5 – The Circle Within – Dianne Sylvan
I read this book a few years ago with the other members of my coven and loved it! Sylvan lays the groundwork for creating a relationship with the God and Goddess by talking about how to worship and how to recognize the mysteries of Wicca. What I really appreciated is that at the end of each chapter she posed three questions that really can help you establish a good foundation of how to process the information in each chapter and how to merge it with your path. I also loved that she included some specific daily practices and affirmations in part two of the book. Simple things like meal blessings to more complex acts like morning devotions really helped me to include the Divine into all aspects of my life.
This book is a relatively quick read, coming in at only 177 pages. It has a complete index as well as a bibliography where Sylvan has included some personal notes for each book.
4 & 3 – Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner & Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner – Scott Cunningham
I’m pretty sure that these two books were among the first that I read when learning about Wicca. I feel that they are essential for every new Witch because even if you become a member of a coven you are still going to do some things as a solitaire. We all do. While preparing to write the blog I realized that I don’t have my physical copies of these books anymore. I must have lent them out to someone and didn’t get them back. Luckily I have them in ebook format to reference.
Cunningham starts Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner with an in depth discussion on the theory of Wicca and how it compares to Shamanism. He then moves into Gods and Goddesses, magick, tools and so on. He lays things out in a really great way so that the reader can understand the basic concepts first, then move on to the more complex ones. By the end of the book I felt prepared enough to perform the self-dedication rite provided because I knew that I’d found the right direction to take on my spiritual path. There’s a great section on the back of the book with a beginners Book of Shadows as well.
The second book, Living Wicca, takes things to the next level. Cunningham talks about secrecy in Wicca, which I think was an introduction to the subject for me when I was new to the Craft. There’s more delving into daily practices and ritual creation. I don’t think that it had as much of a profound impact on my practice as the first book did, but the information goes together.
I like the size and cohesiveness of these two books. They aren’t trade paperback size, but they will fit into a purse or bag to take on the go. Wicca is about 250 pages and has a glossary and list of additional reading and index. Living Wicca is just over 200 pages that has its own glossary and bibliography.
2 – Mystic Foundation – Christopher Penczak
If you know me at all, or if you continue to read this blog, you’ll quickly learn that I am a student of Christopher Penczak’s Temple of Witchcraft. He has had a profound affect on my practice and I am beyond honored to call him mentor and friend. Mystic Foundation is for those out there who are struggling with figuring out what they believe in. Because he is a Witch, the book focuses more on the different Wiccan traditions, but Christopher begins by discussing the fundamental forces of the universe from all world religion perspectives including Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism. This theme continues on throughout the book and is culminated with an extensive section where many religions are described. Like all of Christopher’s books, there are great diagrams and exercises. What I found the most interesting was the appendix which includes prayers from all religions that can help the reader gain some understanding of how that particular religion flows.
This is the largest book on the list, coming in at almost 300 pages. It has a glossary, bibliography and list of online resources. The dimensions of the book are consistent with Christopher’s Temple of Witchcraft books, so it’s big that way as well, but if you’re really questioning where your heart is, this book could make all the difference.
1 – Wiccan Beliefs and Practices – Gary Cantrell
Unfortunately I’ve also lent this book to someone and haven’t yet gotten it back. Regardless, this has been the book I’ve recommended the most to new Witches. Cantrell does an amazing job of describing each and every aspect of what it means to be a Witch. Not only does he talk about the Rede and Rule of Three, but he also talks about Chivalry and the Inviolate Circle, which I hadn’t heard of before reading this book. His descriptions of sacred tools and ritual garb are also a step above other books. I didn’t realize that I no longer had the book in my possession and will now have to repurchase it. For me, it’s hands down the very best introduction book to Wicca on the market.
The book is on the larger side, according to amazon.com it’s over 250 pages, but its well worth it. There is an appendix section with sample rituals and invocations, a bibliography and a glossary.
I hope that I’ve given enough information on each of these books to be helpful. Since I was dealing with five books I didn’t want to go crazy in one blog post. If you have questions feel free to post a comment and maybe in the future I can give a more thorough review. I’ve also linked each book cover to it’s amazon page so I hope that’s helpful as well!