BOOK REVIEW: A Spell in the Wild by Alice Tarbuck

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

Witches occupy a clear place in contemporary imagination. We can see them, emerging shadowy, from the corners of the past: mad, glamorous, difficult, strange. They haunt the footnotes of history - from medieval witches burning at the stake to the lurid glamour of the 1970s witchcraft revival.

But they are moving out of history, too. Witches are back. They’re feminist, independent, invested in self-care and care for the world.

They are here, because they must be needed…‘In A Spell in the Wild, Alice Tarbuck explores what it means to be a witch today. Where ‘witch’ was once a dangerous - and often deadly - accusation, it is now a proud self-definition. And as the world becomes ever more complicated and we face ecological, political, social and global health crises, witchcraft is experiencing a resurgence.

Magic is back. Alice describes what she practises as ‘intersectional, accessible’ witchcraft - it’s about the magic you can find in an overgrown snicket or a sixth floor stairwell; whatever your gender; whether you’re able to climb a mountain or can’t leave the house. Month by month, Alice walks us through everyday magic for extraordinary times.

My Thoughts:

I bought this book on impulse, because it had such a pretty cover and I loved the title. It was a wonderful surprise. Alice Tarbuck is a poet, an academic, and a witch. The book is divided into twelve parts, one for each month of the year, and delves into the dark history of witchcraft and the bright practise of spellwork. It’s a beguiling mixture of a warm, intimate, expressive personal voice, and a clear-sighted rigorous examination of the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding witchcraft.

I am very familiar with most of the history she examines, including the Scottish witch trials and King James’s Daeomonologie, but some was new to me and opened up ideas for further reading. And I loved the simplicity and openness in which she spoke about her own quest to find the sacred in the ordinary, every-day world: Magic isn't somewhere else. It isn't a series of distant rituals, ancient texts and expensive courses. Magic is turning to the world, and seeing it, and knowing we are indistinguishable from it, in all our embodied, strange, soft and edgeless form. We are in the world and it is in us.

Get your copy of A Spell In The Wild here

You might also like to read my review of Daughters of Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt:

VINTAGE POST: Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt

Kate Forsyth
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