The 20 Best Books On The Dead For The Modern Witch

The 20 Best Books On The Dead For The Modern Witch September 23, 2020

Image Credit: Kate Novikova | Standard License

Death is something that no human can avoid, whether its those we know passing over or the more obvious that we will perish one day as well. In my book Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magick, and Manifestation, I discuss the three-soul model within witchcraft and give an explanation of witchcraft mystery teachings related to how reincarnation, hauntings, and mediumship can all simultaneously occur without any major conflict. I get asked about the dead, ancestors, hauntings, and mediumship a lot, especially during autumn. I decided that I wanted to share my twenty favorite books that are witchcraft oriented that I feel are valuable resources for any witch who is looking for information on these topics.

The topics of these books range from working with our ancestors, mediumship, dealing with the restless dead, as well as psychopomp and even funerary rites, all through the lens of the modern witch. These books are all entirely devoted to one or more of these topics or have a large chunk of the book devoted to it. A couple of these titles have not been released yet either, but I’ve had the honor of reading them in advance. Each book is organized in alphabetical order of title and the descriptions are the ones provided by the publisher on their Amazon listing. I have reviewed several of these books myself, and you might want to browse my book reviews as well.


Badass Ancestors: Finding Your Power with Ancestral Guides by Patti Wigington

Badass Ancestors: Finding Your Power with Ancestral Guides

by Patti Wigington

Cultivate Relationships with Your People for Empowerment and Healing. This groundbreaking book shows you how to work with different types of ancestors to find, develop, and celebrate the personal power of your inner badass. By embracing the strength of your lineageboth blood relatives and those chosen by the heartyou can receive wisdom and guidance when you need it the most.

Badass Ancestors provides a compelling series of rituals, meditations, mantras, and exercises that connect you with ancestral guides. You’ll discover advice on genealogy research, the history of ancestor veneration in cultures around the world, ways to deal with problematic ancestors, and how to leave your own legacy for future generations. Each chapter offers unique calls to actionincluding crafts and recipesthat help you build self-confidence and overall badassery with your ancestors’ assistance. When you develop relationships with your relatives and with spiritual or archetypal ancestors, you engage the process of healing trauma and achieving a deep sense of emotional and spiritual well-being.


Buckland's Book of Spirit Communications By Raymond Buckland

Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications

by Raymond Buckland

Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications is for anyone who wishes to communicate with spirits, as well as for the less adventurous who simply want to satisfy their curiosity about the subject. Explore the nature of the physical body and learn how to prepare yourself to become a medium. Experience for yourself the trance state, clairvoyance, psychometry, table tipping, levitation, talking boards, automatic writing, spiritual photography, spiritual healing, distant healing, channeling, and development circles. Also learn how to avoid spiritual fraud.

This revised and expanded edition of Buckland’s popular Doors to Other Worlds has over one hundred new pages, including a completely new chapter on electronic spirit contact. It features additional photographs and illustrations, an index, a new preface, and a workbook format with study questions and answers for each chapter.


Communing with the Ancestors: Your Spirit Guides, Bloodline Allies, and the Cycle of Reincarnation By Raven Grimassi

Communing with the Ancestors: Your Spirit Guides, Bloodline Allies, and the Cycle of Reincarnation

by Raven Grimassi

Explore the realm of the ancestors with author and Pagan scholar Raven Grimassi. In this fascinating and far-ranging guide, you will learn practices and rituals both ancient and new for communing with the ancestors, specifically:

  • How to build shrines and altars and make offerings.
  • Where to find and work with sacred sites, power places, and special portals to the ancients.
  • Guided imagery that will take you into the “Cavern of the Ancestors,” the spiritual corridor where the ancestors can be directly approached.
  • How to access the Spirit-Rider, an ancestor that can travel between the realms of mortals and ancients.
  • How to see and understand the restless dead who remain bound to the Earth realms.
  • The role of reincarnation in the soul’s relationship to ancestral lineage.
  • Plus some of the extraordinary folklore, legend, and superstition surrounding the topic.

Deeper Into the Underworld: Death, Ancestors & Magical Rites by Chris Allaun

Deeper Into the Underworld: Death, Ancestors & Magical Rites

by Chris Allaun

Deeper into the Underworld we go. The Underworld is home to our beloved ancestors, those who gave us our flesh and blood and our breath. Their blood flows through our veins and contains great magick and power. They have the ability to help us heal old karmic wounds of the past and aide us in our spiritual development. They can teach us many things about the world of spirit. All we have to do is honor them. All we have to do is call to them.

The cycles of Life are sacred to our pagan and magical cosmology, but what of Death? As we honor life, so, too, must we honor the sacredness of death and dying. As we go further in our Underworld studies, we will learn about the Angel of Death and energetic process of dying. Death is not the end. It is a magical transition into the world of spirit where we are rejoined with our beloved ancestors. The Ancestors are our link to our past. We will learn to honor them and create a sacred shrine so that we may commune with them in a magical and healing way. By honoring the ancestors, we will strengthen our bonds with the spirits and learn to heal our family karma that began long ago and affects us even today.

By learning to work with the ancestors, we will learn to work with the spirits of the dead for magick and healing. We will learn how ancient cultures summoned the beloved dead to heal grief and say final goodbyes. We will also learn magical techniques to summon the shades of the dead and the Hidden Company; those powerful spirits that can teach us ancient wisdom of long ago that can help us tread our spiritual path to find balance and healing.


Do I Have to Wear Black?: Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans By Mortellus

Do I Have to Wear Black?: Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans

By Mortellus

Explore the myriad of customs that have emerged around death and dying in the magical and Pagan communities. Filled with rituals, meditations, legal considerations, and deep insights into death as a spiritual process, this book can be used by magical practitioners or shared with non-Pagan professionals who support Pagans in their final transitions.

Within these pages, you will discover more than fifty rituals for funerals, memorials, and remembrances as well as meditations for mourning and letting go. Each chapter shares the beliefs and specific rituals of a distinct tradition, including British Traditional Wicca, Discordianism, Eclectic Wicca, Heathenry, Hellenic Reconstructionism, Kemetism, Neo-Druidry, and Thelema. With contributions from ten practitioners, Do I Have to Wear Black? delivers a multitude of magical rites and detailed explanations in one convenient practical manual.


Forbidden Mysteries of Faery Witchcraft By Storm Faerywolf

Forbidden Mysteries of Faery Witchcraft

By Storm Faerywolf

Draw on your inner darkness and unlock the secrets of the Hidden Kingdom. Whether your demons are ancient spirits or demons of your own making, you must confront them in order to reclaim the power they have stolen. Guiding you through enchantments, demonic rituals, divine possession, necromancy, and occultus maleficum, this book helps you cultivate and explore your forsaken shadows.

When you peer behind the veil of comfort and face your most powerful fears, you can truly begin to refine and strengthen your own magical will. In Forbidden Mysteries of Faery Witchcraft, you will learn how to:

  • Summon primal underworld goddesses of the elemental powers
  • Walk the bone road and help trapped spirits cross over
  • Become a worthy vessel for divine possession
  • Perform as an oracle, speaking the wisdom of the gods on earth
  • Cast and break curses, the dark art of offensive magic

The powerful techniques of the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft await. Through these rituals, you will glimpse the secret inner workings of nature herself and open the doorway to unimagined sources of energy.


The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide: Protection Techniques for Encounters With The Paranormal By Michelle Belanger

The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide: Protection Techniques for Encounters With The Paranormal

By Michelle Belanger

Chasing the unseen has become a popular pastime but most ghost hunters are unaware of the very real harm that can be done by malevolent human spirits, non-human entities, and a host of astral parasites. This guide from medium and paranormal investigator Michelle Belanger features proven protection techniques-and for the skeptics out there, highlights how the methods also work on a psychological level. You’ll get straightforward instruction on arming yourself with an array of essential techniques:

  • Perform psychic cleansings
  • Remove attachments
  • Protect dreams
  • Shield spaces
  • Ward to protect a home
  • Remove and bind spirits
  • Cope with spirit possession

Woven through each chapter is a gripping, true account of a ghost investigation conducted by Belanger, which provides a framework for understanding when to use these potent defense strategies.


Honoring Your Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration By Mallorie Vaudoise

Honoring Your Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration

By Mallorie Vaudoise

Discover the Spiritual Nourishment and Magical Power of Ancestor Veneration. Learn how to connect to your ancestors and receive the benefits that come from venerationdeeper spirituality, more love in your life, better outcomes in creative pursuits, powerful magic and spellwork, and an improved sense of wellness. Filled with hands-on techniques and tips, Honoring Your Ancestors shows you how to create an ancestor altar so you can work with ancestors of all kinds. Author Mallorie Vaudoise also shares fascinating ideas for incorporating rituals, spells, family recipes, and even practices like music and dancing to help you open this wonderful new dimension of your spiritual journey.

Ancestor veneration is one of the most widespread spiritual practices in the world. This book shares the important distinctions between working with blood ancestors, lineage ancestors, and affinity ancestors while helping you recognize the signs that your ancestors are responding to your petitions and offerings. You will also explore important topics like mediumship and ancestral trauma so you can be sure to develop a veneration practice that’s uplifting and affirming for you.


Magickal Mediumship: Partnering with the Ancestors for Healing and Spiritual Development By Danielle Dionne

Magickal Mediumship: Partnering with the Ancestors for Healing and Spiritual Development

By Danielle Dionne

This invaluable resource weaves together mediumship, magick, Spiritualism, and ancestral reverence to forge a strong foundation for spiritual development and connection with your deceased loved ones. Danielle Dionne provides hands-on exercises and accessible techniques for improving your practice and creating real change in your life.

Discover the different groups of ancestors, build a practice that honors them, and learn how to work with them for divination and healing. Explore ritual suggestions, recipes for offerings, and rites for crossing over. Meet spirit guides and deities of the dead. You’ll also be encouraged to consider your own mortality and what the afterlife will bring. Respectful and captivating, this book presents a unique approach to magick and mediumship.


The Mighty Dead: Communing With The Ancestors of Witchcraft By Christopher Penczak

The Mighty Dead: Communing With The Ancestors of Witchcraft

By Christopher Penczak

The Mighty Dead, the Hidden Company, the Secret Chiefs, the Withdrawn Order, the Inner Plane Adepts, the Masters, the Bodhisattva and the Saints – all names for the enlightened dead who guide the spiritual traditions and evolution of humanity through the mysteries. They are found in traditions across the world, east and west, old and new. They were the guiding force of the occult revival at the turn of the 20th century, and continue to aid us today. Often overlooked in the traditions of the Witch, yet ever present in the form of the Mighty Dead, first written about publicly in the works of Gerald Gardner.

These are the elder spirits who gather by the edges of our circle to witness our magick, and if asked, can enter into relationship with us. They are the true teachers of the mysteries, and the true initiators. The Mighty Dead help us regenerate our own lost traditions, awakening our spiritual roots to deeper truths. By forging connections with them, collectively or individually, we too can learn how to evolve and pass through the cycles of reincarnation to become one with these sanctified masters. Hand in hand we shall ecstatically dance together at the eternal Sabbat of the Witch.


Morbid Magic: Death Spirituality and Culture from Around the World By Tomás Prower

Morbid Magic: Death Spirituality and Culture from Around the World

By Tomás Prower

The Ultimate Book on Macabre Lore & Spiritual Traditions from Yesterday & Today. Written with a mix of reverence, approachability, and deadpan wit by a funeral industry insider, Morbid Magic is the first multi-cultural guide to death spirituality and traditions from all over the world and from different historical eras. Tomás Prower presents an impressive array of topics, including each culture’s views on the hereafter, mourning periods, the deceased’s legacy, handling of remains, and more.

Discover the lore and magic of death, both on the physical and spiritual planes. Explore hands-on activities, spells, and prayers that will open your eyes to new practices. Experience personal stories and anecdotes by modern people from various regions and religions. This fascinating book makes death a more approachable topic and helps you understand and utilize the profound wisdom of cultures around the globe. From Judaism in the Middle East to shamanism in East Asia, Morbid Magic presents an amazing, in-depth look at how the world deals with death.


Of Blood and Bones: Working with Shadow Magick & the Dark Moon by Kate Freuler

Of Blood and Bones: Working with Shadow Magick & the Dark Moon

by Kate Freuler

Learn to Work with the Magick of the Dark Moon. Shadow magick occupies a critical but often misunderstood role in the rich history of witchcraft. This book explores topics such as the ethical use of animal parts and bones, blood magick, dark moon energy, and other rarely discussed aspects of witchcraft.

With a focus on ethically sourcing materials and suggestions for plant-based substitutions, author Kate Freuler provides much-needed information and hands-on techniques to help you strengthen your witchcraft practice, connect to nature, protect yourself (and your kith and kin), and know yourself in a deep way. Within these pages, you will also discover methods for hexing, scrying, sex magick, and working with dark deities in addition to the magickal use of graveyard dirt and performing spells to assist the crossing of a dying loved one. The shadow work explored in Of Blood and Bones reminds us that not everything is love and light, and that facing the dark side supports the quest to achieve spiritual wholeness.


The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over By Starhawk

The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over

By Starhawk

The Pagan Book of Living and Dying is the pagan omnibus on death, much more than just a history of various cultural rituals and beliefs regarding death. This collection of essays, prayers, and songs is a living document that draws on the resources of today’s entire pagan community and fills the void left by ancient sacramental rites lost over the centuries. Designed in such a way as to benefit both the leaders of the pagan community as well as the individual reader, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying encourages preparation under the obvious, but often neglected, understanding that death is seldom expected nor convenient but happens to everyone.

The Pagan Book of Living and Dying discusses all aspects of death, from pagan thealogy (from thea meaning goddess, rather than theo meaning god) to the dying process itself, and it even covers sensitive subjects like helping children cope with death. Congenial essays such as Sharon Jackson’s “Crash Course in Being Present with the Dying” and insightful perspectives like Diana Paxson’s “Preliminary Thoughts Toward Midwifing Your Own Passage” offer a written spiritual resource for assisting and comforting the dying, and advice on facing one’s own passage. The Pagan Book of Living and Dying is simultaneously a practical guide, a comforting liturgy, and a new heritage that shows how to appreciate life through a closer relationship with death.


Solitary Seance: How You Can Talk with Spirits on Your Own By Raymond Buckland

Solitary Seance: How You Can Talk with Spirits on Your Own

By Raymond Buckland

Connecting with your departed loved ones doesn’t have to mean visiting a medium or taking a specialized course. With the proven techniques in this book, you can contact spirits anytime you wisheasily and safely in your own home.

Bestselling author Raymond Buckland guides you through nearly twenty effective methods for communing with spirit, as taught in his popular workshops. No special knowledge is required. Simply follow the steps for each method to see which one works best for you.


The Spirit Book: The Encyclopedia of Clairvoyance, Channeling, and Spirit Communication By Raymond Buckland

The Spirit Book: The Encyclopedia of Clairvoyance, Channeling, and Spirit Communication

By Raymond Buckland

The fascinating history of Spiritualism is coaxed into the material realm as the object of this perceptive and sweeping overview by that legendary author of the occult and supernatural, Raymond Buckland. Containing more than 500 entries and 100 illustrations, The Spirit Book is the comprehensive encyclopedia to Spiritualism and its related subjects. Plus it provides full biographies of every prominent person connected to the field.

Drawing on decades of research, writing, and transcendence, Buckland describes sundry methods of channeling, events associated with Spiritualism, including séances and exorcism, organizations focused on clairvoyance, and a colorful host of mortals—famous and infamous—who delved into Spiritualism. Nostradamus, Helena Blavatsky, and Edgar Cayce receive their due, as well as Joan of Arc, William Blake, Susan B. Anthony, Winston Churchill, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mahatma Gandhi, Harry Houdini, and Mae West.

The Spirit Book explores Qabbalah, Sibyls, Fairies, Poltergeists; phenomena such as intuition and karma; objects useful in the attempt to cross the divide, including tarot cards, flower reading, and runes; and related practices such as Shamanism, transfiguration, meditation, and mesmerism. The Encyclopedia covers the history of Spiritualism as well as offshoots such as Kardecism (in France, South America, and the Philippines), channeling, fraud, psychic research, and possession. It also reports on investigations of contemporary manifestations, including electronic voice phenomena and spirit appearances on TV screens (that static might be Aunt Margaret trying to get through).


Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine By Ivo Dominguez Jr.

Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine

By Ivo Dominguez Jr.

If you do magic, pray, or venerate your ancestors, you are working with spirits. If you seek information or guidance through channeling, through mediumship, or through the words and visions of mystics, you are also working with the beings of the subtle realms. Spirit Speak presents a unified system for understanding a broad range of nonphysical beings that we call spirits. Dominguez is able to make complex ideas accessible, through analogy and example, without oversimplifying. This comprehensive book can be understood and appreciated by readers from all different faiths, backgrounds, and levels of experience. It explores concepts such as: * spiritual lineage * the assumption of god forms * divine embodiment * the limits and potential for many spiritual practices. A hidden classic in many spiritual communities for years, Spirit Speak is now available with new material and fresh insights.


Underworld: Shamanism, Myth, Magick by Chris Allaun

Underworld: Shamanism, Myth, Magick

by Chris Allaun

The Underworld has always been thought of as a place of darkness and despair. Even today there are many misconceptions about what the Underworld is and what awaits inside. We will learn how different cultures around the world viewed the Underworld and the afterlife. Some cultures have there own unique perspective, but surprisingly, cultures that had no communications with each other from across the world had similarities. Can this be a coincidence? Most importantly, we will learn how to journey there in the astral and map this incredible world. But be careful! Along with its many wonders and beauty, there are things that lurk in the dark that myths through out the ages have warned us about. But for the Shaman or witch, are these warnings to keep us away or teach us how to commune with these ancient spirits and creatures?

As we journey deeper into the Underworld, we will discover places where the long forgotten dead will rekindle our spirit and teach us the ways of magick. They have been waiting for us and have much to say. We only have to sit and listen to the wisdom of ancient times. We will also discover places of healing and rejuvenation. Places where ancient hags guard magick wells and the waters of life and death spring from a source so old, no one remembers where it came from. Along with these wonderful and beautiful places there are places most dark and dreadful, the Hellworlds. These are the areas of the Underworld that test your spirit and what you thought was reality. You may never be the same, but you will transformed, renewed, and more powerful.

The Underworld is strange and wondrous and cannot be contained. Sometimes, those spirits of the dead will not be bound in such a place and stay in the world of the living. The poor lost spirits stay with us for a variety of reasons. You will learn why the spirits of the dead are still here and how to help them journey to a place of rest. You never know, a spirit of the dead may be right behind you…


 

Walking the Twilight Path: A Gothic Book of the Dead By Michelle Belanger

Walking the Twilight Path: A Gothic Book of the Dead

By Michelle Belanger

Powerful and evocative, this postmodern Book of the Dead is for mystics, witches, goths, and anyone attracted to the beauty and mystery of deatha vital and transformational force that is integral to our daily lives. Become familiar with this intrinsic, yet denied, aspect of our lives as you contact your spirit companion, meditate on gravestone sculptures, create a necromantic medicine bag, and keep a personal book of the dead. Drawing on the wisdom of shamans, magicians, Tibetan Buddhists, and ancient Egyptians, Michelle Belanger illuminates death as a gateway to change and regeneration. On this life-affirming journey, you will visit the “Otherside,” reach out to spirits, and become a walker between worlds to experience healing and empowerment.

Walking the Twilight Path introduces a unique spiritual path of personal transformation and rebirth. But first, you must venture through the gates of death. This mystical journey is for pagans, witches, goths, and anyone attracted to the beauty and mystery of death—a necessary and natural transition. Drawing on the wisdom of shamans, Tibetan Buddhists, and ancient Egyptians, Michelle Belanger illuminates death as a gateway to change and re-generation. Meditating on gravestone sculptures, creating a necromantic medicine bag, keeping a personal book of the dead, and other exercises will help you explore the vital, transformative forces of death. On this life-affirming journey, you will visit the “Otherside,” reach out to spirits, and become a walker between worlds to bring healing and empowerment.


What Is Remembered Lives: Developing Relationships with Deities, Ancestors & the Fae By Phoenix LeFae

What Is Remembered Lives: Developing Relationships with Deities, Ancestors & the Fae

By Phoenix LeFae

This book is an invitation to connect with the spirits that you sense around you, honoring them and sharing their stories so that they may live on and so that you may become your truest self. Within these pages, you will discover that you can interact with deities, your Beloved Dead, and the Fae, leading to growth and expansion both spiritually and emotionally.

Learn to reach out beyond the mundane world and commune with other realms of existence. Explore hands-on techniques for working with intention, developing your own Place of Power, and negotiating with the spirits that you contact. With dozens of exercises as well as instructions for beginners and experienced spiritual practitioners, this book is a guide to initiating and sustaining relationships that are more powerful than you could ever imagine.


The Witch’s Book Of Spirits By Devin Hunter

The Witch’s Book Of Spirits

By Devin Hunter

Discover the Ways of the Spirits And Master the Art of Command and Influence. Profound spiritual insights and powers await beyond the material world. In The Witch’s Book of Spirits, Devin Hunter invites you to perform rituals and magic with spirit guides, familiars, angels, the deceased, faeries, and demons. Develop and enhance your relationships to your allies in spirit through soul flight, mediumship, and conjuration. Explore the inner workings of the Witch’s Tree as well as the planes and peoples who dwell in its many layers. Expand the scope of your magic with the 33 Spirits, a system transmitted to the author by a special priesthood of spirits, his familiar, Malach, and the goddess Hecate. Working with spirits is the cornerstone of the witch’s art. This book shows you how to stay in control as you increase your witch power and deepen your connection to forces seen and unseen.


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About MAT AURYN
Mat Auryn is a witch, professional psychic, and occult teacher. He is the author of 'Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide To Meditation, Magick, and Manifestation'. He is a High Priest in the Sacred Fires Tradition of Witchcraft. As a psychic witch, Mat has had the honor and privilege of studying under some of the most prominent witchcraft teachers, elders, and witchcraft traditions. He runs the blog For Puck’s Sake on Patheos Pagan, is a content creator for Modern Witch, has a column in Witches & Pagans Magazine entitled 'Extra-Sensory Witchcraft', and a column in Horns Magazine. He has been featured in various magazines, radio shows, podcasts, books, anthologies, and other periodicals. You can read more about the author here.
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