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Switch to Forum Live View Recommended Reading
6 years ago  ::  Jul 31, 2008 - 9:08AM #51
whitephoenix
Posts: 133
Can I suggest 'The Modern Pagan' by Brian Day. It's a good treatise on contmeporary (non-theistic) British paganism. I know that may not be to the liking of everyone here, the fact that it's non-theistic in practice, but it's a very very good and nutritionally practical book. (Much notice is given to the stories of the gods, but as sotries, as a non-theist I can only endorse this.)
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 06, 2008 - 1:03PM #52
Seshen
Posts: 191
Here's the list I have on my site:

http://www.seshen.us/Pagan/reading.html
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 09, 2008 - 6:42PM #53
lturton85
Posts: 18
as a newbie thats not real sure where she wants to go, i'm kind of interested in EVERYTHING, sort of my own verison of electic what would be some good reads that would give me really good information on all of them.  I mean more than just general information
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 17, 2008 - 1:27AM #54
hikoro
Posts: 19
The Triumph of the Moon by Hutton

A World full of Gods by Greer. Definitely not a 101 book.

mmm.... I don't read books on Neopaganism as much, I am more of a history and anthropology person...so there it is.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 17, 2008 - 1:30AM #55
hikoro
Posts: 19
General Neopaganism

The Triumph of the Moon by Hutton
A World full of Gods by Greer. Definitely not a 101 book.
The Science of the Craft by William Keith.

Traditional Witchcraft

The Forge of Tubal Cain
The Call of the Horned Piper

Divine mothers/goddesses, history and archeology

Dark Mother: African Origins and Godmothers. Loved it.

mmm.... I don't read books on Neopaganism as much, I am more of a history and anthropology person...so there it is.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 22, 2008 - 1:35AM #56
gorm_sionnach
Posts: 237
"Triumph of the Moon" is definitely an excellent source for the historical development of Wicca.

"Drawing Down the Moon" by Margot Adler is another good book with a wide overview of modern Pagan practices and traditions.

"Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham remains of of the best of the "Wicca 101" books, and gives a simple but in depth explanation of the various aspects of Wicca, albeit it in a solitary context.

"Spiral Dance" by Starhawk is one of those seminal texts, while some of it borders on Feminist Polemic, keep in mind it was written more than 20 years ago at the peak of second wave Feminism, Starhawk admits her biases in both the 10th and 20th anniversary editions of the book. A good introduction to the Reclaiming tradition.

"Celebrating the Seasons of Life" by Ashleen O'Gaea. A pair of books, one going from Beltane to Mabon, the other from Samhain to Ostara are easy to read books with overviews of the eight major Pagan holidays. They provide some background info, rituals, activities, symbols, etc. While some aspects will be less appropriate for more focused traditions (i.e. Reconstructionist), the books provde a good general guide for Wiccan's, as well as 'Pan-Pagans'.

"A Circle of Stones" by Erynn Rowan Laurie is no longer in print, but if you can find a used copy, or download it in PDF from her website, it is one of the only books available on Celtic Reconstructionist practices. It's a bit dated, as ERL is wont to admit, but it remains an excellent source for creating ritual, altars and every prayer beads. If you plan on following CR, it is almost a must.

"A Brief History of the Druids" Peter Beresford Ellis. An excellent primer on Druids (in a historic Celtic context, not associated with the modern Druidic associations, though much of their source material came from many of the sources quoted in the book. And I do not mean to disparage modern Druids or Neo-Druids ) It's a fairly recent book, and gives an excellent overview of the development, practices, and functions of the Druids in Celtic Societies. More History than practice, but good for those interested in a more historically authentic version of the Druids than romanticized versions out there.

For some online sources:
Wikipedia is also a rather useful source on general information about the majority of Pagan traditions, as well as info on deity, mythology and so on. Usually if an electronic version of a source is available, there will be a link to it somewhere on the page.

Witchvox's information link on Traditions is very extensive and most are written by members of the various paths. www.witchvox.com
The CR FAQ, on Paganachd is the single best source for info on CR, period. The list of further reading material is detailed and very comprehensive.

Sorry if some of my entries are a little CR oriented, but it's what I know.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 22, 2008 - 3:30PM #57
CLHazz
Posts: 94
That's all very useful books to read, unforunately all I have is Barnes and Noble, haven't checked the library yet. As to I'm on a kind of tight budget I haven't ordered from the net, still live at home with the folks, so my reading is all from the internet. However whenever I get my own place( Hopefully w/in 6 months to a year) and get a part time job, I will start collecting and reading books to learn more. I love to read and soak things up like a sponge, it what stays in my head clearly that may be a problem as I have a learning disability, namely with problem solving. It's something to look forward to somewhere down the road though
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2008 - 12:43PM #58
Skyshroud
Posts: 14
[QUOTE=]So one can say that authors like Cunningham, Morrison, Dugan, and Gelenorn are not part of the Religion of Wicca but they are not exactly non-Wiccan either. 

I agree with what you are saying.

In a way its like a Baptist or Lutheran or Methodist saying they have nothing to do with Catholicism, when all the Protestants broke away from exactly that. They may have changed/adapted things, but the ROOT of Christianity is from Catholicism.
[/QUOTE]

  Actually the root of Christianity is the Eastern Orthodox Church, from which the original Roman Archbishop broke away from, and he was just a Bishop of Rome then, he needed to claim to be the direct representative of God to keep the insurgent Goths at bay, in order to keep the Church alive there, that's how the Catholics began, and then that is what we inherited in Europe, save for some of the Baltic and a few other regions anyway.  When Luther broke off it was (according to him) to bring things back to the "ancient church" of which the E. Orthodox was descended, but his theology inevitably doesn't match up as well as one would hope, and then you get the brakes from him and others who sprang up like Zwingli who happened around the same time but separately from Luther, to get differing branches of protestants... But back to the pagan books list.

  I'm better at the specific categories books than with general Paganism books, man I have to post more on here after I get home and look through what I still have, I used to work at a New Age bookstore, you'd think I'd be better at this, lol.  Here they are though:

1. [Scott] Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal Gem and Metal Magic: Excellent preparatory work for beginners and for intermediate stone magic (good stone book in general, but I mainly say to intermediate because there are several books now that go further and more pain-stakingly extensive into particular stone types and their uses, but this is a good foundational work for anyone to own).  This was the first truly magic book I ever picked up at age 15, I had always been attracted to stones since age 5 and this finally allowed me to understand that better.  Also goes into adapting stones to be used like the tarot and other bonuses that are useful.  I've often found Cunningham to be a bit too white-lighter for me in some respects, but he knows his herbs and stones quite well.

  2. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs: Another Cunningham book, and he's more and herbalist than a stone person so, as you might expect, very good, it gives a thorough list of herbs with their elemental, planetary, deity and magickal correspondences and their use historically and mythologically.  He also provides codes next to each to denote various herbs as safe, unsafe, and every condition that they have been known currently (at the time this book was written) to cause or aggravate in between (when applicable), with sketch illustrations of most herbs.

3. Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals - The Reference Book Describing the Metaphysical Properties of the Mineral Kingdom: This book by the author Melody (her entire name credit, no last/other name given), is another stone magic book, and an advanced one at that.  This is basically the book you hit a mugger with if none of your stones are handy... I've done it before, but it is hard to find a stone or crystal type not listed in here (so far I'm up only to about 5 or 6, and those only because I studied mineralogy so long before finding stone magic), so pat yourself on the back if you do.  Once you've gotten past Cunningham and the intermediate level, pick up a copy of this and prepare to have the crystal knowledge section of your mind blown open to new stuff.

4. Animal-speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small‎: I've seen Ted Andrews get flack from people for being too topical or just too dispersed since he has so many books and on so many topics, but honestly, don't buy completely into any of that hype, he's good, and his animal totem book is one of his best according to most, and I think rightfully so.  Andrews goes all out and includes very many kinds of animals in here, there are only a few I can think of that he missed, (one which I don't fault him for because it is mainly centered on animals not unknown to westerners, and this one of my bird totems only comes as close to the U.S and Europe as Puerto Rico), the major exception being shark... one of mine grrr.  But he hits on most anything most of us would need to read about and goes into all kind of ways to commune with, communicate with, interpret signs of and honor your totems and other animals in general.
The only real criticism I could make of this other than it could have had a few other animals (but which totem book couldn't?) is that he groups them in categories by kind of animal not ture alphabetical order and that can take so getting used to, but it is certainly worth it. 
  For a good supplement to this work infused with totems from Australia, you can go to "Animal Spirit Guides: An Easy-to-Use Handbook for Identifying and Understanding Your Power Animals and Animal Spirit Helpers" By Steven D. Farmer, or his book prior to this "Power Animals" (as the aforementioned was written after his main work--power animals--when people asked about animals it didn't contain, so I’d say go with spirit guides if you can find it).  Armed with Andrews and Farmer you shouldn't need much more if ever.

  Also a few brief side notes: Lesser Key of Solomon (in all its various reprintings) is a good and foundational book for anyone into ceremonial magick, but... DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GET INTO THIS BOOK UNLESS YOU HAVE SEVERAL YEARS OF CEREMONIAL STUDY AND EXPERIENCE UNDER YOUR BELT, AND LIKELY A QUALIFIED CEREMONIALIST TEACHER, THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUMMONINGS OF DEMONIC BEINGS IN THIS BOOK IS NOT TO BE TRIFFLED WITH, IF YOU'RE NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO KEEP THE CIRCLE TOGETHER, WHICH USUALLY TAKES SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO ALL NOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING THEY WILL GET FREE AND MAKE YOU PAY DEARLY FOR EXTENDED PERIODS... I wash my hands of anything that happens, you were warned. 
  That info is included as it was used by Christian magicians back in the 16th and 17th centuries to summon, and temporarily Subjugate demons for the purposes of either using their unique talents to learn new knowledge or get things done, or to interrogate them about the hierarchy of hell.  So please don't pick this up and start messing with things you might not be ready for, even if you don't believe demons exist, these rituals and sigils/signatures will call in negative forces no matter what you view them as, which is the main reason I don't and never will use them (unless it is a matter of life or death and maybe not even then).  That said though, this is one of THE foundational works on (non-kabalistic) ceremonial magick tradition.  You can also try Israel Regardie's The Golden Dawn which contains much of this info, and kabalistic stuff too, but again, same cautionary note applies.  If you are crazy enough to try the demonic stuff down the line, might I recommend you get MUCH practice with the angelic summonings first as if the circle breaks on those you probably won't have what you call down ready and willing to kick your @$$ into the next century.

  As to the non-Wiccan Witchcraft books, I'd probably recommend Christopher Penczak 's High, Outer, Shamanic, Inner, and Living temple of Witchcraft books, each one focuses on one of the 5 elements, and is quite extensive, though I haven't read through them enough myself but I've seen enough to know they're good.  He also has a book on magickal and psychic self-defense called "The Witch's Shield" that is worth a look.

  Guess that's about covers it for now like I said I might update this later.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2008 - 7:08PM #59
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244
I appreciate you taking the time to make recommendations and you bring an interesting perspective and background to the boards.

I would also like to remind folks that Cunningham wrote mainly from the perspective of Neo-Wicca beliefs. The Religion of Wicca does use a specific religious type of magic but that is not found in books. His books (all of which I do own) are excellent however for generic Pagan Witchcraft, non-Wiccan traditions of the modern Craft, Neo-Pagans who use such disciplines. Also for those Wiccans who may choose to use such in his or her personal practice. In themselves however, spellcraft, most magical systems, herblore, crystals and conversing with animals and totems in themselves are not Wiccan practices. Using such also doesn’t make anyone Wiccan.

Interestingly Christopher Penczak is often recommended for the Wiccan practices of the Craft although for differing reasons. Your opinion of his books when you are able to read them would be interesting to read.

I would also note IMO that correspondences systems are best created in the first-person. Take the systems presented in such books as starting points, test each correspondence and if such works for you, use it. If it doesn’t, find something else that does. Just don't blindly accept any correspondence just because it is written up in a book. And be practical. Exotic ingredients, plants and minerals that one isn't likely to run across or be able to afford if one did can always be substituted with something more local or affordable. Take any history found with a grain of scepticism as well. For example, much of crystal lore along with all of coloured candle spellcraft are modern practices, not ancient.

Thank you also for the warning about the Lesser Key of Solomon and the Golden Dawn. We are going to differ somewhat on this subject however. One of the interesting things I have noted over the years is that such books in the hands of dabblers and incompetents tend to result in zip results. I do agree that one shouldn’t work with anything one isn’t ready for but often, doing so comes simply to nought. Or the absence of real results leads to overly imaginative fallout that tends to be tied back into the legends and myths around such books. You do appear to believe in the underlying foundation of such works so for you, naturally they represent that which others should be warned about. I would agree that your warnings are timely and should be heeded for anyone who actually do believe in what such books represent on some level. Dabblers and wanna-be-witches however are not always at risk however.

Perhaps where we actually differ is that I consider belief to be THE foundational ingredient in using anything effectively. If one sincerely doesn’t believe in something, in my experience, it isn’t about to jump up and bite you afterwards just by existing or because one read it. In cases where someone has come to the conclusion that such books contain or invite in negative forces regardless of whether one believes or not, usually the person has already decided to believe in its underlying validity. Not believing on the other hand in demons and angels etc., pretty much pulls that plug although it might be argued that if one believes the cause of something to be other than negative forces, demons or angels, then the credit simply will then be given to whatever one believes in. Same results, different explanation.

C.H.
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 16, 2008 - 12:50AM #60
Skyshroud
Posts: 14
Creaky,
Sorry if you or anyone else thought I was getting a bit off topic, and I did realize that Cunningham has his flaws, which is why I made note that even though he wasn't my cup of tea, his basics on those subjects, at least to me, when I was coming at this from the perspective of interest in the topic matter itself not so much as the over-arching religious framework, were quite useful. 

As I said I was less up on the better witchcraft (whether it be Wicca, Neo-pagan more generally, reconstructionist or other) books but thought it might be nice to offer what I did know if those reading the posts already knew of their side interests, i.e. those apart from the core religious aspects but that are often part of what pagans work with.

As to the belief=potential in magic or lack thereof, I tend to agree with you actually, mainly because it has been show in paranormal research focused on psychic phenomena and is simply sound magical theory that belief and the consequent motivation thereof is key to a person's being able to tap into their abilities in specific situations, in cases of magic, this relates to raising energy to be put toward the goal and manifestation of that goal.

That said, yes, most person's who put little to no stock in the systems of high magick (note, I only even mentioed this book at all as someone earlier on in the post was asking about ceremonial magick, and I figured it would be a useful reference for them), would have a much harder time making said rituals effective, but I felt there was enough of a chance that it should be mentioned anyway, especially as my target audience for said book recommendation may well accept what was written within it as true and valid (and therefore have it be effective for them even if less so, if lack of experience is involved).

Lastly, I also agree with your cautionary note about accepting a particular author's set of correspondences for yourself without double checking or at least in some way, questioning.  In fact, in so far as Cunningham, I disagree with him on many, as I tend to disagree with many authors who offer certain elemental/planetary correspondences, but didn't want to mention this as I wanted to be careful not to pre-influence anyone else towards the same.  And though the more exotic herbs and stones can be difficult to come by and substituting say a fitting color of quartz for your magical purposes in the place of a better, but an expensive other stone is effcient and wise, this still shouldn't negate the value of texts describing them as it is still useful to know what they are good for when you hear them mentioned or run across them in person at a later date.

Just wanted to clarify, thanks for the correction and again sorry if I was straying form the core of the thread.
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