Happy Halloween! Out of the many staple characters that pop up every Halloween–the ghosts, the vampires, the mummies, etc.–few have the depth and diversity as the ever-evolving, always enchanting witch. One of the last vestiges of Pagan culture to remain with us, the witch is a reminder of feminine power, of matriarchy, and of the dark histories that have accompanied these women throughout the ages. In honor then of the witch and all she represents, enjoy this round-up of recent and older tales that are steeped in the world of witchcraft and witch lore.
Let’s begin with one of the great classics of Pagan-inspired literature and, by many accounts, the best retelling of the Arthurian legend, Marian Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon. The book (and series) relives the events of King Arthur’s court through the eyes of the women involved, namely Morgaine, Gwynhwyfar, Morgause, and Viviane. Largely the story of Morgaine, a sorceress and Priestess, the book is notable not only for its overt feminism but also for providing such a rich, emotionally layered, and ultimately thrilling story centered on the dynamics of power–between men and women, Christianity and Paganism, love and duty. Written for adults, it is entirely suitable for older teens many of which will devour it in one sitting!
Lynne Ewing’s series, Daughters of the Moon (a YALSA Quick Pick), is an older series that deserves to be rediscovered by current teens! It follows the lives of four teenage girls who each possess special abilities because they are daughters of Goddesses. They are destined to fight an ancient evil named The Atrox, a task that drives the majority of the plotline. The series offers a nice blend of romance and adventure, while also realistically exploring the ins and outs of teenage life. Great for both middle and high school students, this epic urban fantasy is a quick read that is sure to appeal to lovers of the Mortal Instruments and Bloodlines. Continue reading By the Pricking of My Thumbs: A Witchcraft Round-up