New to Paganism? 5 Books to Get You Started

When I first became interested in paganism, I remember looking around for resources and being absolutely overwhelmed with how many book options there were. Where does one even begin? There are about a million different choices out there and new books are published all the time. As a person who reads a lot, here are the books I usually recommend for new witches/pagans.

The Spiral Dance by Starhawk: Hopefully you’ve already read this. If you haven’t, put it on your list. This is the book that brought paganism into the mainstream. Starhawk does an amazing job of explaining what paganism and witchcraft are and also gives some great tips for beginning a practice. Interesting to note, Starhawk is an initiate of the Anderson Feri/Faery Tradition so you’ll be able to pick up the flavor of that in this book rather than the Wicca that dominates most popular books on the subject.

Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler: This was actually the first book I ever officially read on the topic. Usually, when I say this, most people look at me like I’m crazy because this is not an easy read. It is thick and dense and will take you a while to get through, but absolutely worth it. It is the most concise overview of the actual pagan movement in the United States and gives an overview of the most popular traditions (it is slightly outdated at this point, but I highly recommend regardless). If you ever wondered how Wicca, Feri/Faery, COG, and others came into being, this is the book for you.

Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham: This is a best seller for a reason. I consider it a great book for all pagans, not just Wiccans. It covers all of the basics, from casting a circle to dedicating yourself to the gods. If you only ever buy one book on witchcraft, get this one.

The Inner Temple of Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak: The best book I have ever read for developing a daily spiritual practice. It goes over the basics of meditation, trance, and focuses on inner work. I think most people jump into witchcraft and go straight for the difficult stuff without having a solid inner grounding first, this book will make sure you avoid that problem.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: While not a book specifically about paganism (it’s actually fantasy fiction), this book was one of the most instrumental in helping me find my path. I read it when I was about 15 and it introduced the concept of a Goddess as well as sacred women’s mysteries to me. As a person who was raised in a monotheistic patriarchal religion, this was mind-blowing. And it’s a really great read. Disclaimer: there has been some controversy about MZB and child abuse, I don’t have any knowledge of the situation and still think it’s a wonderful book despite any accusations. Also, the miniseries is pretty good!

 

Happy reading!

 

6 comments

  1. And don’t forget the classics that a lot of these books draw from, Dion Fortune, Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, Stewart and Janet Farrar, Alex Sanders and also Ray Buckland, although the list is longer…

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