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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.

Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman
"There's a good amount of books on the market that will walk you through basic Neo-Pagan or Wiccan ideals, show you some basic rituals and introduce you to a few deities. There are much fewer books, however, that explore the very idea of being a witch -- and what that has meant sociologically and politically throughout history. Grossman -- of The Witch Wave Podcast, which I definitely also recommend -- meditates deeply on what mean it means to be a witch in this part-memoir, part cultural analysis. It was an instant classic in this community." Available in paperback for $14, shop here!

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, shop here!

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, shop here!

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, shop here!

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, shop here!

Want a recommendation for something more specific? Send us an email! One more thing: as a small bookshop, we don't always have 30 copies of every title, so if you see the book you'd like as sold out, have no fear! We're likely getting more copies in our next shipment, or occasionally, titles may be on backorder. You can always email us to check in on the restock status at spiralbookcase@gmail.com.