“There’s been a sea change when it comes to interest in books usually categorized as mind-body-spirit,” says Peter Turner, associate publisher for Red Wheel/Weiser. “Whether it’s the surge of people who enthusiastically self-identify as spiritual but not religious or the wellspring of interest in Earth-based spiritual traditions such as animism, paganism, witchcraft, there is clearly something new going on.”
One result of the Trump presidency is a revived passion for activism, and one manifestation, publishers say, is that readers—millennial women in particular—seem to be embracing witchcraft as a form of resistance. In 2017, speaker and author Michael Hughes posted “A Spell to Bind Donald Trump and All Those Who Abet Him,” and it quickly became a social media sensation. Hughes called on other witches to join him in casting the spell on Feb. 24, 2017. In September, Llewellyn releases Hughes’s book for modern activist witches, Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change—with spells for racial healing, women’s rights, antifascism, and other social justice issues.
Here’s a list of other forthcoming books for radical witches:
The Apprentice Witch’s Spell Book:
Set Your Intentions, Unleash Your Power and Change Your Life
Marian Green (Bluestreak, Oct.)
Green paints a picture of witches as young feminists at the vanguard of a new movement for political engagement and empowerment.
Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft
Gabriela Herstik (TarcherPerigee, Sept.)
Herstik frames witchcraft as a feminist way to lead political activism, and also as lifestyle, encompassing how to dress, how to cast spells for self-love, and the like.
The Practical Witch’s Spell Book: For Love, Happiness, and Success
Cerridwen Greenleaf (Running Press, Sept.)
Greenleaf introduces beginners and seasoned witches to spells and incantations for love, work, money, health, and more.
Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance
David Salisbury (Weiser, Mar. 2019)
This guidebook for magical resistance includes instructions for learning and casting spells and suggestions for enhancing psychic abilities.
Each season brings a plethora of books on a favorite mind-body-spirit topic and key divination method for witches: tarot. Among the many titles on the topic coming next year, one touches on current events. Tarot for Troubled Times: Confront Your Shadow, Heal Yourself, and Transform the World by Shaheen Miro and Theresa Reed (Weiser, July 2019) offers tarot as a way to face the darkness to find healing and empowerment—for all, not just tarot card readers.
Other tools for witches include Charms, Amulets, Talismans & Spells by Marian Green (Bloomsbury, Oct.), an illustrated guide to the history, definitions, and uses today of the magical objects witches employ. And Bright Blessings: 365 Magic Spells for Prosperity, Love, and Happiness for the Everyday Witch by Ida Noe (Castle Point, June 2019) is a reference on practical magic for contemporary witches. Light Magic for Dark Times: More Than 100 Spells, Rituals, and Practices for Coping in a Crisis by Lisa Maria Basile (Fair Winds, Sept.) offers help to find hope in the darkness, to face trauma, and to reenergize after a protest or social justice work.
Damien Echols found hope in a very dark place, a story he tells in High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row (Sounds True, Oct.). Echols was sentenced to death for the 1993 murders of three boys in Arkansas (the subject of the documentaries Paradise Lost and West of Memphis) before being cleared by DNA evidence and having his sentence commuted in a 2011 plea deal. “I spent my years in prison training to be a true magician,” Echols writes. “I used magick—the practice of reshaping reality through our intention and will—to stave off incredible pain, despair, and isolation. But the most amazing feat of all... was to manifest my freedom.”
This article has been corrected to reflect that DNA evidence cleared Damien Echols of guilt and allowed his release.