melita

[Revised 2/17] Books for Witches, Diviners and Spellcasters

Hi, everyone. A while back (a long time ago, actually), I started an annotated bibliography on books about witchcraft and magick, and I’ve updated it once (last November). 

Since then, I’d been keeping a list of things I need to add to it, but didn’t get around to actually reworking and updating the list a second time until today. Largely because I can’t really go outside much today because of the smog. But anyways, here it is. I’ve also included divination-related books in this version, whereas previously they were separate.

I hope you find something on here that suits your fancy! Happy reading! Also, yes, I do want to do more book reviews on this blog, so if you’d like a longer review of one of the books listed below, let me know and I can write one.

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.

Hedgewitchery and Astral Travel

Ecstatic Witchcraft, by Gede Parma. This is actually probably my favorite book on this subject, even though hedgeriding is only a part of what the book discusses. The only bad thing I can really say about this book is that it’s really not recommended for beginners, and it’s helpful to have the basics of visualization already mastered (for example) before doing the exercises Parma recommends.

By Land, Sky and Sea, by Gede Parma. This book goes into even greater details regarding different ways of conceptualizing the cosmology of hedgeriding, and I find it a very refreshing book that appreciatively draws from a number of different perspectives while grounding itself, so to speak, with the overarching metaphor of land, sky, and sea as the three worlds.

The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, by Christopher Penczak. Penczak is usually a pretty mixed bag, and this book is no exception. It gives a lot of good practical information and a very in-depth exploration of the three worlds (a useful concept), but it’s primarily framed by Wicca, so it might not resonate with those of other faiths and particularly those who aren’t pagan at all.

Ascension Magick, by Christopher Penczak. There’s a chapter or two in this that address alternate ways of conceptualizing the architecture of reality, and it’s pretty helpful for a hedgerider. Beyond that, this book is mostly about ceremonial magick, but it’s a (mostly) good book. Certain parts (such as the bit about UFOs) are a little off, in my opinion.

The Shamanic Witch, by Gail Wood. This book is really best suited for someone who practices Wicca and, besides the background info and cosmological descriptions, is really only useful in the context of that tradition. If you’re Wiccan or willing to pick around a lot of Wiccan-talk, though, this is a good foundation.

Witches, Werewolves and Fairies, by Claude Lecouteux. It can be hard to find scholarly works on these phenomena that are affordable, but here’s one I personally enjoyed. It details many accounts of journeying experienced by both pagans and Christians in earlier times, and gives a good description of the concept of the astral double, the architecture of the soul, and other topics throughout history.

Betwixt and Between, by Storm Faerywolf. This book is mostly a guide to the Feri tradition of witchcraft, but while I myself don’t practice that, those who do seem to know a lot about hedgeriding! The book has several chapters on the subject and is highly recommended for this reason.

The Psychic Energy Codex, by Michelle Belanger. A lot of people have strong opinions about this author, but this is book actually provides a lot of good information about so-called “energy work” which can be a step in the right direction for those wanting to ride the hedge.

Psychic Dreamwalking, by Michelle Belanger. In this book, Belanger discusses, essentially, how to use your non-waking life as a vehicle to for journeying, and while I myself don’t usually dreamwalk, much of what she says applies to hedgeriding in other states, too.

Hedge Riding and Hedge Witchcraft, by Harmonia Saille. I only mention these two in order to say that they’re best avoided. Saille tries to give a comprehensive look at the phenomenon, but it’s poorly-written and overly New Age. The negative reviews of them on Amazon really cover the problems with these book in more detail than I ever could.

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.

Tarot

The Book of Thoth, by Aleister Crowley. Make sure you actually own (or have access to pictures of) the Thoth deck before you dive into this. By far one of the best books on Tarot ever published. The prose is often dense and purple, but in this one book, Crowley teaches so much about Tarot and it’s connection to the Western Mystery Tradition. I can’t really say much more - it must be experienced.

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by Arthur Edward Waite. I recommend this book because it is a classic and was introductory for many older readers. It will teach you to read and gives insight into the methodology behind the Waite-Smith deck specifically, particularly his use of what are essentially parables and why he does this. Do not expect too much esoteric information, but read it anyways.

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, by Rachel Pollack. This is the epitome of a good modern Tarot book and is really one of the first ones I’d recommend for someone looking for an accessible book on Tarot in a modern context. Very dense in information and history, yet altogether worth it. You’ll want highlighters nearby for this one!

Tarot for a New Generation, by Janina Renée. This is essentially a book for children and teenagers, but I do recommend it for them, specifically, because it is well-written, easy to understand, and helpful to absolute beginners.

Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot, by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin. This book focuses just on the history, symbolism, and creative process of the Waite-Smith deck. It gives you an inside line on just what Pixie Smith was thinking when painting specific scenes, and is a great look at her life’s work, as well.

The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, by Robert M. Place. This book will not teach you to read Tarot, but does give an actual, accurate portrait of the history of the phenomena, which is incredibly important and useful. Know your history.

Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, by Lon Milo DuQuette. I hesitate to recommend DuQuette due to issues I have with his approach to Qabalah, but many people ask me for a beginner book for the Thoth Tarot specifically, and this is the closest I’ve come to finding one. I recommend reading this alongside, and not instead of, Crowley’s Book of Thoth.

The Back in Time Tarot, by Janet Boyer. This is more for the intermediate reader, and the entire book details a single, extremely useful technique for familiarizing yourself with the cards, namely by framing past events in terms of how they might appear in a spread.

Lenormand

The Essential Lenormand, by Rana George. This was not the first Lenormand book I picked up, but it was the most influential and intense. Ms. George writes in a personable, touching fashion and brings the concepts of the system home by relating them to life experiences in a way rarely seen. She is one of those authors I literally go all “fangirl” over.

Learning Lenormand, by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin. This is one of the better beginner books on Lenormand. I’m not going to lie - it isn’t as good as Rana George’s, but it definitely is worth reading if you’re completely new to the system. It’s very accessible, where some of the books I’ll be listing later in this can seem intimidating, or so I’ve been told.

Lenormand: Thirty-Six Cards, by Andy Boroveshengra. This book is intense, but in a different way than Ms. George’s. Expect to be inundated with information and techniques. Another one of those where you really need to take notes or highlight while reading, and read it multiple times.

Secrets of the Lenormand Oracle, by Sylvie Steinbach. This book is organized in a novel and useful fashion by topic, and gives specific techniques for readings on love, money, spirituality, and other topics. Highly recommended, and I tend to use it as a reference book nowadays, looking things up as needed.

The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook, by Caitlyn Matthews. Not for the beginner, nor the faint at heart, this one details a lot of what, to me, seem to be more advanced approaches and techniques. I use this book a lot, and I think anyone else will enjoy it, too. Good information on the connection between Lenormand and traditional playing cards, too.

Cartomancy with Lenormand and the Tarot, by Patrick Dunn. This is more of a special topic book, and best read after you’ve got some familiarity with both Tarot and Lenormand. It’s all about using them in tandem and the synergy between them.

Astrology

The Luminaries, by Liz Greene. I could really recommend anything by this author, but she’s written so much, and this book is a particularly important one. It focuses entirely on the Sun and Moon in astrology, and gives a good look at why the luminaries need to have a special place in your understanding.

The Weiser Concise Guide to Practical Astrology, by Priscilla Costello. This is focused, as you might expect, on actual interpretation of charts and less on theory, but it gives a good background on that, too. Was quite helpful in my attempts to interpret @xepsurah‘s unusual natal chart.

The Complete Book of Astrology, by Kris Brandt Riske. Very beginner, and very light on intellect, heavy on intuition. A great introduction, but I would not suggest it as the only book you read if you’re really interested in the subject.

Tasseography

Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners, by Caroline Dow. There are only a few books within Llewellyn’s immensely popular “For Beginners” series that I would recommend, and this is one of them. The symbol glossary (which makes up the bulk of the book) is the most useful part.

Tea Cup Reading, by Sasha Fenton. This book goes into some detail (quite a bit, actually) about the history of tea and coffee, and, better yet, how to prepare them in the traditional fashion! A lot of traditional lore is described, as well.

Scrying, etc.

Scrying for Beginners, by Donald Tyson. This is really a surprise find, as I don’t usually expect much from this series, by Tyson knows his history and goes far beyond simple exercises for scrying. He is a bit biased towards mirror and crystal-gazing techniques, but does discuss other methods.

Psychic Development for Beginners, by William Hewitt. Readable, and offers some very practical developmental exercises for those wishing to hone extrasensory abilities. Be prepared to sort through a lot of woo, though.

[Revised 11/1/17] Book Recommendations for Witches, Spellcasters, and the Curious

I periodically (usually once a year) make an updated post of my annotated bibliographies for witchcraft, magick, and divination studies. I recently noticed that I hadn’t done this in a long time! 

Since I’ve read a lot of new books in that time, and since many are worth adding, I thought I’d go ahead and post an updated list. 

I’ve added just ten new ones this time! Unfortunately, still, it’s getting quite long, so I’m splitting it into two posts - one for divination, and one for magick/witchcraft.  I will be tagging both as #long and #long+post because I realize this is pretty extreme in terms of length.

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.

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy, by Rose Orriculum. Written by Tumblr’s own @orriculum, this is one of the best, most modern an no-nonsense Craft introductory books I’ve seen. It’s unabashedly up-to-date and self-aware in its portrayal of the contemporary Craft.

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.

Spirit Conjuring for Witches, by Frater Barrabbas. Frater B. is a very learned and rather famous magician and witch. This book is mostly geared towards Wicca, but even if you’re not Wiccan, his techniques are innovative and interesting, many utterly unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

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 readingEnergy 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.

Hedgewitchery and Astral Travel

Ecstatic Witchcraft, by Gede Parma. This is actually probably my favorite book on this subject, even though hedgeriding is only a part of what the book discusses. The only bad thing I can really say about this book is that it’s really not recommended for beginners, and it’s helpful to have the basics of visualization already mastered (for example) before doing the exercises Parma recommends.

By Land, Sky and Sea, by Gede Parma. This book goes into even greater details regarding different ways of conceptualizing the cosmology of hedgeriding, and I find it a very refreshing book that appreciatively draws from a number of different perspectives while grounding itself, so to speak, with the overarching metaphor of land, sky, and sea as the three worlds.

The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft, by Christopher Penczak. Penczak is usually a pretty mixed bag, and this book is no exception. It gives a lot of good practical information and a very in-depth exploration of the three worlds (a useful concept), but it’s primarily framed by Wicca, so it might not resonate with those of other faiths and particularly those who aren’t pagan at all.

Ascension Magick, by Christopher Penczak. There’s a chapter or two in this that address alternate ways of conceptualizing the architecture of reality, and it’s pretty helpful for a hedgerider. Beyond that, this book is mostly about ceremonial magick, but it’s a (mostly) good book. Certain parts (such as the bit about UFOs) are a little off, in my opinion.

The Shamanic Witch, by Gail Wood. This book is really best suited for someone who practices Wicca and, besides the background info and cosmological descriptions, is really only useful in the context of that tradition. If you’re Wiccan or willing to pick around a lot of Wiccan-talk, though, this is a good foundation.

Witches, Werewolves and Fairies, by Claude Lecouteux. It can be hard to find scholarly works on these phenomena that are affordable, but here’s one I personally enjoyed. It details many accounts of journeying experienced by both pagans and Christians in earlier times, and gives a good description of the concept of the astral double, the architecture of the soul, and other topics throughout history.

Betwixt and Between, by Storm Faerywolf. This book is mostly a guide to the Feri tradition of witchcraft, but while I myself don’t practice that, those who do seem to know a lot about hedgeriding! The book has several chapters on the subject and is highly recommended for this reason.

The Psychic Energy Codex, by Michelle Belanger. A lot of people have strong opinions about this author, but this is book actually provides a lot of good information about so-called “energy work” which can be a step in the right direction for those wanting to ride the hedge.

Psychic Dreamwalking, by Michelle Belanger. In this book, Belanger discusses, essentially, how to use your non-waking life as a vehicle to for journeying, and while I myself don’t usually dreamwalk, much of what she says applies to hedgeriding in other states, too.

Hedge Rider by Eric De Vries. Considered a classic on this subject, this book contains a lot of good information on making the jump across the Hedge, but with a lot of editorializing about “true witchcraft,” etc. A mixed bag, but still recommended.

To Fly by Night, edited by Veronica Cummer. This is an anthology about hedgecraft by many different authors. The essays vary in quality but there’s something for everyone, and the text doesn’t shy away from tough topics, either.

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

Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans, by Ivo Dominguez, Jr. This book, unlike most astrology texts, won’t tell you much about interpreting a chart - instead, it’s an entire book on timing your magick with the stars!

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.

A Handbook of Saxon Sorcery and Magic, by Alric Albertsson. I really enjoyed this little book, which focuses on older magical traditions common among the ancient Saxons. It is very much introductory, but worth a read for those new to those traditions.

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.

The Hearth Witch’s Compendium, by Anna Franklin. This book is essentially a recipe book for various home remedies and magical purposes. For the most part, it focuses on healing work, but there’s some great tips in there for making your own cleaning products and such, too. Highly recommended.

Magical Housekeeping, by Tess Whitehurst. This is worth reading if you keep your own house/apartment and are looking for practical magical techniques for cleanliness and inviting harmony into your spaces. It could be more detailed, but I enjoyed it.

A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook, by Patricia Telesco. This is a recipe book. It is mainly geared towards Wiccans and those who celebrate the eight sabbats, but the dishes are tasty and sure to please anyone.

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 havemajor 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.

falling for your fears

Fandom: Buzzfeed Unsolved.

Pairing: Ryan Bergara/Shane Madej, briefly implied Eugene Lee Yang/Zach Kornfield.

Audience: Teenage Rating.

Warnings: Swearing, mention of sex, vague description of claustrophobia.

Word Count: 1,054 words.

For @caterpillar-sam and their prompt on Demon!Shane and Ryan finding out.

This is my first fanfic ever, so please be gentle. I hope you like it! 💖


Shane was fucking pissed when the Sallie demon followed them to work. He knew it was because of Ryan, because of the intoxicating smell of fear that he radiated whenever he went to a location infested with demons and spirits. Only certain, powerful demons could leave their ‘territory,’ and Shane was aware that a few, simple words wouldn’t get the demon to back off this time. So when it showed up, introducing himself as Blake, Shane gritted his teeth behind Ryan as the man in question shook his hand happily and offered to take Blake on a tour of the office. That was Ryan’s problem. He was too nice, too trusting, and Shane hated and loved his boyfriend for it. He spent the day trying to get the demon as far away from Ryan as possible.


He just didn’t want him hurt.


It all went downhill when Ryan went missing on his lunch break, and didn’t respond on his phone. The demon was too smart to kill outright, or to reveal itself, so Shane was just left to stare at his phone and filter through the things that the demon could do to scare his boyfriend. Ryan had so many fears-it was hard to filter through which the demon would manipulate. Rising from his chair, Shane frowned at Eugene, who was preoccupied with a sleepy Zach, curled up in the taller man’s lap. “I’m going to go find Ryan, okay? If he comes back, text me.” True, Ryan had only been gone for half an hour more than his lunch break allowed, but Ryan usually ate in the office with Shane, and was always on time. Normally, Shane wouldn’t worry. But a missing Ryan and a missing demon together set his nerves on fire. All he wanted was his boyfriend safe.

It was half an hour later when Shane heard the cries. Ryan’s muffled, pained sobs had him darting down corridors and pushing past people to get to the noise, which came from a locked storage cupboard. Fuck. Ryan was claustrophobic. Not terribly, but when he was in an enclosed space, alone, without knowing where he was exactly-Shane understood why it freaked him out. The demon was leaning by the door, eating off the fear. “Get out of my way,” Shane growled, squaring up, shoving his way in front of the door. “Get the fuck out of here and away from him, you fucking piece of shit. You so much as look at him and I will send you straight back to hell and make sure you starve.” Shane’s voice got deeper and deeper, eyes darkening and lights flickering overhead. “That’s my human. You touch him, you deal with me. Understood? Fucking go, before I contact Lucifer and tell him personally.” Turning his back, Shane ignored the lock on the door and ripped it open, dropping in beside a curled up Ryan, staring at him with terrified eyes. “What do you mean, tell Lucifer?” He whispered, pressing away from Shane, against the wall. “Back to hell? What-” Ryan shook his head, flinching as Shane stepped closer. “Don’t-” he held his hands up. “Don’t come any closer.”

Shane’s heart broke. “Ryan. Babe-”

“Don’t call me that!” Ryan screeched. “What are you?” He pointed an accusing finger. “Why have you been lying to me?! Why?!” His bottom lip trembled, and a little sob escaped him. “Do you know what-I don’t care. Stay away from me.” Ryan didn’t know how that would work. Their desks were next to each other, they worked together, and did everything together.


That evening, Ryan watched the sun go down. His eyes glazed over when he realised that he didn’t know where he began and Shane ended, and the fact that Shane had been lying to him felt like a knife in his heart. He knew demons fed off fear. Is that all he was? A meal?


“I have your spare key,” Shane breathed from the door, watching as Ryan spun around to face him. He held his hand up, the other weighed down by a bag of Chinese takeout. “I’m not here to kill you or some shit. Or feed off your fear. I just-don’t say anything. Just listen. I mean, I was at first. Going to feed off your fear. That was why I joined Unsolved. But I fell in love with you. I did. I am. Ryan-I would never, ever try to harm you. You haven’t seen any demons because I keep them away to protect you. I promise. I never-I never told you because I can’t lose you, Ryan. I can’t. I had never been in love before I met you. Ever. I would do anything to keep you safe. I’d choose you over and over. Without a pause or a doubt, I would choose you. But I get it if this is something you can’t get past-”


“I choose you too,” Ryan said quietly. His eyes were wet, a soft smile on his face. “Oh, Shane. I just wish you would of told me.” He smiled softly. Shane looked up, hopeful. “So you’re staying?” He asked, quietly.


“I will if you pass me the food before it gets cold.”


“So, can you use any demon powers in sex?” Ryan inquired, chopsticks rummaging in his sesame chicken. Shane choked, wheezing, staring at his boyfriend with wide eyes. “What type of-what-” he stammered. “What type of demon powers?! Like, what, me fucking you on a pentagram or-” Ryan wheezed, punching his chest. “No! Like, can you be, like, super fast? Like a super fuck or something?” He was almost as red as Shane as he laughed, hiding his face. “I don’t know. I’ve never tried. Probably? But I also don’t want to hurt you, baby.” Shane’s thumb rubbed circles into Ryan’s collarbone as the younger tucked himself into his side. Ryan hummed drowsily, pushing his empty container to the side. “Okay,” he breathed. “Hold the FUCK UP. So you knew that demons were real. THIS WHOLE TIME?! THAT IS IT. IN THE NEW EPISODE, YOU ARE GOING TO LOOK INTO THE CAMERA AND TELL ME AND THE WORLD THAT YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS AND DEMONS JUST AS MUCH AS ME.” Ryan looked enraged, poking Shane in the chest. “This whole time, Shane Madej!”

“I love you?”

“Go to hell.”

i don’t want the worlds attention, only yours.

For @a-deliciouslyfadingcollection and their prompt on hidden!relationship Shyan, a slip up, and a sassy Eugene.

Word count: 669 words.

Rating: Teen Audiences.

Warnings: None.

Relationships: Shane Madej/Ryan Bergara, background Zach Kornfield/Eugene Lee Yang.

Ryan loved holding hands with Shane.

Shane’s hands were always warm, and far bigger than his, and he felt so safe and protected with his hands on his lower back, in his hair, on his thigh or a little higher-

He couldn’t have that at work. And it was only around a 7 hour shift, but 7 hours of his secret boyfriend next to him with no touching killed, especially when Shane looked at him like he was his world, like he was drowning and Ryan was the air. Ryan wanted to capture that look, to take a picture and stare at it and then kiss Shane over and over again until his love was clear. But he wasn’t ready yet-Eugene probably knew, but Ryan had a hunch that Eugene secretly knew everything, which meant Zach probably knew-the two were a package deal. He knew Shane wanted to go public, and he wanted it too, but it was-hard, knowing that everyone would treat him differently. What if one of his co-workers was homophobic secretly? Buzzfeed was incredibly LGBT+, he knew, and Zach and Eugene were incredibly touchy as a couple at work and had nothing but positive responses from everyone but Keith: “Not in the workplace, you gentlemen, hands only above waist! This isn’t ’Try Guys attempt to cope with their partner’s soppy shit!’ I’m looking at you, Zach.”

But there was still that little nagging in Ryan’s head. Shane was nothing but understanding, his hand immediately sliding out of his as soon as they walked through the doors of work, often 5 minutes apart as part of the act.

But Shane was getting touchier.

They’d slept together for the first time that weekend-and Shane couldn’t seem to keep his hands to himself, in more than a casual way-slapping his ass, trailing up his thigh and arm, playing with his fingers and Ryan hated pushing him away. Shane didn’t complain, or look disappointed, or comment, but Ryan knew Shane was a lot happier when he could show everyone that Ryan was taken, especially because Shane was very, very easily jealous. One little look at he was seething. Jen slapped his ass once as a joke in their IV Hangovers video with the Test Friends, and Ryan almost ended up being fucked in the bar bathroom.

Shane pulled him into his lap. At work.

It happened the next week after another few rounds of mind-blowing sex, and every round resulted in a touchier Shane, every time, until it happened at work. Ryan was walking past, until he dropped his folder. Bending down to pick it up, bent ass facing Shane, the man just turned and saw Ryan’s ass, unfortunately clothed (but still a great ass) right in front of him. And he couldn’t stop his hands in time before he yanked Ryan back into his lap, and told him loudly that he looked hot in those jeans, before realising what he’d done and staring at Ryan, who had gone pale, eyes wide as he stared back silently. The office was also silent, all staring in return or judging, and Ryan wanted to throw up and Shane opened his mouth to say anything, do anything-

“COUGH IT UP, FUCKERS.”

Eugene, Jen, Zach and Ned stood proudly on their desks, Ned seeming FaceTiming Ariel, all of them holding their hands up. Grumbles resounded around the office, before around 10 people handed varying notes to the four. Ryan’s jaw dropped. “You BET on us?!” He asked, voice shrill. “I can’t-how did you know?!”

“Easy,” Zach said flatly. “You two look at each other like Ned looks at Ariel, or like I look at Eugene. Disgustingly happy.”

9

Book Recommendation 2017 round up

You would think with how popular the Tudor era is that new 2017 releases would be easy to find, but this list has taken me ages to get and I’ve listed a few of these before, but here are nine new Tudor Era books released in 2017 (many of these however are based on U.K dates and probably won’t be released in the North America until next year)

The King’s Pearl: Henry VIII and his daughter Mary by Melita Thomas (September 15th)

The House of Beaufort: The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown Nathen Amin (August 15th/Novembver 1st)

Elizabeth’s Rival: The Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester: The Romance and Conspiracy that Threatened Queen Elizabeth’s Court by Nicola Tallis (November 2nd)

Sisters to the King: TheRemarkable True Story of Henry VIII’s Sisters by Maria Perry (November 2nd)

Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots: The Life of Henry VIII’s Sister by Maria Perry (December 7th)

Anne Boleyn: Femme Fatale by Amy Licence (November 15th)

Owen Tudor Found Father of the Tudor Dynasty by Terry Breverton (October 1st)

House of Power: The Places that Shaped the Tudor World by Simon Thurley (April 20th)

This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World by Jerry Brotton (March 2nd)