Okay top ten most recommended books (aside from your own :p witches better have those already!!) For witches of any level of experience!
Well, the only books that I can 100% recommend are my own, because I can vouch for all the content, see? (For anyone interested, the rundown is here.) But the following are the books from my personal library that I’ve found most useful over the years. (These are in no particular order.)
- Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Cunningham) - THE book on magical plant correspondences. Wicca-flavored and slightly antiquated (published in the 1980s), but still relevant and very well-researched. The Works Cited and Recommended Reading pages are worth a look all on their own.
- The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines (Fetrow & Avila) - If you’re going to work with plants in your craft, you NEED to have a practical reference book. This one is the best I’ve found so far. It’s well-organized, easy to use, and reads like a physician’s desk reference. Which, in a practical medical herb book, is what you want.
- Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells (Illes) - Affectionately dubbed “The Big Guns” in my personal lexicon. Some problematic material (largely pulling from vodou and hoodoo as if all their practices are universal), but an excellent resource for learning about various magical methods from a wider range of cultures and countries than most books contain. Helpfully alphabetized by subject, but I still recommend using index tabs for quick reference.
- Grimoire for the Green Witch (Moura) - The “Other Guns.” An excellent reference for correspondences and basic spellwriting components. Not really organized, and there’s no table of contents or index, so DEFINITELY use index tabs for this one. It’s not as comprehensive as Llewellyn’s big book on correspondences, but the smaller size makes it a little less daunting to leaf through.
- The Real Witches’ Garden (West) - One of my very first books on green witchcraft, and one I still refer to. Includes practical information as well as magical correspondences.
- The Real Witches’ Book of Spells and Rituals (West) - Like Illes’ “Big Guns,” a good reference for various kinds of spells at a basic-to-intermediate level. This is the spellbook on which I cut my witchy teeth back in the day.
- Spell Crafts (Cunningham & Harrington) - For any witch who wants to make charms or trinkets as part of their practice, or has a crafty artistic side. Lots of basic tutorials that can be adapted to future projects.
- The Black Toad (Gary) - A fascinating look at the classical components of English witchcraft traditions. Details the hows and whys behind many charms that we find in frequent use today (i.e. witch bottles).
- Cottage Witchery (Dugan) - A short, simple primer for magics that can be done around the home. Wicca-flavored and focused on traditional methods, with a charming conversational style that influenced my own writing later on.
- Utterly Wicked (Morrison) - The first book I ever read that presented baneful magic in a practical fashion. Emphasizes personal responsibility and introduces some interesting modern techniques for using everyday items in curses.
Keep in mind that NONE of these books are perfect, and critical reading is required for everything. But if I had to put together a stack of ten books from my collection that I absolutely cannot do without, the first ones I’d replace if lost, these would be the ones. :)