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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.

3

4.30.17 / 4:30 pm / kai’s song- the overcoats
i had a very productive and picturesque sunday. i camped out in emissary sipping on a tiny, wonderful cappuccino whilst doing final essay prep. finals season is upon us, so it’s important to remember to relax and treat yourself with a drink or meal every so often, & there’s no better place to treat yourself than in dc!

2

19.09.17

Good news: My illness has weakened to nothing more than a vague headache and the ocasional spontaneous bloody nose.

Bad news: I’m tired as all Hell and there is work to be done. Don’t worry though, I’m already catching up on my shedule! Which is why the natural light is already long gone in the picture…

Listening to: Mistur by Sigur Rós

[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.

10

💕✨THE ENCHANTED TAROT - 25th Anniversary Edition✨💕 

Omg, the colouring of this deck is wild (in a very, very good way)! I’m excited to add this beautiful and interesting new deck to my collection. As always, some first impressions and thoughts under the cut! 

⭐️don’t remove the caption please!⭐️ 

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