books

A Year And A Day

July, 2013

 

Wicca 101

I believe it was Scott Cunningham that encouraged new witches to read everything they can get their hands on when first exploring the Craft. I agree with this wholeheartedly! There is a multitude of ‘Wicca 101’ books on the market, and it can seem daunting to sift through them and choose which ones to read. Every Wiccan author has their own style and point of view, so it’s a good exercise to read a variety of books in order to discover what works for you. Keep in mind that not everybody agrees with what makes a good book!

Below is a list of some Wiccan and Pagan books that I have read, I am planning to read, or have been recommended by others. It is by no means an inclusive list, but it might be a helpful reference for those just starting out on their path. Happy reading!

 

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham (1989)

This was one of the first books I read on Wicca, and it is still one of my favourites.  Cunningham’s friendly style is easy to read, and the topics are basic enough for a beginner to grasp.  Some people criticize Cunningham as being ‘too fluffy’ and overlooking the darker aspects of the Craft, but I think it’s still one of the best Wicca 101 books out there.  I also recommend the companion book, Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

 

Wicca For Beginners: Fundamentals of Philosophy and Practice by Thea Sabin (2006)

This has to be one of my favourite Wicca 101 books.  I find her friendly writing style easy to read and enjoyable.  Written in 2006, it contains a modern view of the history of the Craft, acknowledging Wicca as both a ‘new’ and ‘old’ religion.  It includes some very useful lessons right up front – Grounding, Centering, Visualization, and Meditation – complete with instructions and exercises.

 

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft (3rd Ed) by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine Gleason (2006)

I was skeptical when I picked up this book, but I’m glad I did because it is packed full of useful information.  Following the concept of the other ‘Idiots’ and ‘Dummies’ books, this guide is well laid out with concise chapters with notes, summaries, and definitions.  It will take you a long time to go through it all, but I feel its well worth it in the end.

 

Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland (2002)

 

Buckland’s ‘big blue book’ contains a lot of useful information for the beginner Wiccan. The workbook is organized in a series of lessons with review questions at the end of each.  Although most of what he writes is geared towards coven work, there is a chapter at the end for the solitary practitioner.

True Magick: A Beginner’s Guide by Amber K (1990)

Many positive reviews have been made about Amber K’s ‘little green book’, and although I’m not quite finished it yet, it is quite enjoyable.  It contains information about the history of magic, magic and science, rituals and spellcraft, as well as exercises and recommended reading after each chapter.

To Ride A Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft by Silver RavenWolf (2002)

Love her or hate her, Silver RavenWolf is here to stay.  Very popular with the teen set, her books are filled with information, however sometimes you have to sift through her varied opinions on things to get to the facts.  This is the first book in a series of beginner Wicca books, followed by To Stir A Magick Cauldron and To Light A Sacred Flame. 

The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation and Psychic Development by Christopher Penczak (2002)

This is the first in the Temple series of books Christopher Penczak, a pupil of Laurie Cabot, which also includes The Outer Temple of Witchcraft, The Living Temple of Witchcraft, and The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft.  This book discusses the basics of Witchcraft, as well as magic, meditation, and energy work, complete with exercises and review questions.

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America by Margot Adler (2006)

First published in 1979, this book was one of the first glimpses of Neopaganism in America.  Adler provides an interesting viewpoint on the history and formation of Neopaganism.


 

Additional recommended books include:

A Witches’ Bible: The Complete Witches’ Handbook by Stewart Farrar and Janet Farrar (1996)

The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess by Starhawk (1999)

Witchcraft for Tomorrow by Doreen Valiente (1993)

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft by Ronald Hutton (2001)

Green Witchcraft: Folk Magic, Fairy Lore & Herb Craft by Ann Moura (2002)

Positive Magic: Occult Self-Help by Marion Weinstein (2008)

The Spirit of the Witch: Religion & Spirituality in Contemporary Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi (2003)

How to Become a Witch: The Path of Nature, Spirit & Magick by Amber K (2010)

The Real Witches’ Handbook: A Complete Introduction to the Craft by Kate West (2008)

The Wicca Bible: The Definitive Guide To Magic And The Craft by Ann-Marie Gallagher (2005)

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by River Higginbotham and Joyce Higginbotham (2002)

 

Bare Feet on an Earth Path

June, 2013

I came to paganism, like many of us, by way of books. They intrigued me, and once I got my nose into them, one led to another, which led to another. Many of these books were written by brave, public pagan figures who had recorded their knowledge so that I, an inheritor of that knowledge, could follow their bread crumb trail on a journey of my own.

 

The very first books I plucked off of the bookstore shelves and brought home with me were introductory Wiccan books. They did their best to describe just what Wiccans are and what they do, saying that “Wiccans believe this” and “Pagans do that.”

 

Not knowing much about Wiccans or pagans, I assumed the things I read must be true. This was a stumbling block for me, as doubts like the ones I’d experienced in my conservative Christian days began to eat at me.  I don’t know if I can be Wiccan, I thought, because I don’t know how I feel about this thing that this book says you have to believe to be Wiccan.

 

Time passed, and my interest in paganism fluctuated, with more books coming and going.

 

More books meant more opinions, and I began to sneak a glimpse into the true plurality of paganism.  I ventured out to a local pagan pride event, not yet sure if I was pagan or proud, and talked to real pagans. But I had no idea of the magnitude of the pagan community until my discovery of the pagan blogosphere. I found that pagan bloggers discussed issues, both theological and societal, and in the process, constantly bounced ideas back and forth, referring to one another’s posts.

 

Did you see this post of Harry’s? I totally agree with Harry, and here’s why! Or, rather, Did you see that poppycock dribble Harry posted the other day? That Harry is batshit insane!  (Maybe without so much name-calling, but it adds color, I think.)  When an issue came up in the pagan blogosphere, it whirled through a multitude of blogs, being critiqued up, down, and back again, with everyone seeming to throw in their two cents.

 

Some of the bloggers I read seemed to be important, respected people in the pagan community. Credentialed pagans. You know, the “I’ve been a contributing member of the pagan community for 35 years, and have 4 published books and three third degree titles to prove it” pagans. Those things are great and all, but I was most definitely not credentialed.  I wasn’t even experienced.  Hell, I ‘d just decided I was pagan!  But the armchair theologian in me wanted to get involved, and so I did.  As I spent more time in this community of sorts, reading and beginning to find my voice, I realized what a great plurality of beliefs and practices are present within paganism.  More importantly, I learned that there was a lot of disagreement.  This was amazingly freeing. If all these people disagreed with each other, then I could disagree with them, too, and still be pagan.

 

Paganism has been called a “big tent” by some, meaning that it encompasses a broad variety of paths and contains a diversity of ways of seeing and doing things. The size of that umbrella is what made room for me. In paganism, I have found a freedom I never knew before: a freedom that allows me to grow and change without fear of growing out of my religion. I can lie on the soft earth with the wind ruffling my hair and look up at the trees, knowing that however my perceptions shift and change, the earth and the wind and the trees will still be here. This peace and spark of life will still be here. Paganism will still be here. And I will still be pagan.

WiseWoman’s Books

January, 2011

Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings, and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges conventional medical approaches with humor, insight, and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine. Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.
Susun is one of America’s best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women’s health. Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world. Learn more at www.susunweed.com

Susun Weed’s books include:

Wise Woman herbal for the Childbearing Year

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Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $11.95 Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com

Healing Wise

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Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $17.95 Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com

NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

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Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $16.95. Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com

For more info on menopause, visit: www.menopause-metamorphosis.com

Visit Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com and www.ashtreepublishing.com

Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

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Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $14.95 Order at: www.ashtreepublishing.com