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Witches of America is a memoir of Alex Mar’s immersive five-year trip into the occult, as both a journalist and someone searching for her own faith. She explores modern Paganism—from its roots in 1950s England to its present-day American mecca in the San Francisco Bay Area; from a gathering of more than a thousand witches in the Illinois woods to the New Orleans branch of one of the world’s most influential magical societies—and decides to train in a coven herself. With keen intelligence and wit, Mar illuminates the world of witchcraft while grappling in fresh and unexpected ways with the question underlying every faith: Why do we choose to believe in anything at all? Whether evangelical Christian, Pagan priestess, or atheist, each of us craves a system of meaning to give structure to our lives. Sometimes we just find it in unexpected places.
Alex Mar lives in New York City, her hometown. She has contributed to The Believer, the Oxford American, Elle, The New York Times Book Review, Slate, New York magazine, and other publications. Mar is also the director of the documentary feature film American Mystic. Witches of America is her first book.