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The Witching Year

A Memoir of Earnest Fumbling Through Modern Witchcraft


About The Book

A skeptic’s year-long quest to find spiritual fulfillment through modern Witchcraft, perfect for fans of A.J. Jacobs and Mary Roach.

Diana Helmuth, thirty-three, is skeptical of organized religion. She is also skeptical of disorganized religion. But, more than anything, she is tired of God being dead. So, she decides to try on the fastest growing, self-directed faith in America: Witchcraft.

The result is 366 days of observation, trial, error, wit, and back spasms. Witches today are often presented as confident and finished, proud and powerful. Diana is eager to join them. She wants to follow all the rules, memorize all the incantations, and read all the liturgy. But there’s one glaring problem: no Witch can agree on what the right rules, liturgy, and incantations are.

As with life, Diana will have to define the craft for herself, looking past the fashionable and figuring out how to define the real. Along the way, she travels to Salem and Edinburgh (two very Crafty hubs) and attends a week-long (clothing optional) Witch camp in Northern California. Whether she’s trying to perform a full moon ritual on a cardboard box, summon an ancient demon with scotch tape and a kitchen trivet, or just trying to become a calmer, happier person, her biggest question remains: Will any of this really work?

The Witching Year follows in the footsteps of celebrated memoirs by journalists like A.J. Jacobs, Mary Roach, and Caitlin Doughty, who knit humor and reportage together in search of something worth believing.

About The Author

Photograph by Diana Helmuth

Diana Helmuth is the award-winning author of How to Suffer Outside, a how-to for beginning backpackers and readers intrigued by the man-vs-nature stand-off. Before becoming an author, she worked in San Francisco’s startup land for several seed-stage tech companies, and studied anthropology and Arabic at UC Berkeley. She was born and raised in Northern California and is currently trying to make friends with a seal in the Puget Sound. Connect at

Product Details

  • Publisher: S&S/Simon Element (October 3, 2023)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668002988

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Raves and Reviews

"Before I started reading this book, I had a limited and warped view of wicca, sort of like Diana’s mom who asked when she was going to start sacrificing animals. But thanks to The Witching Year, I got an entertaining crash course in this tradition. Diana is a wonderful guide, and her journey is thoughtful, funny, simultaneously open-minded and filled with doubt, and dare I say it, magical. I rooted her on as she learned her first hex, summoned the elements, and sprinkled spices around her house." —AJ Jacobs, bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically

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