encyclopedia of spells

anonymous asked:

can you please give me some advice for starting out? and are there any free books that i could read to help me get started?

study and research. you can find free books by searching what you want to research and then typing free pdf at the end. I found some for you. I’ve read the Gardnerian Book of Shadows and it was very helpful. 

The Witch’s Master Grimoire: An Encyclopedia of Charms, Spells, Formulas, and Magical Rites 

The Gardnerian Book of Shadows

The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Spells

Musician’s Professional Success Spell

The ancient Egyptian spirit Hathor is the spiritual sponsor of musicians–and dancers, too! Throw a party for Hathor. Play for her (throw a sistrum, her sacred percussion instrument, into the mix to grab her attention), serve wine, beer, and pomegranates and generally have a great time: Hathor is the goddess of joy and pleasure, too. Your happiness honors her. Request her assistance so that happy times continue indefinitely.

(from The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes)

anonymous asked:

hello! i've been trying to research magic, but unfortunately most books i find are specific wicca, which i'm not interested in. do you have any book reccomendations that arent wicca centric? thank you! i love your blog :^)

Oh heckin yes I do My amazon wishlist is literally like six pages long… ALL BOOKS

WARNING: This Is Going To Be Extremely Long!

First though I want to note that while I 100% understand your feelings about the Wicca stuff (being a very NOT Wiccan Witch), not all books that are Wicca leaning are bad! I’ve gotten loads of useful information from books that tended to be a little new agey. That’s where being objective comes in! With ANY book, you should take it with a grain of salt, and some with a whole shaker. But it’s up to you to pay attention to misinformation and conflation, and to know how to do research to prove or disprove that something in a book you read is true or not. Does that make sense?? 

Anywho, a couple of books that are still kind of “Wicca-y” but great:

Those are all books from my personal collection that I would recommend! Now as for the Non-Wicca Books, Let’s dive in! Not all of these have I read or owned, and they are in no particular order. You’ll notice most of them relate to “Traditional Witchcraft” or West Country, because that is where my practice is focused. 

PHEW!

That was a lot! Okay anon I hope this gives you a good starting place! 

constantly-disheveled.tumblr.com/ask

Witchcraft Terms for the Modern Practitioner (WTMP): Chakras vs. Energy Centers

Originally posted by spinallyspiraling

Witch Haven Community is all about inclusivity and progress, which is why we wanted to start a series of small posts covering outdated terms used in the witchcraft community and offer modern alternatives.  We are calling this project “Witchcraft Terms for the Modern Practitioner” or, more informally, WTMP.  It is our hope that these substitutes will promote more understanding and openness within our diverse community.  Of course, these are just suggestions, and we try to highlight the differing opinions covering each of these terms.  

The term of the week is:

“CHAKRAS”

Definition:  According the Encyclopedia Britannica, “Chakra, also spelled Cakra, Sanskrit C̣akra , (“wheel”), is any of a number of psychic-energy centers of the body, prominent in the occult physiological practices of certain forms of Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism. The chakras are conceived of as focal points where psychic forces and bodily functions merge with and interact with each other. Among the supposed 88,000 chakras in the human body, six major ones located roughly along the spinal cord and another one located just above the crown of the skull are of principal importance. Each of these seven major chakras (in Buddhism, four) is associated with a specific color, shape, sense organ, natural element, deity, and mantra (monosyllabic prayer formula).”

Is it problematic?  The term “chakra” and the related theories are originated from Dharmic religions, and can be found in Hinduism and Buddhism.  These religions are closed/partially closed, needing an initiation to properly follow them and follow them with the respect due to their principles and history. The term “chakra” is culturally and religiously specific, so using is without consideration for its implications in a spiritual and theological aspect would be considered cultural appropriation. 

Or is it not problematic?  However, the idea that energy runs through the body and gathers in specific points is found in many practices and religions and ideas all over the world. The concepts vary but so do the terms used for them.

Alternative Terms:  You can try “focal points”,  “energy points” or “energy centers” instead or if you are unsure of what term to use. Don’t forget to ask yourself why you want to use this term.  Ask yourself: Is there a term in my culture and can I use it? Sometimes the easiest solution isn’t the most respectful one, it is worth taking the time to explain around why some terms can be offensive.

Toodles!
Liv
Witch Haven Moderator, GOAT, and Astral Godzilla
@it-s-a-kind-of-magic


With all this being said, we hope that these Witchcraft Terms for the Modern Practitioner (WTMP) blog posts promote educated, CALM discussions between fellow witches.  As always, Witch Haven is an inclusive community that acts as a safe haven and educational platform for witches from all branches of paganism.  Our intention is to promote research, discovery, and exploration within our vast and diverse sodality.  We aren’t just friends and fellow witches on Witch Haven; we are a #WAMILY (a term coined by Salt meaning “witch family.”)

We invite everyone to comment, reblog, and share their opinions on this term.  We look forward to the discussion and, as always, have a wonderfully witchy day!

Witchtip: Magical Inspiration

You ever have a magical dry spell? Where you maybe wanna write some spells, you’ve got the itch to witch, but no real inspiration?

I do. Frequently. So here are some magical brainstorming ideas.

  • Read non-magical or fiction books. These can be tremendous sources of inspiration for spells or enchantments.
  • Use bibliomancy. Grab a spellbook with tons of spells. Something like The Ultimate Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells or The Ultimate Spell Book. Flip to a random page and re-write the first spell you see to make it your own.
  • Use fictional spells to inspire real ones. Either their intent, mechanics, or affect can usually be in some way worked into a real working. Things like:
  • Read d&d rule books. Yes, really. Some of the spell listings are quite detailed and many can be applied to real magical theory with the right mindset. Things like trap spells that go off when a certain condition is met can be handy (magic bombs) or cloak type spells can be actualized with servitors
  • Video Games. Some have very interesting spells that can be used as a starting point to inspire real workings.
  • Read Mythology. Modern or ancient.
  • Ritualize your brain storming sessions. Light an incense associated with relaxation or inspiration. Burn a yellow candle for creativity. Set an intention for the session to be relaxing and fun rather than focusing on spellwriters block.
  • Use techniques like free writing. Start with a sentance like “I wish I had the power to…….” And keep going. You’re damn sure to bump up against something that can be turned into a real magical working.
  • Trying to think up your own correspondences? Use free association. Pick an item you’d like to use as a spell component and write down everything you associate with it. This can produce interesting results and really beef up your stash of useable components. For Instance: Sandpaper. Sanding. Smoothing. Clearing. Cleaning. Adjusting. Polishing. Shining. Then free associate with those words. Shining. Beauty. Glamor. Smoothing. Skin. Wrinkles. W00t. Sandpaper is now an ingredient for that youth spell you thought about writing six months ago.
  • Read over your notes. Chances are, depending on your background, you’ve got correspondences written down somewhere for intentions you’ve never used.
  • Leverage opposition with the above. Every thing always suggests its own opposite. Got tons of glamours? Write a curse that makes the target appear as ugly on the outside as their actions. Or an invisibility spell that focuses on making you seem instantly forgettable.
  • Adopt the attitude of an experimenter. Let go of worrying about doing something “the wrong way” and see every spell as an experiment. Accept that it may fail and then simply observe. If it didn’t work, go over your notes. What could you have added to make it more effective? What could be left out to make it more efficient?
  • Read the ingredient lists on food cans. What are the correspondences? Then string together a spell with intent that binds those together. For instance, corn: abundance, prosperity. Salt: cleansing, blessing. Add those intents together: a cleansing spell to banish obstacles, like a road opener working. Or a blessing to ensure prosperity for a friend down on their luck. Correspondences are often relayed as keywords that can easily be plugged together and built out if you think creatively.
  • Speaking of keywords, write every magickal keyword you can think of on slips of paper. Put them in a jar or a coffee can. Add to them as you think up new ones. Next time you wanna write something pull out a few at random and string them together into a spell.
-jbird

Sweet Spirit Powder Spell

To repel evil spirits, while simultaneously beckoning benevolent, kind, protective ones:

  1. Grind the following botanicals together to produce a fine powder: frankincense, honeysuckle blossoms, roses, and vetiver roots.
  2. Sprinkle the powder onto lit charcoal and burn incessantly, until you’re convinced the danger is over.

(from The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes) 

Book Recommendations for Witches

I’m often asked to recommend books on various topics, and really, these requests are extended exercises in frustration for me. Any book I read will almost certainly contain something I disagree with, and I worry that recommending one will give the appearance that I support it wholeheartedly. Even if it is a treasured book of mine (such as something by Judika Illes), I’ll likely find some issue with it, and it’s often not worth the trouble to recommend something and then need to qualify it. 

Still, I get this request often enough that I thought I’d make a list of the books I’ve read that I believe to be worth reading for witches and generally useful. As I’ve said, I don’t 100% agree with everything written in any of these books, and a lot of judgment is necessary for any reader, but still, they’re worth a look, in my opinion. 

Another note: I’ve limited myself to listing books useful to those practicing witchcraft. I’ve listed a few Thelema and ritual magick books, but only those that I believe are most relevant. There are lists I could make of books on various other topics (divination, or a more in-depth one for ceremonial magick), but I recognize that my readership is largely witches, thus this is what I’m putting up. Do expect future lists on other topics, though.

Basic Techniques

Protection and Reversal Magick, by Jason Miller. This gets a little woo-woo at times, but he gives good advice on how to avoid serious problems that can come up as you begin to practice. Take with a grain of salt, though - some of this has the potential to make you feel paranoid.

City Magick, by Christopher Penczak. If you’re at all interested in tech witchery, or just want to practice magick within an urban setting, do check this out. It is by far the best look at the subject I’ve seen, and his discussion of urban tutelary spirits is worth the price alone.

Composing Magick, by Elizabeth Barrette. A very general, but well-done, look at writing in a magical context. Some of the ritual templates are slightly specific to religious witchcraft traditions, but most information is widely applicable.

Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink, by Susan Pesnecker. Focuses both on the physical act of writing as a magical act, and the mental state associated with it. Highly recommended

Power Spellcraft for Life, by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. Nicely done, quite secular book providing basic beginner information regarding writing original spells and workings. It does fall prey to the trap of just listing correspondences with little information at times, but also contains a great deal of detail about ritual timing, raising power, and other topics essential for the beginner.

Energy Essentials for Witches and Spellcasters, by Mya Om. Though I balk at the use of the term “energy” to describe magical forces, this book is worth a look. It’s a bit like a workbook, with various exercises. Expect a lot of pseudoscience, though, and there are many religious references, but the techniques are solid.

Components/Correspondences

The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook, by Karen Harrison. I cannot praise this book enough for its concise and well-formulated approach to astrology, herbs, and magick as a whole.

The Weiser Concise Guide to Herbal Magick, by Judith Hawkins-Tillirson. This is excellent for anyone who’s interested in any kind of magick. Yes, the focus is generally herbs, but there’s a lot to be learned here about Kabbalah and other correspondence systems, as well.

Mixing Essential Oils for Magic, by Sandra Kynes. Fills a very difficult gap in published knowledge regarding the use of essential oils by discussing, in great detail, how scents interact with each other and how to create a formula that’s not only palatable, but evocative.

Dunwich’s Guide to Gemstone Sorcery, by Gerina Dunwich. Given the New Age fascination with all things shiny, it was quite a chore to sort through the myriad crystal books to find something with good information. While far from perfect and not exactly devoid of fluff, this book does give a level of detail about the lore surrounding gemstones not seen in many other texts.

Real Alchemy, by Robert Allen Bartlett. Excellent book, lots of history and detail. There’s a strong focus on tradition within the text, yet the author is quite accommodating of his audience and describes alternate methods that work better in a modern context.

Spagyrics, by Manfred M. Junius. With a highly-developed academic tone and attention to detail, this book is a meaty look at traditional alchemy. I recommend this more for intermediate practitioners due to the sheer density of information.

Dictionary of Ancient Magic Words and Spells, by Claude Lecouteux. Mostly a historical text, this book isn’t exactly practical or terribly useful. It is, nevertheless, incredibly interesting. It’s a bit difficult to navigate, but worth a glance.

Spellbooks

The Goodly Spellbook, by Dixie Deerman and Steve Rasmussen. The title sounds horribly fluffy, but this is a hidden gem. It explains obscure concepts like alternative alphabets and potential uses of musical notes, as well as plant lore and other bits and pieces. Definitely worth checking out. It’s way more than just “a book of spells.”

Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, by Judika Illes. The title sounds trite to some, but it delivers. This book has spells from almost every culture and spiritual philosophy, as well as a very detailed formulary. I read it when I’m bored sometimes, too, just because I always learn some tidbit from it.

Ceremonial, etc.

Modern Magick, by Donald Michael Kraig. I received this as a gift several years ago. It is essentially a workbook meant to be completed slowly, step by step, and while the format will not appeal to everyone, it’s a good easy-to-read introduction to ceremonial magick.

My Life With The Spirits, by Lon Milo DuQuette. This is a memoir of a ceremonial magician, but it gives a good look at the magickal mindset in a highly developed form from someone who’s experienced quite a lot. I have major issues with DuQuette’s approach to Qabalah, but his memoirs are worth a read.

Liber Null and Psychonaut, by Peter Carroll. Classic book of chaos magick. I consider it required reading for almost anyone interested in the occult. Even if you have no love for chaos magick, do give it a read, just to understand how influential Carroll is, and why.

Hands-On Chaos Magic, by Andrieh Vitimus. Knowing some of the people involved in the creation of this book, I’m a bit biased towards it. That said, even if I didn’t know them, I would still recommend it. It’s especially interesting to read alongside Liber Null and Psychonaut in order to see how the chaos “current” has developed over the years.

History-Related

Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, by Judika Illes. Even better than the Weiser Field Guide to Witches - this book is huge and chock-full of information. It’ll explain in easy-to-understand language how the concept has developed throughout time, why witches do what they do, and different types of witches.

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches, by Judika Illes. This gives an excellent look at the historical lore concerning witches, from the perspective of a witch herself. It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek, but it does have some information that won’t be found elsewhere.

Triumph of the Moon, by Ronald Hutton. An inside no-holds-barred look at the history of Wicca and Modern paganism. Highly recommended. This is sort of the book that fluffbunnies don’t want you to read.

Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult, by Richard Metzger. Lots of facts and history of magick in the context of Postmodernity. This is different from the Crowley text of the same name, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you want to focus on his tradition.

The Place of Enchantment, by Alex Owen. This is a purely historical text that documents the occult revival within the context of Modernity. I remember it being very good, but please realize I haven’t really picked it up much since graduating, and it might just have served my mindset at the time.

Reading List



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.

This is Important: Timing

“The ancients created magical systems with varying degrees of complexity. One area in which they excelled was the art of timing ritual acts in accordance with astronomical phenomena. Some of these systems were rigidly controlled by the phases of the Moon; others took the seasons into account, and in others still, the stars and their positions were all important.

Some of these systems are still in use today, with good results. But any system can kill off spontaneity and hinder the effects of magic- even its very performance. Timing is important, true, but there should be only one inviolable rule: magic is used when needed.

I am not arguing that timing with planets, stars, seasons, Lunar phases and so on does not provide extra power to spells: I am simply arguing against the necessity for such extra power. If the magic works it will work at any time of the day or night.”


- Scott Cunningham on Timing, Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs



In summary: I feel like this is a great message for baby/beginner witches. I think many feel like they won’t be able to perform magic unless they wait for that perfect phase of the Moon. You can be strong and have strong magic regardless of the time of the year or the phase of the moon. Believe in your power and visualize your wishes and needs. BE the power you wish to discover.

Bury Bad Habits Spell

Among the most famous hexing spells are those involving miniature-sized personalized coffins left on the spell target’s doorsteps. This coffin spell is traditionally as much an act of sheer intimidation as it is a magical spell, however it can be put to less malevolent uses. Use the little coffin spell below to lay issues to rest and, in particular, to bury addictions.

  1. Create a small coffin. You will need a little box. You can find one or make one, however the imagery should be very clear: there should be no ambiguity regarding the type of box. Inspiration, or a box itself, may be taken from Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) handicrafts.
  2. Paint the outside of the box black. Decorate with purple glitter glue if desired.
  3. Traditionally the box contains a small doll, which may or may not be personalized so that the identity of the target is clear. Consider how to personify your addiction.
  4. Accompany and reinforce this spell with intensive candle burning.
  5. The doll may be pierced with pins. Add candle stubs, leftover spell wax, graveyard dirt, asafetida, and banishing powder, especially Lost and Away Powder.
  6. Dress everything with Banishing Oil.

Traditionally the coffin is left on your target’s doorstep. Consider appropriate places to leave it, or bury the little coffin within a cemetery.

You may find just making the box therapeutic in itself. In which case, reserve the box for ritual use or destroy it.

(from The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes) 

Dream Protection with Basic Botanicals

The following botanicals enhance sleep, or at least won’t disturb it, while simultaneously creating a spiritual shield to protect you while you sleep: 

  • Angelica 
  • Anise 
  • Black mustard seeds 
  • Cloves 
  • Henna 
  • Mugwort 
  • Purslane 
  • Rosemary 
  • Rue 
  • Saint John’s Wort 
  • Southernwood 
  • Sweet Annie 
  • Sweet flag (calamus) 
  • Vervain 
  • Wormwood 
  • Yarrow 

Use one or any combination of the above to fill a dream pillow.

-  Illes, Judika - Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells

Blackthorn Reversing Spell

To reverse a curse or hex onto the sender.

  1. Collect five thorns from a blackthorn tree
  2. Create a wax image; it can be a generic image. It doesn’t have to represent any specific person. It’s not necessary for you to know who wished you harm; if someone did, this spell will find them.
  3. Stick one thorn through each hand saying, “The evil that you have crafted returns to you.”
  4. Stick one thorn through each foot saying, “The evil that you visit upon me returns back to you.”
  5. Stick the last thorn into the image’s head saying, “the evil that you think and conceive returns to you.”
  6. Burn or bury the image.

Source: The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells. Judika Illes. Page 607

Get Lost and Far Away!

Lost and Away Powder has various uses, in addition to banishment. It’s also used to establish personal and psychic boundaries, as well as to prevent someone else from encroaching on these boundaries.

  1. Write your target’s name thirteen times on a square of paper.
  2. Sprinkle Lost and Away Powder on this paper.
  3. Fold the paper up, always folding away from you.
  4. Seal it with sealing wax, preferably red.
  5. Bury this paper but mark the spot.
  6. Leave it buried for thirteen days, watering daily with War Water.
  7. On the fourteenth day, dig it up and burn it.

(from The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes) 

[Revised 11/16] Book Recommendations for Witches

Greetings, all. Quite some time ago, I created an annotated bibliography of some of my favorite texts on magical subjects. I was browsing it a few days ago and quickly realized, though, that it had become woefully out-of-date. There were quite a few books I’d only recently finished reading that belonged on the list! 

So, I’ve made an updated version here! Below, you can find my book recommendations, organized into loose categories. I’ve had to add a few new categories since last time, and expand several others. I do plan on doing long-form book reviews on some of these titles, and if there’s a particular one listed that you’d like to see a long review for, please let me know and I’ll work on that.

I hope you find something on here that suits your fancy! Happy reading!

For Absolute Beginners

Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, by Judika Illes. Even better than the Weiser Field Guide to Witches - this book is huge and chock-full of information. It’ll explain in easy-to-understand language how the concept has developed throughout time, why witches do what they do, and different types of witches.

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches, by Judika Illes. This gives an excellent look at the historical lore concerning witches, from the perspective of a witch herself. It’s kind of tongue-in-cheek, but it does have some information that won’t be found elsewhere.

The Modern Guide to Witchcraft, by Skye Alexander. Great book for those who’re really absolute beginners and are wondering what witchcraft is all about. Skye takes a very postmodern, utilitarian, and unfailingly honest approach, and it’s geared towards those of almost any belief system.

Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard, by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. Attractively packaged and readible for almost all ages, this is a great (mostly) non-denominational look at the foundations of magical practice. It’s extremely detailed. Some of it only applies to Zell’s own tradition, but it’s quite useful, anyways.

Basic Techniques

Protection and Reversal Magick, by Jason Miller. This gets a little woo-woo at times, but he gives good advice on how to avoid serious problems that can come up as you begin to practice. Take with a grain of salt, though - some of this has the potential to make you feel paranoid.

City Magick, by Christopher Penczak. If you’re at all interested in tech witchery, or just want to practice magick within an urban setting, do check this out. It is by far the best look at the subject I’ve seen, and his discussion of urban tutelary spirits is worth the price alone.

Power Spellcraft for Life, by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. Nicely done, quite secular book providing basic beginner information regarding writing original spells and workings. It does fall prey to the trap of just listing correspondences with little information at times, but also contains a great deal of detail about ritual timing, raising power, and other topics essential for the beginner.

Sorcerer’s Secrets, by Jason Miller. This is a decent volume that describes a lot of techniques you don’t usually see in books, such as gesture and gaze-based magick. Be warned that Miller writes extensively about manipulative techniques, but it’s useful theory regardless of how you put it into practice.

Witch’s Bag of Tricks, by Melanie Marquis. This is not recommended for beginners, because the whole point of this book is to help existing practitioners refine and improve their already-established techniques. It’s got some novel ideas in it, and I like the author’s approach to symbolism in spellcasting.

Direct Magick (Energy Work)

The Un-Spell Book, by Mya Om. This non-denominational guide to working with magical forces is filled with useful exercises that go beyond the author’s previous work. I recommend reading this after reading Energy Essentials.

Instant Magick, by Christopher Penczak. Excellent beginner’s guide for those who don’t have access to a lot of fancy tools or prefer to work without them. This book won’t instantly teach you magick, but it will help even a seasoned practitioner find quicker, less-complicated ways of achieving results.

Energy Essentials for Witches and Spellcasters, by Mya Om. Though I balk at the use of the term “energy” to describe magical forces, this book is worth a look. It’s a bit like a workbook, with various exercises. Expect a lot of pseudoscience, though, and there are many religious references, but the techniques are solid.

Magical Writing, Words, and Symbols

Dictionary of Ancient Magic Words and Spells, by Claude Lecouteux. Mostly a historical text, this book isn’t exactly practical or terribly useful. It is, nevertheless, incredibly interesting. It’s a bit difficult to navigate, but worth a glance.

Composing Magick, by Elizabeth Barrette. A very general, but well-done, look at writing in a magical context. Some of the ritual templates are slightly specific to religious witchcraft traditions, but most information is widely applicable.

Crafting Magick with Pen and Ink, by Susan Pesnecker. Focuses both on the physical act of writing as a magical act, and the mental state associated with it. Highly recommended

The Modern Witchcraft Grimoire, by Skye Alexander. This book is for those who want to create their own grimoire. It gives fairly good advice for doing so, as well as providing hints and tricks for spellcasting and useful correspondences.

General Concepts

Planetary Magick, by Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips. If you want to work with the planets at all, particularly in a highly ritualized context, I recommend this book. It’s large, comprehensive and gives a good foundation beyond what you find in general astrology books.

Practical Planetary Magick, by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine. Shorter than I would have liked, but a useful reference to have on your shelf, with excellent tables and appendices in the back. The meditations are also quite useful.

Practical Elemental Magick, by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine. Should be read alongside the other book by this pair. Comprehensive guide to working with the elements in a ritualized fashion. Not as accessible to newbies as Lipp’s book, but good for seasoned practitioners.

The Way of Four, by Deborah Lipp. Though mostly geared towards Wiccans, I found this author’s in-depth treatment of the four elements highly fascinating. I will note that it’s probably best to get the print version of this book, as it contains exercises and quizzes.

Ingredients and Correspondences

The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook, by Karen Harrison. I cannot praise this book enough for its concise and well-formulated approach to astrology, herbs, and magick as a whole.

The Weiser Concise Guide to Herbal Magick, by Judith Hawkins-Tillirson. This is excellent for anyone who’s interested in any kind of magick. Yes, the focus is generally herbs, but there’s a lot to be learned here about Kabbalah and other correspondence systems, as well.

Mixing Essential Oils for Magic, by Sandra Kynes. Fills a very difficult gap in published knowledge regarding the use of essential oils by discussing, in great detail, how scents interact with each other and how to create a formula that’s not only palatable, but evocative.

Dunwich’s Guide to Gemstone Sorcery, by Gerina Dunwich. Given the New Age fascination with all things shiny, it was quite a chore to sort through the myriad crystal books to find something with good information. While far from perfect and not exactly devoid of fluff, this book does give a level of detail about the lore surrounding gemstones not seen in many other texts.

Real Alchemy, by Robert Allen Bartlett. Excellent book, lots of history and detail. There’s a strong focus on tradition within the text, yet the author is quite accommodating of his audience and describes alternate methods that work better in a modern context.

Spagyrics, by Manfred M. Junius. With a highly-developed academic tone and attention to detail, this book is a meaty look at traditional alchemy. I recommend this more for intermediate practitioners due to the sheer density of information.

Spellbooks

The Goodly Spellbook, by Dixie Deerman and Steve Rasmussen. The title sounds horribly fluffy, but this is a hidden gem. It explains obscure concepts like alternative alphabets and potential uses of musical notes, as well as plant lore and other bits and pieces. Definitely worth checking out. It’s way more than just “a book of spells.”

Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells, by Judika Illes. The title sounds trite to some, but it delivers. This book has spells from almost every culture and spiritual philosophy, as well as a very detailed formulary. I read it when I’m bored sometimes, too, just because I always learn some tidbit from it.

Book of Spells, by Nicola Pulford. In most editions, this book is absolutely gorgeous and describes spellcasting traditions from a variety of perspectives and traditions. Recommended for those who already understand the basics, as this book jumps straight into spellcasting and gives only a small amount of information about how things work.

Ceremonial Magick

Modern Magick, by Donald Michael Kraig. I received this as a gift several years ago. It is essentially a workbook meant to be completed slowly, step by step, and while the format will not appeal to everyone, it’s a good easy-to-read introduction to ceremonial magick.

Familiar Spirits, by Donald Tyson. Though geared towards ceremonialists, any practitioner can likely learn a thing or two from Tyson’s interesting stroll through the whys and wherefores of spirit work and thoughtform creation. This is by far the best book I’ve seen on the topic of familiar spirits.

Secrets of High Magick, by Francis Melville. The most recent edition of this (the one I own) is lavishly-illustrated and full of rudimentary, yet useful information. He stresses the basics of ceremonial practice, and his writing style is very accessible. Highly recommended for absolute beginners.

My Life With The Spirits, by Lon Milo DuQuette. This is a memoir of a ceremonial magician, but it gives a good look at the magickal mindset in a highly developed form from someone who’s experienced quite a lot. I have major issues with DuQuette’s approach to Qabalah, but his memoirs are worth a read.

Chaos Magick

Liber Null and Psychonaut, by Peter Carroll. Classic book of chaos magick. I consider it required reading for almost anyone interested in the occult. Even if you have no love for chaos magick, do give it a read, just to understand how influential Carroll is, and why.

Hands-On Chaos Magic, by Andrieh Vitimus. Knowing some of the people involved in the creation of this book, I’m a bit biased towards it. That said, even if I didn’t know them, I would still recommend it. It’s especially interesting to read alongside Liber Null and Psychonautin order to see how the chaos “current” has developed over the years.

Pop Culture Magic 2.0 by Taylor Ellwood. There aren’t a lot of books on using pop culture symbolism in magick, but this one is nearly perfect. The author writes in a highly erudite, literate fashion, while still being accessible to newbies. Many useful resources cited, as well, so prepare to branch off a bit while reading it.

History-Related

Triumph of the Moon, by Ronald Hutton. An inside no-holds-barred look at the history of Wicca and Modern paganism. Highly recommended. This is sort of the book that fluffbunnies don’t want you to read.

Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult, by Richard Metzger. Lots of facts and history of magick in the context of Postmodernity. This is different from the Crowley text of the same name, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you want to focus on his tradition.

The Place of Enchantment, by Alex Owen. This is a purely historical text that documents the occult revival within the context of Modernity. I remember it being very good, but please realize I haven’t really picked it up much since graduating, and it might just have served my mindset at the time.

Tatterdemalion Dreams

This is a coda to Ragtag Heroes, not really intended to become a separate thing but my attempt to get into Sirius’s head. Excuse me while I upend my drabble bin over your heads. :D


Sirius’s little brother has always been just that—little. Regulus was a slight and slender child, and has grown into a lean and lithe man, a little too thin and rawboned from constant stress but still pretty in the way that their parents always despaired of. Sirius can admit, despite his hatred of her, that Walburga Black was an absolutely stunning woman, and Regulus takes after her very much in looks.

Not so much in personality, though, regardless of what Sirius thought as a child. Not after what he’s managed to accomplish.

Slumped in a dusty old armchair, Sirius watches his brother wander around Grimmauld Place’s library, touching covers, stroking long fingers over worn spines. This is Reggie’s element and always has been—Sirius was honestly astonished that he ended up in Slytherin rather than Ravenclaw, during the Sorting. Regulus as a child, in Sirius’s mind, was forever clutching a book, sometimes as big as himself, and wandering around with a dreamy, distant expression. He thinks of it with a bit of a pang, now, because at some point during his first year at Hogwarts that warm burst of fondness at the sight of his little brother, forever trying to please everyone, transformed into something sneering and derisive and passively loathing.

Regulus being sorted into Slytherin was the final straw, and Sirius, already immersed in being different from their parents and surrounded by Gryffindors who held the same beliefs, had turned his back on Regulus, not about to associate himself with a sniveling follower.

Never mind the fact that Regulus was eleven. Never mind that their parents had always leaned harder on Regulus, who was never nearly as willful. Never mind that Regulus adored Sirius since birth, as the only one who spent any amount of time with him outside of the house elves. Sirius had turned away, found a new brother in James who suited him so much better, and left without a backwards glance.

Their parents were never kind, even to the family favorite, and Sirius watches Regulus meander through the shelves with something like guilt roiling in his gut. Should have known, he thinks, and the vague, distant regret he’s felt since learning of his brother’s death is back in full force, because Sirius had run away from the family and left Regulus behind. It doesn’t matter that they were at odds at the time; Regulus was always a gentle soul, always tried to please their parents no matter what. Sirius could have easily taken him along to James’s, could have convinced him to abandon their parents’ ideals if only he’d remembered the sweet little boy Regulus had been, rather than looking at the distant, aloof Black prince he’d been forcibly molded into.

But he didn’t, hadn’t bothered, and something in Sirius is—

“Leo Prince,” Regulus says unexpectedly, making Sirius jump.

“What?” Sirius asks, blinking.

When he looks up, Regulus is giving him that nostalgic you’re-a-moron-Siri-and-must-I-lower-myself-to-your-level look. He’s seen it quite often—usually from the child Regulus used to be, excited about some obscure spell or ritual or potion, some little-known aspect of ancient magical theory that lost Sirius completely about twelve words into the explanation. Not that he’s an idiot, academically—Sirius has always been proud of his grades—but Regulus is something entirely different. Even their parents never quite knew what to do with him, beyond shipping him off to Voldemort in a gift-wrapped package.

“Yes, Reggie?” Sirius grins at his little brother, for the sole reason that the nickname drives him batty and nothing gets his ire up like pretending to be stupid. “What was that?”

Regulus rolls his eyes so hard Sirius wonders how he doesn’t strain something. “My name,” he explains, tone long-suffering, “for teaching at Hogwarts.”

Sirius turns it over in his head for a moment. “Leo?” he repeats dubiously, because outwardly Regulus is the perfect Slytherin, and whenever he’s not being Slytherin he gives a damned good impression of being a born Ravenclaw. Nothing leonine about him, really.

That gets him another roll of Regulus’s eyes, though it’s subtler this time. “The star Regulus is the brightest heavenly body in the constellation Leo,” he says, and his mouth quirks in a wry smile. “Also called ‘the Heart of the Lion’.”

Sirius snorts at that, wondering what twist of fate gave Regulus the one Black name that suited him exactly. ‘Heart of the Lion’ indeed. “And Prince?”

“From the literal meaning of my name.” Regulus turns back to his books again, plucking one off the shelf and adding it to the already sizeable pile he’ll be taking to Hogwarts with them. “’Little King’. It’s a name I’ve used before, in parts of the Continent. So if a particularly overprotective parent should try to trace my movements, there will be a trail. Leo Prince spent two years in Italy and then Eastern Europe, studying blood rituals from ancient times.”

Of course he did, Sirius thinks with a roll of his own eyes. He’s spent several weeks already with Hermione, and even she can’t hold a candle to his little brother. But rather than say anything—although it’s tempting, because Reggie being defensive over his rituals and spells is easily one of the more amusing things Sirius has ever encountered—he just asks, “And disguises? It’s more than likely that Peter told Voldemort about my Animagus form, and I hate to say it, Reggie, but you—”

“Yes, yes,” Regulus cuts him off, clearly annoyed. He’s always been easy for Sirius to rile. “We look very similar, I’m aware. Harry thought I was you, at first glance.”

Sirius blinks and fights a frown. Regulus is pretty, and Sirius has always considered himself—not without corroboration from other sources—to be handsome. Then he glances up, catches the tail end of Regulus’s wicked grin as the younger Black turns away, and huffs. “Oh, go on, rub it in,” he growls, chucking a cushion at his smirking brother. “At least I take after Father rather than dearest Mother in looks, pretty boy.”

That earns him a rude hand gesture and a scowl. “Anyway,” Regulus says forcefully. “I won’t use charms to change my appearance—they’re too easily detected and broken, even by the simplest of wards or spells. But…” He trails off, rummaging in a cupboard for a moment, and then, with a victorious sound, emerges holding a pair of glasses with delicate silver frames. He slips them onto his face, then pulls his hair from its loose tail and twists it into a messy braid falling over his shoulder.

They’re simple changes, but they’re able to highlight the differences between them. Sirius sits up straighter, taking in the way the glasses manage to entirely change Regulus’s face, and the hairstyle gives him a bookish, distracted, professorly air. With a change of clothes—good-quality robes, he thinks, maybe a little tattered, quiet colors, slightly too large—Regulus will be all but unrecognizable. Oh, there will be similarities, but there used to be a pureblood Prince family, and they intermarried with the Blacks enough to write off the resemblance as a result of typically tangled pureblood genealogy.

Regulus is giving Sirius the same look in return, but his is faintly distracted. “You, however,” he murmurs, “will need a charm or two, if only to keep from giving any of the more superstitious students a heart attack, looking like a Grim.” He trails off, muttering under his breath, his gaze absent, and Sirius realizes that this is his contemplative look. He’s no doubt running through every glamour charm he knows, cataloguing faults and weaknesses.

Such a Ravenclaw, really, Sirius thinks, and doesn’t even bother to fight the fond smile that rises. Good old Reggie, the walking encyclopedia of spells.

Then Regulus looks up at him and smiles that singularly angelic smile that means he’s about to show how he and Sirius really are related. He taps long fingers against his lips to hide the beginnings of a smirk, and murmurs, “Well, you’re the size of a bear, so there’s no way we’ll actually be able to pass you off as a normal dog, but…white, I think. Yes, white will do nicely. Maybe with a touch of tan?”

Sirius only has a moment to feel horrified before Regulus’s wand is out and moving.

“Well?” his little brother demands, sounding unnervingly like McGonagall. “Change already, we haven’t got all day.”

It’s going to be a very long year indeed.


It’s been a near age since Regulus last set foot on Hogwarts ground. He stands just outside the gates, staring up at the vast and imposing castle—strangely comforting, a home more than Grimmauld place could ever be, and he wonders if it’s like that for everyone. Perhaps only those from broken homes, if the Black family can count as such. Sirius, at least, had the Potters, but Regulus was always a distant, aloof child with few acquaintances and fewer friends. He had no one.

Unconsciously, his fingers curl into the thick fur of the beast standing at his side, higher than his waist and as big as a bear. White fur now, rather than black, but it’s still Sirius, still his brother brought back to him. Maybe everything isn’t entirely easy between them yet, but they’ve been strangers longer than they’ve been family, and they’re readjusting. Sirius whines softly and bumps against his hip, and Regulus musters up a smile for him.

“I’m fine, Siri,” he murmurs, although his fingers stay buried in pale fur. “Just…overwhelmed, a little.”

Normally he’d never admit to such a thing, but this is Hogwarts and he’s coming back and there’s absolutely nothing in the world he’s dreamed of more than destroying the Dark Lord with his brother at his side and the Light at this back. This is a step closer, the fifth out of seven, and then there’s only the snake left to find. Regulus has thrown out his net already; there are many people who owe him favors by now, with his knowledge base and skill set and Slytherin cunning, and Nagini will be found soon enough.

Just Ravenclaw’s artefact now, and then Harry. Their goal is so close, so achingly close that Regulus can almost taste it, and after sixteen unwavering years, he’s ready. Ready for a normal life, a death not at the hands of his former master, days not spent running from even the vaguest chance that Voldemort could discover him or his plans. It’s been too long.

With a huff of very un-canine impatience, Sirius shoves at him again and then heads up the road, strides sure and confident. Regulus only hesitates for a moment longer before hurrying to catch up with him, careful of his baggy robes. He hates them, if only for Sirius’s teasing at how he looks like a waifish scholar who thinks too much to eat. Not that Sirius is one to talk, really—he’s changed from looking like a Grim to looking like something out of Norse myth that’s about to devour the sun.

But Sirius is happy to be out of that dreary and rundown house, and Regulus can’t blame him. About the only good thing remaining there is Kreacher, and the elf is getting on in years. He’d been overjoyed that Regulus returned, but as much as Regulus missed him he hadn’t been able to bring himself to stay. He’d packed everything he needed in a day and headed out to Hogwarts and his new post, Sirius in tow. They’re quite a pair, really.

McGonagall meets them at the main doors, still regal and authoritative in a way Blacks can only dream of being, but she smiles faintly at Regulus. “Professor Prince,” she says. “How good to have you back. If you’ll follow me, I will show you to your chambers.”

This is happening, Regulus thinks suddenly, as his heart stutters and leaps forward into a gallop. This is real.

Professor, she called him, and that’s what he is now. No longer a nameless, fleeing face but a person, a figure of some standing, with a name and a past even if it isn’t his own.

That’s…pleasing.