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Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes meets Women Who Run With The Wolves in this "gorgeously written, fierce, political, personal, and deeply inspiring" (Michelle Tea) memoir about finding meaning, beauty, and power through a life in witchcraft.

An initiation signals a beginning: a door opens and you step through. Traditional Wiccan initiates are usually brought into the craft through
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Grand Central Publishing
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  517 ratings  ·  142 reviews

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Leah Dieterich
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The right book for this moment. Yates Garcia shows us how to rise up against patriarchy in our thinking and living and inspires us to re-enchant a world that feels cursed.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

I really enjoyed this memoir. Garcia has writing chops that are strongest when she’s describing landscapes, which thankfully she does often. Her reverence for the natural world is palpable, as is her devotion to social justice, anti misogyny and anti capitalism. She’s also extremely well-read in the history of myths, witchcraft, and folklore from many parts of the world, and I really like the connections
Amanda Harlowe
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a privilege to have been gifted an early copy by Grand Central–this book BLEW ME AWAY. INITIATED features a deft interweaving of Garcia’s vast esoteric and cultural knowledge with her captivating personal story of trauma, self-discovery, empowerment, and metamorphosis. I was astounded by Garcia’s spellbinding, nimble, gorgeous prose (particularly its supernatural ability to carry me away from a crowded Friday night Amtrak car with broken air conditioning). This is THE memoir for all the ...more
Zandria Senft
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this beautiful memoir down. I fell in love with Amanda's story about the magical life she leads and how she uses that magic to find herself. The detail Yates goes into describing her life, rituals and initiations makes you feel as though you are experiencing the same things with her. This book will inspire you to be brave in any way you can. This book is exactly what the world needs!
Mary Lowry
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amanda Yates Garcia is an intellectual giant. This book is riveting and beautifully written and also acts as a guide for readers seeking to engage in magic as a route to personal empowerment. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to explain exactly what this book is so I will just throw around some adjectives while I digest, having just finished it an hour ago. It is: unique, brave, erudite, inspiring, raw, and real.

It is a feminist anthem from a daughter and a leader but that is almost a byproduct. It seems she set out to write memoir to share her experiences of learning her power through personal pain. But along the way, she learned to spiral herself up into the empowered witch she would eventually become
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A year ago today, I could have never imagined that one of my favorite books of 2019 would be Amanda Yates Garcia's first (and hopefully not last) book Initiated: Memoir of a Witch. One reason is that when the term "witch" entered my everyday life, it used to trigger me. I remember sitting in my office as a PhD student and having a colleague say "burn the witch" when other male colleagues would bully me. I didn't want to be the witch, though I felt like they were picking on me. I remember ...more
Icy Sedgwick
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's rare in these overly distracting times that I start and finish a book within 48 hours. So it was with Initiated, a book I had trouble putting down, and missed whenever I did.

I first encountered Amanda Yates Garcia through her Strange Magic podcast with Sarah Gottesdiener, and she's come to be a real 'guiding voice' for me through this particularly peculiar period in human history. I preordered Initiated way back in July and I'm pleased to say the wait was more than worth it.

Garcia has
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I don't often read memoirs, as I tend to prefer books to give me a respite from reality rather than a telling of reality. Additionally I feel they are often dry and boring.

This is far from the case when it comes to 'Initiated'. I've been eagerly awaiting this book since hearing Amanda speak about writing it on her podcast 'Strange Magic'. I pre-ordered the book and finally read it during a business trip. What a work of magic.

Amanda is a born storyteller, and the book draws you in and makes you
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Beyond the sheer amount of trauma in this book (suffering as initiation), it's written in lengthy paragraphs that meander.
For example, the author will start each chapter with a quotation and then talk about part of her induction into witchcraft and the growth of her practice, but it's not linear. So she's walking us through her practice and what it means, how it developed, etc... but then she'll take a break to talk about her past. This is a little confusing, but what made it difficult for me to
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Bewitching Read! Garcia lives her life as a modern witch. She takes the reader through her journey of being Initiated onto this path. Garcia unpacks so much in these pages, Memories, Mythology, Trauma, Self-Discovery, Empowerment and more! Her writing is strong and decisive. This is one of thoes memoirs that really shows what the human spirit can endure and what it looks like to come out the otherside.

A reccomended memoir, and especially if you have ever been curious about the practice of
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enchanting memoir, stunningly written, about witchcraft, the patriarchy, and one woman's journey through the underworld.
Ariel Kusby
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeously written memoir about initiations of all kinds. It follows Garcia's moving and personal journey through "the underworld:" her sexual trauma, poverty, mental illness, and struggle to find magic and power within patriarchy and other systems of oppression. As a hereditary witch, Garcia's magic was passed down to her, but she teaches us how the real initiations can happen for all of us when we are able to confront and travel through the shadow sides of our lives. Moving and ...more
Margaret Wappler
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review forthcoming but for now: what a beautiful gift of a book.
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read many memoirs in my life but none of them have made an impact quite as Initiated did. Amanda Yates Garcia’s writing is lyrical and raw. She opens her heart to readers and doesn’t sugar coat anything.

There were certain moments throughout the book where my heart broke for Amanda and I wanted to reach in and give her a hug. Her persistence and will to fight for what she wanted and needed in her life was admirable. I went through a rollercoaster of emotions during Amanda’s journey. I
Chris Gorospe
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a gift for everyone who picks it up. Truly. Other folx reviewing might talk about the book's structure, or the exquisitely written imagery of landscapes and environments, or how much aspects of Amanda's story may resonate with their own. As I was listening to this in public, I found myself crying multiple times! Not only is Amanda a wonderful storyteller but I also think she has a rich voice. I was emotional listening to her story because it really touched the heart of who I am as a ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First of all, what an incredible journey. To say that this book found it's way into my life at the perfect moment would be an understatement.

I couldn't help but be reminded of Persephone's descent into the Underworld as I read this book, and how easy it is to think that she would be powerless as she travels through darkness, but in reality she steps even further into her own power and comes out stronger than before. These themes of death, rebirth, regeneration, and reclamation are definitely
Emily Haenny
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading the book yesterday, so this review is very fresh. Usually when I finish a good book I feel like I have been in a daze living in the clouds and it takes me a while to come back down to earth. However, Amanda Yates Garcia lead me on a much more enriching journey. I find myself at the end of this book emerging from the fertile earth deeply connected with myself; empowered and centered; cosmically charged. I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone who feels oppressed by ...more
Miss Marley
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yates Garcia weaves memoir and witchcraft in 'Initiated' seamlessly. But what really moved me was the magic that is in the sharing of one’s story. By sharing our stories through the written word (or through podcasts, art and music etc.) we are making maps to inspire/guide other wild folk and witches and Yates Garcia has done just that – created a map filled with wisdom, experience, honesty, vulnerability, healing and love. Re-enchanting the world takes strength and vulnerability and Yates Garcia ...more
Josette Eales
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Magic is real and it's in this book!!!

Witches walk among us, they're not the evil outcasted witches of old, they are our modern day guides to a life full of power and magic... Amanda is one of these witches. This book is a love letter to the magic in each of us. It's a call to answer your own initiations and look within for your own sense of agency in this often confusing world. Amanda is Hecate embodied at the cross roads for us all, she stands holding out her hand, bravely offering her truth
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this faster than I wanted to. I hope to read it again but am still reeling from the journey. Not everyone who knows things can share them, not everyone who can make a beautiful sentence can weave a great story into a spectacular arch and satisfy us. Amanda Yates Garcia does and can do both and all. This is a well written book. And magic. This magic is real for not blocking out ugliness that makes enchantment necessary. One of the stronger sentiments that resonated for me is
Virginia Barnhart
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Initiated is a book I have needed for a while. Most books about witchcraft and the Goddess are essentially how-to books, because, frankly, my generation (I’m 73) has had to reclaim/recreate practice and thealogy from what bits and pieces we could find or imagine. Ms. Yates Garcia was raised in the craft, so for her its language is a natural as the language of traditional western religious is for me. This has allowed her to write a book that has more the flavor of the work of Anne Lamott and ...more
This is one of the best books I've read this year. It satisfied my hunger for witchy folklore, stories of *becoming*, and how to have faith in oneself. Will be combing through this for book recommendations and other rabbit holes for years to come, I can tell.

May write a more thoughtful review later, but didn't want to let this slip through without saying something!
Quentin Montemayor
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book of the year hands down. Her voice is transcendent. I can only appreciate a woman that is willing to open some of her deepest, darkest wounds to help heal others. I’m happy that she tries to teach but is open about not having all the answers. Even the last chapter of the book with her Mom is a testament to that. We are all working on our relationships both spiritually and physically. Truly loved it and would recommend to anyone seeking something more spiritually ...more
I nearly gave up on this because I felt the author/narrator's voice in the audiobook was very affected but I'm glad I gave it another chance because I ended up quite enjoying this witchy memoir.
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
Need to process this book.
Jamie Cerretti
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Finished this at 11:52 pm on New Year’s Eve and it felt appropriate. Good Tori Amos references!
Barbi Stalburg Kasoff
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Amanda Yates Garcia!! Your brave leap to create and share this book brings forth knowledge and wisdom for all witches to share. This book is also exceptionally meaningful for people who have never studied the craft. It is an insightful, in-depth story told of the paths we choose and the steps we take along the way.

I actually have found myself reading this more like a workbook, underlining things, looking up mythological references and historical allegories. I take notes on this book
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found this book to be “ok” as I didn’t feel myself connected to her path, her witchcraft (I don’t consider myself an Oracle tho so maybe that’s why). I didn’t feel represented and that is why I feel I could not really bond to this book. I enjoyed the parts that touched on mythology as I love those stories and reading interpretations of them.
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such a special book, it felt like a treasure to read each word and I kept hoping it would never end. Anyone thinking this is a guide to witchcraft, this is not it, nor does it claim to be! It is Garcia's beautiful memoir of her life through the lens of magic. It is truly inspiring and for anyone in need of light in a dark time, this is the book for you. Garcia uses her own experiences, mythology, and a bit of Tarot to portray how she tapped into her own strength, power, and ...more
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“Again and again, our goddesses and heroines travel to the underworld. Again and again, we descend in our own lives. Why do we tell this story over and over again? The underworld is where we confront the wounded, exiled pieces of ourselves. The pieces we'd forgotten, hidden, or didn't want to see in the first place.” 1 likes
“In our travels through the underworld, witches become map makers. Culture, art, the mystery religions, these systems of symbols are maps. Somebody has to create them. Our musicians and healers, poets and witches, travel through the corridors of the underworld by torchlight. We were not wrong to descend into these caves, but for our own sakes, for the peace of mind of those we love and for the sake of the planet, we who travel there must not get lost. We can join our lights together and return to the world. We can use our symbols, our stories, our mystical methodologies to forge connections with each other in these underground spaces. Symbols and stories order our world; they create the narratives by which we live. It matters whose stories get told; it matters how we tell them. Imagination matters. Our connections to one another matter, as does the pleasure we take in our experience. Witches stand in solidarity with those already doing this work. Because people have been doing this work since humans first appeared on the surface of the earth. Now we listen to them, we participate, we use techniques of the healer, the poet, the artist, the scholar, the cunning folk, the green men, and the medicine women to heal ourselves and care for our wounded world.” 0 likes
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