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.
Grossman (What Is A Witch), host of the Witch Wave podcast, analyzes archetypes, stereotypes, and characterizations of witches, real and fictional, before making the case that all women should embrace this "ultimate feminist icon" in her fun study. Grossman begins by debunking or contextualizing common beliefs about witches such as that witches are mainly teenaged outcasts before offering feminist analyses of an array of fictional characters, including the Wicked Witch of the West (here viewed as an independent woman in a male dominated world), and a superb section which explains the witchcraft throughout Sylvia Townsend Warner's 1926 feminist classic Lolly Willowes. Grossman then turns to real-world accounts of witches and their antagonists, among them Abigail Williams, who ignited the Salem witch trials, and failed 2010 Delaware senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, who was ridiculed for videos in which she admitted that she "dabbled in witchcraft." There are a few uneven memoir passages, in which Grossman writes of how she came to identify as a witch and practice witchcraft, as well as blunt political diatribes against Republicans, but these are less successful than her analyses. Nevertheless, feminist readers will be pleased by Grossman's deconstruction of witch clich s.