This is a reading list for the new as well as the more advanced Wiccan. It is also handy for Neopagans and occultists interested in Wicca and Neopaganism.
Okay, to start this of, I’d like to say STAY AWAY from Silver Ravenwolf if you’re a complete beginner and new to Wicca, Neopaganism or Witchcraft. Ravenwolf is historically as wells factually inaccurate and uses the terms Wicca and Witch interchangeably. Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same things. Ravenwolf also has a *very* disrespectful attitude towards other religions (Christianity in particular), and basically tells teenagers to hide their Craft from their parents should their parents disapprove. I condone none of these practices.
Secondly, you should also stay away from authors like D.J. Conway and Edain McCoy. Conway writes about Celtic history in a way that is simply not true; she isn’t a scholar thus most of her “theories” have been debunked. McCoy created a “potato goddess” for the Irish – she claims in one of her books that potatoes were sacred to the ancient Goddess. One slight problem: potatoes didn’t arrive until some 1,100 years after the christening of Ireland…
Now, with that little disclaimer being written… Here is my recommended reading list, both for the inexperienced seeker who simply wishes to know a little more about Wicca and/or Witchcraft – and the more experienced Neopagan.
Links will fill up as I publish my personal review of each book.
1. The history of Witchcraft and Wicca
Like I stated in my Wicca 101 pieces, Gerald Gardner invented Wicca in the 1950s. Any book claiming Wicca is older than that or part of a surviving witch-cult, goes back to the author Margaret Murray and her books The God of the Witches, and The Witch Cult in Western Europe. The problem with Margaret Murray is that she wasn’t an accredited scholar and edited her material to match her theories. None the less, I still think any Wiccan or Witch should read Murray’s book – just be aware that it’s historically inaccurate and her theories are since long debunked. The same goes with the books of James Frazer (The Golden Bough), Robert Graves (The White Goddess) and Marilyn Stone (When God Was A Woman); their theories are today seen as inaccurate, but nonetheless good – at times even poetic – reading material.
The list of books on history that I do recommend is rather short, only one author: Ronald Hutton. Hutton is a scholar, a historian with a deep and broad knowledge and objective writing style. In Triumph of the Moon he tackles the history of British Paganism, ie the history of Wicca, in an excellent and well-researched manner. In The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles he debunks several of Conway’s claims about Celtic history. I can not recommend these books enough, full reviews to follow.
- Hutton, Ronald – The Triumph of the Moon.
- Hutton, Ronald – The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles.
Below I recommend not only Pagan, Wicca and Witchcraft books but also general mythology and other books about myth-making. (This list will expand, so keep coming back to find more books)
- Campbell, Joseph – Hero With A Thousand Faces. A very in-depth look at comparative mythology. The book discusses the theory of the journey of the archetypal hero found in many world mythologies.
- Hamilton, Edith – Mythology. A very resourceful introduction to Greek mythology. Also several of the Norse myths are included.
- Gaiman, Neil – Norse Mythology. – This is on my to-read list. Please check back for a review.
2. Wicca 101 studies
These are basic, introductory books to get you a feel for Wicca and Witchcraft. They are usually filled with information on holy days, tools, correspondences and everything you else you need to start practicing Wicca. I would recommend Thea Sabin’s Wicca for Beginners as a starting point if you never read anything about Wicca before. Just beware that almost everything you come across either starts off with a very inaccurate history lesson or the use of Wicca and Witch interchangeably when they are NOT THE SAME THING. This bears repeating!
- Buckland, Raymond – Complete Book of Witchcraft. Good for general Wicca and Neopagan witchcraft information since it touches SO MANY topics, if very briefly. There are downsides too of course; it’s dated and get’s the history wrong. This author also uses the term “gypsy” in a lot of his books.
- Farrar, Janet and Stewart – The Witches Goddess. A very handy reference on the Wiccan view of the female divinity with an encyclopedia of Goddesses around the world.
- Farrar, Janet and Stewart – The Witches God. Similar to the aforementioned book, but this time the focal point is the Wiccan view of the masculine divine. Also includes an encyclopedia of Gods throughout the world.
- Farrar, Janet and Stewart – The Witches’ Bible. This book is actually two volumes in one. The first half is about the Sabbats (previously published separately as Eight Sabbats for Witches) and the second halves contains principles, rituals and beliefs of modern Wiccan Witchcraft (previously published separately as The Witches Way). Read it for some information on a more traditional Wicca.
- Valiente, Doreen – Witchcraft for Tomorrow. If Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft is the introduction to the Seax Wicca tradition and The Witches’ Bible is the introduction to an Alexandrian-ish tradition – then Witchcraft for Tomorrow is the core introduction to the traditional Gardnerian Wicca. A must-read for anyone interested in traditional Wicca.
- Starhawk – The Spiral Dance. Although filled with pseudo-history this book has a lot of information, especially for the feminist Wiccan. There are many exercises, spells and various useful tidbits for the budding Neopagan Witch.
3. Further studies – “Wicca 202”
- Amber K – Coven Craft.
- Coughlin, John J. – Out of the Shadows.
- Cuhulain, Kerr – Wiccan Warrior.
- Farrar, Janet – Progressive Witchcraft.
- Lipp, Deborah – Elements of Ritual.
- Saunders, Kevin – Advanced Wiccan Spirituality.
- Telesco, Patricia J. – Advanced Wicca.
4. References and guides
- Cunningham, Scott – Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic.
- Cunningham, Scott – Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs.
- Cunningham, Scott – The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews.
- George, Rana – Essential Lenormand. – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
- Hall, Judy A. – The Encyclopedia of Crystals.
- Illes, Judika – Encyclopedia of 5,000 spells.
- Pollack, Rachel – Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom.
- Waite, A. E. – The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.
5. Other topics
Any practitioner of any craft should expand their horizons and read more than just about their own path. Here are a few books on expanding those horizons.
- Blavatsky, H. P. – Isis Unveiled.
- Carroll, Peter J. – Liber Null & Psychonaut.
- Crowley, Aleister – The Book of the Law.
- Crowley, Aleister – Magick in Theory and Practice.
- Fortune, Dion – The Mystical Qabalah.
- Harner, Michael – The Way of the Shaman.
- Hill, Gregory – Principia Discordia.
- LaVey, Anton Zandor – The Satanic Bible.
- Regardie, Israel – The Golden Dawn.
- Talbot, Michael – The Holographic Universe.
- Wilson, Robert Anton – Illuminatus Trilogy.
- Wilson, Robert Anton – Prometheus Rising.
Phew! Now, that should keep you occupied for a good while! Remember to take breaks when reading, to take notes and if there are excercises involved – try them out and write down the progress and result. Happy reading!