So you're just entering the fascinating world of witchcraft and you may be wondering where to start. People keep telling you that sources like TikTok or even YouTube are not reliable sources. They say that you need to find your way as a witchcraft by both reading books and casting your own spells.
But, apparently, some books are no good. The risk is that some books may spread false information. What may be even worse, is that they can also appropriate closed practices. They do so without giving thanks to the culture that cultivated the precious knowledge they have robbed.
But don’t worry. We’ve got your back.
Here are a few reliable books that are great for beginners. Some, as you get further down on the list, can even have some interesting information for intermediate and advanced practitioners. I have tried to pick out at least one book that covers (even briefly) everything that could interest you as a novice witch. Have fun learning!
1. Protection & Reversal Magick: A Witch's Defense Manual by Jason Miller
If you're taking one recommendation from this list, let it be this one. Not only does this book explain how to protect yourself but why you should protect yourself, and from what or who. Make sure you really absorb this one. It gives you the tools you need to be able to go to work with Deities, do baneful magic and everything you may want to try. But you will be able to do it in an informed way that doesn't put you in danger.
2. Honoring Your Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration by Mallorie Vaudoise
This is the second book in order of importance. It is a great read for any witch who doesn't already have a fluid relationship with her ancestors. Definitely an essential read. It’s also a super quick read. Vaudoise is able to pack a lot of wisdom in very simple, plain language. She uses vivid anecdotes to illustrate her various points. As we have already covered here on the blog, having a (((fluid relationship with your Ancestors))) can make many of your tasks in the craft much easier. From returning a hex to the sender to ((banishing a parasitic spirit)), your Ancestors can get care of it, as well as benefit you with good health and strength.
3. Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
If you're more into herbalism at this time, that's a wonderful way to start! Just make sure to do research before ingesting anything, as some plants and herbs are toxic. When it comes to a thorough and comprehensive guide on the magic uses of herbs, including beautiful illustrations, it really doesn't get much more comprehensive than this. It will probably be of use to you well into your craft. If you don't want to feel overwhelmed, choose five or ten herbs in the book to study and continue at your own pace.
4. 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 book written with beginners in mind that I, years into my craft, keep returning to. Murphy-Hiscock managed to write a gem of a reference book on green witchcraft. And she did so using accessible language and lively examples. If you're more into Wiccan or traditional witchcraft, it can still be of use to you. This is so because of the accessible way in which she describes herbs, crystals, and much more.
5. Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack
Pollack is a transgender woman and an absolute authority on Tarot who writes in a really beginner-friendly manner. If that hasn't sold the book to you, I don't know what will. I started learning Tarot with these books and they are wholesome and instructive.
6. The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards (attributed to Alejandro Jodorowsky but actually written by his wife, Marianne Costa)
If you want a more thorough guide that you can return to as you grow as a Tarot reader, try this one. It even includes a comprehensive but relatively short history of Tarot. Costa is a very serious scholar that has dedicated her entire life as a scholar and reader to understand this Divination tool. It's certainly a worthwhile endeavor to read The Way of Tarot.
7. Hekate: Goddess of Witches by Courtney Weber
If you have any interest in working with Deities, even if you don't feel particularly drawn to Hekate specifically, this book lays out the framework very nicely. It explains step by step how to approach a Deity and how to interpret the way in which they may choose to communicate with you. It will explain how to build a relationship based on reciprocity and how to move forward, depending on where in the relationship you are with your chosen Deity. If you're interested in hexing, this book offers a trustworthy spell for just that purpose. Weber's prose reads super fast and has almost an addictive component to it which makes it difficult to let go of the book once it's between your hands.
8. The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk
This is a great book to keep as a reference as you go from beginner to expert in Astrology. I wouldn't say it lives up to its name, but only for the sole reason that I am a huge astrology nerd and I can't get enough books on this topic. You can dip in and out of it as you learn the basics and find topics of interest. Some really interesting topics include the Lunar Nodes, which tell you about your past lives and your karmic contract at present, and Pluto, a transgenerational planet that talks about the areas of society each generation will purge and bring into a symbolic death that leads to rebirth and transformation.
9. The Empowered Witch: A Grimoire for Beginners by Spell Cloth & Virginia Castiglione
Not to toot my own horn, but this is a great book. I wrote this after consulting some solid sources and made sure to respect closed practices and kept other cultures in mind. I try to get into the shoes of beginners and try to answer many of the questions they have. I have also tried to give them more context and background on various witchy issues that are always mentioned in passing by WitchTokers. Plus, this book offers a few concepts and definitions for a variety of topics, including how to set up an altar, start a Divination practice, and more!
In short, there are several books that are great for novice witches (and some, like Cunningham's or Woolfolk's, can be reference books for years to come). I would say the absolute must reads are Jason Miller's and Mallorie Vaudoise's. When it comes to the rest, pick up what resonates with you or what you're interested in. If nothing immediately jumps out at you, our book is a comprehensive guide that will be an amazing addition for any new or experienced witch.