magick, paranormal
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How to Make Magnificant Magic: A Witch’s Reading List


Being a witch isn’t all running about naked beneath a full moon. I guess it could be. But when it comes to witchery, many modern witches prefer to mix instinct with intellect.

So whether you want to rev up your magical life or simply write more witchy, here’s a list of my top seven books, in no particular order:

1) Highways of the Mind: The Art and History of Pathworking, by Dolores Ashcroft. Both high-level witch and high-level writer, Ms. Ashcroft turns a “how to” on pathworking –  a key tool in the witch’s arsenal – into an engaging journey through time and space. Which is sort of what pathworking is all about.


Walpurgis Night – Albert Welti 1897

2) Cave and Cosmos, by Michael Harner. Shamanism is (I believe) the ur-magic, the root of all magical thought. When the witches rise through the chimneys on Walpurgis night, doesn’t that seem like an echo of a classic shamanic journey, rising on smoke to upper world? (Trust me, sometimes shamans rise on smoke to upper world). Michael Harner doesn’t say anything about this particular theory of mine, but he does give an accessible overview of shamanism. Any of his books are good reads. This is only his latest.

3) The Golden Dawn, by Israel Regardie. The Golden Dawn was a magical society that was birthed and died during the Victorian era. In spite of its short lifespan, its magical philosophy had a tremendous impact on 20th century magic – from the creation of the classic Rider-Waite Tarot deck to Gardnerian Wicca. This tome goes deep into Golden Dawn rituals and practices.

4) My Life with the Spirits: The Adventures of a Modern Magician, by Lon Milo Duquette. At turns informative and hysterically funny, this book chronicles the early life of practicing Goetic magician, Lon Milo Duquette. His demon summoning story is riotous.

5) Psychic Self Defense, by Dion Fortune. Early 20th century occultist and mystic, Dion Fortune recounts tales of thought forms and psychic attacks, as well as methods to counter them. And she discusses how to differentiate between a psychic attack and ill health or mental disturbances rooted in more mundane causes.

6) On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician, by Catherine MacCoun. The medieval alchemists treated the Great Work as part chemical, part mystical process. But Catherine MacCoun takes alchemy into the modern age, focusing on concrete psychological and spiritual processes for transformation.

7) Celebrate the Divine Feminine, by Joy Reichard. Working with goddess archetypes can be an integral piece of witchery, and this book breaks how to do it down into clear and simple terms. The book reviews the history of the goddess, and provides a how-to for working with the archetypes, including in depth explorations of a number of earth goddesses. My fav archetype, Hecate, is included.

Which books would you add to the list?

About the Author

Kirsten Weiss is the author of the Riga Hayworth series of paranormal mysteries: the urban fantasy, The Metaphysical Detective, which focuses on the archetypes, The Alchemical DetectiveThe Shamanic DetectiveThe Infernal Detective and The Elemental Detective. Book six in the series, The Hoodoo Detective, will be available this Halloween, 2014.


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