Five Books for the Beginner Witch
It's a question we get all the time here at the shop -- folks are just beginning their foray into spirituality, witchcraft and the occult, and they want a guide. Though the craft branches off into many directions, it's reasonable to want a starting point, and we're always happy to make a recommendation!
Here's Bookseller Victoria's round-up of the best titles for baby witches. As the shop's resident witch, manager, book-buyer and practitioner of witchcraft & occult for many moons, she's got the scoop on a ton of titles, and these are her favorites.
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
"My Catholic schoolteachers could probably place at least thirty-percent of the blame for me turning out to be a witch on this book alone. The title that brought Goddess worship to the forefront of the witchcraft resurgence, this seminal book offers deep, sweeping ideas, meditations and ritual framework to call the Goddess in. The best part? The Goddess in Starhawk's book is an idea, an archetype, a very real but very malleable force. Substitute any deity you wish to work with and you're good to go. All these years later, I still frequently use one of Starhawk's circle castings." Available in paperback for $17.99, email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
Becoming Dangerous by Katie West
"Okay, so this isn't a traditional witchcraft book, but it is very much a book about what being a witch means. With multiple contributors and topics spanning trauma, ancestral work, gardening, potion making and more, this collection of essays is the closest thing to that feeling when a ritual is going well. Every kind of witch is represented here and I still hold quite a few of the writings here close to my heart. At its core, this collection recognizes the one thing that unites all witches: we know we are dangerous and we revel in it." Available in paperback for $16.96, email email@example.com to order.
Witchery by Juliet Diaz
"This book by working and ancestral witch Juliet Diaz somehow manages to cast off so many of the preconceptions of similar beginner books. Yes, it has spells, potions, rituals. Yes, it has the typical psuedo-Pagan history. But, it also -- and more importantly -- has the real shit. It is straightforward, it does not get bogged down in particular branches of witchcraft, and it also asks the reader to consider the origins of witchcraft: a tool of the oppressed. Diaz asks the reader to always take this into account and look to see where cultures may be appropriated within the craft. This title also tasks the reader with digging deep into themselves, understanding who they are, in order to practice. Know thyself, witches!" Available in paperback for $16.99, email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
Veneficium by Daniel A. Schulke
"I know you might want to say you're not a green witch, that you're not interested in herbs or the poison path. And I hear you. But so much of witchcraft is, historically speaking, working with and understanding the land, is protecting sacred knowledge of herbs, is walking the hedge and striding the darkness. Even if you never personally practice herbal witchery or follow the poison path, I think it's important to have a basis and understanding in it. In many ways, the keeping of this knowledge and the ability to turn poison into magick is the core of the craft. It's an important book to have your shelf, I think, no matter what." Available in paperback for $24.95, email email@example.com to order.
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Ceremonial Magic by Lon Milo DuQuette, David Shoemaker, Dr. Stephen Skinner, et al
"So hear me out: I'm all for following your witch intuition to most places it takes you. Do you think the witches of old read eight books to plan out a ritual? Probably not. But, all that said, there is an argument to be said for having a basis of understanding ritual. This title is probably the best in-print and actually available book for that, though honestly, I wish I could recommend an Israel Regardie. Particularly as a solitary practitioner, ceremony and ritual are important, and having a background in it to understand why the spell asks for a red candle, to face north, etc, is really important. Even if you don't see yourself as doing more than howling at the moon and decorating an altar (and Goddess bless), it's always worth knowing how to get your hands dirty and what all those different pentacles are." Available in paperback for $39.99, email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
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