Thirteen Books Every Wiccan Should Read

Thirteen Books Every Wiccan Should Read

By , About.com

Now that you’ve decided you want to learn about contemporary Wicca or another modern Pagan path, what should you read? After all, there are literally thousands of books on the subject — some good, others not so much. This list features the thirteen books that every Pagan should have on their shelves. A few are historical, a few more focus on modern Wiccan practice, but they’re all worth reading more than once. Bear in mind that while some books may purport to be about Wicca, they are often focused on NeoWicca, and do not contain the oathbound material found in traditional Wiccan practice.

Adler, Margot: Drawing Down the Moon2

If you want to learn about birds, you get a field guide about birds. If you want to learn about mushrooms, you get a field guide to mushrooms. Drawing Down the Moon is a field guide to Pagans. Rather than offering up a book of spells and recipes, Margot Adler presents an academic work that evaluates modern Pagan religions – including Wicca – and the people who practice them. The work is based on a survey the author took over two decades ago, but the information within is still a worthy read. Drawing Down the Moon makes no apologies for the fact that not all Wiccans are full of white light and fluff, but instead tells it like it is. Adler’s style is entertaining and informative, and it’s a bit like reading a really well-done thesis paper.

Buckland, Raymond: Complete Book of Witchcraft

Raymond Buckland is one of Wicca’s most prolific writers, and his work Complete Book of Witchcraft continues to remain popular two decades after it was first published – and for good reason. Although this book represents a more eclectic flavor of Wicca rather than a particular tradition, it’s presented in a workbook-like format that allows new seekers to work through the exercises at their own pace, learning as they go. For more seasoned readers, there’s a lot of useful information as far as rituals, tools, and magic itself. This book is a classic, and well worth picking up.

Cunningham, Scott: Wicca – A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

The late Scott Cunningham wrote a number of books before his untimely death, but Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner remains one of the best known and most useful. Although the tradition of witchcraft in this book is more Cunningham’s eclectic path than any other tradition, it’s full of information on how to get started in your practice of Wicca and magic. He goes into depth about tools, how and why they are used, ethics, and the concept of god and goddess. If you’re interested in learning and practicing as an individual, and not necessarily jumping into a coven right off the bat, this book is a valuable resource.

Curott, Phyllis: Witch Crafting

Phyllis Curott is one of those people who makes me glad to be Pagan — because she’s really normal. An attorney who has spent her life working on First Amendment issues, Curott has managed to put together a really useful book. Witch Crafting is not a collection of spells, rituals or prayers. It’s a hard and fast look at magical ethics, the polarity of male and female in the divine, finding the god and goddess in your everyday life, and the pros and cons of coven life vs. solitary paths. Curott also offers up a very interesting take on the Rule of Three. Whether you’re a new student of Wicca, or a veteran, Witch Crafting is worth reading more than once.

Eilers, Dana: Pagans and the Law – Understand Your Rights

Dana D. Eilers spent many years facilitating an event called Conversations With Pagans, and from that she wrote a book entitled The Practical Pagan. She then drew on her experience as an attorney to write Pagans and the Law: Understand Your Rights. This book goes into depth about precedents in religious discrimination lawsuits, how to protect yourself if you may be a victim of workplace harassment, and how to document everything if your spirituality is leading someone to treat you unfairly. Eilers is an outspoken woman who has a lot of great advice worth listening to.

Farrar, Janet & Stewart: The Witches’ Bible

[p]The first section of this book is Eight Sabbats for Witches. It goes into depth on Sabbat rites, and the meanings behind the holidays are expanded on. While the ceremonies in The Witches’ Bible are the Farrars’ own, there’s a heavy influence of the Gardnerian tradition, as well as Celtic folklore and some other European history. The second half of the book is in fact another book, The Witches Way, which looks at the beliefs, ethics, and practice of modern witchcraft. Despite the fact that the authors are a bit conservative by today’s standards, this book is an excellent look at the transitioning concept of what exactly it is that makes someone a witch.

Gardner, Gerald: Witchcraft Today

Gerald Gardner is the founder of modern Wicca as we know it, and of course of the Gardnerian tradition. His book Witchcraft Today is a worthy read, however, for seekers on any Pagan path. He discusses paganism in Europe, as well as the so-called “witch cult”, and goes on to demonstrate how many of history’s notable names are connected, one way or another, to what we know today as witchcraft. Although some of the statements in Witchcraft Today should be taken with a grain of salt — after all, Gardner was a folklorist and that shines through in his writing — it’s still one of the foundations that contemporary Wicca is based on. For its historical value, few things beat this book.

Hutton, Ronald: Triumph of the Moon

Triumph of the Moon is a book about Pagans by a non-Pagan, and Hutton, a highly respected professor, does an excellent job. This book looks at the emergence of contemporary Pagan religions, and how they not only evolved from the Pagan societies of the past, but also owe heavily to 19th-century poets and scholars. In fact, Hutton points out that a good deal of what we consider “ancient” Pagan practice can be attributed to the novelists and romantics of the late Edwardian and early Victorian era. Despite his status as a scholar, Hutton’s breezy wit makes this a refreshing read, and you’ll learn far more than you ever expected to about today’s Pagan religions.

Morrison, Dorothy: The Craft – A Witch’s Book of Shadows

Dorothy Morrison is one of those writers who doesn’t hold back, and while her book The Craft is aimed at beginners, she manages to create a work that can be useful for anyone. Morrison includes exercises and rituals which are not only practical, but teaching tools as well. Despite its focus on the lighter side of witchcraft, it’s a good starting point for anyone trying to learn about Wicca, and how to create your own rituals and workings. Morrison also has written a number of other books, including a companion work to this one.

Russell, Jeffrey: A History of Witchcraft

Historian Jeffrey Russell presents an analysis of witchcraft in an historical context, from the early days of Medieval Europe, through the witch craze of the Renaissance, and up into modern times. Russell doesn’t bother trying to fluff up the history to make it more palatable to today’s Wiccans, and takes a look at three different kinds of witchcraft — sorcery, diabolical witchcraft, and modern witchcraft. A noted religious historian, Russell manages to make an entertaining yet informative read, as well as accepting that witchcraft in and of itself can in fact be a religion.

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The Witches’ Spell for Nov. 4th – Get Lost Hex

goth114I know you know that I don’t generally post hexes or curses. But I have had several people write to be about people bothering them, thinking they have been cursed, had a love spell put on them and many more. So I figured instead of emailing each of you individually, I would post the spell here. You can’t never tell there might be someone reading this that is having the same problem. I hope this helps everyone. If it doesn’t suit your circumstances, let me know and I will track down another spell for you.

Get Lost Hex

While this hex will definitely force the target to leave you alone, it also causes enough personal aggravation so that he or she is way too busy to bother anyone else.

Materials:

Prepared poppet

Black wax, melted

Lost and Away Powder

Brown paper sack

Place the poppet in the sack and sprinkle liberally with Lost and Away Powder, saying:

Lost and away from me you go
As your life’s sprinkled with troubles, problems and woe.
 

Pour the melted wax on top of the poppet, and quickly douse with the powder again. (Do this before the wax sets up, as you want the powder to adhere to it.) As you sprinkle the powder, say:

Problems stick like black to crow
Like melted wax they ooze and flow,
And when you think they’re finally done,
More arrive with rise of Sun.
 

Bury the poppet in an area easily accessible to you but away from your home. To keep the hex active, visit the grave once each week and dust it with the powder.

 

Utterly Wicked, Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions
By Dorothy Morrison

The Witches Spell for July 22 – The One Shot Spell

The One Shot Spell

(Note: Do not use rum for this spell. As it is sacred to some of the Afro-Caribbean deities, using it as such may be offensive to Them).

Materials You Will Need:

1 shot of bodka, bourbon, gin or scotch

1 glass to hold the shot of alcohol

1 12oz. glass of water

Pour the shot of alcohol, then swirl it in the glass, saying:

(Name of target) you’ve become
(Name of target) you shall stay
And I’ve become the nemesis
Who will take your power away.

Take a sip from the glass, saying:

One sip and you feel weak,

Take another sip, saying:

Another makes you fall.

Then chug the rest of the shot and say:

As I toss back the rest of this
I own your power: All!

Now chase the shot with the full glass of water, drinking it down as quickly as possible. Then say:

In an hour’s time, I’ll piss you out
And you’ll be laid to waste,
Weak and lowly like the piss
And swimming in disgrace.
 
 
—Dorothy Morrison

Getting Started: Now What?

Getting Started: Now What?

Author: Darksky

Getting started… now what? I wanted to address this because there are both some new members just embarking on their path and also some veterans returning to their path and who are experiencing difficulty getting started or resuming their practice.

I have heard, “OK, I have read tons of books and dabbled, but I am not sure I know what I’m doing or how to get started”. Fair enough. We have all had to start at the beginning. We have all had some doubt, confusion, and fear regarding the craft. Some have a feeling they might do something wrong or cause their own practice or spiritual space to go all out of whack. Relax; you won’t. Remember old sayings like, “Practice makes perfect”, or “trial and error” or “You have to walk before you can run”.

One of the first things in magick that sometimes is overlooked is attitude. You’ve read a few books, listened to the local witch shop owner impart their knowledge of the craft, taken , and maybe attended seminars… but have you really heard people stress the subject of attitude. You may have heard, “magick without ego”. OK, what does that mean?
Let’s define ego…*

e·go: [ee-goh, eg-oh] noun, plural e·gos.
1. The “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.
2. Psychoanalysis: the part of  apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.
3. egotism: conceit; self-importance: Her ego becomes more unbearable each day.
4. self-esteem or self-image: feelings: Your criticism wounded his ego.
5. (Often initial capital letter) Philosophy: a. the enduring and conscious element that knows experience; b. Scholasticism: the complete person comprising both body and soul.

So you try and remove ego; seems difficult or might seem contrary to some parts of the definition. Be positive. Have no doubt. Be confident, right?

I believe that magick without ego is a process where one is able to understand and feel a connection between each person, animal, nature and realize that removing the “I” isn’t simply taking your “self” out of the equations, but rather understanding the connection between all things created by a divinity (whatever it happens to be, or however you chose to name it) .
Magick is a state of mind, a lifestyle, and a true journey. It’s a journey of oneself… not of the ego “self”, but a maturation into different levels of understanding and connections.

Magick is not only learning spells and invocations, and acquiring altar tools. Magick comes from within you; it’s learning about you. No one can teach you that. You may be able to learn mediation, divination, and be guided certain in steps and procedures, but the true magick is in you. The task at hand then becomes how to unlock this gift, this ability, and this treasure. Coming together with nature, the seasons, and your God and Goddess, it is up to you to hear the call, feel the pulse, and see the colors.

The first thing is reflection. Have yourself in order, no distractions, and holding a deep desire. Notice I didn’t say a ‘true desire’. Desire is a wanting, needing, a lusting. So how do you know what is it true or untrue? I tend to shy away from people who tell me what I have to do or not to do to be an accomplished witch. Your journey along your path is yours and yours alone.

I mentioned before you need to get yourself in order. I feel is important, but it may take a long time. There is no set deadline. I mentioned no distractions; well in this day and age, how is that done? Kids, wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, jobs, money… ugh, the list goes on and on, right? If you try to keep your journey’s path lit and do not allow the flame of desire to go out then you’re not distracted: All things in due time and moderation.

We all can’t all raise and cast in the AM or PM. we sometimes become overwhelmed with the trappings of every day life. I am guilty of that myself at times. Try to have reminders around you of the magick that you have discovered or are striving to discover, things that in an instant remind you of your magickal goals. The desire to learn and become something is not without doubt, mistakes, or pain.

Magick isn’t about the next step in a series of books or classes or altar tools. It’s about heart and soul. Take a chance, listen to everyone and listen to no one. Discover yourself and discover magick, not from a book or when some teacher of a class tells you that you have attained another degree. You alone know when you’re ready to move on in your education, lifestyle, and connections.

Magick has no timeline. There is never a final project that must be turned in to get credit. The God and Goddess have always been there and will continue to be there unless they decide otherwise. The journey you take, the path you have put yourself on may take a lifetime or for some, that understanding and connection may come sooner. It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, or that anyone is ‘better’ than you. It means that they may have been on their journeys longer than you have. Their paths may not be as confusing as your own or have as many twists and turns.

Do you think Gerald Gardner, Laurie Cabot, Dorothy Morrison, Z. Budapest, or even Aleister Crowley are any better or different than you? They’re not. They heard a voice once, too. They noticed an irregularity. They felt different and confused. They took a step and began their journey like the rest of us. They stayed true to themselves in order to find the understanding, make the connections and become who they are/were. If you think it’s not within your capability to become an accomplished witch, an innovator, or even start/discover a new tradition, you’re wrong.

You’ve read the books, bought the tools, and gotten tons of advise, so … reflect, get yourself in order, stay focused and take that first step. “Success is dependent on effort. ” -Sophocles

All the best on your journey! Remember… to know… to dare… to do… and to keep silent.

Footnotes:
* reference.com

The Witches’ Magick for February 20th – Foot Track Hex

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Foot Track Hex

 

This simple hex torments your enemy by preventing advancement in any sector of his or her life.

Materials:

4 coffin nails

Target’s foot track

Hammer

Go to a place where the target has walked, and locate one of his or her foot tracks. Hammer a nail in the top of the track, saying:

“You can’t move up.”

Hammer a nail in the bottom of the track and say:

“You can’t move down.”

Hammer a nail on the right side of the track and say:

“Nor right.”

Hammer a nail on the left side of the track and say:

“Nor left.”

Then moving your hand in a circular motion first to the right and then to the left, say:

“Nor all around.

You’re stuck in place and there you’ll be

Forever: For eternity!”

Walk away and don’t look back

 

 

Reference:

Utterly Wicked, Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions
by Dorothy Morrison

Life As The Witch – Destroying Packets, Poppets & Dolls

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 The Poppet and Packet Racket

 

If the magick you worked involved the use of a poppet or a packet (a mojo or gris gris bag, or a collection of objects), feel fortunate. The good news is that it’s one of the easier types of magick to unravel. But don’t breathe that sigh of relief just yet. The bed news is that you’re going to have to retrieve the objects and destroy them. And if you buried them—or even worse, already destroyed them—that could present a problem.

But just for grins, let’s say that you haven’t destroyed the objects, you know exactly where they are, and you can put your hands on them. In this case, breaking the magick is only a matter of destroying the objects. You’ll only have one shot at this though, so you’ll need to do it correctly.

Destroying a Packet: While there are many techniques, I believe that the most thorough way to break the magick is to completely dismantle the packet. Start by removing the contents piece by piece. Set each piece on fire and allow it to burn to ash, then continue with any other pieces one at a time. When nothing else remains, burn the bag or packet dovering if there is one. Finally, toss the ashes into running water to disperse them.

Destroying a Poppet or Doll: Remember how you marked the object with the target’s name? Well the first order of business is to get rid of that. So, mark through it with a heavy, black permanent marker, and continue to work until none of the identifying name shows through. Once that’s done, remove any identifying marks if possible. Finally, burn the doll to ash and toss the remains in running water.

 

Reference:

Excerpt from:

Utterly Wicked, Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions
by Dorothy Morrison

 

The Witches Spell for Feb. 11th – Mary Caliendo’s Potato Chip Hex

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Mary Caliendo’s Potato Chip Hex

 

This is so easy, you can perform it right at the office. Don’t let its simplicity fool you. It’s powerful enough to get rid of even the nastiest boss or co-worker.

Items You will need:

2 bags potato chips (from vending machine at your workplace)

3 packets black pepper

1 sticky note

Black pen

Stapler

 

Open both bags to let the air out. Write your enemy’s name on the sticky note in black ink, place it in one of the bags, and add the pepper. Sit on one bag to crush the chips. (Move around a little if you need to, as it’s imperative that the chips are reduced to crumbs.) Retrieve the bag, fold the top three times, and staple several times to secure. Place the bag in your purse, and toss it in a public garbage receptacle after work.

Now, eat the other bag of chips. You certainly wouldn’t want to appear to be doing anything suspicious at work, would you?

 
Utterly Wicked
Curses, Hexes or Other Unsavory Notions
Dorothy Morrison

Life As The Witch – Getting that Graveyard Dirt & Dealing With Those Spirits

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I have had several people ask me about graveyard dirt recently. How to collect it? What grave do I get it from? I have answered these questions in extent. But when it come to dealing with the Spirit world, I don’t want to take any chances that I might have been misunderstood or didn’t emphasis the importance of a certain area. Due to this fact, I ran across an article in a book by a Pagan Author I greatly admire, Dorothy Morrison. She also discusses this subject very thoroughly. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from her book, “Utterly Wicked, Curses, Hexes or Other Unsavory Notions”

Graveyard Dirt and Dealing With Spirits

Taking graveyard dirt without permission is much like breaking into someone’s home and stealing their possessions. And if you did that on the physical plane, the only help you’d get from the injured part would be a one-way trip to jail. The same is true of the spiritual realm. Yeah, I know that spirits don’t necessarily live in the dirt in the cemetery. However, that dirt comprises the final resting place of the body it left behind. That means that its energy is in that dirt. And to take that without permission is to take the only possession it has left. Go that route and one thing’s for sure: Jail time is going to be the least of your worries.

You also need to remember that asking permission is not enough. Some sort of relationship must be formed with the spirit before proceeding. And depending upon the spirit and your individual needs, this could take a few minutes or several days. You also need to be prepared for the possibility that you’re not going to be able to form a relationship at all. The reasons for this are many—personality clash, little or no common ground, or an objection to your desires, just to name a few—but in this case, none of that really matters. What does matter is that you don’t push the issue. Just thank the spirit for its time, and continue your search.

Once you do find a spirit that’s willing to help you (and you will), payment for the dirt is not enough. Mind your manners, be polite, and thank it for its assistance. Bring it an extra token of appreciation. You never know when you might need its help again, and no one—living, dead, or otherwise—is going to be willing to offer support of any kind if you can’t even be bothered with common courtesy.

Of course, if a spirit really likes you—if you’ve been kind and courteous and gone the extra mile—it may decide to hang around you, whether you want it to or not. To avoid this, offer it a piece of black onyx as a parting gift once your goal is achieved. (It’s the stone of separation and will sever your connections peaceably.) And if you need the spirit’s assistance again? Not a problem. Just go back to visit, and be assured that it will remember you.

Reference:

Excerpt from:

“The Real Dirt on the Quick and the Dead”
Utterly Wicked
Curses, Hexes or Other Unsavory Notions
by Dorothy Morrison

Life As The Witch – Life Is Messy: Clean It Up

Celtic Comments & Graphics 

Life Is Messy: Clean It Up

Once in a while, after you have cast a spell or curse psychic residue might linger and on occasion actually get on you.  While the symptoms vary from person to person, it’s usually the blah’s that hit first. Sometimes there’s nothing more than that, but occasionally other aggravations will come to call. Common side effects include minor bouts of depression, a sudden inability to concentrate, or a state of complete and utter non-productiveness. And if you begin to experience any of those, the only solution is to get that junk off of you immediately. If you don’t, I can nearly guarantee time spent in bed nursing a cold, the flu or worse.

Fortunately, the remedy is painless, tasteless, pleasurable, and inexpensive. It involves nothing more than taking a bath. And since you probably already take a shower or bath at least once every day, nothing could be easier.

Granted, this isn’t exactly your normal sort of bath, as you’ll need to be clean before you jump in. It’s also going to be necessary to completely immerse yourself in the water several times, hair and all. And because your skin and hair must be allowed to dry naturally, you won’t be able to towel off. When compared to the possibility of having to ingest some foul-tasting medicinal concoction though, that’s a pretty small price to pay–especially considering how much better you’re going to feel.

There are several different types of baths that will handle the problem quickly and efficiently and I have posted those baths to follow. Each works equally well, so just choose the one that most appeals to you and call it good. You’ll be glad you did.

Excerpts from:

Utterly Wicked, Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions
By Dorothy Morrison

Magickal Tidbits for Those Magickal Meals

Magickal Tidbits

 

The following comprises a few ideas  as to what foods and seasonings may be incorporated into meals to accomplish your goals. As you expand upon this list—and you will–just one note of caution: Some herbs are poisonous! With that in mind, please check a reliable herbal before incorporating any substance with which you’re unfamiliar.

Basil:  Season foods with this herb to loosen a partner’s hold on the money and force him or her to spend some on you.

Bread braid:  As it’s pulled apart and consumed, bread baked in this form can be used to separate lovers and break up relationships.

Cayenne pepper: Commonly known as the “hot food powder of the culinary world,” this little gem works wonders when it comes to getting your way. Be sure to apply it liberally.

Cinnamon:  Fold and mix this into recipes to induce and secure love. (Pies, rolls, cakes, cookies, and wine are good options.) Sprinkle it on top of beverages to obtain money.

Clove:  Long known for its powers of seduction, add ground or powdered clove to hot beverages and desserts to induce lust. (Once you’ve got the target in the position desired, add it to massage oil to really liven things up!)

Ginger: Add this to foods to increase sexual endurance and stamina.

Kava-Kava root:  This peppery-tasting substance induces a natural state of euphoria and relaxes the judgment centers, making them open to suggestion. The key, though, is that it must be fresh or freshly dried. And since it’s most effective when added to a butter or milk base, it’s the perfect addition to egg nog, cream sauces, or gravies.

Mint:  Incorporate to cool anger and force your target to chill out—even if you’re the one at fault.

Nuts:  Want to plant the seeds of your desires in the target’s head and make them think it was their idea? Just add any type of nut to the food you’re serving. Nuts may also be used to plant seeds of doubt.

Potato:  It a target is standing in the way of what you want, carve his or her initials in a potato, then cut it into small pieces before cooking and serving. (It’s also useful to add a dollar sign to the carving if your target is being stingy with money.)

Saltpeter:  A pinch of this added to any food will definitely keep any lover from straying. It’s important to note, however, that while your lover won’t stray, he or she won’t be able to perform with you either.

Sesame seeds;  Because these are sacred to both Ganesha and Hecate, they are excellent additions when used to remove obstacles and get what you want.

 

 

Reference:

Utterly Wicked
Curses, Hexes or Other Unsavory Notions
Dorothy Morrison