Book Review: Witch by Lisa Lister

Friday, 12 May 2017

Billed as a 're-membering, re-writing and re-telling of HER Story' (as opposed to history), the much anticipated new book from Lisa Lister ¹ was released this week by Hay House. They kindly provided this copy for review. 

Whether you consider yourself a witch or not (I didn't when I first picked this up), this is essential reading for any woman looking to re-connect with her intuition and nature. That was certainly my mind-set when I started reading, but as Lister explains, a witch is "a woman fully in her power" and I am all for that! 

Witch is aimed at women, and critical of the Patriarchy that has risen over the last 3,000 years of female persecution and disempowerment.
Why do we have to remember that we are powerful? Why have we forgotten? Why do we remember, then forget all over again? Why do we have to wake and reclaim the witch now more than ever before? Patriarchy. 
However, this isn't a man-hating diatribe, rather a call for re-balancing and re-connection with our true natures - both male and female. Lister clearly states that her agenda in writing the book is because she wants you to "take back what's rightfully yours as a woman". This includes having support from men who are able to stand along side us. After thousands of years of censorship and repression, we are invited to question EVERYTHING, including the book, and to learn to listen to our innate knowledge, before deciding on the truth or motivation behind it.
The more we fear the witch, the more we fear our own power - which was, and still is, exactly the point of patriarchal propaganda.... Feel into those echoes of truth that have been passed down through the generations of ancestral trauma and karma and find the truth that echoes inside of YOU.
In the early chapters, Lister briefly explains the history of witchcraft, different witchcraft traditions and the book contains a few spells and such, but it isn't about learning HOW to be a witch, there are other books for that, and some are listed. In the same way that Pussy Hat craftivists reclaimed that word, this work aims to reclaim the word 'witch' - it's no longer something we will be tortured, drowned or burned at the stake for. It's not an insult! It is about accessing our inner knowing and being aligned with nature.
The witch is she who looks inward for knowledge, not out. It is she who trusts and respects herself, and she who is whole. 
So the call to awaken, which underpins the whole book, is about reconnecting to our intuition, trusting ourselves and healing old wounds - ours, and those of the generations that went before us, who were persecuted and had to hide their light - however messy that might turn out to be. We have to remind ourselves that it's safe to be powerful.

After setting the his herstorical context for the current need to 'awaken' in the first half, the second half of the book works through five different witch archetypes present in all of us. They are: being in tune with the cycles of nature, creation and manifestation, intuition, healing, and 'rewilding' or coming fully into our bodies. There is a lot of really great information here, including ways to develop your 'witchy powers', spells, how to work with the cycles of the year, different forms of divination, breathing techniques, how to work with herbs and crystals, and more! I'd consider this a great starting point for those - like me - who are new to some of these things. 

From a personal perspective, if the aim of the book is to 'wake the witches' I would have to say that the author has succeeded. I felt angry reading about the witch trials (although I already knew something about them from films and books) and deeply saddened that the traditions, knowledge and lore that our ancestors possessed, was lost. All that remains in my family are a few old wives' tales and remedies - personally and collectively, we have missed out on so much. 

Since the US Presidential elections, and my co-incidental (you think?) call to more spiritual and intuitive practices around the same time, I have been worried for my children - especially my daughter - growing up at this point in time. This is directly addressed and actually gave me hope: 
The good news is he's making it visible. For so long, this has been bubbling away - unreported and unseen - and now it's rising to the surface. It has to be seen, it has to be felt, before it can be healed. It has to be brought out into the light so that we can see how destructive and divisive a force it is.  
The superficial freedoms we have been living with since 'female emancipation' are not enough. I feel that. When the author talked about the way we persecute ourselves every time we look in the mirror, or criticise another woman, it made me want to cry. We no longer need to be physically tortured - most women are doing it with their own thoughts and fears (of not being enough, not earning enough, not being pretty enough, or slim enough or <insert your personal brand of self-torture here>) and we do it ALL THE TIME.
Our deepest wounds, our fears, are what we need to teach and share the most.
When I'd almost finished reading the book, I intuitively pulled a tarot card from the Wild Unknown tarot deck, and got the seven of wands (pictured above). As always with this deck, the message was instant, loud and clear. It's time to stand tall and shine our light - to support those who are making a stand, and to have the courage to do the same.
The charge of the witch is to save ourselves. It's to treat ourselves and each other with the respect and grace and honour that the divine feminine requires, because we are all aspects of SHE. We all come from her, and we will all return to her. And when we feel, heal and save ourselves; we feel, heal and save the world. 
Witch is widely available now, or you can order online from Hay House or Amazon, where it's already a Best Seller.

Crowned ‘the defender of female awesomeness’ by Cooler magazine, Lisa Lister is an advocate of the FULL female experience. She's a writer, a menstrual maven and creatrix of the SHE Flow system - movement, women's wisdom and menstrual health and 'down-there' care practices - dedicated to helping women crack their lady code, reconnect with their body wisdom and love their lady landscape. Read lots more about Lisa's work at You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook. There is also a dedicated Instagram account for this book, and the hashtag is #wakethewitches.

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