SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

Grand Central. Oct. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781538763056. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781538763070. MEMOIR
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Garcia, aka the Oracle of Los Angeles, shares a deeply personal accounting of the often painful life experiences that fueled both the artistic expression and rejection of the patriarchy that transforms into her work as a professional witch and mystical life coach. The author’s travails are epic in nature. Her birth isn’t just difficult; her heart stops for five minutes. Her childhood was fraught with incidences of abuse and abandonment. She leaves home as a young teenager and supports herself by working as a stripper. Her heart is broken by a cast of intriguing but unsupportive lovers. Through it all, Garcia, cohost of the popular Strange Magic podcast, manages to complete two master’s degrees. She uses memories of her mother’s devotion to the Goddess, along with the solace she finds in dance and meditation, to turn these experiences into initiations, a path to women’s wisdom, and a flourishing livelihood as a witch and divinator. It’s a remarkable story, well told.
VERDICT Although there are a few spells and ceremonies included, this is not a “how-to” for witchcraft. This account will reach readers with an interest in modern women’s autobiographies, true stories about witchcraft and magic, and resistance to patriarchy.

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