I have received many requests for a reading list, so I will compose one here. I intend to update this post as I find/remember more good material. I’m doing it by author, because if the author is reliable, then their work as a whole usually is. There’s a lot of nonsense out there, and some of it’s really popular.
Take everything in every book with a grain of salt. I promise that every single book you read will have something in it that’s wrong.
Margot Adler: “Drawing Down the Moon” is the best history of Neo-Paganism I’ve been able to find. She has accurate information, and reveals some of the dirty secrets, including some of the things the early leaders (Gardner, Mathers, etc.) lied about. Good primer for the premise that everyone has something to teach, and everyone has a little bullshit to sift through.
Ted Andrews: I consider him quite reliable. I’ve read a couple. Worth looking into.
Paul Beyerl: He is a master herbalist who writes and teaches on the subject, and produced a “Compendium of Herbal Magick” which is quite good.
Raymond Buckland: Top name in Wiccan witchcraft.
Scott Cunningham: One of the major players in making Wiccan witchcraft accessible to the uninitiated. I consider him very reliable, though he is a bit fluffy. He glosses over the dark arts and labels psychoactive herbs as “poisonous” whether they are or not.
Even if Wiccan witchcraft isn’t what you’re looking for, “Wicca: A Guide To the Solitary Practitioner” and “Living Wicca” are still worth reading. His “Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs” is excellent. He also wrote on many other subjects.
Christian Day: I’ve only read “The Witches’ Book of the Dead”, and it was quite good. I’m inclined to say anyone who can teach dark arts well is probably reliable in general.
Mrs. M Grieve: The serious herbalist should read “A Modern Herbal”. I have a hard copy, but they can be hard to find in good condition. PDF is widely available. Keep in mind that it’s half a century out of date, but most modern herbalists cite or quote her at least once in their own books. I’ve even seen at least one steal exact quotes from “A Modern Herbal” without credit.
Mrs. Grieve does not shy away from poisonous herbs, and expounds on their medicinal properties. Though I would not rely solely on any single text to try to learn to use such things.
Judy Hall: “The Crystal Bible” is a lovely quick reference on crystal magic. It is concise and easy to read. If you need to be able to explain what a crystal is good for quickly, this is the book you need.
Judika Illes: “The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells” is my absolute favorite witchcraft book. Everyone should have it. Well researched, and the spells are excellent. I rarely use them as anything other than inspiration to write my own, but they’re grand. Please get this book.
Dorothy Morrison: All I’ve read so far was “Everyday Magic” but it’s one of my favorites. Strongly recommend it. her advice on modernizing your craft and working with what’s available to you is indispensable.
Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian: “The Book of Stones” (the second edition is blue, look for that) is my favorite book on crystal magic. Very detailed and very thorough.