22.4.13

Recommended Reading

Everyone asks themselves in the beginning: "Where do I start?" 
This is a question to which I can't give a direct answer, though books always help. In general, starting to practice isn't recommended before you get acquainted with the basics and I find this is best achieved through books and discussions (on forums, coffees or, if you're lucky enough, in a coven/circle or other type of gathering). 

In order to ease the process a bit, I did two things. I wrote a post which could be of some use to you: "How To Recognize a Bad Information Source?" and I decided to post a few links for e-books which could also prove useful. I have put them in an order which I recommend, though not everyone has to agree with me here.

I'll leave a few comments on each book so you can get a picture of what the book and author are like. I hope that, by doing this, I'll spare you some time on reading books that you won't even like in the end (either because of the general tone of the book, the easiness/difficulty of the book itself or other reasons).

If you're not computer whizzes, here are a few simple instructions for downloading the books with pictures so you don't get lost.

Note: You will be able to see a preview of all the books in both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, but you may have problems with this function in Firefox (although you shouldn't have problems with downloading them in any of the browsers).
  • Click on the book you want to download and a new page will open with the title of the book at the top (for an example, I chose The Spiral Dance). Note: you do not have to be logged in to be able to download.

  • Look in the upper left corner where you will see the word "File".

  • Click on the word "File" and a dropdown menu will appear. At the bottom you will see the "Download" option.
  • You can either click "Download" or press Ctrl+S on you keyboard.

  • A new bar will appear at the bottom of the page on which you will have two options: "Save/Keep" and "Discard/Cancel" (depending on the browser you are using). You now have to click on "Keep/Save".

  • After a short while (depending on how long it will take for the file to download), this bar will be replaced by a new one which will have the pdf logo on it and/or the name of the book. This means that the download has finished.

  • In order to find the book (if you don't already know where it is), right click on the book's icon and then click on "Show in folder". The folder with your file will appear.


Enjoy and good luck! :D
In case you have any problems with downloading any of the books, feel free to leave me a comment on this post notifying me of this problem or send me an e-mail (retenez.moi@gmail.com). If I don't fix the problem, I will gladly send you the book you were looking for (or any other book you may be interested in if I have on my computer) by e-mail.
  1. Starhawk - The Spiral Dance
    This is the first book I read about Wicca and I think it's more that fit to be anyone's first book on the subject. It's written in a simple, understandable tongue. It's not so oriented towards history as other books are and it is much less strict. Starhawk writes quite freely and lets her thoughts flow freely which doesn't make you constantly brood over everything. There are a lot of great visualization techniques and general thoughts in the book, but I wouldn't recommend it to those who like factual books. Though I would say it's great for anyone who wants to understand the essence of Wicca, its rituals and the spirit behind it all. :)
  2. Buckland, Raymond - A Complete Book of Witchcraft
    I have to admit that Buckland is one of my favorite authors. He writes factually, but at the same time quite freely. He gives accounts of his own experiences while he gives you pure facts at the same time! This is truly a wonderful book which is constructed in the way that you have short quizzes after each chapter (or rather lecture) which stimulates you to learn as much as you can while reading. It also encourages you to think about some things ahead of time, for example your altar construction and design, ideas for your ritual clothes etc.
  3. Buckland, Raymond - Wicca for One 
    Along with Buckland's aforementioned book, this is one of the best for beginners. I could even say that the two compensate for one another. While the first book serves as a sort of introduction, this book goes into more detail into all the subjects that are mentioned in A Complete Book of Witchcraft, but without the quizzes. But even without this, it is a step forward in your quest that can only help you. Like I said, Buckland is a quality author and I hope that you will learn to cherish him as much as I have :)
  4. Green, Marian - A Witch Alone
    Just like Wicca for One, this book is also adapted for solitary work rather than coven work (which most books are focused on). If you're planning to read this book, I recommend you take a year's time because it's written in the form of a one-year plan. Each month/chapter has its own plan, exercises, tasks and further recommended reading on the subject that was previously covered. This book is wonderful and very readable and some of the exercises that your dear Marian recommends are worth gold :)
  5. Gardner, Gerald - Witchcraft Today
    Gardner is thought of as the "father" of Wicca, but I wouldn't recommend him for beginners. Everyone thinks it's best to start from him, but if English isn't your mother tongue, it'll be a lot more difficult for you to understand his texts. He writes in a more complex way and with a broader vocabulary than the other authors I have mentioned, but he puts emphasis on some interesting points in Wicca. The book focuses on how witchcraft today even came to be and how we are supposed to look upon it. This book borders with advanced reading, but I'm obliged to recommend something out of Gardner's opus so they don't burn me at the stake haha :)
  6. Cunningham, Scott - Wicca, a Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
    Here's another writer who I can say nothing but good things for. Cunningham also writes simply who is easily understandable to everyone. What I like especially in this book is the linguistic note of the author and it personally bothers me a lot when I see that people don't know how to write what (it seems as if they don't know the meaning of the word). He devotes separate chapters to magick, divination techniques and herbalism. There are many themes discussed here which makes it a good place to start if you're not sure which "branch" of Wicca you should devote yourself to (you don't want to be a Jack of all trades and a master of none, right?).
  7. Cunningham, Scott - Living Wicca
    This book will serve for revising everything you have learnt up to now, but I believe it also introduces some new themes into your world such as the problem of self-initiation, magick during illness, how to incorporate Wicca into everyday life, the role of prayer and chants as well as how to teach others. It can, at the least, offer you some new food for thought. Like I said, Cunningham is a great author with whom you can't go wrong.
  8. Farrar, Janet & Stewart - Eight Sabbats for Witches
    I happen to own the new version which was enlarged with a couple of essays and it is called A Witches' Bible, but even without these essays (like this version is here), this book could be called The Bible of Witchcraft (though you will have your own Book of Shadows which should sever as you own personal Bible). It covers the Sabbats in more detail than all the other books put together (their history, role etc.) and gives examples of rituals (but following the Alexandrian tradition). Not only this but it also covers the Crossover rituals. To be honest, most of the information I got for my Sabbat posts was from this book (either learnt or retold). Believe me when I say that this book will definitely be of use to you!
    Note: a preview of this file will not be visible in some browsers, but you will be able to download it.
  9. Lipp, Deborah - Elements of Ritual
    I decided to include this book in the top ten because I'm guessing that a this point in time, you'll want to start practicing something. What this book does to prepare you for this is that it explains (in great detail) ritual form and why things are done the way they are done in rituals. It meant a lot to me when I was reading it and it really cleared things up in my head. I hope it will do the same for you :)
  10. Lipp, Deborah - The Study of Witchcraft
    This book by Deborah Lipp doesn't focus so much on rituals as the above mentioned one, but it does nicely explain the history of Wicca and its connections to other various occult traditions, uncover some prejudices (as well as break them) but it also talks about some popular themes in Wicca (meditation, divination etc.). It also explains Wicca's role in a more political and ecological context which is quite uncommon. All in all, a great read.
  11. Bone, Gavin & Farrar, Janet - Progressive Witchcraft
    I can say with great enthusiasm that this is surely the best book on Wicca I have read up to now. Whatever I can say about this book will not do it justice. I simply opened my eyes to things I didn't even understand to this point and I hope it will do the same for you. Though I would put this one in the advanced reading section so don't rush to get to it. First get to know the basics (which will be revised at the beginning of the book) and then continue with harder reading such as this. ^^
  12. Valiente, Doreen - Natural Magic
    The title says everything. Although other books on this list talk about magick, this is the first one that is dedicated especially to it. There are many types of magick and quite a few of them are covered in this book. Doreen Valiente, whom we can call the "mother" of Wicca if we are to think of Gardner as the "father", tries to connect everything with nature in this book (even though magick IS connected to nature so there isn't much to complicate there) and I think she succeeded in that. This is a book for those of you who have taken a liking to this subject so far and who want to read more on it :) remember that magick isn't an obligatory part of Wicca and that there's nothing bad if you don't feel the need to practice it.
    Note: a preview of this file will not be visible in any browser, but you will be able to download it.
  13. Cunningham, Scott - Earth, Air, Fire, Water
    Yet another book on magick to add to Natural Magic, though in this one, magick is additionally talked about in the context of the elements (as the title clearly shows). What I especially like is that it concentrates also on how to construct your own ritual, but from a magickal perspective. But instead of searching through old grimoires and other books of spells, this book enables you to think with your own head and write a ritual that is especially fitted for you.
  14. Gardner, Gerald - Book of Shadows
    For those of you that don't know what a Book of Shadows is I will write about this later (hope you don't mind googling it in the meantime ^^). I most definitely tag this book with the advanced reading label because it is written in a very complicated English language with too many archaic expressions. In addition to this, if you are a beginner and not very familiar with the rituals of Wicca (their forms, uses, types etc.) then it's completely useless to read this book since it is a collection of Gardner's rituals. But most of all, it will be the archaic expressions that will drive you mad. Though this is the book from which all the other came to existence. A the beginning of Wicca, everything was based on the things this book had to say and this is precisely why I think that every Witch should read this at least once in their lifetime, despite how agonizing it may be :D hehe
  15. Sir James Frazer - The Golden Bough
    This book is big and very detailed. It covers a great number of aspects of Neopagan religions and is truly interesting as well as useful. I'm note sure what I can say about it except that it is definitely a harder read than the previous books (with the exception of Gardner's BoS, of course haha). I would say that the language is quite understandable. In case you decide to read it, I am sure that it will mark a great improvement in your knowledge and understanding of the Craft :)
I will continue to add books to the list in due time, but if you have any special requests, I have an electronic library about 1,5GB in size (which is a lot!) so I'll surely be able to find something on the subject that interests you :) You can contact me via comments on this blog and leave me your e-mail address or directly contact me through the contact form. All I ask of you is that you introduce and tell me a thing or two about yourselves, why you are interested in Wicca and which book you are looking for and why (or at least the type of book). I will gladly be of assistance to you :)

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