An annotated bibliography for the class


   the Magic of Ancient Celtic Beliefs
        in a Contemporary Society


     The  purpose  of  this listing is to help the novice sort out the reliable
 from the sensational in the wealth  of  material  that  is  now  available  on
 Witchcraft.    I  have  left  out  old  historical  treatices  (records of the
 Inquisition and such) which are of little value to  the  modern  student,  and
 have  concentrated  instead  on contemporary sources.  This also yeilds a much
 more objective perspective.
                                                             - Michael Nichols


 'Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans
 in America Today' - 2nd ed. - by Margot Adler.  Beacon Press trade paperback.
     You  may  have  already  heard  Margot's voice, as she was once hostess of
 National Public Radio's news program, 'All Things Considered'.  This  book  is
 the  end result of five years of research and interviews.  (The 2nd edition is
 an update published eight years after  the  original.)   This  landmark  study
 focuses  on  the rise of the Neo-Pagan movement (which includes Witchcraft, of
 course)  especially  as  it  relates  to  the  values  and  beliefs   of   the
 counterculture  of  the mid-60's, hippies, flower children, et. al.  It is the
 single most comprehensive study of modern American Witchcraft in existence.

 'What Witches Do: The Modern Coven Revealed' - 2nd ed. -  by  Stewart  Farrar.
 Phoenix trade paperback.
     If  Adler's  book  gives  a  comprehensive  overview  of  modern  American
 Witchcraft,  Farrar's  is  a  complimentary  look   at   traditional   British
 Witchcraft.    Concentrating  on  the  Alexandrian  tradition  (which  is only
 marginally different from  Gardnerian,  easily  the  largest  Craft  tradition
 extant),   Farrar   lays  stress  on  the  actual  working  of  Covens and the
 integration of novice Witches  into  them.   Also  included  is  much  of  the
 Gardnerian  (via  Alexandrian)  Book  of Shadows.  So there is plenty here for
 someone who wants to begin practice.

 'The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess'  by
 Starhawk (pseud. for Miriam Simos).  Harper & Row trade paperback.
     This  book  shifts back to America again, this time with a slight emphasis
 on feminist Witchcraft, arguably the fastest  growing  branch  of  the  Craft.
 Starhawk  is  herself  High Priestess of two California Covens and her book is
 insightful, genuine, and beautifully  poetic.   This  overview  also  contains
 specific  instructions  for  Circles,  chants,  spells,  invocations, creating
 rituals and, in short, everything you need  to  get  started.   And  it  is  a
 delight to read.

 'Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft' by Raymond Buckland.  Llewellyn trade
     British-born Ray Buckland can, with some validity,  be  considered  Gerald
 Gardner's American successor.  Not only did he introduce Gardnerian Witchcraft
 to the United States, but he also founded his  own  tradition  of  the  Craft,
 called  Seax  (Saxon) Wicca, which has grown to worldwide practice.  His early
 books, like  'Witchcraft  from  the  Inside',  did  much  to  dispel  negative
 stereotypes  of  Wicca  in  the  60's.   And 'The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon
 Witchcraft' remains one of the best published Books of Shadows to  date.   The
 present volume has a practical orientation, with chapters set up as 'lessons',
 covering every imaginable aspect of modern Wicca.  The book is  Traditionalist
 in approach, making a nice counterpoint to works by Adler and Starhawk.


 'A Witches' Bible, Compleat' by Janet & Stewart Farrar.  Magickal Childe trade
 paperback tandum edition of 'Eight Sabbats  for  Witches'  and  'The  Witches'
 Way', respectively, also called 'A Witches' Bible, Vol 1 & 2'.
     The  first  book  is  an  examination  of the festival Holidays of the Old
 Religion - the Solstices and Equinoxes and the cross-quarter days  -  together
 with the rich folk customs associated with them.  The second book contains the
 long-awaited  remainder  of  the  previously  unpublished  portions   of   the
 Gardnerian  Book  of  Shadows.   In  both  of these books, the Farrars had the
 invaluable help of Doreen Valiente, who actually wrote parts of the Gardnerian
 liturgy.   The three Farrar books taken together form the most complete system
 of Witchcraft currently available.   Their  more  recent  book  'The  Witches'
 Goddess'  focuses  on  the  feminine  archetype,  and  contains a gazetteer of
 Goddesses that is mind-boggling in its thoroughness.

 'Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, & Politics' and  'Truth  or  Dare:  Encounters
 with  Power,  Authority,  and  Mystery'  both by Starhawk.  Beacon Press trade
 paperback and Harper & Row hardback, respectively.
     If  we  have  gained  new  religious  insights  from  Pagan  and  feminist
 philosophy,  how  are  we  to incorporate those insights into our daily lives?
 Starhawk, the author of one of our principal  texts,  pulls  together  a  wide
 range  of materials to answer this question in two books as beautifully poetic
 as her first.  Some of these things have waited a long time to be said  -  and
 they couldn't have been said better!

 'The  White  Goddess'  by  Robert  Graves.   Farrar,  Straus,  &  Giroux trade
     A rather weighty  and  yet  poetic  book,  tracing  the  female  deity  of
 Witchcraft  -  Goddess  of  Birth,  Love, and Death; of the New, Full, and Old
 Moon,  worshipped  under  countless  titles.   Fascinating  for  the  advanced
 student.   Know  your  Celtic mythology (particularly Welsh) before you start,
 though!  (If you need a quick intro to this book, check out the feature in the
 Reviews SIG.)

 'Witchcraft  Today'  and  'The  Meaning  of  Witchcraft' by Gerald B. Gardner.
 Magickal Childe trade paperbacks.
     Gerald Gardner has the distinction of being the first practicing Witch  to
 write  a  book  about  Witchcraft.  He was initiated into one of the surviving
 traditional British Covens, and onto the tattered remnants of magic and ritual
 inherited  from  them, he grafted elements of ceremonial magic.  The synthesis
 that emerged came to be called 'Gardnerian'  Witchcraft,  and  it  became  the
 major  cause  of  the  Witchcraft  revival  of the twentieth century.  Because
 Gardner was the first to deal with this material in written form, it sometimes
 seems very disorganized, but its historical importance is immense
 'An ABC of Witchcraft', 'Natural Magick', and 'Witchcraft for Tomorrow' all by
 Doreen Valiente.  Phoenix trade paperbacks.
     British Witch Doreen Valiente is perhaps best  known  for  her  work  with
 Gerald  Gardner  in creating the Gardnerian canon of liturgy.  However, in her
 own books, she really shines as an amateur folklorist, managing  to  convey  a
 sense  of  Witchcraft  as a folk religion, tied very much to the locality, the
 land, and the oldest strains of folk wisdom and nature.  Her sense of  history
 and  tradition is rich and deep, and she often presents fascinating historical
 tidbits about the Craft.  From no other author can one gain such a rich  sense
 of heritage.

 'A  History  of  Witchcraft:  Sorcerers,  Heretics,  &  Pagans'  by Jeffrey B.
 Russell.  Thames and Hudson trade paperback.
     This book represents the approach of a gifted Cornell historian.  Although
 Russell  doesn't  always adequately cover modern sources, he has become famous
 for his ability to integrate a sensible approach to the evidence  of  medieval
 Witchcraft with an acceptance of modern Neo-Pagan Witchcraft.

 'Magical   Rites   from  the  Crystal  Well'  by  Ed  Fitch.   Llewellyn trade
     A book of rites, simple celebrations of land and  water,  wind  and  fire.
 Rites  of passage, seasonal celebrations, magical workings, healings, and many
 more.  Ed Fitch (one of the founders of Pagan Way) is  truly  in  his  element
 here.   And it is one of the most beautiful books on the Craft ever published.
 The art work alone is worth the price of the book!

 'A Book of Pagan Rituals' by Herman Slater.  Weiser trade paperback.
     Originally published in two volumes  as  the  'Pagan  Way  Rituals',  this
 extremely  beautiful book is just what it says it is:  a book of rituals.  Not
 authentic Wiccan rituals, but very nearly so, these rituals are often used  by
 Covens  in  the training of neophytes.  Like a good Catholic missal, the words
 are printed in 'sense lines' using BOLD PRINT (easier to read by candlelight).
 Anyone  who  is at least part animist or nature-lover is going to cherish this
 beautiful book.

 'Celtic Heritage'  by  Alwyn  and  Brinley  Rees.   Thames  and  Hudson  trade
     A  good deal of modern Witchcraft can be traced to ancient Celtic sources.
 This book, based in comparative religion, mythology, and  anthropology,  gives
 one  a  clear picture of the Celtic world-view.  Drawn mainly from Ireland and
 Wales, the study focuses on the interplay  of  Light  and  Darkness,  Day  and
 Night,  Summer and Winter, and all the seasonal myths and rituals that make up
 the great Celtic yearly cycle.


 'The Politics of Women's Spirituality: Essays  on  the  Rise  of  Spiritualist
 Power  Within  the  Feminist  Movement' by Charlene Spretnak.  Doubleday trade
     A huge (and, one is tempted to say, the definitive) anthology of  feminist
 and  Pagan  theology.  Many familiar authors here:  Starhawk, Weinstein, Daly,
 et. al.  Subjects range from Amazons to the ethics of magic.  A real bargain!

 'Sex in History' by Reay Tannahill.  Stein & Day trade paperback.
     It has often been said that Witchcraft grew out of an  earlier  'fertility
 religion'  and,  although  'fertility'  is probably the wrong word here, it is
 undeniable that the history of Witichcraft is irrevocably bound  up  with  the
 history  of  sexuality.   Like  Tantrists and many others in the East, Witches
 tend to view sex  as  sacramental.   Since  this  is  quite  contrary  to  the
 prevailing  attitudes  of our own culture, it may be helpful to understand how
 our culture acquired such negative ideas about sex in the  first  place.   Ms.
 Tannahill's  unique landmark study will not only answer this question but also
 indicate the many options other cultures throughout history have chosen.

 'When God Was A Woman' by Merlin Stone.  Harcourt, Brace, &  Jovanovich  trade
     At  the  foundations  of the religion of Witchcraft is the religion of the
 Goddess.  Ms. Stone's book is an archeological tour-de-force of that religion,
 which  is  found at the beginnings of virtually every known culture (yes, even
 the Judeo-Christian culture).  In this book, one learns about the  worship  of
 Astarte,  Isis,  Ishtar,  and  many  others.  Also recommended is her 'Ancient
 Mirrors of Womanhood'.  Both are splendid books!

 'A Different Heaven and Earth' by  Sheila  D.  Collins.   Judson  Press  trade
     By one of the leading feminist theologians of our day, this book asks what
 are the psychological and social implications  of  worshipping  a  male  deity
 exclusively,  while  ignoring the feminine principle in religion.  This is one
 of the most influencial books I've read in the last ten years.  It changed  my
 way of thinking (for the better) and I dare say it will change yours.

 'The Way of Wyrd' by Brian Bates.  Harper & Row hardback.
     What  Carlos Castaneda did for Native American tradition, this author does
 for ancient Pagan Anglo-Saxon tradition.  Subtitled 'The Book of a  Sorcerer's
 Apprentice' and based on authentic manuscripts found in the British Museum, it
 is the chronicle of a young Christian monk sent into the wilds  beyond  Mercia
 in 674 to record the heresies (beliefs) of the Pagans.  He is lucky to have as
 his guide the Anglo-Saxon shaman Wulf.  Throughout this documentary novel, the
 Christian and Pagan beliefs are juxtaposed for a better understanding of both.
 Not since 'The Mists of Avalon' has a book accomplished this task so neatly.

 'Positive  Magic'  -  revised  edition  -  by   Marion   Weinstein.    Phoenix
 Publications trade paperback.
     Although  a  book  about  how  to  use  magic to change your life could be
 extremely tedious, this one is far from it.  While it is true that Marion uses
 a  simple and direct style of writing, it is used on such difficult and subtle
 questions as the ethics of magic.  She  draws  upon  her  own  experiences  to
 create  a  book  that  is  truely positive.  If I had to recommend one book on
 magic, this would be it!

 'Earth Power' by Scott Cunningham.  Llewellyn trade paperback.
     Scott is arguably the strongest of the  young  writers  in  the  immensely
 popular  'Llewellyn's  Practical  Magick Series'.  This is, in fact, a book of
 spells.  Practical, down-to-earth, useful,  everyday,  garden-variety  spells.
 It  is the only such book in this bibliography.  Although I do not recommend a
 'cookbook' approach to magic, this book will be extremely helpful when used as
 a  guide  for creating your own spells.  Also, Scott concentrates on 'natural'
 or 'folk' magic, as opposed to 'ritual' or 'ceremonial' magic.   This  is  the
 type  of  magic (involving Sun, Moon, stars, trees, rocks, springs, etc.) that
 is the natural heritage of Witchcraft.  An excellent  starting-place  for  the
 novice   spell-wright.    His   many  other  books,  especially  'The  Magical
 Household', are all highly recommended.

 'The Medium, the Mystic, and  the  Physicist'  and  'Alternate  Realities'  by
 Lawrence LeShan.  Ballantine paperbacks.
     Dr.  LeShan does not deal with magic or Witchcraft per se, but what he has
 to say  about  the  nature  of  the  cosmos  is  magical  indeed.   He  is  an

 experimental  psychologist,  an  Esalen  veteran,  director  of  ESP research,
 psychic healing, and other  projects.   His  is  a  synthesis  of  philosophy,
 parapsychology,  and Einsteinian physics.  His other books, especially 'How To
 Meditate' (Bantam paperback), are also of great value.

 'Seth Speaks' and 'The Seth Material' by Jane Roberts.  Bantam paperbacks.
     Yet  another  startlingly  clear  (albeit   less   scientific)   look   at
 metaphysics.  This is probably the cream of the crop of all modern mediumistic
 data:  Seth is the communicant, and the late Jane Roberts is the medium.   The
 other 'Seth' books are also of value.

 'Psychic  Exploration:  A  Challenge for Science' by Edgar Mitchell, edited by
 John White.  Putnam trade paperback.
     This anthology serves as an excellent introduction to the scientific field
 of  parapsychology.  Each chapter is an extensive review article on laboratory
 work carried  out  in  one  particular  sub-genre  of  the  field:  telepathy,
 clairvoyance,  precognition,  psychokinesis,  OOBE's, apparitions & hauntings,
 etc.   These  excellent  articles  will  bring  you  up-to-date  on  virtually
 everything  that  is  currently  known  about  the  topic  in question.  Other
 chapters deal with the history  of  the  discipline,  social  &  psychological
 implications,  military  applications,  etc.  This book could open the mind of
 the severest skeptic.  But at the same time, it could  serve  as  a  necessary
 check   on   those   too-credulous  souls  who  have  a  tendency  to 'believe


 ASTROLOGY:  For the absolute beginner, 'Chart Your Own  Horoscope'  by  Ursula
 Lewis.   Pinnacle paperback.  The find-at-a-glance tables and charts are worth
 their weight in gold.  For the more  advanced  students,  Michael  Meyer's  'A
 Handbook   for  the  Humanistic  Astrologer'  is  highly  recommended  for its
 'humanistic' (a la Dane Rudyar) approach.  If you want to really learn  to  do
 astrology, try 'The Only Way To Learn Astrology, Vol I-IV' by March & McEvers.
 Books by Linda Goodman, Grant Lewi, Ronald Davison, and Liz  Greene  are  also

 TAROT:   'Secrets  of  the  Tarot' by Barbara Walker is the best of the newest
 books on Tarot.  You may know Barbara as the author of  the  amazing  'Woman's
 Encyclopedia  of  Myths and Secrets'.  Bill Butler's 'Dictionary of the Tarot'
 is a wonderful reference book which encompasses works by such authors as Case,
 Crowley, Douglas, Gray, Huson, Kaplan, Mathers, Papus, Waite, et. al.

 ESP:  Any and all books by J. B. and Louisa Rhine, Gertrude Schmeidler, Thelma
 Moss, Charles Tart, D. Scott Rogo, J. G. Pratt, Raynor  Johnson  and  Lawrence
 LeShan would be highly recommended.

 PALMISTRY:   'The Palmistry Workbook' by N. Altman is clearly the leader here.
 The book actually has hand-prints, not just line drawings!

 GHOSTS:   Firstly,  I'd  recommend  'An  Experience  of  Phantoms'  and   'The
 Poltergeist  Experience'  both by D. Scott Rogo (Penguin paperbacks), who is a
 kind of historian of psychical research.  Also, 'The Poltergeist'  by  William
 Roll,  director  of  the  Psychical  Research  Foundation,  and this country's
 leading authority on ghosts.  And most importantly, 'Conjuring Up Phillip'  by
 Iris  M.  Owen, the account of a group of Canadian researchers who 'created' a
 ghost!  This last title is now out of print, but if you can find one in a used
 book store, it's well worth it.
 SURVIVAL:   'At  the  Hour  of Death' by Karlis Osis is exceptional.  Books by
 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross are adequate, but not as good.  And, if you can find it,
 the   out-of-print  'Life  Is  Forever'  by  Susy  Smith  is  perhaps the best

 OUT-OF-THE-BODY EXPERIENCES:  'Journeys Out of the Body'  and  'Far  Journeys'
 both by Robert A. Monroe.  The narative of a much-researched psychic, the only
 one of its kind.  Also, 'Astral Projection' by Oliver Fox, and any early works
 by Sylvan Muldoon and Hereward Carrington, if you can find them.

 MEDIUMSHIP:  Firstly, the 'Seth' books by Jane Roberts, listed above.  Any and
 all books by Eileen Garrett.  Plus, 'Here, Mr. Splitfoot' by Robert Sommerlot,
 'Singer  in the Shadows' by Irving Litvag, and 'She Spoke to the Dead' by Susy

 CABALISM:  Introductory works include 'The Magician: His  Training  and  Work'
 and  'Magick:  Its  Ritual,  Power, and Purpose' both by W. E. Butler.  Later,
 works by Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley (definately not for the novice).


 'The Mists of Avalon' by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  Ballantine trade paperback.
     This Arthurian fantasy novel, which reached  the  N.Y.  Times  best-seller
 list, is truly superlative.  It is narrated by Morgan le Fay and so we finally
 understand that strange antipathy that exists between  her  and  Arthur.   The
 religious  and  philosophical  conflict between the Old Religion and the newer
 one of Christianity is beautifully portrayed.  An excellent choice.

 The Prydain Chronicles of Lloyd Alexander, a  pentology  on  Dell  paperbacks:
 'The  Book  of  Three',  'The  Black  Cauldron',  'The Castle of Llyr', 'Taran
 Wanderer', and 'The High King'.
     These award-winning  children's  fantasies  are  based  on  ancient  Welsh
 mythology.  Alexander admits that the two authors who most influenced him were
 J. R. R. Tolkien and T. H. White.  The books are also the basis of the  recent
 animation  feature  from Disney studios.  I'm often asked about pagan books to
 recommend for children.  These are them.

 The Deryni Chronicles of Katherine Kurtz: 'Deryni Rising', 'Deryni Checkmate',
 'High  Deryni',  'Camber  of Culdi', 'Saint Camber', Camber the Heretic', 'The
 Bishop's Heir', 'The King's Justice' and 'The Quest  for  Saint  Camber',  all
 Ballantine paperbacks.
     Set  in the landscape of ancient Wales, the Deryni are a race with magical
 powers which must fight for its  life  against  a  medieval  Church  Militant.
 Kahterine is someone who knows what magic is all about.

 'The  Once  and  Future  King'  and  'The Book of Merlyn' both by T. H. White.
 Berkely paperbacks.
     Sparkling books, and my own personal favorites.  The final  crystalization
 of centuries of Arhturian romance.  The books on which 'Camelot' was based.

 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen', 'The Moon of Gomrath', 'Elidor', and 'The Owl
 Service' by Alan Garner.  All Ballantine paperbacks.
     Garner is one of the best British fantasy authors, with a superb sense  of
 local  'color' and folklore.  The first two (related) titles are in the heroic
 quest mold, the third is  a  story  about  the  four  'hallows'  of  Arthurian
 legends, and the fourth is an eerie modern re-creation of the fourth branch of
 the 'Mabinogi'.

 'A Wizard of Earhtsea', 'The Tombs of Atuan',  and  'The  Farthest  Shore'  by
 Ursula K. LeGuin.  A trilogy on Bantam paperbacks.
     This is the chronicle of a young boy who is an apprentice mage.  LeGuin, a
 leading science fiction and fantasy author, has some fascinating things to say
 about the light side and dark side of magic, and how they're related.  And she
 says it very well, indeed.

 'Lammas Night' by Katherine Kurtz.  Ballantine paperback.
     In this case, the author of  the  important  Deryni  fantasies  turns  her
 attention  to  a  historical  setting:   England  in World War II.  There is a
 long-standing tradition that Hitler's thwarted plans for invading England owed
 a  certain  something to the many Covens throughout Britain who combined their
 efforts to stop him.  There is even a hint that the Royal  Family  itself  was
 involved.  Ms. Kurtz's historical research is, of course, impeccable.