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Author Topic: Resource thread : Books you've found especially useful  (Read 2252 times)

Jenett

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  • Location: Boston, MA
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    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
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Resource thread : Books you've found especially useful
« on: January 01, 2017, 05:07:11 pm »
This is a special topic thread - please see the guidelines below for details.

Topic:
What books or resources have you found especially useful on your path as it is right now?

These might include:
  • Particuarly good explanations of a concept, practice, or path
  • Something that made you think about a topic in a new way.
  • A work that was emotionally important to you.
Please share a couple of sentences about how the work is meaningful for you, to help others decide if it might be helpful to or relevant for them.  

Guidelines:
Posts that stray from the topic of the thread will be moved to a new thread.

  • Please include a brief label/description of your current path at the top of your reply. ("Seeker" or "Still learning" are good options if you don't have a path yet.)
  • Take comments about a work or replies to a particular post to a new thread in the appropriate forum.
  • If you have external links to longer reviews or other sources, please provide a summary in the thread (so the thread remains useful if links become broken)
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)

Jenett

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Re: Resource thread : Books you've found especially useful
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 05:28:48 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;200754
What books or resources have you found especially useful on your path as it is right now?


My path : Initiatory religious witchcraft

***

Twelve Wild Swans : Starhawk and Hilary Valentine
Like many people, one of the very early books I read was Starhawk's Spiral Dance, but it's another of her books that I've come back to a lot, and that I think has a lot to recommend it for a variety of witchcraft approaches.

It has three distinct paths to follow, using the fairy tale "Twelve Wild Swans" as an anchor for "basic magical training, inner work on personal healing, and outer work to heal and change the world." [from her page about it].

It's one of the very few books I know that talks about how to connect rituals and magical acts in a meaningful sequence (beyond Sabbat myth cycles), and it also includes lots of examples of solitary practice, informal group practice, and ongoing group practice. Even if the actual practices aren't your thing, I think there's a lot of great material in here about how to connect practices, troubleshoot common challenges, and deepen your practice over time.

The Heart of Wicca: Wise Words from a Crone on the Path: Ellen Cannon Reed
A book I came back to over and over during my own training, Reed talks about what the core of Wicca is, what religious mysteries are, and the meaning of initiatory experience.

Part of the discussion that sticks with me from this is her insistence that standards are important - not necessarily what the standards are, but that they exist (and you know why they're there) and that they're consistent over time.

Highly recommended for anyone considering initiatory Craft, and interesting reading for a lot of other people.

Well-tested books on how to do things:
I also appreciate people who write books which have been well-tested on a wide audience about how to do or explain things. Particular works I've found helpful include:

Trance-Portation by Diana Paxson is a very thorough introduction to trance and meditation, with a focus on guided meditation for ritual work (though she talks about other approaches too.) I particularly like this book for its discussion of non-visual senses (something a lot of sources ignore) and for its trouble-shooting advice and material on guiding other people through the material.

Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans: Using the Planets and the Stars for Effective Spellwork, Rituals, and Magikal Work by Ivo Dominguez Jr. is another book that's been extensively worked through with others. If you, like me, like words and find astrology charts a little baffling, he has a great set of analogies of the various astrological pieces and relationships as grammatical parts of speech. Also very useful for direct application to ritual use.

Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual meanings and deeper teachings by Rachel Pollack is a treasure of her decades of work with the Tarot. I like this one particularly because it includes historical information, comparison of different approaches, and exercises and other practical material all in one (very big) book.

Fiction
Magical fiction is probably worth a thread of its own, but there are three books that have been especially important to my approach to my religious life:

Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold is one of the best depictions in fiction of how I interact with the deities I honour and serve, and it has fascinating commentary on choice, service, free will, and implementation of divine desires (among other things). The other books in the series are also good.

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean and War for the Oaks by Emma Bull are both very much about space and the spirit of place, but also about making bargains we don't necessarily fully understand, and about the power and influence of words and music and art.
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)

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