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Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power

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A whip-smart and illuminating exploration of the world’s fascination with witches from podcast host and practicing witch Pam Grossman (The Witch Wave), who delves deeply into why witches have intrigued us for centuries and why they’re more relevant now than ever. When you think of a witch, what do you picture? Pointy black hat, maybe a broomstick. But witches in various gu A whip-smart and illuminating exploration of the world’s fascination with witches from podcast host and practicing witch Pam Grossman (The Witch Wave), who delves deeply into why witches have intrigued us for centuries and why they’re more relevant now than ever. When you think of a witch, what do you picture? Pointy black hat, maybe a broomstick. But witches in various guises have been with us for millennia. In Waking the Witch, Pam Grossman explores the cultural and historical impact of the world’s most magical icon. From the idea of the femme fatale in league with the devil in early modern Europe and Salem, to the bewitching pop culture archetypes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Harry Potter; from the spooky ladies in fairy tales and horror films to the rise of feminist covens and contemporary witchcraft, witches reflect the power and potential of women. In this fascinating read that is part cultural analysis, part memoir, Pam opens up about her own journey on the path to witchcraft, and how her personal embrace of the witch helped her find strength, self-empowerment, and a deeper purpose. A comprehensive meditation on one of the most mysterious and captivating figures of all time, Waking the Witch celebrates witches past, present, and future, and reveals the critical role they have played—and will continue to play—in shaping the world as we know it.


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A whip-smart and illuminating exploration of the world’s fascination with witches from podcast host and practicing witch Pam Grossman (The Witch Wave), who delves deeply into why witches have intrigued us for centuries and why they’re more relevant now than ever. When you think of a witch, what do you picture? Pointy black hat, maybe a broomstick. But witches in various gu A whip-smart and illuminating exploration of the world’s fascination with witches from podcast host and practicing witch Pam Grossman (The Witch Wave), who delves deeply into why witches have intrigued us for centuries and why they’re more relevant now than ever. When you think of a witch, what do you picture? Pointy black hat, maybe a broomstick. But witches in various guises have been with us for millennia. In Waking the Witch, Pam Grossman explores the cultural and historical impact of the world’s most magical icon. From the idea of the femme fatale in league with the devil in early modern Europe and Salem, to the bewitching pop culture archetypes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Harry Potter; from the spooky ladies in fairy tales and horror films to the rise of feminist covens and contemporary witchcraft, witches reflect the power and potential of women. In this fascinating read that is part cultural analysis, part memoir, Pam opens up about her own journey on the path to witchcraft, and how her personal embrace of the witch helped her find strength, self-empowerment, and a deeper purpose. A comprehensive meditation on one of the most mysterious and captivating figures of all time, Waking the Witch celebrates witches past, present, and future, and reveals the critical role they have played—and will continue to play—in shaping the world as we know it.

30 review for Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Buchanan

    2.5 stars I hate that I didn't love this book. I love Pam and her Witch Wave podcast, and I'm not sure what I expected from this book, but what I got wasn't it. First off, I happen to have the same political views as Pam, but I was so sick about hearing about Trump by the end of this book. We get it. He's terrible. I stopped paying attention to the news because I was tired of hearing about what an idiot he is. I didn't expect to be bashed over the head with it over and over again in a book about t 2.5 stars I hate that I didn't love this book. I love Pam and her Witch Wave podcast, and I'm not sure what I expected from this book, but what I got wasn't it. First off, I happen to have the same political views as Pam, but I was so sick about hearing about Trump by the end of this book. We get it. He's terrible. I stopped paying attention to the news because I was tired of hearing about what an idiot he is. I didn't expect to be bashed over the head with it over and over again in a book about the history of witches. The book seemed to get more...meandering as it went along. It was full of interesting information, and I now have a list of new shows and movies to watch and books to read, but it seemed rambling at times. The last chapter, entitled "Who Is a Witch?" almost lost me completely. It had several pages about the last presidential election (ugh), statistics about attacks on witches, more pages about politics, warnings against cultural appropriation (basically, everyone can be a witch, but only particular people can be particular types of witch was my takeaway there), the stupid Sephora controversy, and then some pages about poetry. Also, the author mentions Lena Dunham on two different occasions as of what Lena Dunham says and thinks are of consequence to anyone. All around, the historical aspects were interesting, but I was left mostly with a feeling of, "Okay, and...?" Edit: I was discussing this book with a friend, and she summed up my feelings very succinctly: "I feel like she is trying to be as broad as possible and speak to everyone, therefore she speaks to no one."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    As another reviewer said, I hate that I didn’t love this book. I’ve loved Pam’s writing for years, and her podcast is one of my favorites. I preordered this book and bought it in more than one format. I have trouble figuring out who the target audience is, and what each target audience might be expected to gain from the book. It’s sort of part memoir, part wide-lens historical summary, part modern political OpEd, and part love song to muses, all of which are very loosely threaded together by a va As another reviewer said, I hate that I didn’t love this book. I’ve loved Pam’s writing for years, and her podcast is one of my favorites. I preordered this book and bought it in more than one format. I have trouble figuring out who the target audience is, and what each target audience might be expected to gain from the book. It’s sort of part memoir, part wide-lens historical summary, part modern political OpEd, and part love song to muses, all of which are very loosely threaded together by a vague sense of topic, and none of which are explored with the depth I would have expected from a book. There is certainly valuable information in here. But if you’re already familiar with Pam’s work, or feminist theory and history, or the practice and/or cultural history of witchcraft, most of what she touches on won’t be new to you. As a scholar and avid reader of both witchcraft and feminism who is within a decade of Pam's age, and as a big fan of art and literature, almost nothing in this book was new to me. Which could be fine on a surface level, but she also doesn’t dive deep into most of it in the kind of nuanced way that makes you feel like you’ve seen old knowledge in a new light. When she does provide insights, most of them won’t be new to you if you listen to The Witch Wave. Many chapters felt like podcast monologues, but without the context of introducing an interview subject, they just feel a bit incomplete and disjointed. I was also simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the modern tie-ins. Does the Sephora witch kit debacle really deserve to be canonized in a book? Does Donald Trump deserve as much space as he gets in a small and topically wide-reaching book about feminism and witchcraft? I don’t personally think so. Lots of the information was good and valid, but some was lackluster or a bit troubling. In some cases, it felt like a topic was included out of a sense of obligation, but without the knowledge or research to give them the needed gravitas (e.g. a quick, neither-here-nor-there, sort-of-advicey-but-not-very-weighty, blip about cultural appropriation). In others, the lack of research or lack of unbiased research was disappointing (casually defending spiritualist women against claims of fraud, apparently just because they were women with spooky interests, when it’s well-known, documented, and evidenced that many of the big names in spiritualism—most of which were women—were frauds; if you’re going to defend a historical fraud, at least offer some evidence for why you think they were legit). If you have a teenager who has just expressed their first interest in feminism or witchcraft, I would certainly give them this book. But since the history she covers is largely modern, the insights are sort of fleetingly dropped opinions, and it all just skims the surface, it’s hard to imagine that an adult would find much that’s new here, at least an adult who has enough interest in the topic to pick this book up in the first place.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Renee (The B-Roll)

    YEEEESSSSS!!! This book is packed with history and culture, and serious female power and witch pride. I loved reading this book; it really sparked something in me. I would highly highly recommend this book if you want sort of a primer about witchcraft and witch culture, are interested in Pam Grossman, or are just curious about it all. I love the way this is written and how it feels like a conversation rather than a book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Angela Natividad

    This is a personal trajectory entwined in a larger history of witchcraft, specifically in pop culture, art and music. It is not a vast survey of modern paganism, but you can feel a fond, acknowledged debt to Margot Adler. If you want something historically deep that scales wide, I wouldn’t suggest this; it’s too slim, touching on necessary tributaries without wading too deeply in. This is a jumping-off point, punctuated by the diversity of things that informed Grossman’s journey and fleshed out This is a personal trajectory entwined in a larger history of witchcraft, specifically in pop culture, art and music. It is not a vast survey of modern paganism, but you can feel a fond, acknowledged debt to Margot Adler. If you want something historically deep that scales wide, I wouldn’t suggest this; it’s too slim, touching on necessary tributaries without wading too deeply in. This is a jumping-off point, punctuated by the diversity of things that informed Grossman’s journey and fleshed out her path. The Further Reading is great; so too are the musical discoveries, the winks to Willow, Tara, Sabrina, Samantha; the witchy artists; the “Smith” history lesson on the Smith-Waite tarot deck, and Shakespeare’s Macbeth; and the thoughtful untangling of what a witch might mean in a given moment to a given person, who may be claiming the title or succumbing to it. In other words, you’ll be equipped with stuff that nuances and enriches your experience, evidence of the magical all around you, rather than leaving you wringing wrists about crystals to buy. So if this is the first book you pick up on your journey, you could certainly do worse. The voice is kind and informative, like Grossman in her Witch Wave podcast. And it’s also worlds more useful than any number of the glossy how-tos currently crowding the shelves. There’s meaning here, a call to be critical and thoughtful, but also empathetic. Thanks for everything you do, Pam.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bon

    Part memoirs, part history book, part gender theory text, part film reviews – this book has it all, and is read by the incredibly smooth and pleasantly-voiced author. I loved the audiobook of this, although I want to obtain a physical copy as well – the cover is aesthetically pleasing and this author deserves ALL of the support, too. She talks about actual witchcraft, but more importantly, examines the ideas of witches in so many other areas of life. First, I enjoyed the not-too-deep historical Part memoirs, part history book, part gender theory text, part film reviews – this book has it all, and is read by the incredibly smooth and pleasantly-voiced author. I loved the audiobook of this, although I want to obtain a physical copy as well – the cover is aesthetically pleasing and this author deserves ALL of the support, too. She talks about actual witchcraft, but more importantly, examines the ideas of witches in so many other areas of life. First, I enjoyed the not-too-deep historical analyses Pam provides to give context to witchcraft in history. From pagans swaying around fires to witch hunts in Europe, from mystical and medium-inspired artwork in the 1800s to teen witches on pop culture fave movies of the 80s, there is just so much here on the spectrum of witchery. Pam is nonjudgmental for the most part, save for where her disdain for the republican patriarchy of America tends to play into things, which I was all for, anyways. She discusses historical covens with looks at Crowley, talks about the Salem Witch Trials and how The Crucible did the true events no real service, examines the mediumship of several metaphysical artists I had been unaware of (even the designer of the original Rider-Waite deck art, a lady!). She gets to the point quickly without drowning us in information, and I highly enjoyed the topics the book skipped around. The film reviews strewn throughout the book were incredibly relatable – Pam tackles Labyrinth and the weird attraction we all felt for Jareth, the problematic Goblin King; The Craft, a movie that I came away from feeling gross and disdainful, and Pam appears to have felt similar; The Witch, one of my favorite movies, and others. Pam attacks transphobia, promotes activism of all sorts from women’s reproductive rights (and the all-important life choice to not have children of one’s own), and lauds inclusive witchcraft that could be solitary practice or coven membership. Her frankness and open acceptance of practicing however one wants was so soothing for me. All of the historical context and hilarious goth-kid-of-the-90s thirst was fascinating and relatable, too. I just…really liked this book. Pam is also great to follow on twitter!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jess Zaikova

    Pam Grossman is a great writer and I am looking forward to checking out her podcast. I enjoyed this book in the arsenal of witchy awakening writings aside from a few small issues. Mostly, please don't dedicate so many pages to describing works of art with words. Have pictures put in. It got tedious pausing and looking up painting by painting on my phone so I just stopped. I would have loved seeing the pictures as I read. I ended up just skipping most of that chapter. Other than that, I have some Pam Grossman is a great writer and I am looking forward to checking out her podcast. I enjoyed this book in the arsenal of witchy awakening writings aside from a few small issues. Mostly, please don't dedicate so many pages to describing works of art with words. Have pictures put in. It got tedious pausing and looking up painting by painting on my phone so I just stopped. I would have loved seeing the pictures as I read. I ended up just skipping most of that chapter. Other than that, I have some opinions that differ from the author, but that doesn't take away from her well organised information. I do feel that this book intends to appeal to as many people as possible and thus, kind of comes across as a bit broad. There were plenty of media references though that I will be checking out.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Kusby

    In this must-read for anyone interested in feminism or witchcraft, acclaimed podcast host Pam Grossman illuminates a history of female power and persecution, and eloquently analyzes why witches are so relevant today. By exploring the figure of the witch across culture, Grossman explains her theory about why the newest wave of feminism just might be "The Witch Wave," and why millions of women now draw upon the magic of the witch to reclaim a sense of power amidst uncertain times. Part memoir and In this must-read for anyone interested in feminism or witchcraft, acclaimed podcast host Pam Grossman illuminates a history of female power and persecution, and eloquently analyzes why witches are so relevant today. By exploring the figure of the witch across culture, Grossman explains her theory about why the newest wave of feminism just might be "The Witch Wave," and why millions of women now draw upon the magic of the witch to reclaim a sense of power amidst uncertain times. Part memoir and part historical survey, this book is jam-packed full of information, yet a surprisingly quick read. Get ready to be inspired; this witchy offering might make you want to start casting spells yourself! Many thanks to Leah Cushman at Powell's Books for providing me with an ARC of this title.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    If you want an intersectionally-minded book about the history of witches, as well as the popularity of witches and witchcraft in pop culture, you will want to pick this one up. Grossman reads it on audio, and she does a fabulous job.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jackie ϟ Bookseller

    4/5 stars: ★★★★☆ "The witch owes nothing. That is what makes her dangerous. And that is what makes her divine." This book makes me proud to refer to myself as a witch. Inspiring. Intelligent. Funny. Educational. Empowering. Wicked. 4/5 stars: ★★★★☆ "The witch owes nothing. That is what makes her dangerous. And that is what makes her divine." This book makes me proud to refer to myself as a witch. Inspiring. Intelligent. Funny. Educational. Empowering. Wicked.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I've been following Pam Grossman for a while and love her podcast The Witch Wave. I connect with her intuition and sensitivity toward spiritual subjects. I was elated when I received this ARC. I am a feminist but not very outspoken about it. I am spiritual in private and I am bookish and academic outwardly. Waking the Witch touched upon all of these aspects of me. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I've been following Pam Grossman for a while and love her podcast The Witch Wave. I connect with her intuition and sensitivity toward spiritual subjects. I was elated when I received this ARC. I am a feminist but not very outspoken about it. I am spiritual in private and I am bookish and academic outwardly. Waking the Witch touched upon all of these aspects of me. I felt, it was well-researched and logically laid out. I enjoyed the many mentions of books, paintings, movies, talks, and music. Contemporary, as well as historical facts and trivia, were expertly interweaved with Grossman's personal experiences and memoir-like tales. Furthermore, it read easily. In fact, this may be the fastest I have finished a non-fiction book. At the end of the last chapter, I felt satisfied that I learned something. This book was educational to me without feeling like a textbook. It certainly is no in-depth guide to witchcraft or similar things but it appears to be a wonderful introduction to witches and their feminist aspirations. I love the idea that being a witch can have so many meanings and Grossman does an amazing job of being inclusive and open to other lifestyles, believes, and experiences. I walked away from this feeling seriously pumped of her interpretation of feminism and where we should go from here. This is a book that I will consult in the future when I might feel bleak about today's society or when I might need some spiritual insight. You definitely don't need to be a witch in the most literal sense to enjoy her writing and be inspired by it. As a novice in this field (so take this with a grain of salt), I can see this book becoming a staple for people who seek mindfulness, spirituality, and/or a unique way of feminism. I believe this would be a fantastic book for book clubs and similar discussion groups as it has many jumping off points along the way.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Wow. This is the book I've been waiting for. A wonderful blend of memoir and well-researched information on witches and magic throughout history. This book was easy to read, engaging, and informative. I loved the blend of history, art and popular culture to weave a comprehensive narrative about the many meanings of witchcraft and magic. The author directly addressed the more challenging aspects of this story like race, gender, and economic disparity. This book is definitely worth reading if you Wow. This is the book I've been waiting for. A wonderful blend of memoir and well-researched information on witches and magic throughout history. This book was easy to read, engaging, and informative. I loved the blend of history, art and popular culture to weave a comprehensive narrative about the many meanings of witchcraft and magic. The author directly addressed the more challenging aspects of this story like race, gender, and economic disparity. This book is definitely worth reading if you are a witch, know a witch, or have any interest in witchcraft.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Moira

    I was always going to love this book, because Pam Grossman is one of my dearest friends. But imagine for a moment my relief when I read the manuscript for the first time and realized that I actually liked it? Friends, I am not claiming any objectivity here, but I can say without bias that Pam has written a wry, insightful, surprising, and questing book, and anyone interested in how the ancient archetype of the witch is being manifested in our modern age will find much to chew on here. Also? Lady I was always going to love this book, because Pam Grossman is one of my dearest friends. But imagine for a moment my relief when I read the manuscript for the first time and realized that I actually liked it? Friends, I am not claiming any objectivity here, but I can say without bias that Pam has written a wry, insightful, surprising, and questing book, and anyone interested in how the ancient archetype of the witch is being manifested in our modern age will find much to chew on here. Also? Lady is funny.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Grossman does an impressive job of jam packing every reference to witches in media and talking about all the influences they bring into our daily life. I think I was expecting more knowledge about the practice of Wicca and being a Witch more, but it was interesting all the same.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Keeley

    This review is only for the first quarter of the book as I will not be finishing it any time soon. I also received this ARC as a giveaway at my work and was not familiar with Pam Grossman or her podcast. As someone who is very interested in the portrayal of occult female figures in pop culture, this book sounded super enticing and I was looking forward to getting an in-depth study on how and why witches are portrayed. To be fair, there was a lot of great info but unfortunately the memoir vibe re This review is only for the first quarter of the book as I will not be finishing it any time soon. I also received this ARC as a giveaway at my work and was not familiar with Pam Grossman or her podcast. As someone who is very interested in the portrayal of occult female figures in pop culture, this book sounded super enticing and I was looking forward to getting an in-depth study on how and why witches are portrayed. To be fair, there was a lot of great info but unfortunately the memoir vibe really turned me off. I was not expecting to hear so much about Grossman's own personal journey (like what cool concerts her teenage self went to or sorta slut shaming some goth girls she competed with for teen male attention?) so I'm putting the book down now. If you want more of a cis hetero white female Wiccan's musings on the topic then this book is definitely it, just...not for me. I will definitely give her podcast a listen to though, sounds interesting.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    As a lifelong feminist from a family of (mostly) recovering Catholics, there’s nothing that draws me in like magic. It’s rebellious, it’s mysterious, and it’s so deliciously subversive. From tarot cards to altars to amulets, the world of the witch has my full attention. And, as Pam Grossman points out in this book, these days, “witch” is essentially synonymous with powerful, self-assured and self-directed woman who has the audacity to live without shame in a patriarchal and oppressive society. I As a lifelong feminist from a family of (mostly) recovering Catholics, there’s nothing that draws me in like magic. It’s rebellious, it’s mysterious, and it’s so deliciously subversive. From tarot cards to altars to amulets, the world of the witch has my full attention. And, as Pam Grossman points out in this book, these days, “witch” is essentially synonymous with powerful, self-assured and self-directed woman who has the audacity to live without shame in a patriarchal and oppressive society. I mean, where do I sign up? Whether you’re a practicing witch with spells and a coven or just a feminist gal trying to make it in a world that has never been set up for you, there is room for all to be bold and empowered in Club Witch. I highly recommend this book for a wonderfully engaging history of witches, the present day meanings and identities associated with the witch, and a refreshing nod to those of us who have been called too much, too little, too wild, or too depraved. We can’t be silenced forever.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melonie

    This is one of those books I picked up not really knowing what it was about. I hoped to learn something from it and break up my fiction books and for the most part this definitely delivered. This was a witty, sometimes heartbreaking book that covered the history of the archetype of the witch, it’s connection between historic and modern ideas about female sexuality, motherhood, and its appearance in popular culture and the current political atmosphere. I took a star off for the chapters that seem This is one of those books I picked up not really knowing what it was about. I hoped to learn something from it and break up my fiction books and for the most part this definitely delivered. This was a witty, sometimes heartbreaking book that covered the history of the archetype of the witch, it’s connection between historic and modern ideas about female sexuality, motherhood, and its appearance in popular culture and the current political atmosphere. I took a star off for the chapters that seemed to cover the authors own experiences. Those chapters meandered along and didn’t seem to add much to the overall narrative of the story, but that may be my ignorance to the author as I see now she has a podcast and seems to have a significant following. As I felt I learned quite a bit from this book and found myself looking for more information on some topics (such as the existence of “witch camps” in current day Ghana), a high star review was well deserved.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    I enjoyed this a lot (while at the same time sometimes getting a teeny bit bored with it?). Rather than a book 'just' about witchcraft it's actually a cultural history of witchcraft - hey Buffy, Sabrina and The Craft - that's also a super-feminist tract - discussing the me too movement , Hilary Clinton and present day 'witch hunts' . It also talks a lot about artists, writers and musicians and blends if all with a bit of memoir. I did feel that i didn't get masses from this book - but I think th I enjoyed this a lot (while at the same time sometimes getting a teeny bit bored with it?). Rather than a book 'just' about witchcraft it's actually a cultural history of witchcraft - hey Buffy, Sabrina and The Craft - that's also a super-feminist tract - discussing the me too movement , Hilary Clinton and present day 'witch hunts' . It also talks a lot about artists, writers and musicians and blends if all with a bit of memoir. I did feel that i didn't get masses from this book - but I think that's more because the authors interests are already my interests and I already love all the stuff and people she is talking about. I think I would have liked a bit more memoir, and maybe a bit more nuance around the subject matter, rather than explaining in detail plots from TV shows etc. But overall , really enjoyed it and totally here for this kind of book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nightshade Purplebroom

    I enjoyed this quick romp through the modern trend of witchcraft, and like another reviewer, found this more affirming than revelatory. It grapples more with the pop culture witch and what "witch" means as an archetype in this day and age than with all the nitty gritty of different witchcraft ideologies and practices. It is well written and has smatterings of memoir, pop culture references and feminism throughout and is woven in a beautiful way. I did find some chapters more compelling and affir I enjoyed this quick romp through the modern trend of witchcraft, and like another reviewer, found this more affirming than revelatory. It grapples more with the pop culture witch and what "witch" means as an archetype in this day and age than with all the nitty gritty of different witchcraft ideologies and practices. It is well written and has smatterings of memoir, pop culture references and feminism throughout and is woven in a beautiful way. I did find some chapters more compelling and affirming for me than others. Overall a good book, but I do think it is more of a jumping off point than a really in depth enquiry into the witch. I also think that a lot more could be said for the diabolic and devil worshipping witch who revels in curses and maleficia, but perhaps that is my own bias.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sean Kenin

    Marvelous I absolutely loved this book. I’ve had the pleasure of attending some of Ms. Grossman’s curated art shows. The exuberance and fun she brings to her live appearances are very much alive in this book. I came away with a deeper understanding of the origins of witchcraft and I also appreciated the glimpse into how in fits into the history of feminism. Not to mention the fun turns into pop culture witchery we all know and love. A great read and I look forward to more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alexandrah

    Waking the Witch delves into historical perspectives on witchcraft and feminism, how they are intricately linked, and how it's relevant today in our modern age. I would say this should be recommended reading for anyone interested or currently practicing witchcraft, as well as those studying feminism. Waking the Witch delves into historical perspectives on witchcraft and feminism, how they are intricately linked, and how it's relevant today in our modern age. I would say this should be recommended reading for anyone interested or currently practicing witchcraft, as well as those studying feminism.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marta Pelrine-Bacon

    I loved this book. It's a delightful journey through the history of the witch in various realms--pop culture, politics, art, and actual history. Reading this was part discovery and part recognition. I definitely recommend to all the witches, the almost witches, the kinda-sorta-might-be witches, and the witch adjacent. Brew your potion, find your place, sit down and read. I loved this book. It's a delightful journey through the history of the witch in various realms--pop culture, politics, art, and actual history. Reading this was part discovery and part recognition. I definitely recommend to all the witches, the almost witches, the kinda-sorta-might-be witches, and the witch adjacent. Brew your potion, find your place, sit down and read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shari Suarez

    A look into the fascination with witches and witch culture. It takes a look at everything from depictions of witches in movies and television to the history and rise of witchcraft being practiced as a religion. The author makes the subject interesting as well as making you think.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rather.be.reading1

    I love any book about witches and this one goes to the top of my list! I loved the history but then how she connects it to real life. I learned alot and will probably keep referring to this many times. Definitely recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mana

    Historical. Personal. Informational. Political. Pop culture-esque. Queer. Acknowledges WOC. Calls out imperialism and white privilege practicing witches. Sexism... Loved it. gotta listen to the audiobook

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mauoijenn

    Wickedly FANTASTIC! Highly reccomend this book. Off to listen to the podcast.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Artemis

    'Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power' by witch podcaster (and spellcaster) Pam Grossman is a very good contemporary nonfiction book about witches, and their legacy and impact - throughout history, and in most notable aspects of popular culture. It attempts to answer the immortal question: how have witches evolved over the centuries? How have they possibly survived? How do they fit in with the times? Witch - a word containing so many meanings to so many people, depending on each 'Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power' by witch podcaster (and spellcaster) Pam Grossman is a very good contemporary nonfiction book about witches, and their legacy and impact - throughout history, and in most notable aspects of popular culture. It attempts to answer the immortal question: how have witches evolved over the centuries? How have they possibly survived? How do they fit in with the times? Witch - a word containing so many meanings to so many people, depending on each person's individual perception. Today, more and more women, and other marginalised/underprivileged groups of people, are identifying as witches, or pagans, or wiccans. Now more than ever, they are taking back the word "witch" with pride and power, without shame and fear. In using language that traditionally targets the outcasts, the maligned, and the persecuted in our society and culture, they can positively shake the foundations of the white supremacist patriarchy. And demand their own freedom. For we are not worthless. We are not weak. We are not powerless. In 'Waking the Witch', witchcraft- women - and what that entails, is analysed in film, TV, literature, art, music, spirituality, brands, trends, and modern politics. 'Waking the Witch', however, doesn't explore much in depth when it comes to pop culture as we know it - such as mainstream movies and television, and mainstream anything, like I expected and wanted. It can be a bit muddled and unfocused, too. But I advise readers to keep at it, keep going to the end; for it is passionate and personal, resonating and relieving. It's a spell; a piece of the revolutionary discussion that needs to exist. I love fictional witches. And as it turns out, real witches are also amazing and inspiring. It mentions LBGTQ (that does include transgender) communities, as well. Yes, good. Pam Grossman's book is a feminist powerhouse. Witch, witches - there is true magic in sisterhood. Loving, supportive, healing, inclusive sisterhood. Which is why we are the future. See also my review of Witches, Sluts, Feminists by Kristen J. Sollee here. Final Score: 3.5/5

  27. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    A good mix of memoir, information, history and pop culture. Some chapters were more immersive than others, it doesn't really break huge ground for anyone interested in the subject for a length of time, however that's not the purpose, either. It's a well considered overview of the current "witch" trend and how it fits within history, feminism, spiritual practice, and politics. I enjoyed reading it! A good mix of memoir, information, history and pop culture. Some chapters were more immersive than others, it doesn't really break huge ground for anyone interested in the subject for a length of time, however that's not the purpose, either. It's a well considered overview of the current "witch" trend and how it fits within history, feminism, spiritual practice, and politics. I enjoyed reading it!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Very engaging history of the relationship between what society thinks about witches and what society thinks about women.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Jayne Tricker

    Musings from a modern day witch. Enjoyable to a point. Pam’s personal experiences and the things that have influenced her on her journey are very relatable and intriguing. However, this book comes from a broad place and it feels like information has been grabbed across such a wide spectrum it feels packed in without any real time or soul searching put into them being there.Some of it felt like it was there by default or by tangent. Like I don’t need you to spend two pages on the plot of buffy... Musings from a modern day witch. Enjoyable to a point. Pam’s personal experiences and the things that have influenced her on her journey are very relatable and intriguing. However, this book comes from a broad place and it feels like information has been grabbed across such a wide spectrum it feels packed in without any real time or soul searching put into them being there.Some of it felt like it was there by default or by tangent. Like I don’t need you to spend two pages on the plot of buffy...Because of this it felt a bit muddled. I did reinforce some learnings and did gain some new references so all in all a helpful read and something that those just popping their toes in the waters of witchcraft may enjoy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This was an interesting read. I liked the personal revelations of the first few chapters, but the history in the next to, not so much, but then she introduced the lady artists who were mediums and used what the spirits told them to make their art and were way ahead of their time. The art is just recently being showed, and was not really accepted as much during their lifetime. Good read, would recommend it for anyone interested in the paranormal, or the religion of Witches.

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