In this concise and uplifting book, author Phoenix LeFae uses the terms witches, heretics, and warriors synonymously. Each is a type of rebel with their own particular flavor. A rebel, LeFae writes, is someone who rises up against the establishment. It is ultimately a book about bravery, LeFae notes, as in: feel the fear and do it anyway. It’s also a book about veneration of female spiritual ancestors. The book is neatly organized into sections for each rebel type. There are brief bios of inspirational women, with journal writing prompts for invoking them as archetypes, suggested rituals and – what I liked most – descriptions of particular witches’ tools correlating with each type of rebelliousness.  

In an introductory chapter about witches, LeFae writes about brooms and gives details on how to make one. Then one of her exemplary witchy figures is the mythical Goddess Circe, the sorceress, highlighted here because witchcraft is a practice of growing one’s personal power. There are instructions for using wands and potions and a meditation to enter a state between worlds.

For a chapter on Marie Laveau, the 19th century New Orleans Voudou priestess descended from slaves, we read about how to make altars and shrines and about community service. The tool of the heretic, LeFae writes, is the cauldron. It is a tool of transformation:  you put something in a cauldron, apply techniques of alchemy and – voila!—it becomes something else.

In a chapter about Mary Magdalene, we read about how to use roses, other plants, and jars, to make anointing oils. For Jeanne D’Arc, the heretic’s tool is a sword, symbolically a tool for cutting away what is no longer useful, creating boundaries, and removing what is dying. For warrior Harriet Tubman, the tool is charm bags, using stones and herbs for spells to bring good luck and to access inner strength.

The point of this book is to provide both inspiration and specific, accessible means to embody the energies of rebelliousness; to find one’s own powerful means to confront injustices; to not take “no” for an answer; to come up with alternatives to the failures of the status quo. The current growing interest in witchcraft, LeFae concludes, is a sign of hope that “the time has come rebels. The world needs you.”

This book is timely and very much needed, right now.

~review by Sara R. Diamond

Author: Phoenix LeFae
2022, Llewellyn Publications
242 pages, $17.99