Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels
Edited by Katie West and Jasmine Elliot. Weiser, $16.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-57863-670-9
In this uneven yet bold collection of essays, 21 authors explore how they “resist the onslaught of a world of irrational happenings” by performing personal rituals that incorporate magic. Each essay is by someone who considers themselves marginalized and responding to a culture that “has attempted to cast a banishing spell” on them. Highlights include “Trash Magic” by Miranda Elizabeth, a self-described “sick mad crip borderline witch” who tweaks tarot readings and crystal rituals to suit the needs of her “disabled perspective” and Avery Edison’s “Before I Was a Woman, I Was a Witch,” which details Avery’s discovery of a witch kit as a teenager. A common thread is the subversion of conventional feminine beauty, such as in Laura Mandanas’s “Uncensoring My Ugliness” in which she writes of taking intentionally ugly photos to reclaim her sense of beauty after an accident that left her scarred, and merritt k’s “Total Mood Killer,” about how she fashions her nails for peak scariness, “sharp enough to easily scratch skin—maybe draw blood.” Powerfully intimate and angry yet hopeful, these narratives will appeal to “magickal practitioners” looking for new examples of how others have dealt with oppression. (Apr.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the title and author of one of the essays included in this anthology.
Reviewed on: 01/29/2019