went into retrograde."

C: Yeah, "But officer I was going slower than that. My car may have been doing that, but I was going slower than that!" Anyway, to get back on track here, can tell me who some of your favorite authors are? I know Scott Cunningham, because you mentioned him earlier, as well as in your book.

ED: Yes, he is one of mine. But there is a British author that is harder to find and really worth the search, her name is Claire Nahmad. She is really, really a great author. She has written many books called "Cat Spells," "Fairy Spells;" "Earth Magick." These are books that were based on teachings from her grandmother who was a wise woman in Victorian times in England. They are just gorgeous and soft books that are well worth getting. I like Early Raven Wolfe, she wrote "To Ride a Silver Broom Stick" and "To Stir a Magick Cauldron." They are fun and you learn a lot. She is one of the first people that sat down and wrote with humor and she definitely deserves a nod. Anybody who can write a book, teach you something and make you laugh is well worth saying, "Yes, I liked the book." I also like Star Hawk and the old Doreen Valente books. So those are some of my favorites. Now if we get into fiction there are a whole slew of authors, I could go on and on.

C: I read some of Raven Wolfe's books and I understand your comments about her writing. Can you tell me what is next for you?

ED: Well, I have a second book that just came out about eight days ago and it was kind of surprise to have it come out so fast. But it's called "Elements of Witchcraft, Natural Magick for Teens" and that pretty much sums up the whole book. It is a book that is dedicated to teaching teens about natural magic. It's quiet, down-to-earth, and practical. It's affordable, no muss and no fuss. I wrote the book as soon as I got done with "Garden Witchery," I dove into the idea. I wasn't sure at first where I was going to take this book for teens. I have three teenagers and it's kind of a hot topic with me. I wanted something that I could be proud of. I thought why not do it about natural magic seeing that that is my overlying theme anyway.

C: You know, to be honest, there aren't enough books out there directed toward the teens. It seems that a lot of people want to shy away from that because of the stigma and legal issues that are associated with the subject. I think it's important that if the kids want to know about this whole new world that someone tell them like it really is and not in the Hollywood fashion. You know what I mean?

ED: Yes, you know, toward the end of the book there is an insert that talks about telling your family about your studies and obeying the house rules. If you have parents that are against this subject, then you should sit tight and be patient. Tell them about it, don't lie to your parents; be up front with them and let them know. You need to share the reading material, you need to share with them as you go along.  I thought it important that someone put out a book that was straight up, honest and funny. Something that would help them to focus on the elements and on natural magic as well. I wrote the book based on how I taught my children. I thought why don't I put it out and explain it to others. To my delight, it was snatched up and contracted and released. It came out fast! I am so thrilled on how it turned out! Take a moment to look it up on Llwellyn's Web site, it has a really neat cover.

C: I'll do that. Well Ellen, I think I took up enough of your time. Is there anything you would like to share with your readers on a personal level?

ED: Umm. Yeah, I would like people to see that magic is all around them, that they should take the time to go outside and look around, take the time to connect with the elements. Go outside sit on the grass, look at the trees, smell the grass, the flowers, the freshness of the wind; watch the sunset and the stars in the sky. They will learn more magical mysteries in the time they spend outside, quietly observing those things, then by running around and trying to snatch up every book that they could possibly get their hands on. There is so much more to be learned by taking the time to go outside and connect with nature. If they can do that, and they can believe in themselves, then there is no stopping them.

C: I love how you put that and I thank you so much for your time. In finishing up our conversation, it was interesting to find that we both had a lot in common.

Again thank you Ellen Dugan, author of "Garden Witchery" and "Elements of Witchcraft, Natural Magick for Teens" for a wonderful interview. Thank you Jill at Llwellyn, for making this interview possible. I enjoyed it immensely!

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