One of the best ways to expand your knowledge of the Craft is by reading. It’s often suggested that new witches read everything they can get their hands on.
While witchcraft is a deeply personal, ever-evolving experience, reading the words of the witches who’ve come before you is an excellent way to develop a basis for your practice.
Here are some of the best beginner-friendly books on Wicca and witchcraft:
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
Cunningham’s guide to Wicca is considered one of the most important resources for solitary practitioners. In it, he provides an introduction to the Craft, and a method for living a magical, spiritual life in tune with nature.
It also includes Cunningham’s grimoire, and invaluable resource for those just beginning to discover the magical correspondences of herbs and magical recipes.
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magic by Lon Milo DuQuette & David Shoemaker.
In a world where many people look for the fast, easy way out in their spells, it helps to have a background in ceremonial magic. That’s where Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Ceremonial Magic comes in.
This book combines insight from modern magi, the rituals and concepts that have formed modern magic, and covers such diverse topics as Qabalah, alchemy, demonology, planetary magic, and Thelema.
Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft is one resource that no witch should be without.
No matter which magical path you follow, whether you’re in a coven or solitary, this covers every aspect of a beginning witch’s education. Learn history and lore, before branching out into herbalism, spellwork, divination, and more.
The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications by Christian Ratsch
This is a comprehensive guide to psychedelic and psychoactive plants written by an anthropologist. It covers everything from history, to botany, to the cultivation of entheogenic plants and fungi.
Even if you don’t use entheogens, it’s very helpful to understand how they work and their history of use.
A Modern Guide to Witchcraft: Your Complete Guide to Witches, Covens, and Spells by Skye Alexander
This Guide is a useful companion to Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft, written from the perspective of an expert spellcrafter.
Alexander covers how to create your own spells, or customize your spells to suit your specific needs. No matter what type of magic interests you, this book can get you started.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Even if you aren’t a green witch, chances are your path includes herbalism in some form.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia covers the magical associations of over four hundred commonly-used herbs, making it a resource you’ll reach for again and again.
Carlos Castaneda Series
Carlos Castaneda is a mysterious, enigmatic figure. While his books are generally regarded as fiction, a devoted contingent of his fans believe that his stories of undergoing shaman training are true.
His books are renowned for their philosophical teachings and discussion of the process of increasing awareness and becoming a seer, making them a must-read for anyone embarking on a spiritual path.
The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Murphy-Hiscock’s Guide is a must-have for anyone interested in the path of green witchcraft. It’s packed with herbal recipes, magical associations for oils and herbs, and methods for working with nature.
This book is written for all witches who feel called to the green path, whether their tradition is Wicca, traditional witchcraft, or otherwise
Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within by Juliet Diaz
If you feel called to be a witch, but don’t know where to start, this book is for you. Written by an indigenous Taino Cubana healer, it serves as a guide for connecting to the innate, natural magic within you.
It outlines meditative practices, spells, and rituals in a simple format that can be customized to any practice.
Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman
In this book, Grossman explores the icon of the witch. It serves as part memoir, and part cultural analysis of the role that witches play in media, folklore, and society.
It covers Grossman’s own journey along the path of witchery, and celebrates witches throughout history.
Witchcraft for Healing: Radical Self-Care for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit by Patti Wigington
There’s a lot of evidence that witchcraft has its origins in the healing arts, and this book further explores this.
It’s a guide to using witchcraft for empowerment, self-transformation, and healing across all aspects of life, and contains loads of simple spells, incense blends, and brews.
Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants by Claudia Müller-Ebeling & Christian Rätsch
Following Wigington’s Witchcraft for Healing, Witchcraft Medicine covers the other aspects of healing with plants.
While Witchcraft for Healing is written from a witch’s perspective, Witchcraft Medicine covers history, plant healing, and shamanic practices — including those that were suppressed, and even outlawed, by the Christian church.
Wicca Book of Spells: A Book of Shadows for Wiccans, Witches, and Other Practitioners of Magic by Lisa Chamberlain
Many books cover the basics for beginners — meditation, power raising, casting a circle, and the like. Chamberlain’s Book of Shadows goes a step further, supplying a collection of spells for new witches to really start to get their hands dirty.
Covering everything from spells for a new friendship, to magic for business success, this book can serve as a magical jumping off point for witches who aren’t used to crafting their own spells, and inspiration for those who are.
Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner
The Way of the Shaman is considered a classic. Even if you aren’t on a shamanic path, this book provides a history of shamanism, practical applications, and methods for achieving altered states of consciousness.
It’s a great introduction to shamanism, and will prove valuable for aspiring shamans and witches alike.
The Witch’s Book of Self-Care: Magical Ways to Pamper, Soothe, and Care for Your Body and Spirit by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
There are loads of advice columns and memes pointing out the importance of self-care. If you regard self-care as a form of preventative medicine, it’s easy to see how it ties into the healing arts — spellcraft included.
Infuse magic into your daily self-care routine with this helpful guide, including rituals for working through guilt, connecting with nature, and creating your own body care products.
Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and Other Pagans in America by Margot Adler
Drawing Down the Moon is one of the best resources for the history of American Paganism and witchcraft. It covers the genesis of different traditions, including brief interviews with some of their founders.
This book is one of the required pieces of literature for some Neodruid studies, and should be read by anyone on a Pagan path.
A Witches Bible: The Complete Witches’ Handbook by Janet Farrar and Stewart Farrar
This book is a comprehensive guide to the beliefs, principles, Sabbats, rituals, and spells of modern witches, written from a Wiccan perspective.
A Witches Bible digs into the meat of ritual magic, and is definitely not a resource for those just looking for quick spells.
Moon Spells: How to Use the Phases of the Moon to Get What You Want by Diane Ahlquist
A lot of modern magic involves following the phases of the moon — waxing for increase, waning for decrease, and so on.
Ahlquist’s book is a guide to harnessing these powerful magical energies for your own uses. No matter what your goals are, you can time them to the moon’s cycles for greater success.
Green Witchcraft: A Practical Guide to Discovering the Magic of Plants, Herbs, Crystals, and Beyond by Paige Vanderbeck
Green Witchcraft is a helpful beginner’s resource.
It covers the basics of the green path, and offers a beautifully illustrated assortment of spells, rituals, and charms for beginning witches to familiarize themselves with.
Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magick & Manifestation by Mat Auryn
Magic and psychic abilities are two separate schools that often intersect. For beginning witches looking for a guide to energy work and strengthening their psychic senses, Psychic Witch provides practices, meditations, and tips that actually work.
It heavily emphasizes exercises, and doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on “witchcraft 101.” It’s a very helpful book for beginners who have enough resources on the basics of magic, and want to delve into energy manipulating and psychic awareness.
Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World: An Identification Guide by Paul Stamets
Not all witches use psychedelics in their work, but all witches should understand them. A valuable resource for green and hedge witches, this book provides descriptions, full-color photographs, and the history of use for over one hundred different psilocybin mushroom species.
While it isn’t a substitute for working with an experienced forager, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World provides very useful context for the spiritual and religious use of entheogenic fungi.
Plant Witchery: Discover the Sacred Language, Wisdom, and Magic of 200 Plants by Juliet Diaz
Written by the author of Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within, Plant Witchery offers magical and medicinal properties for over two hundred plants, plant-based spells and rituals, herbal brews, and methods for connecting to and communicating with plants. This book provides a helpful foundation for all witches looking to nurture a relationship with nature, from houseplants to the wild world.
Starting on the path to magic can be challenging. These books cover everything from spells and rituals for beginners, to energy manipulation, to the history and magical properties of plants.
Read all you can, and use this knowledge to increase your personal power, well-being, and connection to the natural world.