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Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,132 ratings  ·  236 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 4.08  · 
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 ·  1,132 ratings  ·  236 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 s
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
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 wi ...more
Janelle Day
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Considerably underwhelming.
I was very excited to finally read a memoir that could be a rallying cry for Pagans - but this was not it. Amanda's thoughts were very disorganized and she uses so much imagery that you can't tell what she is making up in allegory or what her distorted mind actually thinks happened.
Perhaps it gets better, but I couldn't get past the first 80 pages or so that pretty much just outlined her terrible childhood and how it manifested who she is today. It made me feel sorry
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! ...more
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!
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 writt
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting read, and an important book of a female witchy voice. Something we need right now, with the toxic patriarchy running wild. Some quibbles: I think it's too long. I think the narrative thread meanders and repeats itself, and I wish there was more research in its place. I also don't love the narrator's voice. It feels weird to say this, but the narrator, to me, is not the easiest to like at time - occasionally veering into 'holier than thou' territoy. It feels, also, like sometimes t ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this on audiobook, the author is the narrator and I can’t stand her writing or the way she reads it. She over-embellishes her writing, something that many new authors do. We get it, you can write, you don’t have to make the words so flowery for every statement. And the way she reads it is very overdramatized as well, it’s comes across as cocky. She has great ideas but it was rough to get through.
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 th
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I always feel weird reviewing memoirs that I didn't like; it's too easy to take that negative rating as some kind of judgment against that person's life--to be oddly contrarian or otherwise disagreeable. Writing--as with all creative pursuits--is a very personal activity at the outset, doubly so when the results are pointedly about the author's life. It's made a bit easier when the author isn't on Goodreads--I don't feel like I'm yelling negativity in their direction--but it's never fun.

The focu
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 recoili ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-books
This book was truly awful. First book in probably four years that I just could not waste anymore of my life on, and just stopped reading. The father states in her disclaimer that she clearly takes liberties with timeline etc., but I find it impossible to Believe that even an incredibly precocious five-year-old has very strong opinions about the patriarchy, or at least that they did win this author was five. This is just one example of this clearly unbelievable liberties taken by this incredibly ...more
Renee (The B-Roll)
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Before I begin this review, this is hands down, one of the BEST memoirs I have ever read.  Usually I just read someone's life story and appreciate the journey but there was something more to this memoir.

Amanda Yates Garcia's story has so many facets, putting it into one book is an extraordinary feat!  Raised in California and taking trips around the country and world, the author details her life story in this book and helps readers to discover parts of their own lives through her story.  Along t
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
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 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Tedious. Ms. Yates Garcia needs a lesson in correct use of “who” and “whom.”
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: witchy, ohmygoddess
I really liked this.

Full disclosure: I have already drank the witchy potion, so the subject matter is not new to me and I already knew I'd enjoy it. Because witch books that name and curse capitalism (I don't think "curse" is the word she used tho) are great, and sadly, pretty rare.
But it's triggering as hell. Talk of CSA, suicide and other violence, so be aware of that.

If you are looking for a witchcraft 101 book, this isn't it, but it does include a lot of tidbits of knowledge/theory. The wri
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 mode
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. ...more
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 incre ...more
Batty Royale
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is in turns, ugly and resplendent. It will move you in some way, even if it's a way in which you didn't plan to be moved. The author has done a lot of living, and she seems to embody this kind of brokenness that introverts have when they are pretending to be fearless. To use a much overused word, it's fierce. I wish I had a daughter that I could make read it. ...more
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 crie
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
Jeffrey Chassen
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I had seen Amanda’s appearance on Tucker Carlson and then on Vanderpump Rules. She seems incredibly approachable, kind and normal. So I had very high hopes for this book, but I was sadly disappointed. The formatting of the book was a mess, and it’s filled with so many rarely referenced terms and mythology that it was very hard to get through. Her television appearances have always been so great because they present witchcraft palatable and understandable. This just felt like it was solely aimed ...more
Hana F
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-2020
What struck me most about this memoir is the framing of one's life as a series of initiations. Trauma as a portal. Moments of deeply intuited connection a gate. Much like her approach to tarot on the Strange Magic podcast, Yates wove in her knowledge of deities, ancient story, and mythology in a way that gave them weight and rooted them to our own recognizable lives. I put down this book with renewed sense of inquiry and have since been re-imagining my own stories as initiations toward a more in ...more
I quit this book when she referred to a controlling, abusive drug dealer girlfriend as a "fairy." I feel terrible not finishing because Amanda had clearly lived a life of terrible pain, some of it afflicted on her and some of it by her own hand, and it appears she has come out the other side okay. But I think it's dangerous to glamorize abusive people and call them fairies instead of what they are - hurt people hurting people.

Edit to add that apparently the rune book she references was written b
Margaret Wappler
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review forthcoming but for now: what a beautiful gift of a book.
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My friend Maureen actually got this out of the library for me. Having been a witch since 1985 I was interested to read this memoir of a Californian woman whose mum was a witch and who was initiated into witchcraft at 13.
Amanda Yates Garcia's memoir begins with a solo ceremonial magic initiation in the desert then flicks back to her traumatic birth, childhood and teenage years, all against the backdrop of her mother's strong Goddess beliefs that she grew up with, vividly described in a passionat
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