Like witches and want to read the latest research and stories about them? Check out my new title, The Book of Witches, on Amazon?
Isabella Hunter’s latest interview, with Haunt Manchester, about her work with The Book of Witches: ‘I haven’t written about witches previously. It is probably one of the few popular supernatural beings I haven’t used before. It is one that I have in a lot of my ‘To be written’ pieces and because they are so versatile the genres are quite varied, including queer romance all the way to horror. I grew up in Lancashire, which has a strong history of witchcraft, and the infamous Pendle Witch Trials. So it has been something that I have grown up being acutely aware of rather than it being something that happened in a far away part of the country I couldn’t point to on a map. I’ve always been interested in witches and have owned my own tarot decks and practiced aura reading, so writing about them really was an inevitability.’
‘The history of witchcraft is explored from a range of perspectives, highlighting angles and aspects that are often neglected. This includes some of the chilling truths behind the Pendle Witch Trials, why Henry VIII was the first to outlaw witchcraft and the real reason why ‘Witchfinder General’ Matthew Hopkins was keen to fuel a craze. Yet despite containing many accounts of hardship and the horror of people being persecuted under the accusation of ‘witchcraft’, The Book of Witches also offers hope. Crucially, the collection reflects on the innocent individuals who suffered persecution and how it still persists in some areas of society today – and yet through learning and awareness, there is still the possibility of transformation.’
You can find The Book of Witches on Amazon. And you can read Isabella’s full interview here.
The Witch of Endor in the Bible is very far from being a negative figure, so why then have women and others been persecuted for witchcraft in the UK for centuries? Dr A J Dalton-West explains: https://siriuseditorial.com/2020/08/04/a-j-dalton-book-witches/
In a contemporary USA, when a young person shows signs of magical ability, they’re whisked off to a military academy where they are trained as frontline troops for the Witchcraft Army. The first season of Motherland: Fort Salem is set in a female-dominated society (really!), due to the persecution of witches having ended three hundred years previously, on the back of the Salem witch trials when an agreement known as the Salem Accord was ratified by human and witch kind. (In addition, the world finds itself at odds with a terrorist organization known as the Spree, a group against the military conscription of witches.)
This brave YA series shows how the institution of society both entraps and sacrifices young people as much as it gives them any sort of guidance and discipline. Indeed, the fresh-faced head witch is over three hundred years old only because new conscripts magically sacrifice their youth to her!
At the same time, the series empowers females – allowing them more sexual licence than males and complete ownership of their own bodies. The series is never voyeuristic, however: it is body positive and the female cast comes in all shapes and sizes, all equally celebrated (give or take).
The series isn’t perfect, of course, as some of the plotting and continuity is a touch ropey. But the actors involved manage to carry things off, and the characterisation and world-building are compelling. I enjoyed a lot! So I’m gonna score it a slightly generous 8 out of 10 (cos it has chops and I’m up for series 2).
Oo, and if you like narratives about witches, check out The Book of Witches too!
I saw a young girl weeping
And an old witch then approach
‘I’ll buy your tears, my girl,
For I have shed all my own.’
The maid was much affrighted
But wanted none of sorrow.
‘Take them with my blessing, then
As they’re just a curse to me.’