Witch Hunt A Traveler's Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch - Kristen J. Sollée
“Witch Hunt is a transcendent travelogue with a wickedly delicious, feminist twist. Sollée writes with a deep respect for those whose lives were lost in the name of witchcraft, and a wide, wild love for those of us who see the modern resurgence of the witch as a signpost for a better, freer future. In doing so, our intrepid tour guide proves once again that infusing rigorous historical research with an unfettered, generous spirit creates a magic potion indeed. This book exceeded my sky-high hopes, and has quickly flown to the top of my list of bewitching favorites.” – Pam Grossman, author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power and host of The Witch Wave podcastPart history, part “armchair” travelogue, Witch Hunt is a captivating guide to the historic witch hunts and how their legacy continues to impact us today.
“Kristen Sollée has written an expansive, transformative and empowering book that every witch needs on their bookshelf. In Witch Hunt, Kristen ushers readers through winding cobblestones of magick and mystery, offering glimpses of the often overlooked legacy of the witch. Dripping with relevant historical insights and written with a beautiful and compassionate command of language, Kristen shares the history of the witch, her magick and persecution with reverence, respect and so much love. This book will transport you to distant lands where the witch once danced, and with Kristen as your guide, you can come to understand the witch and her world in a way that feels personal and inviting. By tracing the many paths of the witch, Kristen invites readers to create their own. This book is like nothing else, and is a must read for any witch.” – Gabriela Herstik, author of Bewitching the Elements: A Guide to Empowering Yourself Through Earth, Air, Fire and Spirit and Inner Witch: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft
“Sollee powerfully brings history to life through robust research and visceral visits to the lands of the witch hunts. Her on-foot and scholarly searching makes this book a page turner, sensitively reckoning the contemporary celebration of witchiness with the reality of a horrific past. It is an uneasy and often painful journey, but also one of insight and even beauty. Witch Hunt is a necessary addition to the new canon of works making sense of the witch.” – Taisia Kitaiskaia, author of Literary Witches and Ask Baba Yaga
“There is now a very clear need for a travel guide which deals with places associated with historic and contemporary views of witchcraft; and therefore it is a real pleasure to find one so extensive, well-written, well-informed and good humored.”—Ronald Hutton, author of The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present
“Kristen J. Sollée takes the reader on an imaginative and historical quest across continents to follow the trail of witches—the legendary, the self-professed, and the falsely accused—on and off the beaten path, sharing traces of their presences in our everyday world. It made me want to pack my bags.”—Marilynne K. Roach, author of Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials
"Sorceresses of ancient Rome casting love spells with their menstrual blood. Joan of Arc speaking to angels. The cunning women of Ireland and their flying ointments. The witches of Kristen Sollee’s new book teach us how to live magically. Impeccably researched and keenly felt, to read this book is to enter into a romance with the witch. A traveler's tryst. Sollee's love of place, the moss and the cobble stones, the ocean spray and the crumbling cemeteries, puts her in a polyamorous love affair with the witch and the world in which she lives. This book makes clear that the witch is a creature of her environment. Magic is embodied. The lands through which Sollee travels contain the spirits of the people who collected herbs on their hillsides, and spoke their enchantments into the wind. But as with so many love affairs born on holiday, behind all the beauty, the heart grips in grief. We know how the story ends. The witches in this book were hunted after all. But even though we know the story of many of these witches ends in sorrow, we carry on our love affair with them anyway, because to love is to be fully alive. And none are more fully alive than the witch. It’s clear that Sollee fell in love with the witches in this book. Sollee’s magic is that if you read it, you will too."- Amanda Yates Garcia, author of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch and host of the Between the Worlds podcast
A confluence of political, economic, and religious factors in the early modern era inspired witch hysteria to ignite like wildfire in Italy, France, England, and northern Europe, which would then go on to follow early colonists into America. At the heart of these accusations were warped ideas about the supposed evils of female sexuality and the female body. Women were often named as the driving force behind the influx of “witches” in these communities, and they were disproportionately punished for it.
The European and American witch hunts between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries are usually glossed over in American schools, although this time period greatly informs our ideas about who and what witches are. This lineage of oppression remains an important and often overlooked reference point through which we can contemplate women’s rights—and human rights—in the Western world and beyond.
In Witch Hunt, Kristen Sollee, a second-generation witch herself, retraces the steps of the famed witch hunts of Europe and America, taking the reader on a journey that is grim and yet empowering, even joyful. This heathen’s guide to history, often irreverent and playful, is written with reverence for those who suffered through the darkest of times.
Witch Hunt isn’t only an exploration of the horrors of history but also surveys how the archetypal witch has been rehabilitated."
|Kristen J. Sollée is a writer, curator, and educator exploring the intersections of art, sex, and occulture. She is the founding editrix of Slutist, a sex positive feminist website, and lectures at The New School and across the US and Europe. Sollée’s signature college course, "The Legacy of the Witch" follows the witch through history, pop culture, and politics. Her critically-acclaimed book inspired by the course, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive, was published in 2017.|