collapse
2020 Donation Drive

It's time for our annual Server Donation Drive! We need to raise at least $710 to keep The Cauldron's server online for another year. Please help! Either hit that Paypal button to the right and make a one-time donation in any amount or set up a monthly Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor subscription. You can find more info in this message!

Donations as of 26 November 2020: $636 donated. Only $74 more needed! Thank you, donors!


Note: This total is updated manually, usually once a day


* Recent Posts

Re: Tigereye by sevensons
[Today at 03:37:43 am]


Re: Calendar for Ancient Greek Holidays by SunflowerP
[Yesterday at 06:51:33 pm]


Re: Crazy thought by Sefiru
[Yesterday at 06:18:59 pm]


Calendar for Ancient Greek Holidays by Delphinium
[Yesterday at 04:55:01 pm]


Re: Tigereye by sevensons
[Yesterday at 04:09:16 pm]

Author Topic: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners???  (Read 14427 times)

RandallS

  • Site Admin
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: NE Ohio
  • Posts: 10263
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 277
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hellenic Pagan
Best Books for Wiccan Beginners???
« on: July 31, 2013, 08:41:47 pm »
It's been many years since I last looked at books aimed at Wiccan beginners. What are considered some of the best books available today for those new to Wicca. Are there better books than some of the old stand-bys (Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, Janet and Steward Farrah's A Witches Bible Compleat, Marian Green's A Witch Alone, Buckland's "Big Blue", etc.)? Why do you recommend the book (or books) you list.

Note: Suggestions will be used to compile a new list for our web site.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 10:42:32 pm by RandallS »
Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog]: Microlite74/75/78/81, BX Advanced, and Other Old School Tabletop RPGs
Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free

MadZealot

  • Adept Member
  • ********
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Location: So Cal
  • Posts: 2481
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 191
  • Eye yam tu papi.
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Bitter Clinger. Sith Lord.
Re: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 09:47:27 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;117506
....

Hm.

Wicca for One by Raymond Buckland.
It's very much entry-level like Cunningham's book, but without being "light and fluffy" as Cunningham is often accused of being.  You get a little more info and detail, but still within a digestible 101 setting, and from a different perspective.  If you're working with "Big Blue" you'd want to read this one.  

Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham.  If you start with Wicca, this is good follow-up reading.  You get some more practical how-to stuff, energy work for example, some expressions of Wiccan spirituality & a fair bit on ethics-- which might be icky to some, but I feel still worth mention.  Ethics are important in other aspects of life, why not religion and/or magic?  Anyway.
Not exactly Wicca 102, but maybe 101.5.

The first two entries in Chris Penczak's 'Temple of Witchcraft' series.  These books are informational but also organized as study and exercise guides.
The first one, Inner Temple of Witchcraft, deals with 'internal' subjects such as visualisation, meditation, and energy work, culminating in the exercise of creating one's one personal, internal sacred space.  Only caveat: some of the usual bad 101 history at the front of the book.  The next, Outer Temple of Witchcraft, takes you, a little at a time, from theology and magic theory through circle casting and practical spellcasting.  
Both books are organized into 12 progressive lessons.  If I wanted to build a Wiccan lesson plan I'd crib heavily from these books.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 09:49:30 pm by MadZealot »
Oh, is it time again to say "Fuck Trump gently in the ear with a swarm of pissed-off hornets?"?

Okay. Fuck Trump gently in the ear with a swarm of pissed-off hornets.

Lokabrenna

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 829
  • Total likes: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 09:55:17 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;117506
It's been many years since I last looked at books aimed at Wiccan beginners. What are considered some of the best books available today for those new to Wicca. Are there better books than some of the old stand-bys (Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, Janet and Steward Farrah's A Witches Bible Compleat, Marian Green's A Witch Alone, Buckland's "Big Blue", etc.)? Why do you recommend the book (or books) you list.

Note: Suggestions will be used to compile a new list for our web site.

 
I recommend Amber K's True Magick, she gets a little, shall we say, preachy re: going vegetarian, but if you're looking for a primer on Wiccan-esque magick specifically, it's a good place to start, IMHO. She also has these "elemental stars" which are charts you can use to test whether your elemental energies are in balance so you can work on areas where you're a bit lacking. (It makes sense in the book.) I thought these were neat.

Does it count if the author isn't Wiccan but her book is pretty Wiccan-esque anyways? If so, I would recommend Yasmine Galenorn's Embracing the Moon if you can find it. She was my intro to hard polytheism in a Wiccan-esque context, and she does a good job of covering the "basics" I feel. I haven't read the book in a long time, though.

ALiteraryLady

  • Journeyman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jun 2013
  • Posts: 203
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 10:35:40 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;117506
It's been many years since I last looked at books aimed at Wiccan beginners. What are considered some of the best books available today for those new to Wicca. Are there better books than some of the old stand-bys (Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, Janet and Steward Farrah's A Witches Bible Compleat, Marian Green's A Witch Alone, Buckland's "Big Blue", etc.)? Why do you recommend the book (or books) you list.

Note: Suggestions will be used to compile a new list for our web site.

 
I don't know how many of you have read this one, but when I was taking some advanced religious courses in college (300 level and up), I found this title was helpful in trying to explain some of the larger ideas that Wiccan/witches can explore within a Wiccan-like scope. It's called The Philosophy of Wicca and it's by Amber Laine Fisher. It's a bit more 201 level, but it was interesting to me at the time because it went away from the Wicca 101, and dove into some questions a bit deeper without feeling like you were being hand held.

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3369
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 861
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners???
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 08:13:14 am »
Quote from: RandallS;117506
It's been many years since I last looked at books aimed at Wiccan beginners. What are considered some of the best books available today for those new to Wicca. Are there better books than some of the old stand-bys (Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, Janet and Steward Farrah's A Witches Bible Compleat, Marian Green's A Witch Alone, Buckland's "Big Blue", etc.)? Why do you recommend the book (or books) you list.

Note: Suggestions will be used to compile a new list for our web site.

 
The question of 'best' is always a complicated one, isn't it? I think that the best introductory books for beginners are ones that give a solid grounding, that engage in talking about a variety of topics useful to beginners, and that prepare them in at least a general way for conversation with other people who share their interest (which is to say, explain commonly used *current* terminology, highlight issues that get regular discussion, etc.)

(This is, for example, part of why I tend to think Cunningham was a good start for many people, but these days, entirely insufficient as a beginning book(s): we have gotten a great deal better at talking about some topics that are useful for beginners, and Cunningham hasn't had a chance to keep up with that.)

We also just plain get better at explaining and teaching some things as we (as a community) do more of it.

Anyway, that means I tend to look first that things that are under 10 years old, because pretty much by definition, anything older than that is going to be unresponsive to conversations within the larger community. (The older stuff is also excellent, mind you: just not what I'd prefer to suggest for the first couple of books someone reads. And of course 'newer' doesn't make up for a bad book, but since we *do* have excellent new stuff coming out that is nuanced and useful, why not start there?)

In particular, I tend to look to see how books talk about
- The different uses of the term 'witch' and 'Wiccan'.
- Initiation (and the difference between 'personal spiritual experience' and 'entry into a community of other people')
- How gender and sexual orientation might affect work with the Gods/mythic cycles
- Daily and not-in-formal-ritual practice, especially re: modifications for common needs (sharing living space, having limited time or resources, etc.)
- How they deal with topics that might have health consequences (herbs, discussion of physical or mental health, medication, food choices, etc.)

I think it's fine for books to say "This is what I think matters and why" - but I tend to want to recommend books that at least *talk* about these topics clearly. I also, for intro books, want things that are more focused on religious and spiritual practice than magical. (And especially not "Here is a LIST OF SPELLS")

Anyway, books on my intro rec lists include:

- Thea Sabine's "Wicca for Beginners" which is an excellent overview, and heavy on the more religious side rather than the magical side. She takes on the issues of initiation, of terminology, and of related topics particularly well.

- Amber K and Azrael K's "How to become a witch". It's got a lot more religious-focused stuff than "True Magick", and it also avoids some of the 'Gods, this was written in the early 90s' pitfalls of that work ("How to become a witch" is a lot more moderate on food, for example: it talks about making conscious choices about what we eat and why, rather than being prescriptive that only a certain kind of food choice is preferred.)

- Diana Paxson's "Trance-portation" remains the best book I've found for teaching the fundamentals of trance and meditation. Doesn't work for everyone, but she has the best trouble-shooting, alternate suggestion stuff, and varied methods that work for non-visual people as well as visual learners I've found.

- Dianne Sylvan's "The Circle Within" for developing daily/regular personal practice. It's got a lot of different ideas, she talks about various adaptations, there's lots of good stuff.

- For magical theory, I really like "Practical Magic for Beginners" by Brandy Williams (which I got after she was guest at Paganicon last year): it's clear, concise, practical, it goes as much into the theory (more!) than "Here is a spell, repeat after me", and it is good at spending its time in the right balance of places.

- I also generally recommend at least one or two books about divination, but which one tends to depend both on preferred mode and on person's learning style, so they're even harder to do lists for.

- I think that understanding how ritual structure works is important: I like Deborah Lipp's "The elements of ritual" a lot for that, even though I personally disagree with her a lot about some specific choices. However, she does a great job at looking at different pieces of ritual from a lot of different angles, and explaining how you might want to adapt them for personal use, small group use, and large group use (which can help a lot in "I found this ritual written for a group somewhere else, how do I make it work for just me?" as well as for people who find themselves helping plan a group ritual down the road.)

On other people's lists: I note that Embracing the Moon is good at what it does, but a) it's not Wicca and b) it's now out of print, which makes it a bit more problematic for intro book lists. (It's still widely available second hand, but...) and that almost everything mentioned thus far fails my 10 year rule, or will by sometime next year (I just ran a quick check through Amazon.)

(I note that "The Circle Within" and "The elements of ritual" both were published in 2003, but as books move away from "here is an intro to the religion" it's a little easier to be flexible. I'm looking for a book I like that does intro to ritual as well but covers some more recent issues under discussion, especially accessibility.)
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

pennylane

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Posts: 12
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners???
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2013, 08:05:55 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;117506
It's been many years since I last looked at books aimed at Wiccan beginners. What are considered some of the best books available today for those new to Wicca. Are there better books than some of the old stand-bys (Cunningham's Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, Janet and Steward Farrah's A Witches Bible Compleat, Marian Green's A Witch Alone, Buckland's "Big Blue", etc.)? Why do you recommend the book (or books) you list.

Note: Suggestions will be used to compile a new list for our web site.

 
As a beginner myself, I found Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot to be wonderful. It was actually the very first book on Wicca that I ever read, and I found it not only be very informative, but also compelling. The way Laurie describes Wicca, while including her own personal experiences is very effective.  I also especially enjoyed her chapters on the science of witchcraft and the crystal countdown/alpha state.  As a beginner, this book really drew me into Wicca and Witchcraft and made me yearn for more, while also keeping things simple and describing it all in a way beginners can easily grasp.

RandallS

  • Site Admin
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: NE Ohio
  • Posts: 10263
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 277
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hellenic Pagan
Re: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners???
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2013, 08:23:45 am »
Quote from: pennylane;117606
As a beginner myself, I found Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot to be wonderful.

I did not know this book was still in print.
Randall
RetroRoleplaying [Blog]: Microlite74/75/78/81, BX Advanced, and Other Old School Tabletop RPGs
Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free

pennylane

  • Sr. Newbie
  • **
  • Join Date: Aug 2013
  • Posts: 12
  • Total likes: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Best Books for Wiccan Beginners???
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 10:05:04 am »
Quote from: RandallS;117652
I did not know this book was still in print.

 
I believe it is, although I got mine several years ago. However, a quick check of amazon tells me that it is still available for purchase!

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
6 Replies
2242 Views
Last post April 12, 2013, 11:54:31 am
by Fier
7 Replies
2378 Views
Last post July 27, 2015, 01:26:17 pm
by Elessedil
10 Replies
3576 Views
Last post October 15, 2015, 09:33:58 pm
by Lilirin
1 Replies
2662 Views
Last post October 31, 2015, 06:44:52 pm
by RandallS
3 Replies
1452 Views
Last post November 29, 2015, 08:56:37 am
by Nothingness

Beginner Area

Warning: You are currently in a Beginner Friendly area of the message board.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 57
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* Shop & Support TC

The links below are affiliate links. When you click on one of these links you will go to the listed shopping site with The Cauldron's affiliate code. Any purchases you make during your visit will earn TC a tiny percentage of your purchase price at no extra cost to you.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall

SimplePortal 2.3.6 © 2008-2014, SimplePortal