Revolutionary Witchcraft: A Guide to Magical Activism
author Sarah Lyons
From the Publisher:A fiery, intersectional guide for activists and witches alike, Revolutionary Witchcraft is an empowered introduction to the history and practice of politically-motivated magic. From the politically charged origins of the word "witch" to the present-day magical resistance, this bold handbook explores the role of witchcraft in our modern world. Author, activist, and practicing witch Sarah Lyons takes readers on a journey through a leftist history of magic -- from the witch hunts of early modern England, through the Salem Witch Trials, and up to our present moment. Pairing mystical acts, including sigil magic and soul flight, with core organizing tactics, like power mapping and protests, Revolutionary Witchcraft offers a blueprint for building a politically grounded magical praxis. From social justice to environmental activism, this radical reimagining of political activism addresses today's most pressing problems with empowering, inclusive rituals and magical actions. Each chapter introduces a key concept, like dreaming big, experiencing magical initiation, and joining the revolution, supported by a surprising historical case study on the power of mystical action. Full of actionable ideas for magical organizing, and an appendix packed with customizable spells, Revolutionary Witchcraft is the perfect companion for the magical uprising.
Biographical Note:Sarah Lyons is a writer, activist, occultist, and witch. She has practiced witchcraft for over ten years, and her work and writing has appeared in Teen Vogue, Vice, Buzzfeed, Broadly, Slutist, and New York Yoga Life, among others. Sarah is an active member of the Democratic Socialists of America, serving on the New York City chapter's Ecosocialist Working Group. Visit her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/citymystic.
Revolutionary Witchcraft: A Guide to Magical Activism, by Sarah Lyons
* Chapter 1 gives definitions of magic, politics, & witchcraft, a “radical” history of witchcraft, a discussion of witchcraft in the world today, and ancestor work. I didn't find the history of witchcraft given to be radical so much as common sense and giving additional cultural context in relation to witchcraft in Europe, but given what other witchcraft books give as histories, maybe that's why it's radical?
* Chapter 2 talks about initiation, cleansing, and the ethics of crystals and stones, along with a few other things.
* Chapter 3 discusses dreaming and having dreams for the future, as well as soul flight (aka astral projection).
* Chapter 4 gets into the more nitty gritty of activism and discusses power-mapping, allies, activism tactics, and sigils.
* Chapter 5 is all about a witch's relationship to the land & wilderness.
* At the end of each chapter is a “Revolutionary History” (activism history) and “Magic in Action” (spell/ritual) segment. There's also an appendix at the end containing some spells and rituals that didn't fit into the main text of the book (including the Trans Rite of Ancestor Elevation).
Several different activities within the book made me pause – they were activities that have been written about a hundred times before, but the way Lyons writes makes them much more clear and accessible in my view, like her instructions for soul flight.
I really like the author's voice and generally agree with her opinions on witchcraft, however I feel like the subjects of witchcraft and activism never quite mesh completely in this book. For example, in Chapter 4, Lyons spends 10 pages discussing power-mapping. This technique piqued my interest, since a way to map out the most effective way to spend one's time & energy to reach a goal seems like something a lot of witches could use help with when figuring out how & where to cast spells. Lyons explains power-mapping as a tool that activists use and...never goes into how it might be used in magical activism, in addition to non-magical. I plan on digging into this more and figuring it out for myself, but it seems like a natural progression of the book's theme that was missed.
I will readily admit that this book is my first foray into overtly political witchcraft literature, and as such, I'm...not sure what I expected? Of course one needs to take non-magical action in addition to magical action in order to have the best chance of success in whatever they're undertaking, but I think this book was a little bit of a let down in terms of the magical part of that. Overall, it seems more like witchcraft & magic are being used as a way to charge up or prepare before going out and doing non-magical activism, which is fine and makes a lot of sense! I just expected more about how to carry over activism into magical workings.
Revolutionary Witchcraft is a good book, it just didn't go where (or as far) as I expected.
After writing the above, I found an interview with Sarah Lyons on the Final Straw Radio Podcast and I think it makes a really good companion to the book. https://thefinalstrawradio.
Lyons discusses how the book is very 101 because of how the book would likely be marketed - to folks new to witchcraft and/or political engagement - and she states that she used a much more upbeat, accessible, friendly writing voice than she would have otherwise because of this. She mentions that she goes into more 201-level content related to the book at book readings
She also talks quite a bit about cultural appropriation versus inspiration and I really wish she'd added more about that in the book (it's discussed minorly in “Revolutionary History” at the end of Chapter 3), because it seems so vital to activism work, especially if one's activism is around anti-racism or decolonization.
I really enjoyed listening to her talk on this podcast and go into subjects that I wish were in the book. So, I guess I hope she'll do a follow-up volume that's less beginner-focused.
- Stock: 1
- Weight: 10.00oz
- Dimensions: 8.00in x 5.00in x 0.75in
- ISBN: 0762495731