This little gem landed in my lap recently and I’m very pleased it did. It’s a short, immensely thought provoking book about the importance of women’s circles as a community and a facility for change. It’s come perfectly on time for me – I expect that this isn’t the last you’ve seen of it!
Picture the scene, if you will.
It is a muggy Thursday evening and my miserable lymphoedema legs and I (at this time of day they become the boss and I am powerless to challenge in the heat) are gently simmering and browsing the magic of the ‘gram. In my case this evening, browsing the actual magic, as I’m enjoying a witchy book feed and contemplating something new to read. Imagine my absolute joy when a shouty, sweary goth boy appears and starts shouting at everyone because apparently, the recommendation, by one of the community, of a book called Waking The Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic and Power is exceptionally sexist and exclusionary and he is feeling oppressed and left out! Gosh.
I think the problems are multiple but the most glaringly obvious is that it’s not a book for women, it’s a book about women. It actually says so in the title. Also, nobody is forcing him to read it, but also…you cannot come into a space which is largely curated by women giving each other book recommendations – not deliberately to spite him, but just because that’s how the community has fallen into place – and aggressively shout that the space has not been made representative enough specifically for him: a white boy in makeup screeching about being oppressed. Give it a rest mate.
It was interesting to observe the rage and indignation from someone who was claiming to be in tune with the feminine (he wears makeup you know – we all know, because he shouted about it at us) but who also seems to have a confused understanding of what it looks like to truly value and respect it. I did, of course, have a click through to look at his profile. What else are thumbs for? He is physically relatively unblemished, appears to live in a nice home and is able to wear clothing that reflects and expresses his cultural identity. He is able bodied, white, slim. He is secure enough in his own identity to be able to play with his gender expression publicly and not expect any real backlash. In other words, then – the epitome of privilege, in passing at least. No wonder entitlement grows from such conditions. It’s the most fertile kind of soil there is for roots to grown down into.
Anyway I’ve recommended him a book by the GLAM Witch, Michael Herkes – it’s about Lilith, so it’s another book about “FEMALES!!11!!” – but at least it’s written by someone whose voice he might value. I hope he enjoys it.
I’ve read Untamed and I’ve concluded that I’m far from being a cheetah. I’m more of a sloth. I move so slowly I’m covered in algae, I am unbearably cute, I have terrible posture and low muscle tone, I spend a lot of time resting, and when it’s sexytime I emit high pitched shrieks that can be heard for miles.
I have been thinking about werewolves quite a bit. I have vivid memories of a battered 70s myths and legends book with a grisly story about a loup-garou, complete with a black and white illustration of a wolfish grin, and that, plus my much-too-early exposure to An American Werewolf in London, sealed the deal. Rick Baker’s film effects (complete with those crunchy, crackling sounds) made quite an impression, and despite vampires being everywhere (I blame Buffy for starting the tidal wave), it’s still werewolves I love most. A friend once said to me, ‘we’re all hairy on the inside’, and that’s stuck fast. What I have recently come to realise though, is that I have always thought I was a bit frightened of them, which didn’t really sit well with such a fascination. My standard response to any suggestion of camping, for example, is a flat no – because, well, werewolves (watch the opening sequence of Dog Soldiers and come back to me).
However, just recently I revisited the story of La Loba. Actually, I think it’s not so much of a visitation as a return – it doesn’t feel like we will be parting ways much from now on. La Loba is the story of the old woman in the desert who gathers up dusty bones and then sings them back to life in her cave by firelight. Slowly the flesh and fur creep back onto the skeleton until up jumps a live wolf, running wild for the horizon. But if you narrow your eyes just right, you’ll see it’s no wolf – it’s a woman, laughing and running free.
It’s interesting that in all the tales of werewolves I loved when I was little, there were no lady werewolves. They were all murderous big bad boy wolves, coming to savage you in the night.
Food for thought (or for the wolves).