I am so smitten with this book! It is so many things — an exploration of witches throughout history, the representation of witches in popular culture, the meaning behind the concept of “witch," and some personal stories about witchcraft thrown in for good measure — and I loved every minute of it. Pam Grossman, author and host of the podcast The Witch Wave, does a great job discussing a subject she considers very meaningful and personal while still being (mostly) impartial and balanced. I highly recommend this both for the witches in your life and the witch-averse, there's something here for everyone to learn. Recommended By Leah C., Powells.com
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! Recommended By Ariel K., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Elegant, grounded, and warm, Pam Grossman is the perfect guide for initiation into the mysteries of the witch. Pam conjures witches from their many dwellings in history, feminism, and pop culture with care and play. Swaying among this coven is Pam herself, embodying the witch in a tender spiritual memoir woven through the cultural sense-making. Waking the Witch goes beyond edifying and enjoyable, casting a spell that might wake your own connection to magic, beauty, and meaning." Taisia Kitaiskaia, author of Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers and Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles
"My heart thrills in gratitude for this book and for everything Pam Grossman contributes to the study, practice, and pleasure of witchcraft. With rare insight and flair for nuance, Waking the Witch explores ambiguous territories few writers dare to tread. As only a practicing witch could do, Grossman engages the witch archetype even in the liminal spaces where she becomes most difficult. Witches are myths, are monsters, are sisters and sirens, and witches are REAL. Fearless and brilliant, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in spirituality with intelligence." Amanda Yates Garcia, Author of Initiated and Co-Host of the Strange Magic podcast
"Pam Grossman is a beacon in the world of contemporary witchcraft and neo-paganism, and this comprehensive work grounded in scholarship and cultural criticism is brought to life through intimate stories from her own life and spiritual practice.....Whether you’re intrigued by or deeply committed to the who, what, when, where, and why of the witch, this book is for you." Kristen J. Sollée, author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive
“Deftly illuminating the past while beckoning us towards the future, Waking the Witch has all the makings of a feminist classic. Wise, relatable and real, Pam Grossman is the witch we need for our times." Ami McKay, author of The Witches of New York
“Pam Grossman has written a flowing history that I scarfed down like an eclair. She reminds us that witches are not monsters so much as possibilities. The archetypal, swirling symbol of ‘Witch’ is a guide to remind us that we are allowed to act on our desires AND congratulate ourselves for choosing to. I hope this book makes everyone who reads it ask themselves ‘What do I deny myself and why?’ I started this book all in, but when I read the sentence ‘Show me your witches, and I’ll show you your feelings about women,’ I knew I was done for." Singer-songwriter Neko Case
About the Author
Pam Grossman is the creator and host of The Witch Wave podcast and the author of What Is a Witch. She is cofounder of the Occult Humanities Conference at NYU, and her art exhibitions and magical projects have been featured in The New York Times, Artforum, and The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in such outlets as Sabat Magazine, HuffPost, and her occulture blog, Phantasmaphile. For her work as the Director of Visual Trends at Getty Images, she was chosen as one of Adweek’s Creative 100 and Marie Claire’s 20 Women Changing The Ratio. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two feline familiars.
Pam Grossman on PowellsBooks.Blog
When we meet someone new, my husband likes to introduce me as, “My wife, Pam, Professional Witch.”...