AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR
The Magic of Ancient Celtic Beliefs in a Contemporary Society
"Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today"Margot Adler
Beacon Press trade paperback
You may have already heard Margot's voice, as she was once hostess of National Public Radio's news program, "All Things Considered". This book is the end result of five years of research and interviews. (The 2nd edition is an update published eight years after the original.) This landmark study focuses on the rise of the Neo-Pagan movement (which includes Witchcraft, of course) especially as it relates to the values and beliefs of the counterculture of the mid-60's, hippies, flower children, et. al. It is the single most comprehensive study of modern American Witchcraft in existence.
"What Witches Do: The Modern Coven Revealed"Stewart Farrar
Phoenix trade paperback
If Adler's book gives a comprehensive overview of modern American Witchcraft, Farrar's is a complimentary look at traditional British Witchcraft. Concentrating on the Alexandrian tradition (which is only marginally different from Gardnerian, easily the largest Craft tradition extant), Farrar lays stress on the actual working of Covens and the integration of novice Witches into them. Also included is much of the Gardnerian (via Alexandrian) Book of Shadows. So there is plenty here for someone who wants to begin practice.
"The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess"Starhawk (pseud. for Miriam Simos)
Harper & Row trade paperback
This book shifts back to America again, this time with a slight emphasis on feminist Witchcraft, arguably the fastest growing branch of the Craft. Starhawk is herself High Priestess of two California Covens and her book is insightful, genuine, and beautifully poetic. This overview also contains specific instructions for Circles, chants, spells, invocations, creating rituals and, in short, everything you need to get started. And it is a delight to read.
"Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft"Raymond Buckland
Llewellyn trade paperback
British-born Ray Buckland can, with some validity, be considered Gerald Gardner's American successor. Not only did he introduce Gardnerian Witchcraft to the United States, but he also founded his own tradition of the Craft, called Seax (Saxon) Wicca, which has grown to worldwide practice. His early books, like 'Witchcraft from the Inside', did much to dispel negative stereotypes of Wicca in the 60's. And "The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft" remains one of the best published Books of Shadows to date. The present volume has a practical orientation, with chapters set up as 'lessons', covering every imaginable aspect of modern Wicca. The book is Traditionalist in approach, making a nice counterpoint to works by Adler and Starhawk.
"A Witches' Bible, Compleat"Janet & Stewart Farrar
Magickal Childe trade paperback tandem edition of "Eight Sabbats for Witches" and "The Witches' Way", respectively, also called "A Witches' Bible, Vol. 1 & 2".
The first book is an examination of the festival Holidays of the Old Religion - the Solstices and Equinoxes and the cross-quarter days - together with the rich folk customs associated with them. The second book contains the long-awaited remainder of the previously unpublished portions of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. In both of these books, the Farrars had the invaluable help of Doreen Valiente, who actually wrote parts of the Gardnerian liturgy. The three Farrar books taken together form the most complete system of Witchcraft currently available. Their more recent book "The Witches' Goddess" focuses on the feminine archetype, and contains a gazetteer of Goddesses that is mind-boggling in its thoroughness.
"Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, & Politics"
Starhawk (pseud. for Miriam Simos)
"The Politics of Women's Spirituality: Essays on the Rise of Spiritualist Power Within the Feminist Movement"Charlene Spretnak
Doubleday trade paperback
A huge (and, one is tempted to say, the definitive) anthology of feminist and Pagan theology. Many familiar authors here: Starhawk, Weinstein, Daly, et. al. Subjects range from Amazons to the ethics of magic. A real bargain!
"Sex in History"Reay Tannahill
Stein & Day trade paperback
It has often been said that Witchcraft grew out of an earlier "fertility religion" and, although "fertility" is probably the wrong word here, it is undeniable that the history of Witchcraft is irrevocably bound up with the history of sexuality. Like Tantrists and many others in the East, Witches tend to view sex as sacramental. Since this is quite contrary to the prevailing attitudes of our own culture, it may be helpful to understand how our culture acquired such negative ideas about sex in the first place. Ms. Tannahill's unique landmark study will not only answer this question but also indicate the many options other cultures throughout history have chosen.
"When God Was A Woman"Merlin Stone
Harcourt, Brace, & Jovanovich trade paperback
At the foundations of the religion of Witchcraft is the religion of the Goddess. Ms. Stone's book is an archeological tour-de-force of that religion, which is found at the beginnings of virtually every known culture (yes, even the Judeo-Christian culture). In this book, one learns about the worship of Astarte, Isis, Ishtar, and many others. Also recommended is her "Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood". Both are splendid books!
"A Different Heaven and Earth"Sheila D. Collins
Judson Press trade paperback
By one of the leading feminist theologians of our day, this book asks what are the psychological and social implications of worshipping a male deity exclusively, while ignoring the feminine principle in religion. This is one of the most influential books I've read in the last ten years. It changed my way of thinking (for the better) and I dare say it will change yours.
"The Way of Wyrd"Brian Bates
Harper & Row hardback
What Carlos Castaneda did for Native American tradition, this author does for ancient Pagan Anglo-Saxon tradition. Subtitled "The Book of a Sorcerer's Apprentice" and based on authentic manuscripts found in the British Museum, it is the chronicle of a young Christian monk sent into the wilds beyond Mercia in 674 to record the heresies (beliefs) of the Pagans. He is lucky to have as his guide the Anglo-Saxon shaman Wulf. Throughout this documentary novel, the Christian and Pagan beliefs are juxtaposed for a better understanding of both. Not since "The Mists of Avalon" has a book accomplished this task so neatly.
"Positive Magic"Marion Weinstein
Phoenix Publications trade paperback
Although a book about how to use magic to change your life could be extremely tedious, this one is far from it. While it is true that Marion uses a simple and direct style of writing, it is used on such difficult and subtle questions as the ethics of magic. She draws upon her own experiences to create a book that is truly positive. If I had to recommend one book on magic, this would be it!
"Earth Power"Scott Cunningham
Llewellyn trade paperback
Scott is arguably the strongest of the young writers in the immensely popular "Llewellyn's Practical Magick Series". This is, in fact, a book of spells. Practical, down-to-earth, useful, everyday, garden-variety spells. It is the only such book in this bibliography. Although I do not recommend a "cookbook" approach to magic, this book will be extremely helpful when used as a guide for creating your own spells. Also, Scott concentrates on "natural" or "folk" magic, as opposed to 'ritual" or "ceremonial" magic. This is the type of magic (involving Sun, Moon, stars, trees, rocks, springs, etc.) that is the natural heritage of Witchcraft. An excellent starting-place for the novice spell-wright. His many other books, especially "The Magical Household", are all highly recommended.
"The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist"
"Chart Your Own Horoscope"Ursula Lewis
For the absolute beginner, the find-at-a-glance tables and charts are worth their weight in gold.
"A Handbook for the Humanistic Astrologer"Michael Meyer's
For the more advanced students, this book is highly recommended for its "humanistic" (a la Dane Rudyar) approach.
"The Only Way To Learn Astrology, Vol. I-IV"March & McEvers.
If you want to really learn to do astrology, this is the book for you. Books by Linda Goodman, Grant Lewi, Ronald Davison, and Liz Greene are also recommended.
"Secrets of the Tarot"
by Barbara Walker.
This is the best of the newest books on Tarot. You may know Barbara as the author of the amazing "Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets". Bill Butler's "Dictionary of the Tarot" is a wonderful reference book which encompasses works by such authors as Case, Crowley, Douglas, Gray, Huson, Kaplan, Mathers, Papus, Waite, et. al.
Any and all books by J. B. and Louisa Rhine, Gertrude Schmeidler, Thelma Moss, Charles Tart, D. Scott Rogo, J. G. Pratt, Raynor Johnson and Lawrence LeShan would be highly recommended.
"The Palmistry Workbook"
by N. Altman.
This is clearly the leader here. The book actually has hand-prints, not just line drawings!
"An Experience of Phantoms"
and "The Poltergeist Experience" D. Scott Rogo (Penguin paperbacks).
Firstly, I'd recommend this book by Mr. Rogo, who is a kind of historian of psychical research.
by William Roll
Mr. Roll is the director of the Psychical Research Foundation, and this country's leading authority on ghosts.
"Conjuring Up Phillip"
Iris M. Owen
And most importantly, the account of a group of Canadian researchers who "created" a ghost! This last title is now out of print, but if you can find one in a used book store, it's well worth it.
"At the Hour of Death"
by Karlis Osis.
This book is exceptional.
"Life Is Forever"
by Susy Smith.
This book is out-of-print but if you can find it, it is perhaps the best introduction.
|NOTE: Books by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross are adequate, but not as good.|
"Journeys Out of the Body"
Robert A. Monroe
MEDIUMSHIP:Firstly, the 'Seth' books by Jane Roberts, listed above.
"Here, Mr. Splitfoot"Robert Sommerlot
"Singer in the Shadows"Irving Litvag
"She Spoke to the Dead"Susy Smith
NOTE: Any and all books by her.
"The Magician: His Training and Work"
W. E. Butler
"The Mists of Avalon"Marion Zimmer Bradley
Ballantine trade paperback.
This Arthurian fantasy novel, which reached the N.Y. Times best-seller list, is truly superlative. It is narrated by Morgan le Fay and so we finally understand that strange antipathy that exists between her and Arthur. The religious and philosophical conflict between the Old Religion and the newer one of Christianity is beautifully portrayed. An excellent choice.
"The Prydain Chronicles"Lloyd Alexander
A pentology on Dell paperbacks
These award-winning children's fantasies are based on ancient Welsh mythology. Alexander admits that the two authors who most influenced him were J. R. R. Tolkien and T. H. White. The books are also the basis of the recent animation feature from Disney studios. I'm often asked about pagan books to recommend for children. These are them.
"THE DERYNI NOVELS"Katherine Kurtz
In story chronological order:
"THE LEGENDS OF CAMBER OF CULDI"
"THE HEIRS OF SAINT CAMBER"
"THE CHILDE MORGAN TRILOGY"
"THE CHRONICLES OF THE DERYNI"
"THE HISTORIES OF KING KELSON"
"RELATED BUT STAND ALONE NOVEL"
Set in the landscape of ancient Wales, the Deryni are a race with magical powers which must fight for its life against a medieval Church Militant. Katherine is someone who knows what magic is all about.
"Lammas Night"Katherine Kurtz
In this case, the author of the important Deryni fantasies turns her attention to a historical setting: England in World War II. There is a long-standing tradition that Hitler's thwarted plans for invading England owed a certain something to the many Covens throughout Britain who combined their efforts to stop him. There is even a hint that the Royal Family itself was involved. Ms. Kurtz's historical research is, of course, impeccable.
"The Once and Future King"
T. H. White
All Ballantine paperbacks
Garner is one of the best British fantasy authors, with a superb sense of local "color" and folklore. The first two (related) titles are in the heroic quest mold, the third is a story about the four "hallows" of Arthurian legends, and the fourth is an eerie modern re-creation of the fourth branch of the "Mabinogi".
"The Earthsea Cycle"
This is the chronicle of a young boy who is an apprentice mage. LeGuin, a leading science fiction and fantasy author, has some fascinating things to say about the light side and dark side of magic, and how they're related. And she says it very well, indeed.