I have been practicing Witchcraft for the majority of my life, with my interest in Witches beginning roughly at the age of 5. It started with a mere fascination of fairytale characters and progressively grew into an intrinsic piece of psyche. Looking back on my childhood, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t identify as a Witch, or at least as having a connection to magic. Of course, along the way I was shaped and influenced by many factors but one that stands out in particular is the books I read. For the sake of nostalgia and gratitude (for I certainly wouldn’t be the Witch I am today without having read these books), I’d like to share with you the top five books that influenced my Craft as a child.
The Book of Wizard Craft, by Janice Eaton Kilby, Deborah Morgenthal, Terry Taylor, and illustrated by Lindy Burnett.
I can’t remember how old I was when I first received this book, but it was so impactful on my life that I still have it today. The book presents itself as a tome being passed on from an Elder Wizard to his apprentice, you! Essentially a book of arts and crafts, it is full of different projects broken down into several chapters. There is a section on creating Wizard regalia such as robes, wands, amulets, and a trunk in which to store it all. Other sections contain projects related to animal husbandry, alchemy, book arts, and horticulture. Dispersed throughout are an assortment of informational pages on Faeries, Familiars, magical creatures, charms and spells, and assorted folklore. One of my favorite parts about The Book of Wizard Craft is its beautiful illustrations. To this day, flipping through the pages still evokes deep emotions within me. For me, the artwork is both breathtaking and inspiring. If I’m ever in need of a boost of magical inspiration I will spend some time with this book, looking over the gorgeous pictures.
The Book of Wizard Craft is important to me because it was one of the first hands-on books of magic I owned. It took the concepts I had read in fictional books about Wizards and Witches and put them in my childhood hands. This book was an invaluable resource for me at the beginning of my journey.
The Book of Wizardry by J. H. Brennan a.k.a Cornelius Rumstuckle
The Book of Wizardry to me was like a leveling up from The Book of Wizard Craft. It is more advanced both in terms of reading level and application of magical practices. The material is presented as a course for an Apprentice Wizard, being taught by the president of the Wizards’ Guild, Cornelius Rumstuckle. In total there are twenty-two lessons broken down into three degrees. The lessons progress from the basics of magical theory to working with the powers of the mind. The book culminates in a choose-your-own-adventure style quest in which your magical skills are put to the test. Upon successful completion you are given instructions through which you become a certified member of the Wizards’ Guild. It’s actually super cool, you mail in to the publisher and they actually send you a packet of information and an actual certificate (Note: I’m not sure if they still do this or not).
The Book of Wizardry was influential in that it taught me the basics of magical practice, focusing a lot of the powers of the mind. The author was able to take complex concepts and break them down into easy to follow lessons. The information provided in this book gave me a solid foundation upon which to build my budding Witchcraft practice. One chapter that I particularly loved focused on creating your own astral castle. What I learned from that chapter alone set me up for my future work in Hedge-Crossing.Hardy Boys: The Witchmaster’s Key by Franklin W. Dixon
Growing up my dad was always trying to get me to read the Hardy Boys, but I was always more of a Nancy Drew boy. However, I would read anything that involved Witches and this book was no exception. In this book we find the Hardy brothers flying off to England to help Professor Rowbotham, the curator of a Witch museum which has been robbed. Throughout the book are examples of covens, rituals, spells, and tools of the Craft all of which are surprisingly accurate. The plot itself is actually quite good, and I appreciated what I presume is a nod to the actual Museum of Witchcraft.
This book is important to me because it was one of the first times I encountered the concept of modern people practicing Witchcraft. There is a character named Harry Burke who explains to the Hardy Boys that he is a Witch and that his coven worships the Goddess Diana. This was incredibly exciting as a young child for a number of reasons, for one it validated my beliefs by showing me I wasn’t alone but also because it gave an example of a male Witch. This book is also unashamedly where my devotion to Diana originated, so thank you Hardy Boys! (Nancy Drew is still the Supreme).
To Ride a Silver Broomstick by Silver Ravenwolf
People who hate on Ravenwolf honestly need to take a seat. I’ll admit there are concepts within this book that are a bit outdated or perhaps even problematic. But she wrote this book in a different era and her contribution to modern Witchcraft should not be ignored. Also read this kick-ass interview she did with Mat Auyrn.
Anyways, To Ride a Silver Broomstick was one of the first books on Modern Witchcraft that I read as a kid and it was mind-blowing. I had read a few other books before this one, but there was something about the way in which Ravenwolf presented the information that really captivated me. Not only did she cover the basics of Witchcraft, but she also delved into topics such as webweaving and coming out of the broom closet. This book is highly important to me because it helped inspire me to really buckle down and explore my Craft as well as to develop a more structured practice (which was super helpful at the time).
21st Century Wicca by Jennifer Hunter
Honestly, there isn’t much I remember specifically about this book content wise, but I do remember checking it out from the local library and absolutely loving it! The book discusses various topics of Wicca including energy work, deity, Sabbats, altars, etc. as well as how Wicca fits into the context of community, relationships, and school. I think it was these latter sections that I appreciated the most, as well as the books inclusion of various narratives from different Wiccans. At a time when I was coming into the spirituality and wondering how to relate to the rest of the world, this book provided me with practical advice and the wisdom of others. Additionally, hearing the stories of others made me feel a little less alone as a young Witch in a small town.