Pagan Booklist: Wicca for Beginners

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There are lots and lots of books out there about Wicca. Which ones are good for beginners? Here’s a list highlighting some of the best.

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“Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” by Scott Cunningham is probably the best book to start out with as it provides a solid foundation in the ideas that are the basis of Wicca, along with excellent suggestions for how to actually practice all by yourself.

“Witchcraft for Tomorrow” by Doreen Valiente. Doreen Valiente was one of Gerald Gardner’s early high priestesses, and is probably the one that had the largest impact on how Wicca developed. A surprising number of ritual prayers, poems, etc. that are considered traditional were actually written by Doreen.

“Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft” by Raymond Buckland. This book is similar to Scott Cunningham’s book in that it focusses on a lot of practical as well as theoretical material. Buckland’s book provides a good foundation for working with others as well. Buckland was chosen by Gerald Gardner to be his representative in the United States, and was key is getting Gardnerian Wicca (and Wicca in general) established in the Americas.

“Wicca For One” by Raymond Buckland. Another solid foundation from Buckland, this time written specifically for solitary practitioners.

“A Witches’ Bible” by Janet & Stewart Farrar. Provides passages (courtesy of Doreen Valiente) from Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows explaining basic material on how to perform rituals. Most of the material is meant for group work but can be adapted for individual use as well. They give solid mythological explanations for ritual work to provide the spiritual foundation behind it all.

To learn more about the history of Wicca the two top recommendations are:

“Bonewits’ Essential Guide to Witchcraft and Wicca” by Isaac Bonewits

“The Rebirth of Witchcraft” by Doreen Valiente.

If you are interested in a very hands-on training program that takes you through a year and a day (the traditional length of time one studies before formal initiation into many Wiccan groups) look for “Wicca: A Year and a Day” by Timothy Roderick, and also for the sequel, “Wicca: Another Year and a Day” also by Timothy Roderick.

Once you’re confident in the basics you can move on to more advanced material. A good study guide for more advanced material is “The Study of Witchcraft: A Guidebook to Advanced Wicca” by Deborah Lipp.

And finally, to advance your magickal practice be sure to check out Pagan Booklist: Magick, Pagan Booklist: Trance, Pagan Booklist: Magickal Herbalism, and Pagan Booklist: Spirit Work for more book recommendations.

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