Your Top Ten pagan books for Library Project

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Your Top Ten pagan books for Library Project

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gen. 22, 2009, 11:31am

Hi everyone,

In brief, this is a request for your top ten titles in your pagan library. This is more than a meme, it is library work that will benefit the blind and partially sighted community.

As the login suggests my husband is a blind librarian, (and I just glom on because I keep the sighted library and keep track of LT goings on) and we are both pagans/witches/druids... etc. He is also Mgr of the Braille and Talking Book Library for Northern California.

He is currently looking for a list of titles for the National Library Service to convert to audio for the library. The NLS makes reading materials available in alternate formats for those who can not read print.

His request to the NLS was:

"I have had several inquiries lately from blind pagans and wiccans about the lack of sufficient NLS titles about such topics as: Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism, Astrology, Ceremonial Magic, Kabbala, Druidry, and other Occult Sciences , e.g. nonfiction. I have perused the Occult and Horror subject list of titles within NLS and several very famous works are markedly absent."

The NLS has agreed to look at some titles for audiobook format. The NLS person in charge of this recommends that:

"To be on the safe side, serious, even semi-scholarly treatments--rather than "how-to" texts--would stand a better chance of selection."

A few parameters that may help;

-List your top ten books that you could not do without in your pagan library, and/or books that profoundly influenced you.

- Choose scholarly, or semi scholarly works. These should be more along the line of Gerald Gardner and less along the line of How to Hex Your Lover. However, I think it worth noting those books that seem to have wide respect and appeal, like Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

-The books should be word dependent, not illustration dependent. The person who is reading the text will not be able to translate an illustration or diagram into words, unless it is very very simple.
The book does not need to be completely without illustration, it just needs to be understandable as if the illustration were not there.

-It should also be understood that the reader will probably not be pagan. However, these are experienced and professional people, used to reading things they don't necessarily agree with.

-The pagan blind community reflects the greater pagan community in that there are the seekers, the curious, the scholars, the students, the clergy, etc.... of all the myriad of trads that exist out there. So a variety of levels and traditions would be helpful.

-Perhaps, but not essential, a sentence or two as to why this book is important, and a general idea of the subject/content.

Your help in this is greatly appreciated!
Many many blessings!
Mike and Deb
(LJ Deb is Devorguilla)

gen. 22, 2009, 5:04pm

A few I'd recommend besides the Cunningham that would work best for your needs:

Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce Higginbotham

The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
I strongly disagree with some of her views on matriarchal history, but it's still considered a Pagan classic.

The Pagan Path or A Witches' Bible by the Farrars

Real Magic by Isaac Bonewits

People of the Earth by Ellen Every Hopman

Positive Magic by Marion Weinstein

gen. 23, 2009, 4:01am

Hard to stick to only ten best.
But then book addiction is why we are here after all...

but here's my list.

The Way of the Shaman
Michael Harner
ISBN 0062503731

A Witches Bible Complete
Janet & Stewart Farrar
ISBN 0919345921

Our Troth: V 1 Lore
Kveldulf Gundarsson
ISBN 1419635980
Our Troth: V 2 Living Troth
Kveldulf Gundarsson
ISBN 1419636146

The Poetic Edda
Lee M. Hollander
ISBN 0292764995

The Way of Orisa
Philip J. Neimark
ISBN 0062505572

Psychic Self-Defense
Dion Fortune
ISBN 0877283818

Magick in Theory and Practice
Aleister Crowley
ISBN 0486232956

The Elements Of Ritual:
Deborah Lipp
ISBN 073870301X

The art of ritual
Renee Beck
ISBN 0890875820

Editat: gen. 30, 2009, 5:23pm

Aquest missatge ha estat suprimit pel seu autor.

Editat: oct. 8, 2009, 3:49am

Forgive me for not sticking to just 10, but this is my recommended list for beginners.


"Pagan Paths" by Pete Jennings
"Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft" by Ronald Hutton, quickly followed by his other works including "The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy" and "Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain"



"The Ancient Celts" by Barry Cunliffe
"Book of the Cailleach: Stories of the Wise Woman Healer" by Gearoid O Crualaoich
"The Celtic World" by Miranda Green
"Gods of the Celts" by Miranda Green
"Irish Witchcraft from an Irish Witch" by Lora O'Brien
"The Keys of Knowledge - Ogham, Coelbren and Pagan Celtic Religion" by Kevin Jones
"The Otherworld Voyage in Early Irish Literature" by Jonathan Wooding
"The Sacred Isle" by Dáithí O hOgain

and the following should then be undertaken:

"Early Irish Myths and Sagas"
"Tales of the Elders of Ireland" by Ann Dooley
"The Voyage of Bran" translated by Kuno Meyer
"The Mabinogion" by Sioned Davies
"The Making of a Druid: Hidden Teachings from the Colloquy of Two Sages" by Christian J. Guyonvarc'h
"Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the Island of Britain" by Rachel Bromwich

Anglo-Saxon Heathen

"The Way of Wyrd" by Brian Bates
"The Northern Tradition" by Pete Jennings
"Understanding Wyrd: The Norns and the Tree - An Introduction to the cosmology of Northern Europe spiritual practice" by Jenny Blain
"Wights and Ancestors" by Jenny Blain
"The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology"by Snorri Sturluson
"The Poetic Edda"
"Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic" by Bill Griffiths

and the following should then be undertaken:

"Dictionary of Northern Mythology" by Rudolf Simek
"Beowulf" as translated by Seamus Heaney
"Eyrbyggja Saga"
"Elves, Wights, and Trolls" by Kveldulf Gundarsson
Tacitus: "Germania"
"Gods and Myths of Northern Europe" by Hilda R. Ellis Davidson
"King Harald's Saga: Harald Hardradi of Norway from Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla" by Snorre Sturlasson, Magnus Magnusson, and Hermann Palsson
"The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe" by Hilda R. Ellis Davidson
"Northern Mythology" by Benjamin Thorpe and Jacqueline Simpson
"Njal's Saga"
"Orkneyinga Saga"
"The Saga of Grettir the Strong"
"The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki"
"The Saga of the Volsungs"
"The Vinland Sagas"


"Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain
"The Art and Practice of Creative Visualization" by Ophiel
"The Art and Practice of Astral Projection" by Ophiel
"The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci" by Barry Patterson
"Liber Noctis" by G. St.M. Nottingham
"Natural Magic" by Doreen Valiente
"13 Moons" by Fiona Walker-Craven
"Treading the Mill: Practical CraftWorking in Modern Traditional Witchcraft" by Nigel G. Pearson

feb. 6, 2009, 1:19pm

Nearly done with the compilation, Thank you everyone!!!! Have had over 230 recommendations with more still straggling in. Will have it wrapped up in a couple days and will post the results. For those who posted more than 10, all recommendations have been added to the list. I just didn't want people to be overwhelmed with the task, or to simply post their entire library without thinking about it.

In the meantime, as promised here are mine, (and no, I couldn't just stick to 10 either.)

Wicca A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham, a very usable introduction to Wicca

A Modern Herbal (volumes 1 and 2), by Mrs. M. Grieve, classic herbal lore

The Malleus Malificarum, by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, translated by Montague Summers, 15th century work that influenced and fueled the practices of the Inquisition
Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic, by Scott Cunningham, the lore of stones

The Golden Bough, by James Frazer, classic anthropological work of the evolution of magical and religious beliefs (roman, europeen)

The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom, by Caitlin & John Matthews, excellent compilation of the origins of celtic belief and bardic/druidic training

Protection & Reversal Magick, by Jason Miller, good how-to of essential protective practices for the witch

Psychic Self-Defense, by Dion Fortune, psychic hazards and remedies

Carmina Gadelica, Hymns and Incantations, by Alexander Carmichael, classic anthology of early scottish chants

Gypsy Sorcery & Fortune Telling, by Charles G. Leland, Gypsy and Italian lore

The Druid Renaissance, by Philip Carr-Gomm, modern druidism

Ritual, A Guide to Life, Love & Inspiration, by Emma Restall Orr, ritual from a druidic perspective

By Oak, Ash, & Thorn, by D.J. Conway, celtic neo-shamanism

Natural Magic, by John Michael Greer, simple compendium of magical uses of herbs, stones, and other elements

The Mabinogion by Lady Charlotte E. Guest, classical welsh lore

feb. 6, 2009, 3:16pm

If I could just make a few comments on your list. There are better translations of the Mabinogion than that made by Charlotte E. Guest, namely Sioned Davies, Will Parker the Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones translations.

I would never recommend anyone to a book written by D.J. Conway or Scott Cunningham ~ just my personal opinion ~ there are other authors whose work is preferable on celtic, norse paganism and Wicca.

feb. 6, 2009, 5:38pm

Thanks for the tip about the Mabinogion translation. I remember thinking while I was reading it that there had to be a better version out there.

DJ Conway, yeah she's a little screwy in places, but I did find some helpful info among the pages of that particular book.

Scott Cunningham, while not the most scholarly of authors, is important from the standpoint of someone who may be investigating the pagan path for the first time. I would rather they pick up Cunningham than Silver Ravenwolf, for example.

Huh! I just realized I forgot to add the Ferrars on my list... (The Witch's Bible) consider it added.

I would love to add Donald Michael Kraig's Modern Magick, but it is very illustration dependent.

feb. 7, 2009, 8:47am

Silver Ravenwolf's ethics leave a lot to be desired. This is from personal experience with the woman.

feb. 7, 2009, 12:58pm

Because the purpose of this is not to be a list of books "I" think are worthwhile, but to be a reflection of the greater pagan community, I have to include the requests for things like Silver's in spite of my personal reservations. In reality, there are only about a dozen books that are consistently repeated through the various lists collected. I suspect that the NLS will go for these popularly requested titles rather than the individual favorites that make up the bulk of the entire list.
I'm trying to be very neutral as the results come in, to keep people honest about their selections.

Editat: feb. 10, 2009, 6:12pm

I'm a little confused, as you are now saying you'd rather popular titles, whereas the parameters you gave were as follows:

"To be on the safe side, serious, even semi-scholarly treatments--rather than "how-to" texts--would stand a better chance of selection."

"Choose scholarly, or semi scholarly works."

I would have thought this would have ruled out those books that peddle inaccurate history or a mish-mash of ideas?

Hence my inclusion of those works that reflect a scholarly, even academic approach to paganism.

As to Scott Cunningham's book being one for those new to paganism, I would suggest that Pagan Paths: A Guide to Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, Shamanism and Other Pagan Practices is a better choice, as Mr Cunningham's book is specific to neo-Wicca, whereas the book by Pete Jennings covers a multitude of paths/philosophies that fall under the pagan umbrella, including heathenism, druidry and Wicca and includes contact details for various groups to help the beginner find their way.

It would be best that the newcomer was given the impression there is more to paganism than wicca.

feb. 10, 2009, 11:46pm

In this instance, the word popular reflects the books that were suggested the most often.

I also said in the initial post: "The pagan blind community reflects the greater pagan community in that there are the seekers, the curious, the scholars, the students, the clergy, etc.... of all the myriad of trads that exist out there. So a variety of levels and traditions would be helpful."

there was a fairly large pool of respondents, and only about 14 books were repeated more than once. I found that everyone had their personal favorites that I imagine largely reflected their own personal journey and study path. This is as it should be. I certainly had moments where I rolled my eyes at some entries, but I did not want to discourage anyone from contributing by popping off with my own opinion.

My goal, was to simply relay all the titles that were offered up, with a numeric count. From there, the NLS will cull through the titles and choose whatever it feels is usable for their readership.

The tabulated list has not yet been released, by the way.

I'll post my husband's personal list first, then when he is done looking at the whole thing, will post the tabulated list

feb. 12, 2009, 1:49pm

My husband's personal list (theBlindLibrarian)... he couldn't stick to ten either, LOL.

Top Ten:

Stone, Merlin. When god was a woman.

Frazer, James. The Golden Bough.

Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon

Farrar, Janet & Stewart. A Witch’s Bible: the Complete Witch’s Handbook. 1996.

Levi, Eliphas. Magic: a history of its rites, rituals, and mysteries.

Andrews, Ted. Animals speak

Murray, Margaret. The god of the witches.

Greer, John Michael. Druidry Handbook.

Campanelli, Pauline. Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life.

Valiente, Doreen. An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present.


Huson, Paul. Mastering Witchcraft.

Spretnak, Charlene. Lost goddesses of early Greece: a collection of preHellenic myths.

Craig, Donald Michael. Modern Magic.

Mathers, S.L. MacGregor. The Kabbala Unveiled.

Jacobson, Thorkeld. Treasures of Darkness: history of mesopotamean religion

Cooke, S.H. Babylonian and Ssyrian Religion.

Wolkstein, Diane. Inana, queen of heaven and earth: her stories and hymns from Sumer

The Malleus Malificarum, by Heinrich Kramer and james Sprenger, translated by Montague Summers,

Hickey, Irene. Astrology.

Cunningham, Scott. Wicca: Guide for Solitary Practitioner

Regardie, Israel. Tree of Life: Study in Magic.

Fortune, Dion. Psychic Self Defense

Leland, Charles. Aradia: Gospel of the Witches

Valiente, Doreen. Natural Magic.

Valiente, Doreen. 13 Moons.

Cooke, S.H. Middle Eastern Mythology.

Crowley, Aleister. Magick Without Tears.

Lenormant, Francois. Chaldean Magic.

Larousse World Mythology.

Matthews, Caitlin. Encyclopeida of Celtic Wisdom.

Herder Symbol Dictionary.

març 7, 2009, 12:59am

hi. I couldn't help but to add a few that I consider to be my own essentials -anything by Susun Weed,
Tom Brown's Grandfather;
The many books on the Labyrinths,
Steve Brill's Identifying Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and not so wild)Places

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