Once upon a time, books on magic, mysticism, witchcraft, and the occult were rare and difficult to find. Today, in the 21st century, however, we are
inundated by them. How do you know which are worth reading? The Witches’ Almanac helps you separate the wheat from the chaff with our recommendations
The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: from Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations. Once again Claude Lecouteux produces a thoroughly researched, eminently readable and
delightfully entertaining text that blends scholarly ethos with respect for the unknown. Lecouteux turns his attention to the phenomenon of poltergeists and
other ghostly haunting, taking care to scrupulously trace first hand accounts and second hand analyses from medieval through modern times. Lecouteux is
meticulous in his approach, paying particular attention to establishing the proper definition of deployed terms. Readers with a casual interest in the
supernatural will find their knowledge greatly expanded and their curiosity provoked even further. Those already adept in the subject will nonetheless
find much to mull over.
Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth is an attempt to counter common modern
misconceptions regarding mystery teachings. Most conceive of mystery teachings as the idea that by manipulating the laws of attraction one can coax any number
of positive outcomes from the universe. The theory goes that simply by replacing negative thoughts and actions with positive ones, good things – money, material
wealth, increased social status – will materialize. Greer points out that not only is this concept not representative of mystery teachings, but they simply do
not work; it assumes that whatever we want is ours for the taking while ignoring the fact that we are but part of a much more complex whole. Greer turns to
ecology – the study of whole systems in nature – to correct our misguided understanding of seven fundamental principles from the mystery schools. Each
principle is explored using examples from the natural world. Each principle is also accompanied by a meditation, an affirmation, and a theme for reflection.
These interactive features help bring the mystery teachings directly into the reader’s daily life: “where they become keys to meaning, wholeness, and power.”
The Book of Enoch the Prophet is a text many are familiar with
yet few know. While well known concepts such as fallen angels and celestial warfare originated in its pages, the book itself has remained obscure. Now, with a
new translation by R.H. Charles, The Book of Enoch is open to seekers of divine revelation. The text itself is enigmatic, but the reader’s comprehension will be
greatly aided by R.A. Gilbert’s thorough introduction. Gilbert’s introduction traces The Book of Enoch across its circuitous travels through the centuries,
discussing historical context as well as famous figures that were influenced by the text – from John Dee to Aleister Crowley. A new introduction by the
occultist Lon Milo DuQuette implores the reader to remain open to the possibility of uncovering secrets long lost within the pages of this mystical text.
Crystals, Jewels, Stones: Magic & Science by Isidore Kozminsky
and Crystals and the New Age by Stuart Weinberg is a compendium of knowledge and lore concerning what is classified by Hanne Finne in the
introduction as the “mineral realm.” Ibis Press brings together two discrete yet complementary texts on the subject of precious and semi-precious stones’
role within a magical, mythical, and historical context. The first text, by Stuart Weinberg, is a relatively recent addition to the subject of crystals.
Crystals and the New Age offers a clear introduction to the background systems needed to understand the significance of crystals as well as in depth yet
concise biographies of the preceding centuries’ preeminent channelers. The text also contains a comprehensive bibliography and suggested reading list for
those interested in expanding their knowledge ever outward. The second text, a classic tome originally published in 1922 by Isidore Kozminsky, has been
updated and modernized for an American reading audience while keeping the entirety of its original content preserved. Kozminsky writes in an effortlessly
informative style that carries the reader easily through varied and complex information. Kozminsky is a scholarly storyteller delivering an enjoyable read
while communicating a glut of information as multifaceted as the gems being examined.
Magia Sexualis: Sexual Practices for Magical Power by Paschal Beverly
Randolph and Maria De Naglowska. Though the authorship of this influential text is somewhat in doubt (Maria de Naglowska claimed to have only translated a
manuscript by Paschal Beverly Randolph, but evidence suggests she contributed much more to the final result.), its lessons remain vital. Magia Sexualis conceives
of sexual intercourse as a prayer, a tremendous force of nature that can be harnessed to accomplish certain feats. Magia Sexualis spends a significant amount of
time laying the groundwork for a complete spiritual, mental, and physical understanding of the sexual act before even introducing the subject of sexual ritual.
Magia Sexualis is recommended for those interested in the historical occult, magical potential of sexual energy, and those interested in improving their corporeal
Neolithic Shamanism: Spirit Work in the Norse Tradition by Raven Kaldera
and Galina Krasskova. Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova designed Neolithic Shamanism to serve as an introduction to Northern Shamanistic practices for the uninitiated
novice. For those compelled to study shamanism yet unaware of where to begin, Northern Shamanism offers the equivalent of the first year of training in this tradition (
though as the text is quick to point out, there is no real substitute for a human teacher). Northern Shamanism promotes an ancient understanding of shamanism as the
maintenance of relationships with elemental, plant, animal, and divine spirits (which manifest literally rather than metaphorically) for the high purpose of survival.
Shamans were intimately involved in protecting and aiding their communities through communication with various entities. Northern Shamanism is about reclaiming
shamanistic tradition regardless of direct inheritance and becoming grounded once again in the world of the Real.
Enochian Magick: Volume I, The Best of the Equinox. This republishing of selection from The Equinox, Crowley’s magical journal in print at the turn of the century, offers Crowley’s own synthesis of Enochian magic, based on the work of Elzabethan magicians John Dee and Edward Kelley. Previously difficult to find, Enochian Magick will make a welcome addition to the well-informed occultist’s library. Complete with an introduction from [Lon Milo Duquette, US Deputy Grandmaster General of the OTO] which offers context and background to Crowley’s synthesis, Enochian Magick will help satiate those who continue to hunger for more doorways into Crowley’s worldview.
The Hollow Bone: A Field Guide to Shamanism by Colleen Deatsman
Shamanism is a spiritual way of life older than recorded history and surviving til the modern era. A spiritual practice based on healing and balance, shamanistic ways have a lot to offer our modern lives so often based on material achievement rather than spiritual health. Colleen Deatsman, an experienced Shaman, strives to introduce the reader to this most ancient practice in the hopes that, like her, the reader will be set down a path to a whole, healthful being.
The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook by Kenaz Filan
The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook is about so much more than Voodoo. Using Voodoo as the lens through which the city of New Orleans if viewed, Kenaz Filan weaves a tale equal parts history, tourist guide, and introduction to Voodoo as unique as the city itself. Filan touches on topics as diverse as the evolution of race relations within the city and the proper use of ritual oils. If you are planning a visit to the city or just want a fresh perspective on a fascinating American city, pick up this book.
Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead by Claude Lecouteux
“Once we have set foot upon the shores of folk mythology, we must remain conscious that its banks are shifting and ever changing – and are deceptive, because the accounts are never firsthand.” So begins Claude Lecouteux’s fascinating exploration of the phenomenon known as “the Wild Hunt,” a ghastly nightly procession of demons, witches, the undead, and all other manner of supernatural beings. Bringing a scholar’s eye for analysis to a centuries old phenomenon, Lecouteux seeks to unravel various source material to get at the heart of the mythology: why has this myth endured for centuries, and why is it important?
A Magical Tour of the Night Sky by Renna Shesso
Ever get the feeling you are going around in circles? Renna Shesso wants you to know you are not alone. As A Magical Tour of the Night Sky explains to its readers, the whole of the cosmos is going ’round and ’round! From the spin of the earth to the rotation of distant stars, Shesso illuminates the ancient mysteries of the stars’ paths. Shesso uses a combination of mythology, modern astronomy and good old fashioned star gazing to bring distant celestial bodies closer to the reader. Shesso encourages the reader to develop a personal relationship to the stars, particularly with the “learn by doing” section sat the end of each chapter. A wonderful book, perfect for the hands-on learner!
Diloggún Tales of the Natural: How the Moon Fooled the Sun and other Santeria Stories World by Ócha’ni Lele
Ócha’ni Lele describes himself not as the author, but the “transcriptionist and caretaker” of the stories contained in Diloggún Tales of the Natural World: How the Moon Fooled the Sun and other Santeria Stories. Anyone interested in the folk tales and oral traditions of other cultures should snap up this book? Contained within are charming stories of personified natural forces, foolish mortals and gods of all levels of power and wisdom. Think Aesops’s fables with a Yoruban twist.
Casting Sacred Space: the Core of all Magickal Work by Ivo Dominguez Jr.
Ivo Dominguez Jr.’s Casting Sacred Space: the Core of all Magickal Work is a very well written book on one of the most important magical concepts readers should be familiar with. Though viable as an introductory text, Dominguez explores the practice of casting space with a level of depth that will be satisfying for any level practitioner. As the author states in the introduction, this book is not for the “arm chair occultist” but rather designed to engage the reader in real work, offering exercises and suggestions for actions to make the reader an actual participant.
Weird Ways of Witchcraft by Dr. Leo Louis Martello
Originally published in 1969 by Dr. Leo Louis Martello, Weird Ways is an important historical document. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of Witchcraft, particularly of the treatment of witches in America. Written at a point in history when all kinds of minority groups began to rise up and demand equal rights, Weird Ways is a manifesto for the modern witch. Combating negative stereotypes, demanding reparations from those institutions that have sought to oppress “crafters”, and celebrating the individuality of the practice, Weird Ways is an absolute treasure!
A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book, by Ceisiwr Serith, is the sequel to A Book of Pagan Prayer. This sequel focuses on prayers as part of ritual, prayers that help one encounter the divine. Serith presents theories of prayer and ritual structure as well as offering a wide array of modern prayers. Serith offers his own ritual prayers but also guides the reader through the process of creating their own. A great book for anyone searching for a deeper understanding of prayer in the pagan context.
Karen Harrison’s The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook is an introduction to the medicinal and magical properties of herbs. From the explication of planetary influence to an extensive Appendix of herbal materials, tools, and recipes, The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook is easy to follow while still dense with information. Learn to harness planetary and elemental energies, create custom oils, and expand your relationship to botanica.
Can’t wait to find out what happens at the end of the Mayan calendar on December 12, 2012? The Mayan Oracle: A Galactic Language of Light, by Ariel Spilsbury & Michael Bryner, may have the answers you are looking for. Far from being a doom and gloom exposition of the end of time, The Mayan Oracle explores the end of the Mayan calendar as a rebirth rather than an end – the dawning of a cosmic consciousness. Includes 44 full color cards beautifully illustrated by the artist Oceanna, complete with instructions for harnessing the energy of Star-glyphs to read your own innermost knowledge.
Edred Thorsson’s Runecaster’s Handbook is a practical guide to runecasting as a system of communication with both the physical and cosmic realms. Thorsson offers a myriad of ways to start or enhance your runic practice, taking the runes beyond the common understanding of simply a fortune telling device. Thorsson casts runes as a means of accessing hidden truths – about the future, yes; but more importantly, about your own relationship to the gods.
Frank Joseph’s Gods of the Runes: The Divine Shapers of Fate is a charming and unconventional introduction to runes. Joseph explores the celestial origins of the runes by revealing the major myths of the twenty-four Norse Gods and Goddesses on which the runes are based. Each rune’s God or Goddess is introduced with an engaging story displaying their personalities and key attributes. Ian Daniels provides stunning illustrations of each God or Goddess, including eight full color illustrations. Deepen your understanding of this ancient art.
Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock by Vere Chappell explores the life of an extraordinary woman decades ahead of her time. Part biography, part introduction to her most influential works, Sexual Outlaw introduces Ida Craddock to a modern audience perhaps unaware of her contributions to women’s rights, sexual freedom, occult spiritualism and social progress. Her amazing story is laid out in a fluid academic tone right alongside Ida’s ideas in her own words. An essential read for anyone interested in social justice and the history of sexuality.
Fate, Fortune, and Mysticism in the Peruvian Amazon: The Septrionic Order and the Naipes Cards is a wholly unique book about divination and the power we hold over our own future. Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Phd., is a medical anthropologist who, while studying in Peru, encounters a divination system similar to Tarot with centuries of history and a surprising record of accuracy. But its practitioners, members of the mysterious Septrionic Order do not just observe the future, they actively shape it. De Rios finds herself pulled into the world of the Naipes cards and the mysticism of the Septrionic Order – first as an observer and then as a practitioner. Part memoir, part introducion to the techniques of managing the future, Fate, Fortune, and Mysticism in the Peruvian Amazon is written with the scientific mind of an anthropologist and the spiritual heart of a shaman. A must read!
Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune
Dion Fortune offers practical instruction on protecting oneself from psychic attack. Part psychological case study and part manual for fighting invisible but omnipresent forces, Fortune draws from her personal experiences to arm the reader against malignant paranormal encounters. However, Fortune does not simply advocate arming oneself for battle against these forces; rather, she brings the reader to an understanding that it is our own ignorance of these forces that comprises our biggest threat.
The Secrets of Doctor Taverner by Dion Fortune
In some ways, The Secrets of Doctor Taverner is a novelization of Dion Fortune’s own life; Dr. Taverner is based on her own mentor, and his assistant, Dr. Rhodes, is taken to be Fortune herself. In other ways, the novel is a psychological mystery and Taverner is an occult Sherlock Holmes. Taverner is an eccentric Doctor treating patients taken to be hopelessly insane by the medical establishment. Where most doctors see hopeless cases of mental defect, Taverner accesses occult knowledge – from past lives to misplaced souls – to free his patients from psychic distress. A rollicking good read!
Barbarian Rites by Hans-Peter Hasenfratz, Ph.D.
An exploration of the early religious cultures of the Germanic tribes, Barbarian Rites offers a scholarly look at the history of this ancient culture. It begins by asking what constitutes a Germanic tribe, then proceeds to answer that question by offering in-depth analysis of their social structures, cosmography, pantheon and so on. A wonderful and dense book for anyone interested in the ritual practices of ancient cultures.
Moon Phase Astrology by Raven Kaldera
This thick tome is a complete introduction to developing and understanding a personal relationship to the phases of the moon. Kaldera walks with the reader across the varied path of the moon as it glides through all of its 96 incarnations. Besides simply understanding the celestial path the moon takes, Kaldera shows the reader how the moon is a metaphor for our own lives, our personal relationships, and our general disposition towards the world. Kaldera brings a great sense of storytelling to his explanations of the moon’s place in our lives.
The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic by Maria De Naglowska
Available for the first time in English, The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic represent two of the most interesting and, until now, hard to procure books on the spiritual aspects of sex. A Russian mystic and “Satanic Woman” of 1930s Paris, De Naglowska’s work focused on unifying the dark and light powers of the world through reconciliation of masculine and feminine ideals. De Naglowska uses the Trinity as a basis for her occult teachings, reimagining the three aspects of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – as Head (reason), Heart, and the Feminine ideal, or Sex and the coming of a new enlightened age. These books are a fascinating historical read and an important part of occult history, but be advised – the techniques described are potentially dangerous; there is even a warning posted before the bulk of the text.