*I received a preview copy of Witch from Hay House UK
I first met Lisa Lister last year, at a beautiful cliff-top villa on the Mediterranean island of Malta. She had sent out a call (The Call) for women to join her for a She Power Temple Retreat, and I answered without a second thought. I had been to Malta before, but had stayed in the urban areas, and was unaware of the deep connection to the Goddess there. I think most people are unaware of this because it has been buried for so long, as She has in most cultures.
In those incense filled rooms by the sea, dancing under the full moon and chanting in an ancient goddess temple, I felt awakened to the power of She and the power of me as a woman and as a witch. It is something I truly cherish about the path I have chosen because I forever feel like I am learning, waking up, and unlocking something more; the journey is never complete. I am a student always, and that pleases my Ravenclaw sensibility. The best teachers of the craft that I have encountered have considered themselves students also. There is an exchange, and for me, that is important. Lisa is unwavering in her dedication to help women reach their full potential, beyond the typical confines of a patriarchal society. A local guide at the ancient temple recognised this in Lisa and chose her to lead a modern group of witches to this ancient sacred space. The guide was mysterious and almost as if from another time, a guardian of ancient wisdom, a little like Lisa herself.
Lisa’s new book Witch: Unleashed, Untamed, Unapologetic is the book I always wanted to read; the reason I wanted to be a witch beyond the initial glamour of the cool aesthetic and lust-worthy paraphernalia. The reason and feeling that I couldn’t quite articulate to those who wondered. It’s the book I would have coveted as a teenager when the internet had far less information for budding witches and there was a much more secretive air about practicing witchcraft. I said the exact same thing about Lisa’s two previous books, Code Red and Love Your Lady Landscape too. They are all important books that I wish everyone would read. I’m not saying that Witch is meant for teenagers or is by any means a ‘beginner’ book of witchcraft. I believe it will appeal to those just beginning to answer The Call or are merely curious, as well as those who have a deeper knowledge of the craft, and years of experience. Even if you don’t consider yourself a witch (and I know how that word can make some people really squirm and feel uncomfortable) this book can appeal to you. It also encourages us to seek our own path and find out what works for us. Many witchcraft books are labeled Wiccan, but Lisa does not consider herself a Wiccan and her approach to finding your own way is so refreshing, as is her urging for us to do our research about the history and culture of certain practices and deities before adopting them for ourselves.
What sets Witch apart is that it is not another Witchcraft 101 guide. It certainly has the useful information, about the sabbats, esbats, herbs, circles and spell work, but it goes much deeper than that. Lisa explains why we have that deep need to answer The Call and does it in an informative non-preachy way. Witch encourages us to peel back the layers and dive in, to remember how women were before patriarchy made us repress our true nature and conform to the ideals of society. She calls for us to make a change.
Lisa has done it again, gone to that place that makes us feel uncomfortable, that taboo place that women are supposed to feel shame about. She did it with periods and vaginas and now she’s doing it with magic, and that innate intuition and wisdom that as women we hold within us. As it says on her website The Sassy She, Lisa was ‘Crowned ‘the defender of female awesomeness’ by Cooler magazine. This is such an important book given our political climate right now and also the surge of the witchcraft aesthetic online on Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and within the pages of fashion magazines. It is an important book despite the time we are living in, and I applaud Lisa, as always, for sharing her wisdom and calling for us to #wakethewitches, in her uniquely fierce, frank and down to earth way. I hope this joins the ranks of other seminal works such as Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon and Starhawk’s Spiral Dance as being a must-read book for witches to have on their bookshelves.
Also, it’s a bloody beautiful book to look at. Why wouldn’t you want this in your book collection?