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

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  21 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 gu
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Gallery Books
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4.37  · 
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 ·  65 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Malobee Silvertongue
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have been following Pam Grossman’s work for quite a while now, and so when I heard that she was being published I was ecstatic for her and for all of us readers. This book reads very much like her--her tone is very clear and shines through & is very conversational and intuitive. I had no problem zipping through this book, and I connected with much of it. She blends history and personal narrative quite well in this work, and it felt like floating in and out of a comfortable conversation wit ...more
Sarah Buchanan
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Renee (The B-Roll)
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Angela Natividad
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Marta Pelrine-Bacon
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
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.
Ariel Kusby
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Shari Suarez
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism, spirituaity
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.
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reviewing this book is a little daunting. First I have known Pam since her days at the Observatory and think very highly of her which introduces bias. Secondly I am a cis male attempting to review an overtly Feminist book. We all have biases, those are mine so consult your salt cellar before proceeding. My take on this is from someone who has studied and been involved with Witchcraft and the Occult since the late 70s. That’s right, I predate the Satanic Panic though I played Dungeons and Dragons ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Full review on its way, maybe. Waking the Witch is the book I have been waiting for in many ways. Well-researched, infinitely relatable, sensitive and enchanting writing.
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, arc
In the introduction to Waking the Witch, Pam Grossman says "show me your witches, and I'll show you your feelings about women." And then she proceeds to do just that. Waking the Witch is a mix of history of witchcraft / personal memoirs / feminist study is well-written and hits on areas of study I find fascinating, specifically the role of women in Western society and how culture ensures that our roles don't ever really change. Grossman shows us how the label "witch" both inhibits our progress, ...more
Jess Zaikova
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the beginning of the book, the history of witches was fascinating especially with respect to birth. The power of doulas as a form of witchcraft and female power that’s passed down from one to another before the raise of institutional medical industry was flourished, and I’m going to read that book on witches and wet nurses. I loved the historical feminism of witches in there.

The middle of the book was the turning point when I get a lot more of the smiler twitter discourses on feminism a
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism, ladies, witches
Like a more mainstream, accessible version of Witches, Sluts, Feminists by Sollee. I read a lot of standard nonfiction with the format of 'here's a little bit about me! now here are some interesting facts! here's my hot take on something or other!' and this one was a good example of how to do that well.
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Moondust Moth
May 06, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, rtc
eARC provided by Gallery Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. RTC!
Laura D.
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Pam Grossman is the creator and host of The Witch Wave podcast and the author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power (Gallery Books, June 2019) and What Is A Witch (Tin Can Forest Press). She is co-founder 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 ...more