Page name: Further Reading [Logged in view] [RSS]
2009-01-08 18:07:22
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Zise page used to be a minor rant (although not in E- get the reference get a cookie) But I've decided to put it to better use by actually listing some books that I have found to be of actul use over they years. Rather than continually flogging a dead horse while screaming "THIS IS NOT WICCA!"

At the moment I predict that this page will be rather short, but I plan to add books in as I find them in my house. Massive clear out going on at the moment, books and other junk everywhere, you do not want to know.

Anyway, have some books:

The Triumph of the Moon:

A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft.
by Dr. Ronald Hutton.
Oxford University Press, May 2000
ISBN: 0198207441

This is one book I will recommed that every at least reads if not owns. Hutton has written several books on the topic of pagan history, two notable successes predating The Triumph of the Moon being The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles (1993) and The Stations of the Sun (1996) and has since then written several other books, some expanding more elaborately on earlier editions. Currently I'm sinking my teeth in to The Druids: A History (2007) with the fact loving amateur historian in me dancing merrily in circles.

I know that a lot of people don't like Hutton, usually because he challenges ultimately their belief that the pagan faith they follow is not as ancient as they like to believe. If you have ever read any of his books, you will know that he argues rather convincingly that whatever ties we once had to truly old paganism, are pretty much gone. As a traditionalist pagan who's belief system predates the likes of Wicca...I agree with him. My own personal faith, although quite a bit older than neo-pagan sects, is not ancient nor is it an unbroken line predating any other belief. It is based on the historic recollection passed down through generations and by historic research in to local myth and tradition. Therefore it has in part been lost in translation, and ultimately been transofrmed by this. I know this, I accept this. If you are a logical being then chances are reading Hutton will be like coming home to like minded people.

The book is split in to two sections. The first section traces the rise of Wiccan and other neo-pagan sects, exploring the major groups from the twenteith century such as Freemasonry and other fraternal organisations either spilt from or inspired by them, the rising cult of the Female Goddess and the link between the rise of neo-pagan beliefs and the nineteenth century Romantic movement and their idealism of Nature and the Divine. There is also a closer look at those who more than likely influenced Gardner in his creation of Wicca, These include Margaret Murray, Robert Graves, Charles Leland, Aleister Crowley, and Dion Fortune.

From then on out Hutton examines what is essentially the rebirth of Wicca, after it was created anew after having met with such success in the UK. Hutton however never looses his methodic detail exploration of the topic from the primary viewpoint of a historian. Where many other writers tend to depict the rise of Wicca with a somewhat biased nature, Hutton presents an accurate and level headed understanding of the origins of Neo-Paganism making it one of the very few books that I will ever mark as "Must Read!" on your reading list.

Witchcraft Today

by Gerald B. Gardner.
Online Edition Here:

Yes, I know I said it was all bullshit, but if you intend to make Wicca in to your chosen religion of belief, then I would strongly advise that you read the Original book that formed Wicca and neo-paganism as we know it today. I owned a copy for many years. It was a sort of "know thy enemy" mentality. I'd sit and read it and wonder how on Earth the writer of this epic work of "fiction" (boo and hiss all you want I'm right you're wrong) managed to change the course of religion and the future of paganism to what it is now. Have I mentioned before that besides writing about the occult Gardner specialised in fantasy fiction? No? If I'm going to be quite frank I'd call this his greatest piece of fiction. The historic descriptions and values found within the book, sometimes purely by chance are vague and ambiguous at best. If you want to read something factual and accurate, I'm going to refer you again to The Triumph of the Moon. If you want to read the Romantic novel book that shaped and formed neo-paganism in to Wicca then click the link. For God's sake don't buy it after I've given you the electronic version. Save up your pennies for something worthwhile. Like my eventual publication *nudge-nudge-wink-wink*

Charge of the Goddess:

The Mother of Modern Witchcraft
Technically by: Doreen Valiente
Hexagon Publications, 1 Dec 2000
ISBN: 0953920402

You've seen the one liners all over the place, now read the full versions of Valiente's works in one easy to read compilation. The book was written one year or so after Valiente's death. Inside it contains some of her most famous works, such as the Wiccan Rede (oh yes you read that right, it's a poem) and then some of her not so famous pieces as well. If memory serves me correctly, it even contains some rituals and a very basic introduction to Valiente and her approach to Wicca. I'd confirm this by going to find my copy (yes I still own a copy) but it's late and to be quite frank I don't know where it is. To me, this again falls under the same category as the Gardner books. If you are interested in learning more about Wicca, or you are Wiccan, then you really need to read the works of the Mother of Modern Paganism. Valiente wrote several books (looking up her name in the likes of Amazon will give you the complete list) that shaped modern Wicca even more so than Gardner ever did. Unlike him, Valiente had an actual talent for writing. She engaged with her reader and welcomed them and managed to not make her work read like a story book. Of course I am biased and still think it is whimsical nonsense in places (most of religion is) but I will say this. If you can get your hands on this book or any of her others for a reasonable price or you can borrow them, do so. They are a good insight in to the ideas that shaped and formed the Mother Goddess idealism that Wicca spawned so successfully.

A Witch Alone:

Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic.
By: Marian Green.
Thorsons; New title edition, 4 Feb 2002
ISBN: 0007133235

One writer whom I have steadily grown to love over the years is Marian Green. Her and I had a few...bumpy starts along the way. This was primarily due to the fact that like a lot of authors, she pandered to the market for a while, creating books of spells that would change your life. Eh.
But at the constant insistance of friends, I eventually picked up her book A Witch Alone. Somewhat molified by this book, I borrowed a copy of Natural Witchcraft. The next day I went out and bought my own copies of both books. And unlike most of the books I own on pagaism, they aren't used to stop my door or keep my desk from wobbling. These books I like. I am however biased yet again, but this time because Green is a lot like myself in her approach to all things ritual. She's a minimalist for starters. She is old school in her way of thinking, in that if you can't do it with a stick and your mind alone, you certainly wont be able to do it with a shiny knife that cost you more than you care to remember. Over all she presents an entirely more practical approach to modern withcraft. She tells you thinks you really ought to know, but whats more she doesn't spell it out for you in big letters, she expects you to go out there on your own and do some research of your own.
A Witch Alone is a very good book for a beginners guide if you will. Ignoring that she seems to put a timeline on how many moons it will take you to "become" a witch, she is good at stating what is fact- in as much as one can when dealing with religion, and pointing out the obvious failings in a lot of new age thinking. She has been criticised for romanticising mankinds connection to the Earth a few times, but in comparison to the original works that created Wicca, I'd say her writing is far more practical and less constructed of drug trips and a desire to sleep with your coven members.
In short, it's yet another book I really think you should own if you are interested.


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