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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Culpeper’s Complete Herbal: a Book Of Natural Remedies Of Ancient Ills
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.
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.
Titles which, while fictional deal in concepts and lore that are central to Pagan culture and philosophy.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.