The best books for beginner witches

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As someone from a culture forged on superstitions, witches and witchcraft have always been something to fear. In our region of Southeast Asia – made up of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – it is commonly believed that if you see a woman wandering around in the dark, check her feet and if the feet are in the opposite direction of that of his body. , you run.

It wasn’t until later that I realized that superstitions, like so many other beliefs, are actually the manifestation of another internalized fear. In this case, the fear of a powerful woman. So you can tell that my first real introduction to Witches Beyond the Realm of Superstition was when I watched the first episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in which Sabrina’s aunts join her as she does her first levitation, signaling the start of her journey.

This show was a revelation for me. I was struck by Sabrina’s banality, but also by the secret identity she harbored. She had the same issues as me, minus being a teenage witch, and somehow, in the midst of the chaos that adulthood sometimes, she made me feel less. single.

My take on what it means to be a witch had already evolved to a point where I stood in front of the mirror to invoke my inner power when I stumbled upon Charm. Now, aside from thinking why no one was stepping in and stopping me from watching these clearly rated PG shows, watching the three sisters come together in force awakened in me a sense of ferocity that had previously been alien to me. The Halliwell sisters encountered demons you couldn’t imagine escaping, but they did. Their distribution of power and ingenuity was something that made the concept of witchcraft something at hand.

Then, as with all things, my interest shifted from television to literature. I became fascinated with the books available to me, but it wasn’t until I read practical magic for the first time that I felt this rush again. Since then, I have consumed witch literature en masse, ranging from Witches of New York to the sprawling non-fiction The Witches, an account of the Salem witch trials by the one and only Stacy Schiff.

Over the years, the consumption of literature has influenced my approach to understanding witchcraft. And even though I don’t practice as much as I would like, I consider myself a witch, at least honorary, where I am the first to brew tea to mend a broken heart and still look forward to the coming of the full moon. .

My intention here is to pick out a few reads that have shaped my idea of ​​what it means to be a witch and to help you visualize which wizarding version of yourself you want to be and some of the best beginner books to get you started. I have divided the types of witchcraft into four very broad categories, and my list is by no means complete. But with that, let’s start brewing.

Wicca

Those who practice the Wiccan tradition are known as neo-pagans because their beliefs date back to the pre-Catholic era. From tarot cards to aura cleansing to crystals, Wiccan practices are plentiful, but central to them all remains the principle “No Evil.” Without any formal structure, their belief is based on spiritual experiences and rituals. This is very similar to what the Owen women prescribe in the Practical magic series through the centuries. This is also the intention with which the trio of women from Witches of New York opened their store, only for fate to change their plans. If this is where your interests lie, then here is where you can start.

Katherine Howe’s Penguin Book of Witches

Know your story. The Wiccan tradition is inspired by pagan religions, and it is important to understand its progression before addressing its many facets. Featuring historical documents from the Salem Witch Trials, each document is introduced by the author and explained based on its relevance to witches as we see them today.

Witches of America book cover

Witches of America by Alex Mar

Listen to someone who has practiced. In this immersive memoir, Alex Mar takes readers on his five-year journey. It captures the history of modern paganism from the 1950s to the present and breaks down beliefs in a straightforward way, making it the perfect place to start. When you feel ready to move on to something more advanced, head to the works of Lisa Chamberlain.

Brujería

Brujería is the term for the type of witchcraft practices in Latin and Afro-Caribbean countries. It does not have a hierarchical order or community, but rather focuses on the individual, using the terms Brujos (male), Brujas (female) and Brujx (gender neutral). They use elements of nature to alter the course of daily life, including health, wealth and family. If you have read and liked books like Lost labyrinth, which features a family of wizards, and Cemetery Boys, a story about a brujo’s necromancy and its aftermath (both welcome and unwelcome), then check out the guides below.

Book cover for witchcraft

Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within by Juliet Diaz

Juliet Diaz is a wealth of information on the practice of witchcraft, and this book is no different. Where it is different, however, is in the emphasis on the beginning of the stages. It goes through different ways of accessing power and using intuition, as well as using a suite of traditional tools such as crystals, tarot, herbs, candles, and spells. It also indicates the seasons and holidays, and how to use them to help you in your practice. It’s perfect for any Brujx to start with.

Book cover for witchcraft and welfare

Witchcraft and Welfare: Spiritual Capital and the Magic Trade in Modern Puerto Rico by Raquel Romberg

As with the Wiccan tradition, it’s important to know your story before you begin. This book takes us through the journey of Puerto Rican Brujos who have become “spiritual entrepreneurs” advising clients while consulting spirits but also the law. Combining forms of trance, dancing, magic, and healing practices, their successes range from obtaining custody lawsuits to improving the skills of business leaders. In addition to the current evolution of the tradition, Raquel Romberg “explores how the brujería emerged from a mixture of popular Catholicism, Afro-Latin religions, French spiritualism and popular Protestantism”, and how this changed the conversation and the landscape for a Brujx practitioner.

Voodoo

The practice of voodoo is perhaps the most misunderstood, not least because of its diversion into pop culture, as indicated by this fantastic piece, Why Can’t Black Witches Get Some Respect in Popular Culture? It’s a practice that has split in two, constituting Haitian voodoo and New Orleans voodoo, and it revolves around ancient spirits and patron saints. These are healing practices. If you have read The good house by Antananarivo Due and just want to learn more, here’s how to get started.

Tell My Horse book cover

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica by Zora Neale Hurston

Tell my horse is a travelogue listing Hurston’s travels through Haiti in the 1930s. This travelogue may seem like a strange guide to the practice of voodoo, but what makes it a valuable resource is not just the enlightened perspective of Hurston, but rather the first-hand account of his involvement in these practices themselves, which elevates our experience to another level. She paints a vivid picture of customs, traditions and superstitions, which makes her an important contribution.

Modern Eclectic

It is the group that takes something from each tradition to make it their own. From herbs and tea leaves to tarot cards and astrology, it’s all a fair game. If reads like New York Witches and Garden Spells is what inspired you, these books will help you take it further.

Cover of the book The Green Witch

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

This is a great introductory text to a particular brand of witchcraft that focuses on connections to, you guessed it, nature. He makes a clear distinction when he focuses on practicing in solitude as a green witch and how this differs from practicing as a wiccan. He offers advice on how a green witch can relate to any belief and spiritual tradition. The way the author talks about using plants in your practice is environmentally friendly and backed by science. This is a great 101 resource to have on hand, however you choose to practice.

Book cover for Psychic Witch

Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magic, and Manifestation by Mat Auryn

Another approach when you don’t want to engage in a tradition is to brush up on your knowledge of metaphysical energy. In this book, Mat Auryn details his perception of the metaphysical structure of human energy bodies, the cosmology of the universe and the psychic senses. He goes through each sense, describing what it is and giving exercises to help you adjust to each. He then talks about different layers of aura and energy, all in a way that makes it easy for anyone who is just starting out to understand. It puts the practice of witchcraft into perspective beyond that of rituals and covens and adds an interesting layer of spirituality to observe in action.


This is by no means an exhaustive guide to the best books for beginner witches. At its core, all witchcraft is being true to yourself and using your knowledge for good. The best way to think about it is how Alice Hoffman put it in the prequel to Practical magic: “Drink chamomile tea to calm the mind.” Feed a cold and starve a fever. Read as many books as you can. Always choose courage. Never watch another woman burn. Know that love is the only answer.

If you’re looking for more reading, try this Wiccan fiction or these must-have witch books.


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