Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica

Psyché Ophiuchus, Ritual, France 2019.
A ceremonial circle takes place in Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye at dusk,
forming a protective barrier within which rites of sacred incantation summon
particular energies. © Psyché Ophiuchus

Stuff CrushPublications

Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica

New TASCHEN book, Witchcraft, is a document of spellbinding inspiration for powerful women who want to express their singularity...

Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the history of witchcraft, from its ancient roots to modern incarnation. The beautiful 520 page TASCHEN-published hardback comes complete with captivating essays and more than 400 artworks, making it a must-have for anybody with an interest in all things esoteric.

The third publication in the publisher’s ‘The Library of Esoterica’ volume, Witchcraft strikes a nice balance between text and imagery, the essays and interviews with modern practitioners both informative and enjoyable, chronicling everything from the craft’s emergence in ancient goddess worship to the embrace by today’s diverse witch community.

From ‘Initiation’ to ‘Invocation’, to ‘Casting the Circle’ and beyond, each chapter is lengthy and spellbinding (excuse the pun), casting a variety of traditions and rituals over the reader; inspiring them to seek out knowledge and study the teachings of scholars who’ve dedicated themselves to this development, as well as to consider the preservation of ancient arts.

Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica Published by Taschen
John William Waterhouse Circe Invidiosa

John William Waterhouse Circe Invidiosa, England 1892
In this pre-Raphaelite exquisiteness, an enthralling vision of Circe poisons the waters in which Scylla bathes. The water is so lavish one forgets the goddess is vindictively violating the clear blue bath. The menacing woodland behind hints at her devious bewitchery.

Vic Oh, XV, France/Mexico 2019

Vic Oh, XV, France/Mexico 2019.
A highly symbolically decorated witch by Oh is based on the Devil Tarot card. The pineal gland, represented by the pine cone, tops her scepter, expressing her connection to divinity. She wears the sacred ceremonial jaguar mask, to suggest her great power. © Vic Oh

As Paola Hivelin and Sophie Rokh, co-founders of the Gang of Witches, point out: “We are going through a crisis of unprecedented proportions in today’s toxic system. Witchcraft can provide us with valuable guidance to help us co-create a new, more egalitarian and sustainable paradigm. The image of the witch——learned, independent, and powerful, often feared, sometimes mocked, always shrouded in mystery, and master of her identity——is a marker of the place of women in society and the issues of each era.”

With The Library of Esoterica aimed at emboldening the reader to begin their own journey into the dark halls of the arcane, this is the time to explore sacred rituals and philosophies, whilst embracing this part of ourselves that, perhaps until now, has remained untapped. As much a document of feminism and of powerful women as sorcery and spells, this tome is an inspiration for women who want to express their singularity. As Yoko Ono wrote for the album A Story in 1974: “Yes I’m a Witch, I’m a bitch, I don’t care what you say, My voice is real.”

Embrace individualism and celebrate your inner strength. After all, there’s a little witchery in each of us. Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica by Jessica Hundley and Thunderwing is published by TASCHEN, priced £30.

@taschen

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Kiki Smith, Pyre Woman Kneeling, United States 2002

Kiki Smith, Pyre Woman Kneeling, United States 2002. A bronze female figure tops a pyre. In Smith’s narrative style, the statue commemorates women who were burned for witchcraft. © /La Monnaie de Paris, Photo Martin Argyroglo

Lauren Lancaster, W.I.T.C.H. (detail), United States 2017

Lauren Lancaster, W.I.T.C.H. (detail), United States 2017. The Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell was founded in 1968 by feminist antiwar protesters. The black-dressed, pointyhatted, faceless witches were an undeniable vision and significant force during a time of political urgency. © Lauren Lancaster

Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica Published by Taschen
Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica Published by Taschen
Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica Published by Taschen
Witchcraft. The Library of Esoterica Published by Taschen
Jos. A. Smith, Illustration from Erica Jong’s Witches, United States 1981

Jos. A. Smith, Illustration from Erica Jong’s Witches, United States 1981. The drawing is based on the classic fairy-tale offering of a poisoned apple. © Jos. A. Smith

Vali Myers, Blue Fox, Australia 1972–74

Vali Myers, Blue Fox, Australia 1972–74. A free-spirited visionary connection to nature and specifically to animals was intrinsic to Myers’s being. Her art often portrayed her with her pets in scenes of wildness. © The Vali Myers Art Gallery Trust, valimyerstrust.com

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