What books couldn’t you or wouldn’t you, do without?
I was asked recently “What books couldn’t you or wouldn’t you do without?”.
I love reading, always have and my bookshelves are groaning under the weight of all my books.
As a child my dad would take us to the library every Saturday morning where I would get two or three books out each week to read.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I do recall one particular occasion, I must have only been around 8 or 9 years old when I came home from the library with Alice in Wonderland. I sat down and read that book in one sitting from cover to cover and it has remained a favourite ever since.
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
As a child my grandfather introduced me to the Sherlock Holmes stories and even though I was probably too young to understand some of the language at the time, again I have loved them ever since and they remind me of him every time I re-read them.
However, if I had to pick one author that I could never do without, it would be Terry Pratchett. I discovered his books nearly 30 years ago and have read and re-read all of them (41 of them in the Discworld series alone) many, many times. I can have a stack of new books to read (there is always a stack of new books…) but I still pick up a Discworld book to re-read. They are my comfort go to books. I could never nor would I ever want to be without them. They have been a huge part of my adult life. I suspect they also helped nudge me along my Pagan pathway too.
Beneath a Mountain Moon by Silver Ravenwolf
One book that may be a surprise, is called Beneath the Mountain Moon and is written by Witchcraft author Silver Ravenwolf. This book is one of her fiction books, all of which are very good. However, this one in particular has a special place on my shelf. It is the first time I came across the deity The Cailleach. It was after reading the book that I became intrigued in this fascinating goddess and started seeing her name in other places. Many years later The Cailleach is still with me and for that initial introduction I am very thankful.
And the others
There are many other fiction books I love, the Morganville Vampire series is also very good, and classics such as The Hobbit and The Wind in the Willows. If you can get hold of them, The Circle of Three series by Isobel Bird is also good.
When the question is asked about what a person should read to introduce them to Witchcraft I find that a lot of the ‘old staples’ are rolled out. Those of Crowley, Valiente, Adler etc. All very worthy and written by probably the most influential people of their time in shaping what is now modern Wicca/Witchcraft. Definitely worth reading at some point during your journey. However I have personally struggled with some of the text and am not sure they are quite the right books to start your pathway with. Here are my own suggestions. One or two of these books I started with many years ago, others I read and digested along the way.
I have books in the hundreds…and some I have read from cover to cover, others I have flicked through and some I dip in and out of. However, there are a few that I recommend when someone asks me what books a new comer to the Craft should read. The following are my suggestions.
I am always a bit embarrassed to recommend by own books but there are three that I keep on my desk to use as reference, they are all full of post it notes stuck to different pages. I don’t remember every correspondence so these are handy to pick up and check.
A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Food
A Kitchen Witch’s World of Magical Plants and Herbs
Kitchen Witchcraft: Crystal Magic
To Ride a Silver Broomstick by Silver Ravenwolf
Perhaps a ‘book of its time’ (early 90s) it was one of the first books I read on witchcraft and actually worked my way through all the exercises. It helped set me on the pathway I am on today and for that I am truly thankful. Does it stand up today? Yes I think it probably does for the most part.
The Hedge Witch’s Way by Rae Beth
My introduction to Hedge Witchcraft came from Rae Beth’s books. They helped give me a different perspective other than the Wiccan pathway I had been learning.
Grimoire of a Green Witch by Ann Moura
This huge tome is an excellent reference guide for all sorts of things and is filled with lots of post it notes referencing particular pages. Not really a ‘read from cover to cover’ book but definitely very good for looking up correspondences or useful information.
The Real Witches’ Handbook by Kate West
Good introduction books for those new to witchcraft, Kate West writes well and includes lots of information and ideas.
The Inner Temple of Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak
All of Christopher’s books are excellent. He covers Wicca in great detail. His Temple series is particularly good, huge books packed full of information and useful exercises. It is a lot to work through but well worth it if Wicca is your chosen journey.
Progressive Witchcraft by Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone
I was extremely honoured to have been taught this as a course by Janet and Gavin, they have a wonderful sense of humour and supported me throughout. This is the book of the course. It takes a more modern look at witchcraft than the Farrar’s original books and covers some interesting subjects.
Magical Beasts by Marie Bruce
This book was my first proper introduction to animal magic and my copy is well thumbed and read from cover to cover.
The Sacred Round by Elen Hawke
I love Elen’s books. This one is particularly nature based and covers spells, rituals, magic, meditations and rites among other things.
Embracing the Moon by Yasmine Galenorn
A guide to ritual, spell craft and shadow work, my copy is well read and stuffed with post it notes marking interesting pages.
Aspecting the Goddess by Jane Meredith
If you want to work with Goddess energy seriously this is the book for you, I highly recommend it. It walks you through drawing down the divine feminine sharing guidance on all levels of the practice. I also highly recommend her book Journey to the Dark Goddess if you fancy some shadow work.
It’s your choice
There are of course a whole heap load more books out there that are good. Not every one is going to love every book, we are all individuals that like what we like. Find what resonates with you.
If you would like to watch me answer this question and others please click on the link below: