Witch Hunt: A Traveler’s Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch

Kristen Sollee. Weiser, $21.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-57863-699-0
Sollee (Witches, Sluts, Feminists), who teaches a course on witches at the New School, explores the archetype of the witch in this entertaining mix of travel guide, journal, and ghost story collection. Highlights include an examination of the divination culture of Italy, including the tarot-dedicated Museo dei Tarocchi in Bologna, and of England’s occultism, including the Chelsea Physic Garden in London, where “the occult is inseparable from the landscape.” Historical figures such as Joan of Arc in France and Dame Alice in Ireland are recast both as early examples of gender-fluidity and powerful women who were killed by fearful men. These and other historic women are featured in fictionalized “visions” that overcome Sollee, and work as a narrative device in which the dead impart knowledge of their craft and details of their often violent fates. While the author admits these scenes are fantastical, they nicely round out and give context to the catalogue of sites visited. Sollee’s informative history doubles as an intriguing travel guide for those interested in the travails of witches and occultists. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/22/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Religion
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