Witchcraft Authors to Avoid
None. And I’ll tell you why.
I know, I know. I’m a horrible person. How could I possibly agree with all of these horrible authors? But here’s the thing: You don’t have to–and shouldn’t–agree with an author 100% just because you read them.
Instead of telling beginner witches not to read books or presses, I think we should tell them to read A LOT of source material instead, and read with a critical eye. Here are some things to look out for:
Pay attention to when it was published. Yes, I know Scott Cunningham’s info is old and not often followed anymore. And in ten years, my information will be outdated, and so will yours. Witchcraft trends change. Yarrow and rue used to be very popular beginner plants, because they are commonly found in many areas of North America. Nowadays, it’s more popular to use kitchen spices such as cinnamon and rosemary, and therefore these two herbs became outdated and are no longer used for what they were originally used for. This is something to keep in mind when reading a book from 1988.
(As a side note, different witches use different techniques and materials. I use bloodstone to connect with ancestors; I’ve never seen any other death witch do that. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong, it means I do things differently.)
Whenever you read a work, read critiques on it as well. Triumph of the Moon is well-written, and has a lot of acclaim! But it also has a lot of backlash–cultures the author glossed over, historical inaccuracies, biased claims, and the like. Read up on these critiques, even summaries. Hell, the amazon comments section and wikipedia articles even have some necessary critiques. I know tumblr can be an echo-chamber sometimes, but when you’re studying witchcraft, you shouldn’t remain in an echo-chamber. Read other sources. You’ll decide which one to agree with.
Research the author. How you approach the work depends on how trustworthy the author is. If people have problems with them–if they’re historically inaccurate, or disregard other cultures–keep that in mind while you read. You don’t have to completely avoid an author just because they’re inconsiderate about some things, especially if that work is historically significant. I know Gerald Gardner was iffy at best, but I still recommend reading Witchcraft Today if you’re studying Wicca, because that book was a HUGE influence on modern day.
Don’t avoid a press entirely. I see a lot of people shitting on Llewellyn Worldwide. If you don’t know, that’s one of the biggest Pagan/Witchcraft publishing presses in the world, and they’ve been around for a long time. For those who aren’t familiar with how publishing works, there are two things to know about presses. (1) It is not the press’s job to fact-check people for inaccuracies; it’s the author’s. Especially in big presses, editors and curators are there to make sure the book is readable and sells. That’s it. (2) Presses often like to change their footprint. This means that they like to publish things that haven’t been published before, or, if their last book got shit on by the community, they’ll want to find an author who’s better. Hence, the quality of authorship varies in a press. So there’s no need to flat-out avoid presses.
Read with an open mind. These books are here for us to learn. They’re even here for us to learn what NOT to do, or what we don’t want as a witch. You should be disagreeing. You should be questioning. You should be asking other peoples’ opinions on the subject. Because at the end of the day, your craft is your own, and you want to make it as uniquely “you” as possible.
To clarify, I’m not here to disregard anyone’s opinions of certain works. It is my opinion that people should form their own opinions of works, and learn from them. Especially beginners.
Thanks for your time. Have a good one ♡＾▽＾♡