Recommended Reading

Last modified August 17th, 2015

In keeping with the spirit of the pursuit of knowledge portion of our Our Vision we maintain this recommended reading list for students and Seekers alike.

Modern Paganism has been troubled in the past by poor scholarship and indulgence in esoteric fantasy masquerading as knowledge. When wishful thinking and pseudoscience are substituted for knowledge, all of Paganism is harmed. We understand that not all practices of modern Pagans come from ancient sources and we ourselves use many of these but believe that when something is new it should be acknowledged as such and not passed off as having ancient origins. We believe that by starting with the foundational remains of what we know about Tribal Cultures and Ancient Pagans coupled with traditional and hereditary teachings we can build a modern system that will serve modern needs and yet be true to our ancestral spirits.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it consists mainly of books for a student beginning to study Paganism for the first time. We’ve worked hard to make sure that every book on this list is in print or available in our tribe’s lending library.

We hope this list will not only aid you in study, but will also be easily accessible.

SPIRITUALITY:
Books on beliefs, ritual elements and spiritual concepts from various Pagan traditions and viewpoints.

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today
Margot Adler
A classic, fascinating and honest look at the religious experiences, beliefs, and lifestyles of America’s Pagan groups. Although originally written over 30 years ago, still very much a viable source today. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today
Ellen Evert Hopman, Lawrence Bond
This book is a set of interviews from modern Neo-Pagans.
(Also marketed as: People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out) Recommended by Cianaodh.

Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft
Raymond Buckland
This book has been used as a study guide in our initiate and first degree course work. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Wicca: A comprehensive guide to the Old Religion in the modern world
Vivianne Crowley
Another excellent resource on traditional Wicca written by a former High Priestess in Gerald Gardner’s coven. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Full Contact Magick: a Book Of Shadows For the Wiccan Warrior
Kerr Cuhulain
Full Contact Magick teaches you how to harness the power of the Warrior and Witch archetypes to build the life you desire. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Wiccan Warrior: Walking a Spiritual Path in a Sometimes Hostile World
Kerr Cuhulain
In this book Kerr Cuhulain teaches you how to choose warrior archetypes to model your spiritual life on. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Book of Shadows: A Modern Woman’s Journey into the Wisdom of Witchraft and the Magic of the Goddess
Phyllis Curott
This lovely book, written in novel format, goes through the experiences of H.P.S. Phyllis Curott’s introduction and initiation into Wicca. She shares her hopes, dreams, triumphs, and failures as she finds her spiritual path. This is an excellent read for those who would like a personal look at how one Witch found her way. Recommended by Kennocha.

Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic
Phyllis Currot
This book gives practical advice on magical workings of just about every flavor. While many of the subjects presented are introductory, the exercises throughout the book are labeled for beginning and advanced practitioners. Also, much of the commentary by the author is truly unique to her own experience, and therefore provides a personal view of magical practices. Because of this, I think the book would appeal to magical workers at all levels. Recommended by Kennocha.

S. S. O. T. B. M. E. : Revised : An Essay On Magic
Ramsey Dukes
Discussions around Science, Religion and Art break down unless the fourth factor, Magic, is recognised.
Magical thought is described and contrasted with Science, Art and Religion. The dynamic relationship between them is explained. Modern magic and its role in the 21st century is outlined with respect to practices ranging from ritual magic, through alchemy to New Age therapies.
Specific topics include: secrecy, initiation, sacrifice, cyber-animism, Crowleyanity, morality, pseudo-science, demonology, deity, miracles and divination.Recommended by Cianaodh.

A Witches’ Bible: The Complete Witches’ Handbook
Stewart Farrar, Janet Farrar
An excellent resource on traditional Wicca written by former students of Alex Sanders, the founder of Alexandrian Wicca. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Philosophy of Wicca
Amber Laine Fisher
In this book the author delves deep into the theology and philosophies that make up the Wiccan religion. With Wicca having no books to follow, and only a handful of statements considered to be “universal” amongst practitioners, the author can of course only give her own opinions and experiences. However, Ms. Fisher does so in a powerful way, giving glimpses into her own theories and practices, and inciting the reader to explore these matters for themselves. She also goes on to not only highlight the beauties of the religion, but also what she also considers to be the pitfalls. I recommend this book for anyone who is learning about the Wiccan path, and who wants to learn how some might see the religion that is behind the practices. Recommended by Kennocha.

Witchcraft Today
Gerald B. Gardner
This book was originally written in 1954. The 2004 50th anniversary edition that I have contains introductions, forwards, and notes by contributors that have been added. I believe these extras add value and context to this fascinating book that is known to have “started Wicca.” This is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in looking at the history of Wicca, and the author who began it all. Recommended by Kennocha.

In the Circle: Crafting the Witches’ Path
Elen Hawke
In this book the author uses her own personal experiences during the wheel of the year to illustrate the basics of witchcraft. An exciting and personalized read, this book is still entertaining for more advanced practitioners, while still providing solid information for beginners. Recommended by Kennocha.

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions
Joyce & River Higginbotham
In my opinion, this is one of the best introductory books on Paganism there is. The book is perfect for those who are just starting to explore their path, as it covers the basics of Pagan culture, beliefs, history, practices, and ethics. Additionally, there are questions to discuss, journal prompts, and exercises peppered throughout the book designed to bring you closer to discovering your own way through the Pagan landscape. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft
Ronald Hutton
A detailed book, discussing the origins of Wicca, the source of most of Neo-Paganism. It serves as a counter-balance to much of the information and theories that are likely to be encountered when reviewing Neo-Paganism in general. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Handfasting and Wedding Rituals: Inviting Hera’s Blessing
Raven Kaldera & Tannin Schwartzstein
This is a fun book that looks at the many aspects of handfasting. It includes some history on the practice, as well as full and complete wordings for ceremonies that would suit many different pagan traditions. It also covers topics such as performing handfastings for gay and lesbian couples, officiating interfaith handfastings between pagans and a variety of other faiths, including children in handfastings, polyamorous handfastings, and even handpartings. Though this book reads like it is written for clergy, I also believe that it is a good book for any Pagan who is getting handfasted, or anyone who is planning on handfasting a Pagan. Not only does it have some beautiful wordings for ceremonies, it also has some practical advice for a multitude of different types of ceremonies. Recommended by Kennocha.

Handfasted and Heartjoined: Rituals for Uniting a Couple’s Hearts and Lives
Lady Maeve Rhea
While this book does contain a few examples of handfasting rites, it is more a book about all of the practical aspects that surround a handfasting. Lady Maeve Rhea takes us through the process, starting with a chapter entitled “Why Get Handfasted” to choosing your site, clothes, invitation wording and music, as well as dealing with mundane aspects of preparing for a handfasting such as budgeting and managing your time. In the appendix she even touches on the legal issues surrounding handfastings. I think this is a good book for anyone planning or participating in a handfasting ritual. Recommended by Kennocha.

Solitary Wicca For Life: A Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own
Arin Murphy-Hiscock
The author states in the introduction that this book delves a little further into Wiccan studies than the majority of the 101 books that are available. This book attempts to go beyond the basics, encouraging solitaries to further their own understanding of the Wiccan path. While I do not recommend this book as an introduction to Wicca, I do believe that it is a good read for any of those who are already on their own path, or want a new perspective on the practices of Wiccans. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Elements of Ritual: Air, Fire, Water, & Earth in the Wiccan Circle
Deborah Lipp
In this book Deborah Lipp covers the basic steps of rituals to include circle casting, calling the quarters, invoking the gods, and more. She gives her take on why these steps are important, and how to do them properly. I recommend this book to anyone who wants personalized Wiccan descriptions of the meanings behind ritual, as well as the practical things that go into creating them. Recommended by Kennocha.

Out of the Shadows: Myths and Truths of Modern Wicca
Lilith McLelland
Lilith McLelland has been a Wiccan priestess since the late 80’s. She lives in the famed Salem, Massachusetts, and has just about seen it all. In this book she gives an honest, fun, and sometimes snarky view of Wiccan culture. She gives wonderful back stories and illustrations to her main points, all the while showing us what being a member of the Wiccan community is like for her. Recommended by Kennocha.

Rocking the Goddess: Campus Wicca for the Student Practitioner
Anthony Paige
In this book Anthony Paige presents a picture of what Wicca looks like for a college student. He interviews many campus witches, and discusses topics of importance to this particular demographic of practitioners. This is an excellent resource for any college going pagan. Recommended by Kennocha.

Spirited: Taking Paganism Beyond the Circle
Gede Parma
A beautiful book written by a young author, Spirited gives a unique perspective of the pagan landscape. Drawing from his own experiences and theories, Gede Parma presents a fresh look at topics such as ethics, divinity, rituals, community, and more. While I recommend this book to any pagan, or those looking into paganism, I think that teens and those in their twenties will feel an even more powerful connection to this book written by one of their peers. Recommended by Kennocha.

North American Indian Life: Customs and Traditions of 23 Tribes
Edited by Elsie Clews Parsons
This book, originally published in 1922, is a compilation of writings done by anthropologists who lived and studied with Native American tribes from all around the country. Many essays touch on the spiritual nature of these tribes and cultures, and provide an outsider’s viewpoint on the customs and traditions being observed. If you are interested in Native American cultures, and would like a look at how many different tribes were once perceived by scholars, this book may prove to be an interesting read for you. Recommended by Kennocha.

City Magick: Urban Rituals, Spells, and Shamanism
Christopher Penczak
This first book written by Christopher Penczack is also one of the earliest books devoted to doing magic in an urban environment. This book rails against the concept that you can only practice paganism in “nature,” and gives you a roadmap for feeling connected to the gods while still inside city limits. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Gates of Witchcraft: Twelve Paths of Power, Trance, & Gnosis
Christopher Penczak
In this book, acclaimed author Christopher Penczack looks at ways to experience altered consciousness. He draws from many sources, and gives a bounty of exercises, as well as visualizations, in order for the reader to more fully experience the practices he’s talking about. This is an excellent book for anyone looking to explore different techniques to reach altered states. Recommended by Kennocha.

Earth Prayers From Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth
Edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon
This is a lovely book filled with wisdom from many cultures and viewpoints that all center on the theme of honoring the earth and its inhabitants. While not every line is Pagan in nature, there are big name Pagans quoted and honored throughout the book, and I feel that most Pagans will appreciate the message this book presents. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess: 20th Anniversary Edition
Starhawk
Originally printed in 1979, and republished again in 1999, this book continues to be thought of as a staple for any Pagan/Wiccan library. The 20th anniversary edition contains two new introductions (One being from the 10th anniversary reprint) as well as further notes from the author about the chapters presented. Because of Starhawk’s major influence in Wiccan culture I recommend this book for anyone, as it is considered a classic. Recommended by Kennocha.

One Witch’s Way: A Magical Year of Stories, Spells, & Such
Bronwynn Forrest Torgerson
With each chapter devoted to a particular month, the author gives us stories, spells, rituals and rites devoted to that time during the wheel of the year. As indicated by the title, this is an immensely personal book, yet it gives great insight and ideas for enhancing your own magical practice. While, I don’t believe that this is a good first book on the subject of witchcraft, I do think that relative “beginners” as well as those who are more “advanced” can find some valuable take-aways within. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Witch’s Guide to Life
Kala Trobe
In this book the author gives her perspective, advice, and prescriptions for life as a Witch. She talks not only about working with magic, but how to deal with practical aspects of existence as well. Though it is written as a guide (as the title implies), it also functions as an excellent conversation-starter or thought-provoker about these various subjects should you find that your viewpoint and the authors do not entirely match up. This is a good book for anyone who is interested in looking at how to view the world through witch’s eyes. Recommended by Kennocha.

OTHER NON-FICTION:
Titles which take a serious look at Pagan lore, history, culture, and philosophy. Also books that we recommend for advice on living life in a more balanced and sustainable way.

Complete Book of Tarot Spreads
Evelin Burger & Johannes Fiebig
The majority of this book is filled with 122 different tarot layouts that can be used in a variety of settings and for numerous reasons. The major subsets of layouts include “For Every Day,” “Tendencies and Perspectives,” “Relaxation Exercises,” “Concentration & Composure Exercises,” “Searching & Finding,” “Questions About Decisions,” “Partnerships & Relationships,” “Life Journey,” “Preview & Overview,” “Major Layouts,” and “Departures.” I think that this is a good book for someone who is already familiar with Tarot and is looking to explore their cards further, or learn new spreads for doing readings. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils, & Brews
Scott Cunningham
This is an excellent reference book. Cunningham provides recipes for not only incense and oils, but also magical inks, bath salts, soaps, powders and more. He also gives you some basic information before you get started, as well as some great tables for substitutions should you not be able to utilize the ingredients found in the original recipes. Recommended by Kennocha.

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
Scott Cunningham
This is another great reference book by Scott Cunningham, this time centered on herbs themselves. Every herb is identified by not only its common name, but also its Latin name, and folk names. Cunningham goes on to give correspondences to gender, planet, element, and powers, and additionally gives ritual and magical uses for each herb. At the end of the book is a wonderful set of correspondence tables, as well as a cross-reference guide for folk names of the various herbs. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future
Cynthia Eller
This book takes a hard look at what evidence there is or is not for the Gimbutas assertion of a matriarchal goddess-worshipping, pan-European Neolithic society. Recommended by Cianaodh.

A Brief History of the Druids
Peter Beresford Ellis
The best modern survey of what we know and don’t know about the Celtic Druids.
(previously/also marketed as “The Druids“) Recommended by Cianaodh.

Dictionary Of Celtic Mythology
Peter Beresford Ellis
An A-Z reference on the gods and goddesses, magical weapons, people and places of Celtic Mythology. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Dictionary of Native American Mythology
Sam D. Gill & Irene F. Sullivan
This is a dictionary of Native American words and concepts used in tribes all over North and South America. This is an excellent reference book for one who studies Native American spirituality. However, it also doubles as an interesting introduction book for one who wants to know more. Each word or concept is referenced to one or more sources, giving the reader access to vast amounts of information should they want to delve deeper into a particular subject. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Greek Myths: Complete Edition
Robert Graves
A classic and well cited source of the tales of the Greek gods, The Greek Myths is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the spirituality of the Ancient Greeks. Each story contains a section of references as well as some context and interpretations. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in the Hellenic myths. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Encyclopedia of Crystals: Revised and Expanded Edition
Judy Hall
This is a beautiful reference book on crystals. It covers hundreds of crystals, stones and minerals, accompanied by full color photo examples. Organized by colors, this book presents both the mundane knowledge about each crystal such as chemistry and hardness, but also mystical information such as association with chakras and benefits. In addition the author devotes a paragraph to each stone detailing her feelings about each. This is a good book for one who is exploring the topic of energies within crystals, and wants the perspective of a well-recognized teacher and author on the subject. Recommended by Kennocha.

Witches, Druids And King Arthur
Ronald Hutton
A wealth of unusual knowledge complemented by a deep and sympathetic understanding of past and present beliefs. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui: Learn the Art of Space Clearing and Bring New Energy into Your Life
Karen Kinston
This book gives a unique perspective of Feng Shui or the “Art of Placement.” Karen Kingston presents her material with tons of examples of her practices, many of them learned in Bali. What she calls “Space Clearing” is what many Pagans would call “Purifying Space.” She looks at this practice in depth and gives many examples of techniques to try. She also touches briefly on topics such as chakra clearing and shielding. I think this is a great book for those that are interested in manipulating the energies within their homes, or business spaces. Recommended by Kennocha.

Pilgrims Of The Night: Pathfinders of the Magical Way
Lars B. Lindholm
When he released me without malice from the Alexandrian Tradition of Wicca due to his ongoing battle with cancer and the time constraints as well as overall miserable condition the sickness put on him at the time, my former High Priest and still very good friend (he won his battle by the way) gifted me with this book. While I found it to be a dry read at times it is a very solid, condensed (222 pages) who’s who of many notable figures throughout the history of western occult thought and traditions. It’s well worth the time to read so that you may have a firm foundation in who started what tradition and how they were derived and who they went on to influence.
Recommended by Cianaodh.

Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest
Daniel Quinn
Did you ever wonder where the ideas behind Daniel Quinn’s revolutionary novel Ishmael came from? Quinn himself gives a glimpse into the life experiences he has gone through to arrive at the conclusions he states in his other books. Recommended by Kennocha.

Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure
Daniel Quinn
When asked what to do about the concepts presented in his other novels Daniel Quinn thought it was obvious (page 4). However, after the multitude of people questioning his ideas and continuing to be asked again and again “What do we do?” he decided he had to make it clearer. Coining the term “New Tribal Revolution” Quinn shows the reader what he or she must do in order to “save the world.” Recommended by Kennocha.

If They Give You Lined Paper Write Sideways
Daniel Quinn
If Quinn’s book Beyond Civilization answers the question of “What do we do?” then this book surely answers the question proposed to Quinn of “How do you do what you do?” Taking on the role of a “Martian Anthropologist” Quinn tries to show readers how he comes to the conclusions he does, and how they too can learn to do so in a similar manner. Recommended by Kennocha.

Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art Of Persuasion
George J. Thompson, PH.D., and Jerry B. Jenkins
This is an excellent book which puts tools in your hands to deal with conflicts and turn dispute into resolution in every facet of your life. Dr. George J. Thompson was (died Jun 7, 2011) a former English Professor, Cop and Martial Arts Master whose unique life experiences and perspective had given him an exemplary way to take control of difficult situations and persuade people to cooperate with you. I highly recommend this book to anyone undergoing our Clergy Training Program or anyone at all who may find themselves having to diffuse the conflicts which sometimes arise dealing with a world that is sometimes unkind to those who follow a minority religious path such as ours. This book helps you deal with your own inner emotions, ego and personal face to handle things in a more professional and empathetic manner. It is available for lending from our tribe library. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Herbology

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal: a Book Of Natural Remedies Of Ancient Ills
Nicholas Culpeper
This work offers remedies to all the ills known to 17th century society. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Herbal Medicine-maker’s Handbook: a Home Manual, The
James Green, Ajana Green
An entertaining compilation of home remedies written by a great herbalist. Recommended by Cianaodh.

Sustainability:

Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate
John Kallas, PhD
This is a beautiful book filled with hundreds of full color pictures. You learn in this book how to identify a variety of different plants, harvest them, and even prepare them. John Kallas even provides recipes. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the subject of foraging. Recommended by Kennocha.

FICTION:
Titles which, while fictional deal in concepts and lore that are central to Pagan culture and philosophy.

The Teaching
Don Bradley
Follow the tale of a man named Greg who receives teachings from what appears to be a divine being. Greg has a destiny to face concerning the battles between good and evil. This novel transcends all religions purporting to support only love and truth. This is an excellent story with many glimpses of wisdom contained within. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Forest House
Marion Zimmer Bradley
In this prequel to the novel Mists of Avalon we follow Eilan as she navigates her way through learning druidic ways and becoming a priestess at Vernemeton – The Forest House. Recommended by Kennocha.

Lady of Avalon
Marion Zimmer Bradley
In this book we continue to follow the story of Eilan, and her lineage both of the flesh and of the priestess-hood, as we learn of the origins behind the creation of Avalon. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Mists of Avalon
Marion Zimmer Bradley
In this book, we continue to follow the lives of those in and connected to Avalon, as the myths of King Arthur are re-imagined. Though many have seen the TV series of the same name, in my opinion it does not compare to the beauty and mystery propounded by this transformative novel. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Complete and Unabridged Bullfinch’s Mythology: Includes The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and Legends of Charlemagne
Thomas Bullfinch
This is a wonderful book of stories about the gods and goddesses from a variety of different cultures. While the stories are told in a manner to entertain, they were written also with the intent to remain true to the historical knowledge of the author. This book is considered to be a staple in many libraries devoted to the study of mythology. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho
This is a fable about a shepherd who seeks a great treasure. Along the way he meets a slew of guides to help him on his quest. A fun and fast novel filled with bits of wisdom makes it clear why this book has been called an “instant classic.” Recommended by Kennocha.

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.
Using a mix of storytelling and Jungian psychology this book seeks to elicit answers about the female psyche. This is an interesting book for those who study Carl Jung’s philosophies, as well as those who would like to hear myths specifically about women, and who would like to see how those stories affect women (according to the author). Recommended by Kennocha.

The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran
A prophet speaks to a town before his departure. He speaks on a multitude of topics at the behest of the townspeople, imparting his knowledge before he returns to his homeland. Recommended by Kennocha.

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved to Me There’s Life After Death
Annie Kagan
This novel provides an interesting view of the afterlife, as presented to the main character, directly from her brother who has passed away. Recommended by Kennocha.

Ishmael
Daniel Quinn –
TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL.
Must have an earnest desire to
save the world. Apply in person.
So begins Ishmael, an utterly unique and captivating novel of spiritual adventure. I will be ever grateful to my tribe sister and acting High Priestess for loaning me her copy of this book, and the next two in the series ‘My Ishmael‘ and ‘The Story Of B‘ which I also highly recommend. Sadly, a copy of this book sat on my bookshelf for years unread because I just hadn’t taken the time to explore it. How foolish I was! This and the other books in the series are definitely mind expanding novels which will change your perspective on history and your approach to living. Recommended by Cianaodh.

My Ishmael
Daniel Quinn
In this novel we follow another one of Ishmael’s students through their teachings. The twist this time is that the telepathically communicating gorilla’s student is Julie Gerchak – A twelve-year-old girl. Recommended by Kennocha.

Story of B
Daniel Quinn
Though Ishmael himself is not featured in this book, we get to follow yet another student of his as he travails the world spreading the messages he has learned. Some find the messages threatening. Recommended by Kennocha.

A Newcomer’s Guide to the Afterlife: On the Other Side Known Commonly as “The Little Book.”
Daniel Quinn and Tom Whalen
As suggested by the title this is a handbook for the recently deceased. In its pages you find answers to common questions about your surroundings, the people you are likely to meet, as well as get a general look at the culture within the realm of the afterlife. Recommended by Kennocha.

More great book recommendations (especially historical references for Indo-European cultures) can be found at the ADF Recommended Reading List.

Skyclad Ritual Etiquette

Skyclad ritual, as it is practiced at Tribe Of the Standing Stones, is a very personal, spiritual gathering among initiates and ones with close relationships or those seeking candidacy to initiate with the group. For this and other reasons we have some rules of etiquette which are expected to be adhered to by anyone attending such an invitation only event.

Skyclad ritual is not a spectator sport. We expect anyone who participates in a skyclad ritual to participate in the skyclad ritual. We circle in perfect love and perfect trust to feel the energies of our sisters and brothers as well as the kindred spirits around us. We find the interference of textiles blocks the flow of these energies and disrupts our workings. It is understood that during moon time some women may have a need to wear a sarong or other garment for the lower half and that is established as acceptable protocol. Also, our High Priestess will consider making exceptions due to medical conditions and other reasons on a case by case basis. But, this does not change the impact that said clothing articles brings into the energies of the circle so please do so sparingly. Also, making excuses, especially rather weak ones such as “I just didn’t feel like it.” are rude and unacceptable. Being untruthful about your status in medical conditions and such are not in accordance with coming into circle in perfect love and perfect trust so please, don’t be deceitful. If you are unable to circle freely and in perfect love and perfect trust then it is best if you opt out of entering circle. Please respect our sacred space and working.

No inappropriate touching. It is understood that in ritual there is often hugging and hand holding but there is never a time to touch anyone in an inappropriate manner without express permission beforehand. Ritual space is sacred space and while we are people who have familiarity with one another and often engage in hi-jinks and shenanigans before or after circle and maybe tell a joke or two in circle to lighten the mood; perfect love and perfect trust dictates that all who are present are treated with respect and do not feel violated, intimidated or belittled.

We do not speak of our workings or things revealed in skyclad circle. Again, sacred space and perfect trust. If it is spoken in circle it is not for the ears of those who are not present unless the speaker makes it so. Also, recall the rules of workings. “To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent.” Speaking of workings can lead to their failure. If your sister or brother speaks of personal matters in circle, it is not for you to discuss it with anyone outside of circle. Maintain the integrity of the circle.

Skyclad Workings

Working skyclad (nude) has a long and distinguished, albeit controversial at times, history within paganism. Both among modern adherents as well as culturally among some (but not all) of the ancient practitioners of esoterica. Gerald Gardner, considered by many to be the father of modern Wicca was a long time naturalist as were many of the first adherents to the modern pagan movement. Some believe that when we are skyclad the energies of magickal workings are less muddled and it is easier to focus and channel them. Also, it is felt by many, as is stated in The Charge Of The Goddess by Doreen Valiente, it is a sign of our freedom to be naked in our rites.

Whatever the reasons some pagans choose to go skyclad the practice has historical significance within pagan culture. Within our temple we practice traditional Wiccan initiation rites for those who choose to enter the clergy training program in which the initiate is, for a time, skyclad within the circle and presented to the kindred and the four elements before receiving the five fold kiss and being adorned in their new ritual robes. It is essentially a birthing ceremony. The initiate is stripping away the trappings of their former life and being born anew into this tradition. Coming before his or her new brothers and sisters as well as the gods, nature spirits and ancestors as naked as the day they were born into this world. Truly in perfect love and perfect trust. We consider our skin to be our first set of ritual robes bestowed upon us by the gods themselves and in situations where our second robe, the ritual robes of our tradition, are not available, skyclad is always a viable option in formal ritual when not in a gathering with the uninitiated. In other words, other initiated members of the tradition or their spouses are the only people present at the ritual. At this time, Full Moon (Esbat) rituals and Initiations are the only rituals which we hold skyclad. We also, sometimes, host skyclad meditations which are by invitation to people we have met and feel comfortable with.

It is a sign of comfort, respect, enlightenment and freedom to be skyclad in ritual however it is not for everyone and other than it being required during initiation into the tradition and certain other rituals no one should feel pressured or goaded into being skyclad if they do not wish to otherwise. There are certain ground rules which should always be observed. A person who is skyclad is not inviting touching, invasion of their personal space or sexual advances of any kind unless they expressly give permission for such. You treat a skyclad person exactly in the same fashion as you would treat a clothed person, with dignity and respect. There is a notion perpetuated by the modern western society’s puritan roots that the only time for nudity is for sex or bathing. But this is not true.

There is a long history of spiritual nudity in the world and in our tradition we teach that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience. As such, our bodies are the first set of ritual robes we receive and they are bestowed upon us by the Lord and Lady, The Kindred, The Ancestors, however you prefer to view the divine, themselves.

I was once at a work weekend for the grounds of a large Pagan festival space in Texas and one morning while sitting around the fire having coffee and preparing for the work day, a middle aged woman came out of her tent and started working to prepare breakfast for the other volunteer workers there. She was wearing a sarong around her waist and her breasts were unadorned. As many in our community she was on the heavy side and given her age her boobs sagged somewhat but I thought she was majestic in her confidence and lack of concern for what others thought. We were away from the mundane world where body image is enforced by advertising and stereotypes that only the youthful and those with perfect bodies should ever dare to show themselves. After getting some things started cooking she wandered off to find the flushies. Then one of the guys around the campfire ruined the magickal moment by commenting that he loved (whatever her name was) but the sight of her in the morning was scary. Ugh! Such negative commentary and enforcement of mainstream ideals are, in my opinion, foreign to a Pagan culture and have no place in our gatherings. If I witness such at our gatherings I will likely ask the offending party to excuse themselves from our presence.

Skyclad Embracement

Originally published December 12, 2016 by Cianaodh Óg

​Because Tribe Of the Standing Stones respects the concepts of naturism and freedom we provide an environment in our camping spaces and some of our gatherings where those who wish to be skyclad, free from the judgement of puritan based society or those modern fabrications of the notions of beauty, purity and what constitutes “proper” bodily adornments may do so in peace.

Not all within Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition embrace these concepts so these skyclad freedom zones are marked by signs declaring the space as clothing optional or the event itself is designated as ‘Skyclad Friendly’. Not everyone who enters such zones has to necessarily be skyclad but they must respect the freedom and rights of others to do so in a safe, loving, judgement free environment.

These are safe zones for those who wish to commune with nature and spirits in their own way so if the human body offends you be aware you enter such spaces at your own risk. You will not be judged if you choose not to participate in the skyclad activities (except designated skyclad rituals) but judgement of those who do so in these zones will not be tolerated.

Even the Charge of the Goddess says “and as a sign that you truly be free, you shall be naked in your rites.

Blessed Be.

Also:

What You Need To Know About Skyclad Ritual by Jamie Freeman of Witchful Thinking

You know when people ask nervously if Witches dance naked under the pale moonlight? I always laugh and say no, but then correct myself and say that, well, some of us do.

Truth is, the founder of Wicca, Gerald Gardner, was a what they called back then a naturalist, which means he enjoyed being in the nude as often as possible. He incorporated nudity in his rites, and even the Charge of the Goddess says “and as a sign that you truly be free, you shall be naked in your rites”. Over the years, many covens have broken away and chosen not to practice skyclad, as the ritual nudity has come to be known.

Originally, skyclad rituals were meant to feel more natural and comfortable in the skins the Gods gave us. Some believe that clothing interferes with the magic you are building up. But also to remove any trace of rank, so that all present would be in the company of equals. Of course, there is a sexual element to it–not to gawk at each other, but to be comfortable around the nudity of others. After all, our bodies can give us pleasure, and there is no theological reason for us to not enjoy them. Working skyclad creates intimacy, and allows the participants to accept others as they are. Personally, I enjoy the wonderful variety of shapes and sizes, and seeing real people, not airbrushed models, makes me feel better about my own body. Not only that, but the sexuality of seeing someone naked wears off, which helps me to enjoy my partner more deeply later. After awhile, you get comfortable seeing people in the nude and wonder why people outside the ritual are wearing all those clothes!

Skyclad rituals are nearly always done within the close coven structure. Occasionally a group will perform a public presentation, but ask that all participants come prepared to remove their clothing. For liability sake, rituals are for those over the legal age of adulthood–18 in most cases.

Most of us don’t really blink at the idea of doing solitary ritual in the nude (my poor roomate in college must have walked in on my half a dozen times doing ritual nudity! You’d think he would have learned to knock by then…). But the idea of being naked in front of a bunch of people who may be strangers can be overwhelming. If you are willing to give it a try, it can be very rewarding.

Some rules for running a skyclad ritual.

Heat the room–when you aren’t wearing clothes or socks, it can get mighty cold. And nothing spoils a good ritual quicker than feeling cold.

Dim the lights–not to create a sexy mood, but because many folks aren’t comfortable having all their imperfections shown in the bright light of day. This does set a mood, but allows for a little modesty too.

It’s not a strip show–have everyone, including the ritual team, derobe at the same time. Now nobody will feel in the spotlight. Many folks will come wearing only a robe, so it is easy to remove. But others might be fully clothed! So give them ample time.

Be very clear and up front about why you are working skyclad. Let there be no room for salacious thinking and it will help create that excellent group mind you are looking for.

If at all possible, have an equal number of each gender or sexual orientation. A group of women with only one heterosexual man will likely feel uncomfortable and put on the spot. The idea is to avoid the “meat market” situation.

Everyone must participate. This isn’t a peepshow, so there is no reason to sit on the side and watch. In the trad I do skyclad with, women on their period may wear their underwear, if they choose.

Our Gods are often depicted in the nude. “Aphrodite and Pan” Pan, goat-footed, is trying to embrance the nude goddess who has removed her left sandal with which she teasingly threatens to strike him. Hellenistic period, ca. 100 BCE, found in Delos. National Museum, Athens, Greece.

Keep the ritual kissing to a minimum. Some covens do a lot of this, and that’s great! But if you are doing a public ritual, and folks don’t know each other, maybe it is not necessary. Again, the point is to keep everyone as comfortable as possible.

Secure the room. With folks leaving valuables with their clothes, you may need to lock the room, or assign a warder to manage the door. Generally, it is rude to come to any ritual late.

There is a natural amount of curiosity. People will look at each other. Acknowledge this and carry on.

Have confidence! If the ritual presenters look comfortable, it will help others feel comfortable, so set a good example!

Use alcohol with discretion. Yes, it does loosen people up, but it may make others go farther than they would normally, which they may regret later.

Find out if it is someone’s first time, and let them know what to expect.

The best skyclad ritual I ever went to was at a large festival. A coven that always works skyclad presented it, and they are always very sensitive about the way they run their rituals. This ritual was to help us feel better about our bodies. The main working was to stand with a solid base, put your hands on your stomach and loudly say “Ha. Ha. Ha. He. He. He. Ho. Ho. Ho.” and put a lot of emphasis on each syllable. Of course, the whole thing was ridiculous, so in only took a few seconds before we were all laughing hysterically. Instead of seeing our bodies as ugly, they were funny! To see my friends and acquaintances’ bodies shake with laughter, and see their faces light up with tears streaming down their faces as they clutched their sides–it was beautiful. Had we done it in ritual robes or fully clothed, it would not have been as meaningful and intimate. It would not have been as powerful a working.

What experiences have you had with skyclad rituals?

Ethics Of Our Tribe

Originally Published March 13, 2015 By Tribe Of the Standing Stones

Though we are not a predominantly Wiccan group, Tribe of the Standing Stones has chosen the Wiccan Rede to be the spine upon which our code of ethics rests.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Wiccan Rede, the most popular incarnation was published in 1975 in the Green Egg Magazine by Lady Gwen Thompson. Lady Gwen attributed the then named “Rede of the Wiccae” to her grandmother Adriana Porter. It is as follows:

Bide the Wiccan Laws we must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Live and let live.
Fairly take and fairly give.

Cast the Circle thrice about
to keep the evil spirits out.

To bind the spell every time
let the spell be spake in rhyme.

Soft of eye and light of touch,
Speak little, listen much.

Deosil go by the waxing moon,
chanting out the Witches’ Rune.

Widdershins go by the waning moon,
chanting out the baneful rune.

When the Lady’s moon is new,
kiss the hand to her, times two.

When the moon rides at her peak,
then your hearts desire seek.

Heed the North wind’s mighty gale,
lock the door and drop the sail.

When the wind comes from the South,
love will kiss thee on the mouth.

When the wind blows from the West,
departed souls will have no rest.

When the wind blows from the East,
expect the new and set the feast.

Nine woods in the cauldron go,
burn them fast and burn them slow.

Elder be the Lady’s tree,
burn it not or cursed you’ll be.

When the Wheel begins to turn,
let the Beltane fires burn.

When the Wheel has turned to Yule,
light the log and the Horned One rules.

Heed ye flower, Bush and Tree,
by the Lady, blessed be.

Where the rippling waters go,
cast a stone and truth you’ll know.

When ye have a true need,
hearken not to others’ greed.

With a fool no season spend,
lest ye be counted as his friend.

Merry meet and merry part,
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Threefold Law you should,
three times bad and three times good.

When misfortune is enow,
wear the blue star on thy brow.

True in love ever be,
lest thy lover’s false to thee.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An ye harm none, do what ye will.

Some claim that parts of the Wiccan Rede are influenced by a speech given by Doreen Valiente. Others claim that it references a passage written by Gerald Gardner. Still others attribute influence to Aleister Crowley. Regardless or the origins of this lovely poem, it has become widely accepted as a basis for interpreting ethics and moral standards in Wiccan and broader Pagan culture.

This is not to say that the Wiccan Rede is considered doctrine within our Tribe. For we must look at the origins of the word “Rede.” The word Rede is a Middle English word that means to give counsel, advise, interpret, or explain. Therefore we use this poem as advice, rather than a strict interpretation. We also believe that it’s lines hold wise council.
Though there are many lines in the Wiccan Rede that speak of magical practices, and ways to honor the Sabbats, let us focus on the lines that speak of right behavior, and moral action.

“Bide the Wiccan Laws we must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.”

Tribe of the standing Stones takes this introduction to the Wiccan Rede to be a cornerstone to our practice. Our members come in perfect love and perfect trust to our circles, and our Tribe gatherings. “Perfect love” means that we truly care for our fellow Tribe Brothers and Sisters, and accept them for their true selves. “Perfect trust” means that we honor the bonds between our members, and act in each others favor.
Our Tribe believes that these concepts of love and trust are the energies that bind and strengthen our group, as well as our individual members. We believe that strong foundations of these two elements are essential to fostering productive and healthy relationships.

“Live and let live.
Fairly take and fairly give.”

To our tribe, fairly taking and fairly giving speaks to our actions within our tribe and our community. Our interactions with each other, and with others, are to be fair. And when we take in, we must also give out. It is important that we as individuals and as a tribe practice the art of charity to facilitate that giving back. Tribe of the Standing Stones is committed giving back to the community from which we benefit so much.
In addition to giving back to our local community, and our Tribe itself, we believe that we must also use this concept of taking and giving in our interactions with planet as a whole. Our resources and our home are derived from our planet. Therefore, as takers from the Earth, we must also be givers to the Earth. Our Tribe strives to not only give back to our planet, but also to reduce our taking from the planet.

“Speak little, listen much.”

In our tribe we believe that words are spells. After all, why do you suppose they chose to call it “spelling” when letters were placed together on parchment, stone, wood or whatever to form written words when writing first came about? Could it be that the ancients considered writing words to be casting spells? While this concept may be a little tongue in cheek, the idea of decisively using your words is considered wise council by us. Also, the concept of listening to all those around you is considered wise. Though many may have a different view point, or even a similar one, their experience should be listened to with much respect.
In practice, these values are most often asserted in the teachings our Tribe offers. We ask that Tribe members and guests share their personal stories with our group so that we might all benefit from their experiences with various topics. We ask that those with knowledge share with their fellow Tribe Brothers and Sisters, and we ask that all in attendance listen respectfully to what each individual has to say.

“When ye have a true need,
hearken not to others’ greed.”

Our tribe takes these lines to mean that you should not let other people’s negative will influence your own – even in times of need. In other words, you should never give up your moral fiber.
In this couplet we also see that the Wiccan Rede refers to the individual’s personal responsibility for their actions. In fact, this is a common theme throughout the poem, and is another trait that our Tribe wishes to highlight for it’s members. Personal responsibility is considered by us to be a key factor in ethical behavior. One always has the option to choose to do right, for everyone is responsible for their own behavior.

“With a fool no season spend,
lest ye be counted as his friend.”

Our Tribe believes this to be another version of the phrase “Choose your friends wisely.” We find that it is true that a person or a group is often associated to the company they keep. Therefore, your friends should be wise, and not engaged in foolish behavior.
Tribe of the Standing stones also takes these lines to mean that your friends should be chosen by their thoughts and deeds, rather than any other characteristic. And, we use these traits to determine initiation into our Tribe above any others.

“Merry meet and merry part,
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.”

Tribe of the Standing Stones believes that we should all greet each other with joy, and part with joy as well. This extends to old friends as well as new. Our Tribe strives to create a peaceful atmosphere, but should any grievances arise, we have an open door policy, so that they may be dealt with swiftly. We want none of our members or guests to leave us unhappily, if it can be avoided.

“Mind the Threefold Law you should,
three times bad and three times good.”

These lines refer to what is known as the “Threefold Law.” This is sometimes also called the “Rule of Three” and has been linked to the phrase: “Ever mind the rule of three, whatever you send out comes back to thee.” This means that should you send out energy, it will return to you threefold.

Many have different view points on how this “law” actually works. Some believe that positive energies sent out return triple the blessings, while negative energies sent out return triple the consequences. Others believe that the energies sent out affect the sender in three ways (usually in mind, body, and spirit). Still, others do not believe in any sort of karmic reaction at all.

It is the opinion of Tribe of the Standing Stones that this couplet refers to the concept that one’s actions affect their character. Therefore, to be a moral and just person, one must act like one.

“When misfortune is enow,
wear the blue star on thy brow.”

Tribe of the Standing Stones takes this couplet to basically mean “ask for help.” If you are enduring misfortunes, let others know. Let your fellow Tribe Brothers and Sisters aid you if they can, or at least support you in your troubled times. Our Tribe believes that burdens are made lighter when they are shouldered together.

“An ye harm none, do what ye will.”

Some consider this last line to be the “short version” of the Wiccan Rede, and say that this verse alone should be the basis of ethics for all Wiccans and/or pagans. However, it is the opinion of our Tribe that while this line has importance, it is truly only part of a whole.

“Harming none” has many different meanings to many different people. Some see this concept as a justification for veganism while others cannot relate to that leap at all. Some see this idea as relating to a stance of pacifism, and yet others (particularly those that see themselves as “warriors”) do not see it that way at all. So who is right?

It is the stance of Tribe of the Standing Stones that this final passage of the Wiccan Rede once again reminds us of our personal responsibility. It is up to each individual what one does, and the Rede advises that we cause no harm. We therefore advise our members not to cause what we call “willful” harm to others, in that they should not unjustly forcibly exert their will or energies over any person -to include themselves- for the purpose of causing pain or misfortune.

And thus, we conclude the Wiccan Rede. As was stated at the beginning of this article, our Tribe looks at this poem as a spine. This means that the values and ethics contained within are just a starting point. Tribe of the Standing Stones believes that no one poem, and no one article, can completely describe an entire group’s code of ethics. We therefore invite you to continue the discussion with our members, talk with our clergy (cianaodh.og@gmail.com), and perhaps come to one of our gatherings should this topic interest you further.

Do You Believe In God?

Most often, people who ask this question are doing so from the monotheistic mindset that there is only one God and that is the god of the Bible (one version or another) or another of the holy books of one of the Abrahamic family of religions. Our concept of the divine is different however. Some of us are polytheists, some are pantheists, some duo-theists and even some are atheists believe it or not.

Our approach to Paganism is such that we leave our individual members’ personal relationships with the divine up to them and explore many different concepts and aspects for deity in our practice, classes and rituals. Tribe of the Standing Stones believes that deity is a very personal matter. We strive to make our tribe inclusive to Pagans of all flavors, while encouraging the specialized relationship each member has with their own god, gods, and/or goddesses.

Some of us believe in the saying “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” –  Hermes Trismegistus. So, we look to nature and the universe when we seek answers to life’s great mysteries. There are certain patterns and interactions of energies that occur at every level throughout the universe. The macrocosm and the microcosm. In pondering these things we believe it is possible to grasp a better understanding of the nature of deity.

Now, because we are Pagans living in a modern day world, we adopt many of the ritual elements and god/goddess names and concepts into our practice that a great number of today’s Pagans are familiar with. Some of our tribe members may speak of the divine as ‘The Lord and Lady’, some may refer to them as ‘The gods’, some may use more encompassing terms such as ‘The Kindred’ (meaning gods, ancestors and nature spirits). That is all okay. Those are reflections of each individual’s perception of and relationship with the divine at this point on their spiritual journey.

Pondering these great mysteries of the divine and sharing our perceptions with one another is what makes getting together with other Pagans such a great thing to us. Your perception may be different from any that we are familiar with and among our members you may find a concept that you have not yet examined. We invite you to come share with us so that perhaps together we may all grow and learn.

Our Lineage

Tribe Of the Standing Stones was originally part of the Esoteric Path of Enlightenment tradition (Back then it was known as ‘Temple’ Of the Standing Stones, which was itself derived from the Correllian Nativist Tradition. The Correllians base their teachings upon those of Caroline High Correll, a practicing psychic, spiritual healer, and herbalist who founded the tradition way back in 1879. Her family was said to be descended from a line of Cherokee Didanvwisgi (Medicine Men). These Didanvwisgi intermarried with a family of Scottish Traditional Witches, whose descendants were also influenced by Aradian Witchcraft and by the beliefs of the Spiritualist Church. In 1979 the Elders of the Correllian Tradition decided that it was a form of “Wicca” using the term as synonymous with “Witchcraft”.

Esoteric Path of Enlightenment tradition broke away from the Correllians in 2012 to form a more eclectic tradition of their own in the North Texas region.

On December 14th, 2014 Cianaodh Óg, Arachne Crowsinger and Sera Freya formally resigned from Esoteric Path of Enlightenment Tradition to become completely autonomous. Arachne Crowsinger and Sera Freya went on to found a coven of their own and Cianaodh Óg remains the High Priest (Or Lord High Mucky Muck if you prefer) of Tribe Of the Standing Stones to this day. It has been our goal from the beginning to “Forge a new Pagan path!”  and we work diligently every day to do just that. On March 21st, 2015, otherwise known as Mudstara 2015 due to it being a very muddy Ostara Celebration (Haha!) Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition was born as Cianaodh Óg, Arachne Crowsinger and Sera Freya received their metallic cords and crowns from recognized elders of their former tradition.

Our Vision

2.) We want to be knowledgeable in historical and contemporary subjects.

3.) Further, we want to be knowledgeable in indigenous plant and animal life.

4.) It is our desire to be artistically expressive and appreciative.

5.) We want to be connected with the gods, ancestors, and nature spirits.

6.) We want our clergy to be trained in our spiritual traditions, beliefs and practices.

7.) We seek to be non-discriminatory.

8.) We are a peaceful path which seeks harmony and balance.

Meet Our Elders

By High Priest Cianaodh Óg a.k.a. Troy Young

My Pagan (Craft or Magickal) name is Cianaodh Óg (Key – Ah – Knee – Some say Kenny) which is Old Irish for AncientFire and (Og – with a long O), also Old Irish for Young or my modern English surname. Yes, I do appreciate the irony of having a name that begins with Ancient and ends with Young. I am the High Priest of Tribe Of the Standing Stones which is a member of the Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition.

I have been an ordained Universal Life Church Minister since January, 4th, 2001 as well as having been initiated as a 1st degree priest and witch of the Alexandrian Tradition of Wicca in June of 2002. I also served as Grove Organizer for a local A.D.F. ( Ár nDraíocht Féin ) Druid protogrove for a couple of years while studying with that tradition. I have been active in the Dallas / Fort Worth Pagan community in some fashion or another since the late 1990s including a couple of past Community Centers (Betwixt & Between in Dallas and Ancient Traditions in Grand Prairie), Amy Martin and Earth Rhythms’ Winter Solstice Celebrations (I was The Boogeyman for a few years). I once hosted two previous study groups in the area (Pagan Mediterranean Study Group or PagMed for short in the early 2000s and DFW Pantheons around 2006 to 2007 which was more of a social group). I have also helped with DFW Pagan Pride Day occasionally over the years in various capacities from building and maintaining a website a few times for them, serving as a Promotional Coordinator on the planning committee and once as a Local Co-Coordinator. I attained my 3rd degree priesthood from the Esoteric Path of Enlightenment tradition which derived itself from the Correllian tradition and I am additionally a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids studying my Bardic grade materials.

As a community service I offer handfastings, house and item cleansing and blessings, counseling, etc. and only ask to be compensated for any travel or materials expenses I might incur. But please understand that I have only so much time I can devote to such work and can not always fill everyone’s needs. I will try to help all that I can however.

We also have a High Priestess named Wahya and a second High Priest named Ta’li Seabhac who have trained with me up their degrees in Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition and help tremendously with the events and projects of our tribe.