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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at


                                         W I T C H C R A F T
                             the Magic of Ancient Celtic Beliefs
                                     in a Contemporary Society

                    The purpose  of this listingis to helpthe novice sortout the
          reliable from the  sensational in the wealth   of  material  that   is
          now    available  on Witchcraft.    I  have  left  out old  historical
          treatises   (records of the Inquisition  and such) which are of little
          value to  the   modern  student,  and have   concentrated  instead  on
          contemporary  sources.    This  also  yeilds  a  much  more  objective
                                                              - Michael Nichols

               THE TEXTS:

            'Drawing Down  the Moon:  Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers,  and
          Other Pagans in America  Today' - 2nd ed. -  by Margot Adler.   Beacon
          Press trade paperback.
                    You  may have  already  heard Margot's voice, as shewas once
          hostess  of   National  Public  Radio's  news   program,  'All  Things
          Considered'.  This  book  is the  end result of five years of research
          and interviews.   (The 2nd edition is an update  published eight years
          after  the   original.)   This  landmark  study focuses   on  the rise
          of  the  Neo-Pagan movement  (which  includes  Witchcraft, of  course)
          especially  as  it  relates  to  the  values  and  beliefs   of   the
          counterculture   of  the  mid-60's, hippies, flower  children, et. al.
          It  is  the  single  most  comprehensive   study  of  modern  American
          Witchcraft in existence.

            'What Witches Do: The ModernCoven Revealed' - 2nd ed. -  by  Stewart
          Farrar. Phoenix trade paperback.
                    If Adler's  book gives  a comprehensive  overview of  modern
          American Witchcraft,   Farrar's   is  a   complimentary   look    at  
          traditional      British  Witchcraft.       Concentrating    on    the
          Alexandrian   tradition   (which   is  only marginally  different from
          Gardnerian,   easily  the  largest  Craft  tradition extant),   Farrar
          lays  stress  on  the  actual  working  of  Covens and the integration
          of novice Witches  into  them.   Also  included  is  much  of  the
          Gardnerian  (via  Alexandrian)  Book  of Shadows.  So there  is plenty
          here for someone who wants to begin practice.

            'The Spiral  Dance: A Rebirth of  the Ancient Religion  of the Great
          Goddess'  by  Starhawk (pseud. for Miriam Simos).   Harper & Row trade
          paperback.  This  book  shifts back to America again, this time with a
          slight emphasis on feminist Witchcraft, arguably  the fastest  growing
          branch  of  the  Craft.  Starhawk   is  herself  High Priestess of two
          California Covens and her book is insightful, genuine, and beautifully
          poetic.   This   overview  also  contains specific   instructions  for
          Circles,   chants,   spells,   invocations,  creating rituals  and, in
          short, everything you need  to  get  started.   And  it  is  a
           delight to read.


            'Buckland's  Complete  Book  of  Witchcraft'  by  Raymond  Buckland.
          Llewellyn trade paperback.
                    British-born  Ray  Buckland can,  with  some  validity,   be
          considered   Gerald  Gardner's American  successor.   Not only  did he
          introduce  Gardnerian  Witchcraft to  the United  States, but  he also
          founded his   own  tradition   of  the   Craft, called   Seax  (Saxon)
          Wicca, which  has grown to worldwide practice.   His early books, like
          'Witchcraft  from  the  Inside',  did  much  to  dispel  negative
            stereotypes  of  Wicca  in  the 60's.   And 'The Tree: Complete Book
          of  Saxon Witchcraft'  remains  one of  the  best published  Books  of
          Shadows to   date.    The present volume has  a practical orientation,
          with chapters set up as 'lessons', covering every imaginable aspect of
          modern Wicca.   The book is  Traditionalist in approach, making a nice
          counterpoint to works by Adler and Starhawk.

               OTHER SOURCES:

            'A  Witches' Bible, Compleat' by  Janet & Stewart  Farrar.  Magickal
          Childe trade paperback tandum edition of 'Eight Sabbats  for  Witches'
          and  'The  Witches' Way', respectively, also called 'A Witches' Bible,
          Vol 1 & 2'.
                    The  first book  is  an examination  of thefestival Holidays
          of   the  Old  Religion  -   the  Solstices  and   Equinoxes  and  the
          cross-quarter days   -  together with the rich folk customs associated
          with  them.  The second book contains  the long-awaited  remainder  of
          the  previously  unpublished  portions   of   the Gardnerian  Book  of
          Shadows.    In   both  of these books,  the Farrars had the invaluable
          help of Doreen Valiente, who actually wrote parts of the Gardnerian
          liturgy.     The  three Farrar  books  taken together  form  the  most
          complete  system  of Witchcraft  currently available.     Their   more
          recent  book   'The   Witches' Goddess'   focuses  on   the   feminine
          archetype,    and     contains  a  gazetteer  of  Goddesses   that  is
          mind-boggling in its thoroughness.

            'Dreaming the  Dark: Magic, Sex, & Politics' and   'Truth  or  Dare:
          Encounters with  Power,  Authority,  and  Mystery'   both by Starhawk.
          Beacon Press trade paperback and Harper & Row hardback, respectively.
                    If  we have  gained  new religious  insights from  Pagan and
          feminist philosophy,  how  are  we  to incorporate those insights into
          our daily lives?  Starhawk, the author of one of our principal  texts,
          pulls   together  a  wide range   of materials to answer this question
          in two books as beautifully poetic as her first.  Some of these things
          have waited a  long time to be  said  -   and they couldn't have  been
          said better!

            'The  White   Goddess'  by   Robert  Graves.    Farrar,   Straus,  &
          Giroux trade paperback.
                    A rather weighty and  yet poetic  book,  tracing the  female
          deity  of Witchcraft  -  Goddess  of  Birth,  Love,  and Death; of the
          New,  Full, and  Old Moon,   worshipped   under   countless   titles. 
          Fascinating   for   the   advanced  student.     Know   your    Celtic
          mythology (particularly Welsh) before you start, though!  (If you need
          a quick intro to this book, check out the feature in the Reviews SIG.)


            'Witchcraft  Today'  and  'The  Meaning  of  Witchcraft' byGerald B.
          Gardner. Magickal Childe trade paperbacks.
                    GeraldGardner hasthe distinction ofbeing thefirst practicing
          Witch  to  write  a  book   about  Witchcraft.  He  was initiated into
          one of the surviving traditional British Covens, and onto the tattered
          remnants  of magic  and  ritual  inherited   from    them, he  grafted
          elements of ceremonial magic.   The synthesis that emerged came to  be
          called  'Gardnerian'  Witchcraft,   and  it  became   the major  cause
          of  the   Witchcraft   revival   of  the twentieth  century.   Because
          Gardner was the  first to deal with this material  in written form, it
          sometimes seems  very disorganized,  but its historical  importance is
          immense 'An ABC of Witchcraft', 'Natural Magick', and 'Witchcraft  for
          Tomorrow' all by Doreen Valiente.  Phoenix trade paperbacks.
                    British Witch Doreen Valiente isperhaps best  known  for her
          work   with Gerald    Gardner   in creating  the  Gardnerian canon  of
          liturgy.  However,  in her own books, she really  shines as an amateur
          folklorist, managing  to   convey  a sense  of   Witchcraft  as a folk
          religion,  tied very much  to the locality,  the land,  and the oldest
          strains  of  folk wisdom  and  nature.   Her  sense  of   history  and
          tradition  is  rich  and  deep,  and  she often  presents  fascinating
          historical tidbits about the Craft.  From no other author can one gain
          such a rich  sense of heritage.

            'A  History  of  Witchcraft:   Sorcerers,  Heretics,  &  Pagans'  by
          Jeffrey B. Russell.  Thames and Hudson trade paperback.
                    This bookrepresents theapproach of agifted Cornellhistorian.
          Although  Russell  doesn't  always adequately cover modern sources, he
          has become famous for his ability  to integrate a sensible approach to
          the  evidence  of   medieval Witchcraft  with an  acceptance of modern
          Neo-Pagan Witchcraft.

            'Magical    Rites    from   the   Crystal  Well'   by   Ed   Fitch. 
          Llewellyn trade paperback.
                    A book ofrites, simple celebrations of land and water,  wind
          and   fire.    Rites    of  passage,  seasonal  celebrations,  magical
          workings,  healings, and many more.  Ed  Fitch (one of the founders of
          Pagan  Way) is  truly  in   his  element here.    And it is one of the
          most beautiful  books on the Craft ever published.  The art work alone
          is worth the price of the book!

           'A Book of Pagan Rituals' by Herman Slater.  Weiser trade paperback.
                    Originally published  in two volumes   as  the   'Pagan  Way
          Rituals',  this extremely  beautiful book is just  what it says it is:
          a book  of rituals.  Not authentic Wiccan rituals, but very nearly so,
          these  rituals  are often  used    by Covens    in   the  training  of
          neophytes.   Like a good  Catholic missal,  the words  are printed  in
          'sense lines' using BOLD PRINT (easier to read by candlelight).
          Anyone  who   is  at least part  animist or nature-lover  is going  to
          cherish this beautiful book.

            'Celtic Heritage'  by   Alwyn   and  Brinley   Rees.    Thames   and
          Hudson  trade paperback.
                    A good deal ofmodern Witchcraftcan be tracedto ancientCeltic
          sources.   This book,  based in  comparative religion, mythology,  and
          anthropology,  gives  one  a  clear picture  of the Celtic world-view.
          Drawn  mainly from  Ireland  and  Wales,  the  study  focuses  on  the
          interplay  of   Light  and   Darkness,   Day  and  Night,  Summer  and
          Winter, and all the seasonal myths  and rituals that make up the great
          Celtic yearly cycle.


               OTHER USEFUL BOOKS:

            'The  Politics of Women's  Spirituality: Essays   on  the   Rise  of
          Spiritualist  Power   Within   the   Feminist   Movement'  by Charlene
          Spretnak.  Doubleday trade paperback.
                    Ahuge (and, oneis tempted tosay, thedefinitive) anthology of
          feminist and  Pagan  theology.  Many familiar authors here:  Starhawk,
          Weinstein, Daly, et. al.  Subjects range from Amazons to the ethics of
          magic.  A real bargain!

           'Sex in History' by Reay Tannahill.  Stein & Day trade paperback.
                    It has oftenbeen said that Witchcraft grew outof an  earlier
          'fertility  religion'  and,   although   'fertility'  is  probably the
          wrong word here, it is  undeniable that the history of  Witichcraft is
          irrevocably  bound   up   with  the  history   of   sexuality.    Like
          Tantrists and many others in  the East, Witches tend  to view sex   as
          sacramental.    Since  this  is   quite  contrary  to   the prevailing
          attitudes  of our own culture, it may be helpful to understand how
            our culture  acquired such negative  ideas about sex  in the   first
          place.    Ms. Tannahill's  unique  landmark study will not only answer
          this  question  but  also indicate  the  many  options  other cultures
          throughout history have chosen.

            'When  God  Was A  Woman'  by  Merlin  Stone.   Harcourt,  Brace,  &
          Jovanovich  trade paperback.
                    At   the  foundations  of  the religion of Witchcraft is the
          religion  of  the  Goddess.   Ms.  Stone's  book  is an  archeological
          tour-de-force of  that religion, which  is  found at the beginnings of
          virtually every known culture (yes, even the Judeo-Christian culture).
          In  this book,  one learns  about the    worship   of Astarte,   Isis,
          Ishtar,  and  many  others.  Also recommended is her 'Ancient
          Mirrors of Womanhood'.  Both are splendid books!

            'A Different Heaven  and Earth' by   Sheila  D.   Collins.    Judson
          Press  trade paperback.
                    Byone ofthe leading feministtheologians of ourday, this book
          asks  what  are  the  psychological   and  social  implications     of
          worshipping  a  male  deity exclusively,  while  ignoring the feminine
          principle in religion.  This is one of the most influencial books I've
          read in the last ten years.  It  changed  my way of thinking (for  the
          better) and I dare say it will change yours.

           'The Way of Wyrd' by Brian Bates.  Harper & Row hardback.
                    What Carlos Castaneda didfor Native American tradition, this
          author does for  ancient Pagan Anglo-Saxon tradition.   Subtitled 'The
          Book of a   Sorcerer's Apprentice' and based on  authentic manuscripts
          found in the British Museum, it is the chronicle of  a young Christian
          monk sent into the wilds  beyond  Mercia in 674 to record the heresies
          (beliefs)  of the  Pagans.   He  is  lucky to  have as  his  guide the
          Anglo-Saxon shaman Wulf.  Throughout this documentary novel, the
            Christian and Pagan beliefs are juxtaposed for abetter understanding
          of both.  Not since 'The Mists of Avalon' has a book accomplished this
          task so neatly.


            'Positive  Magic'  - revised  edition  -  by   Marion   Weinstein.  
          Phoenix Publications trade paperback.
                    Although  a book about  how to  use magic to changeyour life
          could be extremely tedious, this one is far from it.  While it is true
          that Marion uses a  simple and  direct style of writing, it is used on
          such  difficult and  subtle questions  as the  ethics of  magic.   She
          draws   upon   her  own   experiences   to create   a  book   that  is
          truely positive.   If I had to recommend one book on magic, this would
          be it!

           'Earth Power' by Scott Cunningham.  Llewellyn trade paperback.
                    Scott is arguablythe strongest of the young  writers in  the
          immensely popular  'Llewellyn's  Practical  Magick Series'.   This is,
          in  fact,  a  book  of  spells.    Practical,  down-to-earth,  useful,
          everyday,  garden-variety  spells.   It  is the only such book in this
          bibliography.   Although I do  not recommend a  'cookbook' approach to
          magic, this book will be extremely helpful when used as a  guide   for
          creating  your own spells.   Also, Scott concentrates  on 'natural' or
          'folk' magic, as opposed to 'ritual' or 'ceremonial' magic.   This  is
          the type    of   magic  (involving  Sun, Moon,  stars,  trees,  rocks,
          springs,  etc.)  that  is the  natural  heritage  of  Witchcraft.   An
          excellent   starting-place  for   the novice    spell-wright.     His 
          many   other  books,   especially   'The  Magical  Household', are all
          highly recommended.

            'The  Medium, the  Mystic, and   the   Physicist'   and   'Alternate
          Realities'  by Lawrence LeShan.  Ballantine paperbacks.
                    Dr.  LeShandoes not deal with magic orWitchcraft per se, but
          what  he has to say  about  the  nature   of  the  cosmos  is  magical
          indeed.   He  is  an experimental  psychologist,  an  Esalen  veteran,
          director   of  ESP  research, psychic healing,  and other   projects. 
          His    is   a    synthesis    of   philosophy,  parapsychology,    and
          Einsteinian physics.   His other books,  especially 'How To  Meditate'
          (Bantam paperback), are also of great value.

            'Seth  Speaks'  and 'The  Seth Material'  by  Jane Roberts.   Bantam
                    Yet  another startlingly  clear  (albeit  less  scientific) 
          look   at metaphysics.  This is probably  the cream of the crop of all
          modern mediumistic data:  Seth  is the communicant, and the late  Jane
          Roberts is the medium.   The other 'Seth' books are also of value.

            'Psychic  Exploration:  A  Challenge for Science' by Edgar Mitchell,
          edited by John White.  Putnam trade paperback.
                    This anthology  serves as  an excellent introduction  to the
          scientific field of   parapsychology.   Each chapter  is an  extensive
          review article on  laboratory work carried   out  in  one   particular
          sub-genre   of  the   field:  telepathy,  clairvoyance,  precognition,
          psychokinesis,    OOBE's,  apparitions  &  hauntings,  etc.      These
          excellent  articles  will  bring  you  up-to-date  on  virtually
            everything  that   is   currently   known   about   the   topic   in
          question.   Other chapters deal with the history  of  the  discipline,
          social   &  psychological implications,  military  applications,  etc.
          This  book could open  the mind of  the severest skeptic.   But at the
          same time,  it could  serve   as   a  necessary  check    on    those 
          too-credulous  souls  who  have  a  tendency  to 'believe everything'.



            ASTROLOGY:  For the  absolute beginner, 'Chart Your Own   Horoscope'
          by  Ursula Lewis.    Pinnacle paperback.  The  find-at-a-glance tables
          and charts are  worth their weight  in gold.   For the more   advanced
          students,   Michael   Meyer's   'A  Handbook    for   the   Humanistic
          Astrologer'  is  highly  recommended  for its 'humanistic'  (a la Dane
          Rudyar) approach.  If you  want to really learn  to  do astrology, try
          'The Only Way To Learn Astrology, Vol I-IV' by March & McEvers.  Books
          by Linda  Goodman, Grant Lewi,  Ronald Davison, and  Liz  Greene   are
          also recommended.

            TAROT:   'Secrets  of  the  Tarot' by Barbara Walker is the best  of
          the newest books on Tarot.  You may know Barbara as the author of  the
          amazing  'Woman's Encyclopedia  of  Myths and Secrets'.  Bill Butler's
          'Dictionary  of  the  Tarot'  is  a  wonderful  reference  book  which
          encompasses works  by such  authors as Case,  Crowley, Douglas,  Gray,
          Huson, Kaplan, Mathers, Papus, Waite, et. al.

            ESP:    Any and  all  books  by J.  B.  and  Louisa Rhine,  Gertrude
          Schmeidler, Thelma Moss,  Charles Tart,  D. Scott Rogo,  J. G.  Pratt,
          Raynor  Johnson  and  Lawrence LeShan would be highly recommended.

            PALMISTRY:    'The Palmistry  Workbook' by N. Altman  is clearly the
          leader  here.  The  book  actually  has  hand-prints,  not  just  line

            GHOSTS:    Firstly,  I'd  recommend  'An   Experience  of  Phantoms'
          and   'The  Poltergeist  Experience'   both by D. Scott Rogo  (Penguin
          paperbacks), who is a kind of historian of psychical research.   Also,
          'The  Poltergeist'  by   William Roll,   director  of   the  Psychical
          Research  Foundation,  and this country's leading authority on ghosts.
          And  most importantly, 'Conjuring Up Phillip'  by  Iris  M.  Owen, the
          account  of a  group of  Canadian researchers  who 'created'  a ghost!
          This last title is now out of print, but if you can find one in a used
           book store, it's well worth it.

            SURVIVAL:   'At  the  Hour  of Death' by Karlis Osis is exceptional.
          Books by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross are adequate, but not as good.  And, if
          you  can find it, the    out-of-print   'Life  Is   Forever'  by  Susy
          Smith  is  perhaps the best introduction.

            OUT-OF-THE-BODY EXPERIENCES:   'Journeys Out of the Body'  and  'Far
          Journeys' both by Robert A. Monroe.  The narative of a much-researched
          psychic, he only
            one of its  kind.  Also, 'Astral Projection' by  Oliver Fox, and any
          early works
           by Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington, if you can find them.

            MEDIUMSHIP: Firstly, the 'Seth' books by Jane Roberts, listed above.
          Any  and all books by Eileen Garrett.   Plus, 'Here, Mr. Splitfoot' by
          Robert Sommerlot, 'Singer  in the Shadows' by Irving Litvag,  and 'She
          Spoke to the Dead' by Susy Smith.

            CABALISM:  Introductory  works include 'The Magician:  His  Training
          and  Work' and  'Magick:  Its  Ritual,  Power, and Purpose' both by W.
          E.  Butler.   Later,  works  by  Dion  Fortune  and  Aleister  Crowley
          (definately not for the novice).


               BOOKS OF LORE & MYTHOLOGY:

            'The  Mists of Avalon' by  Marion Zimmer Bradley.   Ballantine trade
                    This Arthurian fantasy novel,which reached  the  N.Y.  Times
          best-seller list, is  truly superlative.  It is narrated  by Morgan le
          Fay  and so we finally  understand that strange  antipathy that exists
          between   her   and    Arthur.    The  religious   and   philosophical
          conflict between the Old Religion and the newer one of Christianity is
          beautifully portrayed.  An excellent choice.

            The Prydain  Chronicles of Lloyd Alexander,  a  pentology   on  Dell
          paperbacks:  'The  Book   of  Three',   'The  Black   Cauldron',  'The
          Castle of Llyr', 'Taran Wanderer', and 'The High King'.
                    These award-winning  children's   fantasies  are  based   on
          ancient   Welsh mythology.  Alexander admits  that the two authors who
          most influenced him were J. R. R. Tolkien and T. H. White.   The books
          are  also the basis  of the   recent animation   feature   from Disney
          studios.  I'm often asked about pagan books to recommend for children.
          These are them.

            The Deryni  Chronicles of Katherine Kurtz:  'Deryni Rising', 'Deryni
          Checkmate',  'High   Deryni',   'Camber    of Culdi',  'Saint Camber',
          Camber the Heretic',  'The Bishop's  Heir', 'The  King's Justice'  and
          'The Quest  for  Saint  Camber',  all Ballantine paperbacks.
                    Set in the landscape of ancient Wales, the Deryni are a race
          with  magical powers  which must  fight  for its    life   against   a
          medieval  Church  Militant.  Kahterine is someone who knows what magic
          is all about.

            'The  Once  and  Future  King'  and  'The Book of Merlyn' both by T.
          H. White. Berkely paperbacks.
                    Sparkling books, and my  own personal favorites.   The final
          crystalization  of centuries of Arhturian romance.  The books on which
          'Camelot' was based.

            'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen', 'TheMoon of Gomrath', 'Elidor', and
          'The Owl Service' by Alan Garner.  All Ballantine paperbacks.
                    Garner isone of thebest Britishfantasy authors, witha superb
          sense  of local  'color' and folklore.  The first two (related) titles
          are in the heroic quest mold, the third is  a  story  about  the  four
          'hallows'   of  Arthurian legends,  and the fourth is  an eerie modern
          re-creation of the fourth branch of the 'Mabinogi'.

            'A Wizard of Earhtsea',  'The Tombs of Atuan',  and   'The  Farthest
          Shore'  by Ursula K. LeGuin.  A trilogy on Bantam paperbacks.
                    This isthe chronicle of ayoung boy who isan apprentice mage.
          LeGuin,  a  leading  science  fiction  and  fantasy  author,  has some
          fascinating things to say about the light side and dark side of magic,
          and how they're related.  And she says it very well, indeed.

           'Lammas Night' by Katherine Kurtz.  Ballantine paperback.
                    In this case, theauthor of  the  important Deryni  fantasies
          turns   her attention  to  a  historical  setting:   England  in World
          War II.   There is  a long-standing tradition  that Hitler's  thwarted
          plans for  invading England owed  a   certain  something  to the  many
          Covens throughout  Britain who  combined  their efforts  to stop  him.
          There  is even a  hint that the Royal   Family   itself  was involved.
          Ms. Kurtz's historical research is, of course, impeccable.


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