This is the list of books I couldn’t wait to talk about, as it includes those that have been some of the most important. I know that when I say ‘core books’ it reflects my personal choices and viewpoints. That said, I wholeheartedly admit to having a bias towards British Traditional Witchcraft. Granted, not all of these books would probably fit in that category, but most do. Unfortunately, I’ve never found a coven in my area though. So, these books reflect only my personal journey, and probably vary largely from those initiated into any tradition.
Those Books That Have Earned A Core Personal Status
This book initially scared me when I picked it up. There was just something about it though that I kept looking at (on the shelf). I knew it was heavy in coven elements, and for a long time that kept me from purchasing it. However, I’m glad I’ve finally reached a point in my practice where I love this book. I don’t know what changed, but I finally had a sense of understanding the book after years. Now, well, I don’t want to be caught without it!
In many ways, I wish this was the first history book I read on Wicca. The book is smaller than most, and very easy to read in a day or two. What I keep coming back to with this book happens to be the unique way the author relates Traditions to their founders. Suddenly, I found my approach to Wicca and my witchcraft changing. This book continues to inspire me to dig deeper, and to relate to the concepts I use today in a different way.
Out of the many books I’ve read, this is one of the few at the overall top. The way this book approaches witchcraft, tries to consolidate knowledge, and remains true to the core craft is amazing. This book helped me to understand BTW. I highly recommend this book to others. The authors have gone through plenty of trouble to footnote sources, talk about some discrepancies (to some), and gives a good context to how I imagine ‘early’ witchcraft was at the time of its founding.
Some books just find their way to you with surprising results, this is one. The book found me at a time where I was comparing different approaches to Wicca. To my surprise, this book already consolidated and ‘modernized’ a bunch of components. While I wouldn’t recommend this as an end all be all of books, I highly recommend it as an introductory book combined with a few other sources. Plus, the book has an amazing amount of correspondences in easy to use formats.
Doreen Valiente has been credited with adding a certain elegance to Gerald Gardner’s initial rituals. Whether this is true or not, her poetry is a must. This collection is rather small, but that’s what I like, it’s just enough to be useful. Likewise, the book does include the more ‘famous’ works of hers. I’m not sure how much I’ll end up ultimately using this book still, but I find it great for inspirational moments.
How do I describe my reactions to this book? Gerald Gardner is a bit of a mystery to me, and in truth, I found this book difficult to say the least. Gardner wrote this at such a different time that I suspect I’m missing the initial nuances. Even so, I did walk away intrigued by parts of this book. I consider it a ‘classic’ of course, so you’re not going to waste time by reading it. What I’m curious about though is how others view this book. The format is just so different.
Ah, this book, the refreshingly snarky approach to Wicca that (even) I love. This book needed to be written, and I’m glad someone did it so nicely. The book highlights many of the ‘fluffy’ misconceptions, and then shows why or how they’re indeed misconceptions. I have to admit, there were times I wanted to put the book down in frustration. Ultimately, that was a very good reaction. For those looking to take a step back and be a little more critical, this is the book for you.
In actuality, there are two ‘keys’ of Solomon the King, the greater and lesser. I included the greater key simply because it is where I started (I do recommend both). So much of what Gerald Gardner used in Wicca comes from the Key of Solomon the King. I was surprised when I first opened this to find Christian elements in the rituals. Do I use the practices as they are? No, it would be much to complicated. However, I do like to use some inspirational elements from the keys though modified for today.
Before I started my journey as a witch, I ran across the name Aradia at some point. So, imagine my surprise when I later found this book on a list of must reads. I had to have it despite my earlier ideas. The book really is one of those inspiring works for Wiccans. Gerald Gardner did take some from the book, though not so obviously (in my opinion). There are themes deep within this book that I think every witch can relate to, and it’s quite beautifully written on top of that.
Many books I pick up I know what to expect. This book broke that rule. When I picked it up, I was researching BTW. To my surprise, this book was, well, poetic in a ‘dry’ field of study. Despite the poetic nature, I enjoyed the included history. This book is definitely recommend for those who are more advanced in their practice. While it’s not going to hurt as an ‘introductory’ book, you may not get the most out of it.
To conclude, most of these books are not introductory level. I’ve found though, that they are at the core of my approach to Wicca (and ultimately witchcraft). While it may sound contradictory, these books also inspired me to explore non-wiccan paths. The books have such a complex element to them, and yet, a poetic approach to the craft as well. I feel somewhat saddened by the fact the bookstore I sought resources from didn’t carry these to influence my early practice. Then again, if it had, I may very well have turned out to be a different witch!