Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers and Magical Rebels on Summoning the Power to Resist

Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers and Magical Rebels on Summoning the Power to Resist

A nonfiction book of deeply personal essays by marginalised people using the intersection of feminism, witchcraft, and resistance to summon power and become fearsome in a world that would prefer them afraid. With contributions from twenty witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels, BECOMING DANGEROUS is a book of intelligent and challenging essays that will resonat...

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Title:Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers and Magical Rebels on Summoning the Power to Resist
Author:Katie West
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Edition Language:English

Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers and Magical Rebels on Summoning the Power to Resist Reviews

  • Wayne Rée

    This isn't just a great book. It's an important one.

    , at its core, celebrates the idea of care – both in a communal sense, but also the idea of self-care, helping to shed the notion that taking the time to love yourself is inherently bad somehow. Rituals are explored as a part of witchcraft in some essays – but, throughout all the essays, also as the things that women and femmes of all forms do to stay sane in a world that, at times, feels like it's gone insane.

    While I have, a

    This isn't just a great book. It's an important one.

    , at its core, celebrates the idea of care – both in a communal sense, but also the idea of self-care, helping to shed the notion that taking the time to love yourself is inherently bad somehow. Rituals are explored as a part of witchcraft in some essays – but, throughout all the essays, also as the things that women and femmes of all forms do to stay sane in a world that, at times, feels like it's gone insane.

    While I have, at best, a cursory understanding of witchcraft and magic(k) (thank you, Grant Morrison), I can certainly understand the idea of rituals as something that help you get through each day, that help you face the harshness of your life and the world at large, that help you reaffirm your sense of self. I found the essays on witchcraft educational and interesting, but I found all the essays, on some level, familiar. It's a beautiful balance that welcomes you, regardless of your reasons for picking up this book.

    While I enjoyed all the pieces, a few of them really stood out for me. I've been lucky enough to call Sara David a friend, and her writing has always felt raw in the best possible way. I told her once that I wished that I could write as honestly as she does, and her essay

    reaffirms that statement. Tightly written, its true strength comes from the complicated emotions at the heart of the essay.

    My favourite piece though absolutely has to be J.A. Micheline's

    , a brutally honest look at what it's like to be a black woman in America, and why the idea of becoming dangerous is a luxury she can't really afford. It wasn't just that Micheline bluntly laid the facts of her life bare, facts that many people across all political spectrums choose to tiptoe around or flat-out ignore; it was that she does all of that in a way that you can't look away from. The rest of the essays are great. This one? This was absolutely essential to this collection.

    (On a personal note, I read a lot of this book while taking a two-week break away from writing [well... aside from this review] and work, so reading it has actually become my own ritual of self-care.)

    Another wonderful release from Fiction & Feeling,

    is truly a brilliant collection, and certainly one that captures the horror of our times, but in a way that also delivers a message of resistance, of strength, and of love.

  • Britt Marczak

    Are you into witchy things, even a little, even if your definition differs from others? Are you into intersectional feminism? What about resisting?

    Read. This. Book.

    There's a truly impressive variety of voices amplified in this book, aka it's not just white women appropriating shit that doesn't belong to them. It's women of color (black and non-black), it's trans women, it's...wonderful. So many spiritual, religious, and non-spiritual belief structures are covered (yes, including at least one at

    Are you into witchy things, even a little, even if your definition differs from others? Are you into intersectional feminism? What about resisting?

    Read. This. Book.

    There's a truly impressive variety of voices amplified in this book, aka it's not just white women appropriating shit that doesn't belong to them. It's women of color (black and non-black), it's trans women, it's...wonderful. So many spiritual, religious, and non-spiritual belief structures are covered (yes, including at least one atheist). There are many different ways of approaching our current world, personal trauma...just real fucking life. Lows and highs.

    It's a book I'm going to treasure forever. I thank each and every person who had anything to do with the creation and support of this book.

  • Devin

    This was an incredibly powerful collection of stories about the use of ritual. The stories were really intense so I could only read 1 or 2 at a time. Each one gave me another way if thinking about ritual and so much inspiration. This book is an incredible gift.

  • Damien

    I see so many aspects of the women and femmes and nonbinary people I know reflected in this book—wildly varied stories of processes of growth and change and the cultivation of strength. Complete with an introductory description of the ritual circle about to be cast and the dangers we may face within it, these pieces weave a necessary contemporary grimoire: a tome that describes, guides through, and embodies so many kinds of magic(k) we can use to help each other survive, and thrive.

  • Rowan

    This is what an anthology should be, fiction or non fiction. Each essay was distinct, and overall conveyed a wide range of experiences and opinions. I didn't agree with everything, but pretty much all of them at least gave me a new perspective to consider. I backed this on Kickstarter and am pleased to have done so.

  • Hannah

    this collection comes at a moment of peak trendiness for witchiness & femmeness, at least in my own lived experience so far. i was really excited about it, and also, the further i got through the collection, the more my excitement splatted onto the ground.

    don't get me wrong; i appreciated every piece in this collection & there are a lot of great stories & a lot of great writing. it feels important at this moment to have a more substantial documentation of individual femme practices

    this collection comes at a moment of peak trendiness for witchiness & femmeness, at least in my own lived experience so far. i was really excited about it, and also, the further i got through the collection, the more my excitement splatted onto the ground.

    don't get me wrong; i appreciated every piece in this collection & there are a lot of great stories & a lot of great writing. it feels important at this moment to have a more substantial documentation of individual femme practices of magic than the sort of ephemeral social media waves that rise and fall.

    overall, however, this collection fell flat for me in its overemphasis on individual empowerment as collective liberation, and on makeup & clothing as the epitomizing identifiers of femme. i am not here for a revolution defined as a bunch of individual femmes wearing their preferred shade of lipstick. i am here for a revolution where the links between individual adornment, pleasure, giving, and receiving are woven powerfully. i am here for a revolution where skills of listening, adaptation, accommodation, collaboration, and emotional intelligence are centred. this is the story i was hoping for from this book, and i was really disappointed. i think this collection really wanted to do this work, and many of the pieces in this collection did some of this work, but my sense after reading the whole thing was repeatedly being like "lipstick. againnnn. y." just once i would like to read a femme-centred anthology where femme care, relational, and community-building skills are the focus, and makeup only mentioned as an underscore with explicit links to these practices.

    it's a tough balance because adornment is a huge part of femme practice for many, many femmes, and critique coming from the direction mine does can easily slide into reproducing the misogyny that leads many femmes to reclaiming adornment in the first place. but there are so many of us for whom makeup is not really part of our femme practice, whether by choice or because it actually cannot be, and i'm so, so tired of Femme Discourse starting and ending with what's on our skin.

  • Regan

    I have mixed feelings about this book. First, my husband was part of the Kickstarter and he's a big fan of West's work, and he gifted me with his copy received from his donation, which is pretty cool. I like the idea of the book, the approach and the energy it seems to want to convey. But I keep hitting up against what I fear may be a generational thing - a way of looking at the world that seems to me to take certain things as given that I'm not sure are givens.

    Now. To be totally honest, that do

    I have mixed feelings about this book. First, my husband was part of the Kickstarter and he's a big fan of West's work, and he gifted me with his copy received from his donation, which is pretty cool. I like the idea of the book, the approach and the energy it seems to want to convey. But I keep hitting up against what I fear may be a generational thing - a way of looking at the world that seems to me to take certain things as given that I'm not sure are givens.

    Now. To be totally honest, that doesn't apply to all of the essays. Several of them moved me deeply, engaged me deeply, made me with I could share a cup of tea with the writer. A few were hard for me to parse, hard to connect with, in spite of my strong desire to do so.

    Overall, I encourage reading this book. If I ever teach Writing I again I may pull one or two of these pieces to use.

  • Liza

    Overall, a great anthology. I related to a lot of it, and learned a lot from it too. My favourite pieces were by Cara Ellison, Maranda Elizabeth, Laura Mandanas, Catherine Hernandez, Mey Rude, J. A. Micheline and Nora Khan, and there was only one entry that I disliked (not cos it was bad, just cos it wasn't of interest to me).

  • Mandy Szewczuk

    This is really 3.5 stars. While the diversity in the essays was fascinating and appreciated, the essays themselves read like long blog posts full of self-affirmations. I enjoyed reading them, but once I was finished, there was little that was very memorable about any of them. Some of the essays really did stand out, and the power of Witch through different lenses made me consider sources of self-actualization and ways of doing rituals that I hadn't considered previously.

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