Or, what should be on every magickal bookshelf!

Here at Alchemy Arts, we strive to assist those who are new travelers of the magickal path in any way we can. The success of our magickal herbs blog entry showed us that clear, comprehensive, basic information is highly desired and much needed. The wealth of information (some reliable, some laughable) available on the internet just adds to the confusion for those who are just starting out. They ask us, ‘What magick books should I read? Which are the best?’ In this entry we strive to summarize our answers to those questions. Here, Dear Readers, we present a list of excellent basic books, any of which would be perfect additions to the library of anyone just starting on the Pagan/Wiccan/magickal path. As always, links are provided, should you wish to purchase these items from us.


13 Essential Magick Books

1. The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals and Stones, by Margaret Ann Lembo

The Essential Guide to Crystals, Minerals, and Stones

This has become our favorite, go-to guide for stones. It is an essential reference guide to 160 easily-procured crystals, minerals, and stones. Packed with practical knowledge and 190 beautiful full-color photos, this easy-to-use handbook will teach you all about the gemstone world.

Each page provides concise information on stone name and properties, color, corresponding chakra, planet, element, zodiac sign, numerological association, and mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual uses. But that’s not all! This directory will also give you Mohs scale ratings, divinatory meanings, and a series of positive affirmations for each stone. You can even learn how to charge, cleanse, and use gemstones.

So much information, beautifully presented, well laid out and easy to find– look through this book and we think you’ll understand why it’s the one we reach for first when someone asks about the properties and uses of a stone.

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2. Spiritual Cleansing: A Handbook Of Psychic Protection, by Draja Mickaharic

spiritual cleansing2

This is one of our best selling, most recommended books. Customers come back to buy second copies to give to their friends. It’s massively useful for showing you how NOT to feed negative energy. We always advise that customers read it twice; the second time, you’ll notice so much more information that you didn’t notice before. Spiritual Cleansing is a spiritual first aid manual filled with hundreds of recipes, rituals, and practical ways to rid your home, office, and self of negative energy. The author offers simple and effective solutions drawn from every ethnic group and spiritual practice.

If you’ve ever felt persistent negative energy around yourself or your home and wanted to get rid of it, wanted to know how to protect yourself from such energy, or just wanted to help a friend in that situation, this book can help.

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3. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

Do you work magic with herbs? Do you use them in spells, for talismans or simply use their innate powers? If you don’t have this book, you need to get it right away.

In this revised, expanded edition you will find the magical properties and folklore of over 400 herbs. You’ll also find lists of herbs based on their magical powers, their genders, their planetary rulers, and more, plus a folk name cross-reference. Each herb listing includes names, associations, and magical attributions.

This book is considered a classic. It is probably consulted more than any other book on this subject. If you want to learn the secrets of magical herbs, this book is a must!

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4. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham

Wicca

Cunningham’s classic introduction to Wicca is about how to live life magically, spiritually, and wholly attuned with nature. It is a book of sense and common sense, not only about magick, but about religion and one of the most critical issues of today: how to achieve the much-needed and wholesome relationship with our Earth. Cunningham presents Wicca as it is today: a gentle, Earth-oriented religion dedicated to the Goddess and God. If you’re just starting out on this path and have questions, this book will give you answers and help guide you.

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5. Practical Candleburning Rituals: Spells & Rituals for Every Purpose, by Raymond Buckland

practical candleburning rituals2

Many people think that magic is complex and difficult. Leave it to Raymond Buckland to reveal that magic can be as easy as lighting some candles and performing a simple ritual. You don’t need fancy preparations or elaborate robes, just candles, quiet, space, and this book as a guide.

There are rituals here for just about every need you might have. In many instances, two forms of the ritual are given. One is a Christianized version, the other reflects the early pre-Christian nature worship — the Old Religion, as it is known. Pick a purpose for a magical ritual and chances are good you will find a candleburning ritual for it here. Do you want to consecrate an amulet or talisman? See page 167. Do you want to overcome a bad habit? See page 21. Do you need help when doing divination? How about causing dreams? Or perhaps you want to regain or retain health. You’ll find rituals for all of these here. Other rituals include ones to conquer fear, to heal an unhappy marriage, to win love, to change your luck, to stop slander– and there are many, many more.

If you are looking for direct, powerful, and practical magic, this is the book for you! (And of course, you can also get the candles and the magickal oils with which to dress them from us!)

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6. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers & Other Pagans In America, by Margot Adler

drawing down the moon

Almost thirty years since its original publication, Drawing Down the Moon continues to be the only detailed history of the growing but still widely misunderstood Neo-Pagan subculture. Margot Adler attended ritual gatherings and interviewed a diverse, colorful gallery of people across the United States, people who find inspiration in ancient deities, nature, myth, even science fiction. In this new edition featuring an updated resource guide of newsletters, journals, books, groups, and festivals, Margot Adler takes a fascinating and honest look at the religious experiences, beliefs, and lifestyles of modern America’s Pagan groups. This continues to be the best book out there for anyone who wants to understand the history of Neo-Paganism.

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7. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth Of The Ancient Religion Of The Great Goddess, by Starhawk

spiral dance

This brilliant overview of the growth, suppression, and modern-day re-emergence of Wicca as a Goddess-worshipping religion has left an indelible mark on the feminist spiritual consciousness. In this beautiful 20th-anniversary edition, Starhawk now reveals the ways in which the practice of ritual and Goddess religion have, in the face of a changing world, developed over the last 20 years – and the ways in which these changes have influenced and enhanced her original ideas. This important spiritual guidebook provides both the tools of ancient practice and the means to adapt them to our lives today – for, according to Starhawk, living tradition is not static or fixed; it changes and responds to changing needs and changing times. Another great book for understanding where Wicca came from and how it got where it is today.

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8. Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts, by Donald Michael Kraig

modern magick2

For over two decades, this book has been the world’s most popular step-by-step guide to working real magick. Tens of thousands of individuals and groups have used this course as their primary instruction manual. Now, greatly revised and expanded, this set of lessons is more complete and relevant to your life than ever.

Written with respect for the student, Modern Magick will safely guide you—even if you know little or nothing—through a progressive series of practical exercises and rituals, complemented by the knowledge, history, insights, and theory you need to become a successful ceremonial magician. Firmly rooted in the Western magickal tradition yet designed to be fully compatible with your contemporary practice, this book will help you attain full mastery of all core topics in magick. Filled with personal stories and helpful illustrations, Modern Magick is ideal for beginning, intermediate, or advanced students, and perfect as a manual for magickal temples. It is a huge book filled with a huge amount of information – essential reading for anyone who aspires to becoming a true magician.

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9. Practical Sigil Magic: Creating Personal Symbols for Success, by Frater U.:D.:

practical sigil magic

Practical Sigil Magic is widely regarded as the definitive guide to the topic. Unavailable for a number of years and long sought-after by magicians, this classic work is now available once again. Sigil magic is one of the most efficient and economical of magical disciplines. It can be performed without complicated rituals or paraphernalia and can be learned easily and quickly. Most important, it will give even beginning magicians the chance to work with the power of the Will and enhance their own abilities. This classic reference work will provide magicians—from novice to adept— with instruction that will empower and advance their magical practice. Whatever other magick you do, sigil magick can give it a helping hand.

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10. Charms, Spells & Formulas, by Ray T. Malbrough

charms spells and formulas

In Charms, Spells & Formulas, you’ll find rituals and recipes for incenses, oils, powders and washes that you can use to make changes in your life. You’ll also learn the secrets of how to make gris-gris bag charms for any purpose. You even get full instructions on how to set up your altar and perform the ritual to charge the bag so that it becomes a powerful magical tool. Need to improve your health or love life? Make a gris-gris bag! You’ll also learn how to make magical dolls from cloth and clay, and how to increase the power of magical candles by adding herbs to them. Do you think you might have been given the “evil eye?” You’ll learn how to overcome it with the instructions given here. The book also includes full instructions on how to use prayers and Bible psalms to solve your problems.

If you are doing any sort of magick at all, you’ll find that the techniques in this book will powerfully enhance your magick. And if you’re new to magick, you’ll be surprised at just how successful the magick in this book can be.

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11. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, by Raymond Buckland

bucklands complete book of witchcraft

Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft has influenced and guided countless students, coven initiates, and solitaries around the world. One of modern Wicca’s most recommended books, this comprehensive text features a step-by-step course in Witchcraft, with photographs and illustrations, rituals, beliefs, history, and lore, as well as instruction in spellwork, divination, herbalism, healing, channeling, dreamwork, sabbats, esbats, covens, and solitary practice. The workbook format includes exam questions at the end of each lesson, so you can build a permanent record of your spiritual and magical training. This complete self-study course in modern Wicca is a treasured classic, and with good reason!

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12. Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic, by Scott Cunningham

earth power

The ways of magic are revealed in nature . . . The secrets are written in meandering streams and drifting clouds, whispered by the roaring ocean and cooling breeze, echoed through caves and rocks and forests. Poetic images, yes– but you can study the elements that inspired them, and from them, learn how to use the power of the earth that’s all around you.

When you draw a heart in the sand, call on the four winds for assistance, or ask the rain to wash away a bad habit, you are practicing earth magic. By working in harmony with nature, we can transform ourselves, our lives, and our world. This tried-and-true guide offers more than one hundred spells, rites, and simple rituals you can perform using the powerful energy of the earth. If you want to learn more about the power of the earth and the elements, this is a great place to start.

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13. Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic, by Scott Cunningham

Earth, Air, Fire, Water

The four elements are powerful magical tools. Using their energies, we can transform ourselves, our lives, and our world. This much-loved, classic guide offers more than seventy-five spells, rites, and simple rituals you can perform using the marvelous powers of the natural world.

With this book you will learn all of the basics of magic, including what you need to know to make the magic really work for you. Then you’ll learn the importance of the magical elements and rituals and techniques you can do that are based on this information. This is followed by information on nine different types of natural magic that you can do for any purpose. Finally, you will learn how to combine the information on the elements with the information on the basics of magic to create your own rituals for any purpose you can imagine. The author gives over forty examples so you can see just how easy it is to design a ritual.

Cunningham also covers how to determine the best time to perform the ritual; how to combine the words of power or rhyme for the spell; magical symbols; a glossary of the specialized words used in the book, and much more. If you’ve read Earth Power and want to learn even more simple, direct natural magic, you can’t go wrong here.

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books

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There are so many other good books out there, we doubt you will want to stop with these. Once you have gained more experience, you may want to expand your library still further, and we are happy to make suggestions for how to do so. If you want books for more advanced magickal study, for a more specific topic or tradition, or just a good book that will keep you up late at night reading – and most definitely if you want sources of magickal information that are more reliable than the internet – we are here to help.

Get in touch,

We are always happy to recommend a title or two! We hope this list will give you some guidance as you start on your path of magickal practice. Keep reading, keep studying, keep questioning, and always keep your mind open to new ideas!