Lately I’ve been reading a lot of “witchcraft 101” books, to update the reading list for my coven’s new members. I’m thankful to see so many of the new books in this category are less problematic than “the classics,” and many go beyond the basics and include brief overviews of a lot of the different aspects of magickal practice, like Tarot, astrology, herbalism, crystals, and kitchen witchery. I wish I’d had books like these as a baby pagan!
One of the newest books in the “witchcraft 101” world is Cassandra Snow’s Queering Your Craft: Witchcraft From the Margins, released earlier this month. After enjoying Cassandra Snow’s Queering the Tarot (here’s my review), I was eager to see what she wrote next.
Queering Your Craft is a fantastic introduction to witchcraft for queer people who feel called to the path. Snow offers a queer-inclusive overview of various aspects of witchcraft: elements, sabbats, moon phases, astrology, working with deity, divination, and how to use magick in your daily life in a true DIY fashion. Throughout the book, she weaves in her core focus of magick as a tool for personal empowerment.
In a politically difficult and tense world, witchcraft is a secret weapon. It is catharsis, first – something that helps us purge our emotions and heal. Then it’s about autonomy and taking charge of our lives.Cassandra Snow, Queering Your Craft
Snow reclaims magickal practice as fully queer and queer-friendly. The book’s focus goes beyond sexual or gender identity, and encompasses a wide range of queer experiences, including community building, resilience, DIY, activism, chosen family, queer art, kink, safe spaces, and more.
Going deeper than that, Snow reveals her lived experience as a member of multiple marginalized communities, and throughout the book there is compassionate acknowledgment of the unique societal constraints placed upon those who are not only queer, but also are members of other marginalized and vulnerable populations. Snow makes particular note of people whose race, ethnicity, size, sex work, disabilities, chronic illnesses, mental illnesses, lack of stable housing, history of being abused, and/or poverty shove them to the margins of society and make access to resources incredibly difficult. Snow makes a great effort to ensure the book’s ideas and recommendations are accessible to all, and that readers feel free to ignore or adapt the specifics as needed for their specific situation, interest, and perspective.
One section I found particularly delightful provides an overview of sabbats and esbats, and encourages the reader to recognize the holidays that are most meaningful to them, and to consider creating some of their own holidays to celebrate. For example, Snow and her queerplatonic partner celebrate an annual “Otter Day,” the anniversary of a very silly and random experience they once had.
About one-third of the book is a queer grimoire, including protection spells specifically for activists, sex workers, Trans Black and Indigenous People of Color; spells for coming into your own personal power and healing from societal harm; money manifestation spells; various love and sex spells, including ones specific to the kink community; and spells to gather and heal community. Snow is sensitive to the fact that many of the people reading the book may lack the funds to purchase endless books, crystals, herbs, candles, and other spell materials, and offers alternatives where possible to ensure anyone can do these spells regardless of financial means.
I recommend Queering Your Craft for anyone looking for an introduction or refresher course on magick inclusive of queerness and emphasizing the DIY aspects of magickal practice.