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Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power by Pam Grossman
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“Books were my broomstick. They allowed me to fly to other realms where anything was possible.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“The witch is the ultimate feminist icon because she is a fully rounded symbol of female oppression and liberation.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“When you’re a weird kid, you learn to put guardrails around the things you love. You keep them hidden heart-deep, lest someone try to take them, mock them, or co-opt them out of cruelty or just plain clumsiness.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“Perhaps my favorite crone heroine of all time is Marian Leatherby, the deaf, toothless, ninety-two-year-old protagonist of The Hearing Trumpet, a novel written by Surrealist luminary Leonora Carrington. Marian sports a short gray beard that she finds “rather gallant,” and she has a dear geriatric friend named Carmella who states, “People under seventy and over seven are very unreliable if they are not cats.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“Magic is made in the margins.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
tags: magic
“The witch is notorious shape-shifter and comes in many guises. More than anything, though, the witch is a shifting and shadowy symbol of female power and a force for subverting the status quo. She is also a vessel that contains our conflicting feelings about female power: our fear of it, our desire for it, our hope that it can and will grow stronger despite the flames that are thrown at it.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“The witch owes nothing. That is what makes her dangerous. And that is what makes her divine. Witches have power on their own terms.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“The Emerald City, the Yellow Brick Road, magical slippers, a brave farm-girl protagonist, and, of course, the good and bad witches are all now seemingly timeless icons from what some have called “the first American fairy tale.” But several of these ideas were not invented by Baum out of whole cloth. In fact, a great many of them can be traced to the influence of his mother-in-law, the suffragist and equal rights pioneer Matilda Joslyn Gage.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“How do you know if it is spirit or nature who answers? Maybe there is no difference at all. Maybe grace is green.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“In a letter she wrote to Alfred Stieglitz in November of 1909, she says, “I’ve just finished a big job for very little cash! A set of designs for a pack of Tarot cards 80 designs. I shall send some over—of the original drawings—as some people may like them!” Today this note strikes a chord that’s both sweet and sour. The thirty-one-year-old writing it had no inkling how renowned her images would become after they were published in 1910. The Rider-Waite tarot deck, as it came to be called (after Waite and the publisher, William Rider & Son), is now arguably the most successful and recognizable deck ever made, and it is the number-one-selling deck in America and England. Her complex, symbolic artwork has been a source of inspiration and deep meaning to card readers for more than a hundred years, not to mention its numberless appearances on everything from T-shirts to coffee mugs to haute couture dresses by Dior and Alexander McQueen.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“The witch has a green face and a fleet of flying monkeys. She wears scarves and leather and lace. She lives in Africa; on the island of Aeaea; in a tower; in a chicken-leg hut; in Peoria, Illinois. She lurks in the forests of fairy tales, in the gilded frames of paintings, in the plotlines of sitcoms and YA novels, and between the bars of ghostly blues songs. She is solitary. She comes in threes. She’s a member of a coven. Sometimes she’s a he. She is stunning, she is hideous, she is insidious, she is ubiquitous. She is our downfall. She is our deliverance.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“While a witchy wardrobe can certainly be sexy at times, it doesn’t tend to prioritize body consciousness. More often than not, witch fashion is about loose layers that veil the form or fabrics that cloak and cover. It conceals more than it reveals. It creates a shroud, albeit one emblazoned with spangles and talismanic symbols. And so the wearer is self-modulating and self-protected, a walking woven spell. If she’s shocking, it’s because she wants to be. This witch is a voluntary disturbance. Women have been told over many lifetimes that their bodies are wrong and unbecoming - that they belong to other people. The fashion witch is self-possessed, first and foremost. She controls how much of herself she shares. Whether others consider her anatomy a monstrosity, or a thing of majesty, is of little concern. She knows her body is her own. And that is true power.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“And so, with their first public action on Halloween of 1968, the feminist activist group called W.I.T.C.H. was born. Its members donned witch costumes, replete with brooms and pointy black hats, and did a public ritual performance of hexing the New York Stock Exchange. Did it work? Well, as Gloria Steinem wrote about the incident in New York magazine, “A coven of 13 members of W.I.T.C.H. demonstrates against that bastion of white supremacy: Wall Street. The next day, the market falls five points.” (The glue that the witches added to the locks of the NYSE doors also added a bit of whammy, no doubt.)”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“IF W.I.T.C.H. IS an example of feminist politics borrowing from the realm of mythos, then it should come as no surprise that feminist spirituality began to get more civic-minded in turn. Though there is evidence that some American Pagan covens existed as early as the 1930s, and Gardnerian Wicca had reached the States by the 1960s, the 1970s brought about a new style of witchcraft that was intent on “combining political and spiritual concerns as if they were two streams of a single river,” as Margot Adler put it. It took the framework of Wicca but gave it a much fuller emphasis on worshipping goddesses and honoring the female body. It also more blatantly reclaimed the witch as an icon of resistance against the patriarchy, following the sentiments of earlier pro-witch thinkers like Matilda Joslyn Gage and Margaret Murray, and the writings of radical feminists like Mary Daly and Andrea Dworkin.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“To practice in a group requires both a loosening of self-consciousness and a tightening grip on the rudder of sincerity. You have to care, and you have to let others see you caring. And you have to bear witness to their caring in turn.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power
“Show me your witches, and I'll show you your feelings about women.”
Pam Grossman, Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power