written by Dodde
There is a lovely tradition in Iceland called Jólabókaflóð. On Christmas Eve, books are exchanged and the rest of the night is spent in bed reading and eating chocolate. I KNOW! How awesome is that?! I think we may start that tradition in our household this year.
In the spirit of Jólabókaflóð, I have asked the Church of the Earth’s Council members to recommend books for you, Dear Reader. Because I enjoyed the commentary that came with the lists, I have decided to keep them clumped by contributor (although occasionally edited for brevity!).
Some books came with a synopsis; others did not. In the latter case, I have put a blurb in quotes from Amazon.
There are two types of books included here: books that helped folks when they were starting their individual journeys, and books that are important to them now. Library after the description indicates we have this book in the CotE library. To check books out, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Goddess Alive! Inviting Celtic & Norse Goddesses into Your Life, by Michelle Skye: “Create a stronger connection to the sacred world and your own divinity by welcoming these thirteen powerful goddesses into your life.”
- Goddess Afoot! Practicing Magic with Celtic & Norse Goddesses, by Michelle Skye: “Explore the unique strength of each goddess and discover her gift for your life.”
- Norse Goddess Magic: Trancework, Mythology, and Ritual, by Alice Karlsdottir: “A practical guide to the magic of the feminine side of the Norse pantheon.”
- Gods of Asgard: A Graphic Novel Interpretation of the Norse Myths, by Erik Evensen: “Drawing from the original source material, award-winning illustrator Erik Evensen gives us a glimpse into the legendary adventures of the Norse gods. “
- Taking Up the Runes: A Complete Guide to Using Runes in Spells, Rituals, Divination, and Magic, by Diana L. Paxson: “Paxson delves into the ancient historical meaning of each rune and explains their contemporary uses and meanings.”
- Power of the Witch, by Laurie Cabot: “Magic belongs to no one culture, society, or tribe—it is part of the universal wisdom… It thrives today.” And she will show you how it lives in you.
- Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham: “Cunningham’s classic introduction to Wicca is about how to live life magically, spiritually, and wholly attuned with nature.” Library
- To Ride a Silver Broomstick, by Silver Ravenwolf: “Filled with…warmth, humor, and personal anecdotes…introduces the science and religion of the craft.” Library
- Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic, by Scott Cunningham (and the follow-up volume, Earth, Air, Fire & Water): An excellent primer for beginner elemental magic. Library
- Tarot Dictionary and Compendium, by Jana Riley: An indispensable reference for tarot readers, with interpretations of every card from over a dozen different prolific tarot experts.
- The Druidry Handbook, by John Michael Greer: A broad-based account of the various existing Druidic traditions and the varying elements of practice in each, tips for incorporating different pantheons and elemental systems into your workings, and example rituals for cross-quarter days and sabbats rooted in a reconstructionist approach. Library
- Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions, by Joyce & River Higginbotham: A fabulous primer which I recommend to anyone who is new to, or interested in learning about the Pagan path. Library
- Encyclopedia of Natural Magic, by John Michael Greer: A wonderful resource that breaks down herbs, stones, and elements into spell categories that you can quickly reference when gathering tools for a working.
- The Inner Temple of Witchcraft, by Christopher Penczak: This is a book that you work with slowly, to create and/or build upon the mental foundation of your craft. Library
- Plant Spirit Medicine, by Eliot Cowan: Examples of the energetic healing power of plants, receiving guidance from plants and interviews with plant shamans across diverse traditions.
- Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews: Techniques for recognizing and interpreting the signs, omens and animal appearances in nature. Working with animals as totems and spirit guides by learning the language of their behaviors.
- New Moon Astrology, by Jan Spiller: Harnessing the moon’s power to make your desires a reality. Based on ancient rites and philosophy, a guide to the most effective new moon intentions.
- The Book of Stones, by Robert Simons and Naisha Ahsian: This reference lists about 200 different crystals and their keywords, chakra and element associations, spiritual, emotional, and physical effects—and my favorite, the positive affirmation for that stone.
- The Path of Paganism, by John Beckett: A great introduction to the more “religious” aspects of Paganism. Most of the introductory books I’ve seen are more “how-to” books focused on magick, ritual, spells, or correspondences; this book talks more about the nuts and bolts of everyday pagan identity and spiritual living.
- Woman Most Wild, by Danielle Dulsky: This book is definitely geared towards cis-gendered women…but I like the wild, primal energy it brings to some of the common topics of introductory books (the Wheel of the Year, the Moon cycle, et cetera). I love the writing style, and it is an emotionally compelling read for someone who already has that nature connection.
- Evolutionary Witchcraft, by T. Thorn Coyle: Though it is ostensibly about Feri Witchcraft, the connection to nature and the concepts of intelligence and will within the elements and objects around us really rang true for me, and probably shaped my path more than any other contemporary book I’ve read since.
- The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoof: It illustrates the concepts of Taoism through the musings of Winnie the Pooh. “Today is a nice day for rain, if you are rain, and you like days like this.” Boom, mind blown…
- Anything by Judika Illes—she a scholar, an historian, an amazing researcher, and wonderful! Library
- Tending Brigid’s Flame, by Lunaea Weatherstone: “Filled with rituals, exercises, and meditations…shows how to welcome Brigid into your home and make sacred all the activities of everyday life.”
- The Tarot Handbook, by Angeles Arrien: “Takes tarot beyond the limits of the fortune-telling realm and shows us how this time-honored application is both a visual and symbolic map of consciousness, and a source of ancient wisdom.”
- The Celtic Devotional, by Caitlin Matthews: This title is out of print, but she’s working on republishing and creating an app version.
- Psychic Self Defense, by Denning & Phillips (one of the first books I read all those years ago): “Your psyche is constantly under attack from friends and strangers, advertisers and politicians who want to manipulate you. The best way to overcome attacks on your psyche is through awareness that they are occurring.”
- Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, by Rachel Pollack: “Drawing on mythology and esoteric traditions and delving deeply into the symbolism and ideas of each card, the book offers a modern psychological interpretation of the tarot archetypes.”
- 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card, by Mary K. Greer: “Designed to bring about interaction, transformation, and empowerment, this twenty-one-pronged approach to tarot can help readers expand standard interpretations and evolve new ways of connecting to the cards.”
- Pagan Every Day, by Barbara Ardinger: “Barbara Ardinger teaches us that a contemporary spiritual experience can show up in some of the most unexpected places—such as The Muppet Show and Dirty Dancing.”
- Spiral Dance, by Starhawk: “Starhawk’s brilliant, comprehensive overview of the growth, suppression, and modern-day re-emergence of Wicca as a Goddess-worshipping religion has left an indelible mark on the feminist spiritual consciousness.” Library
- Drawing Down the Moon, by Margot Adler: “Almost thirty years since its original publication, [this book] continues to be the only detailed history of the burgeoning but still widely misunderstood Neo-Pagan subculture.” Library
- Anam Cara and other books by John O’Donohue: “Poet, philosopher, and scholar, guides you through the spiritual landscape of the Irish imagination.”
- Earth Prayers From Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth, by Elizabeth J. Ed. Roberts and Elias L. Ed. Amidon: “The varied voices linked here offer…invocations, poems, and passages that revel in the common spiritual heritage of all who cherish creation.” Library
- Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés: “Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories…in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature.”
- Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, by Scott Cunningham: I really love all of the Cunningham books in this style. Great reference book—I use it all the time. This was one of the first magical books I ever purchased for myself when I was really struggling and trying to “find myself” for the millionth time circa 2006, a full decade before finding my CotE Family. Library
- The Magical Household, by Scott Cunningham: “Recognize and celebrate the magic of life with timeless rites and spells. Create a haven of harmony, safety, spirituality, security, and romance.” Library
- Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, by Raymond Buckland: “This comprehensive text features a step-by-step course in Witchcraft.” Library
- The Natural Psychic, by Ellen Dugan: “No matter where you are on the psychic spectrum, [this book] will help you develop and refine your natural talents.”
- The Dangerous Old Woman: Myths & Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes: “Come join us at the fireside of The Dangerous Old Woman for the soul-healing wisdom that will ignite your creativity and support your highest calling in life.”
- The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year, by Caitlin Matthews: “Using poetry, myths, reflections, rituals, and visualizations, Matthews leads you on a yearlong pilgrimage that will help connect the cycles of your soul to the circle of the seasons.”
- Runic Book of Days: A Guide to Living the Annual Cycle of Rune Magick, by S. Kelley Harrell: “A step-by-step guide to working with the runes throughout the year.”
- Witchcraft on a Shoestring: Practicing the Craft Without Breaking Your Budget, by Deborah Blake: Her books are easy to read, comforting, and practical. Here I realized I did not need fancy stuff to follow my path.
Thanks to all the Council members for your wonderful recommendations and comments. Great book reports, gang—gold stars for everyone!