cover image Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

Amanda Yates Garcia. Grand Central, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5387-6305-6

Garcia, self-proclaimed “Oracle of Los Angeles,” shares the series of initiations that led to her practice as a professional witch, writer, and healer in her superb debut. Raised in Northern California, Garcia was introduced to the feminist practice of Goddess magic by her mother, but she rejected those teachings for years. After experiencing horrific abuse at the hands of a family member, she left home at 16 for San Francisco, drifted to Europe, then landed in Los Angeles to chase her dream of being an artist. Garcia realizes that, like magic, art made “the things we imagine visible to us; it pulls them into material reality and changes the way we experience the world.” Throughout her travels, she experiences visions that lead her thoughts back to witchcraft. Then, following a stint in grad school, she performs an official witch ceremony on her 30th birthday with members of her L.A. community and realizes “nothing could give me the satisfaction of witchcraft.” She also reveals times of personal “darkness,” such as working as a stripper and pursuing toxic relationships, crediting witchcraft for helping her escape: “The moment you stop seeing yourself as a supplicant and start seeing yourself as a participant, a coconspirator, an agent, that shift marks the moment you become a witch.” Effortlessly weaving Goddess myths from diverse cultures with her own life story, Garcia’s reverent, powerful work will encourage readers to forge their own values and join in her “re-enchantment” of the world. (Oct.)