“Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries” (review)

Cover of the book "Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries"

As a queer magickal practitioner, Lee Harrington’s and Tai Fenix Kulystin’s anthology Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries was a revelation for me.

My copy of this book is so marked up with underlines and notes in the margins, it’s become a personal artifact of my own journey as a witch grappling with my gender identity. I had so many “aha” moments reading this book, it helped shape me, my sense of self, and my witchcraft in ways I can’t even quantify.

A collection of essays, interviews, poems, and artwork, Queer Magic is more than just an academic journal on the intersection of queerness and paganism: it’s a crystalized moment in time, an anthology of experiences and feelings of queer magickal practitioners in the late 2010s: one that will be referred to and, I hope, regularly expanded upon with additional volumes in the decades to come, as our cultural understanding deepens.

Among the highlights for me:

  • Yvonne Aburrow’s “Inclusive Wicca Manifesto.” Wicca should welcome people of all abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages, and backgrounds. Aburrow offers practical ways in which to make a welcome environment for all witches and aspiring practitioners within your community.
  • Maisha Najuma Aza’s “Queering Tantra: A Queer Black Woman’s Perspective.” A queer black lesbian activist shares her experiences with Tantra and celebrates its life-changing power.
  • Pavini Moray’s “The Glitterheart Path of Connecting with Transcestors.” Connect with the transgender people who came before and those who will come after you in a similar way in which you’d work with your blood ancestors and descendants.
  • Orion Foxwood’s “Queer-Fire Witchery: The Rainbow Flame That Melts the Soul-Cage, The Emerging Fluidity of Consciousness.” It’s crucial our magickal work and communities be intersectional and affirming for people of all walks of life, because these paths are made by and for those who have been disempowered by society. The cruelest trick would be to welcome in the marginalized and then tell them they can’t do magick unless their work mimics the shapes of the oppressions they are trying to escape from.
  • Susan Harper’s “For Thou Art Goddess: Creating Affirmative Goddess Community.” Our communities must go beyond welcoming and instead be affirming and co-creating with the marginalized, and this essay outlines specific ways to tweak our language and our rituals to do so.
  • Ivo Dominguez, Jr.’s “Redefining and Repurposing Polarity.” Too many magickal practices are stuck on binary polarity as a means to generate energy. Polarity is much more nuanced than that, as explained in this essay.
  • Yin Q’s “Blood, Body, Birth, and Emptiness: Queer Magic in My Life and Work.” BDSM and magickal practice intersect in unexpected ways.
  • Sam “Eyrie” Ward’s “The Maypole and the Labyrinth: Reimagining the Great Rite.” Rethinking the symbols of the Great Rite in new, nonbinary ways.
  • Steve Kenson’s “Queer Journey of the Wheel.” Reimagining the Wheel of the Year in a queer context.

(Did I just highlight half the book’s contents? Um, yeah.)

Simply put: This book is a must-read and must-own for queer magickal practitioners, and for those who wish to make their magickal communities more open, inclusive, and affirming to queer people.

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