Books I have found helpful in my journey, in no particular order. I will add and link to reviews as I can. Note: these are affiliate links. Clicking here to order will not change your cost or experience in any way, but will generate a few cents towards maintaining this blog.
Books On Trauma
This book is like an owner’s manual for the traumatized brain. I highly recommend it – I personally have read it more than once.
Caveat: Bessel van der Kolk has been accused of creating a hostile work environment and bullying, for which he was fired from the Trauma Center he founded in 2018. He denied these allegations and settled out-of-court a wrongful termination and defamation lawsuit he filed. Additionally, his work has been criticized for being anti-sex work.
There is much evidence that mindfulness meditation is beneficial when fighting trauma. Unfortunately, there’s also much evidence that meditation can backfire for people with trauma.
Taking the latest research and neuroscience into account, this book provides an insightful and concise review of the histories of mindfulness and trauma, including the way modern neuroscience is shaping our understanding of both. It then distills these insights into five key principles for trauma-sensitive mindfulness. Ultimately the book offers 36 specific modifications designed to support survivors’ safety and stability.
My only hesitancy in recommending this book is the way it is presented as a cure. For many of us with CPTSD, healing will be a lifelong journey.
I also feel there are some exercises that you might want to discuss with your therapist before doing on your own, unless you’re used to meditation and know how to meditate without triggering a flashback.
That being said, this book offers some fantastic and helpful exercises, writing prompts and general information.
Books On Paganism, Witchcraft & Gods
Elves, Witches & Gods by Cat Heath
I just finished this book, and holy cow I loved it!
It’s not necessarily a beginner book, although it does cover some foundational skills that cannot be over practiced. It’s like Magic Theory on a college level – Heath explains the paradigm behind her magic in a way that’s like taking the engine of a car out, dissembling it and explaining how each piece fits back together to make the car run.
Filled with recipes, chants and prayers, this book is one you’ll return to again and again.
Psychic Witch by Matt Auryn
I made the mistake of buying this book on Kindle – which may be fine for some people, but being a bit old-school (or maybe just old lol) I really need a printed copy of anything I want to return to as a reference. And this book is definitely one I will want to return to!
Besides the great content, each chapter has exercises that if you put the time in to do cannot help but make your witchcraft massively more powerful, and your psychic abilities much stronger.
Get this book for your collection in whatever way you can best refer to it on an ongoing basis.
The Book of the Great Queen by Morpheus Ravenna
This book is THE definitive book on the Morrigan.
Created as an act of devotion to Herself, this book covers scholarship as well as modern practice regarding The Morrigan. Whether you see Her as a single entity with multiple faces, or each of Her sisters as independent, this book covers them all.
In addition to exploring the available scholarship of both Ireland and Europe, Ravenna spends a good bit of time exploring how modern-day devotees work with Herself today.
Other Morrigan books I highly recommend include:
Like several of Morgan’s books, these two are short, quick reads. But don’t let that fool you – they pack a lot of well researched info into these “little” volumes!
Consider these as great starting points if you’re new to The Morrigan, especially the first one. The second (“Raven Goddess”) is a bit deeper, but still easy reading.
The Irish Queen Medb by Lora O’Brien
Lora O’Brien is my longtime Priestess and friend. It was she that guided me in 2018 through the various sites at Rathcroghan in the West of Ireland, and took me into the Morrigan’s Cave. I wholeheartedly recommend anything she writes.
This book, however, is one I anxiously awaited. That day in 2018 Lora and I discussed Queen Medb, and she took me to a “high status residence” that could have been used by Medb herself, one of her descendants, or (if Medb were always Goddess and never historical Queen) by the Priestesses of her cultus.
There is simply no better expert to learn about Irish deities from, especially Medb. And this is a deity that needs to get her due today as she’s been much maligned through history. You’ll not be looking down on her when Lora’s finished with you, I guarantee!
Hoodoo For Beginners by Angelie Belard
Hoodoo is old North American folk magic, born from African spiritual traditions brought over by slaves. Over the centuries it incorporated Native American and European influences, using what worked and discarding what did not. What is left is an adaptable, powerful magical system that works.
Much of the magic practiced by the granny-women in my own family is similar to this book. I especially love the ritual baths, and have adapted them for my use during the new moon.
Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits by Emma Wilby
Curious as to how traditional witches came by their familiars? Or how they worked with spirits to learn their craft? Emma Wilby takes you through a tour of historical witchcraft trials in Early Modern Britain, pulling the threads of folklore out of the testimony given under torture.
Many of the accused gave detailed descriptions of intimate working relationships with familiar spirits of either human or animal form. Wilby argues that beliefs about witches’ familiars were rooted in beliefs surrounding the use of fairy familiars by beneficent magical practitioners or ‘cunning folk’, and corroborates this through a comparative analysis of familiar beliefs found in traditional native American and Siberian shamanism.
Witchcraft Medicine by Claudia Muller-Ebling et al
Witch medicine is wild medicine. It does more than make one healthy, it creates lust and knowledge, ecstasy and mythological insight. In Witchcraft Medicine the authors take the reader on a journey that examines the women who mix the potions and become the healers; the legacy of Hecate; the demonization of nature’s healing powers and sensuousness; the sorceress as shaman; and the plants associated with witches and devils. They explore important seasonal festivals and the plants associated with them, such as wolf’s claw and calendula as herbs of the solstice and alder as an herb of the time of the dead–Samhain or Halloween. They also look at the history of forbidden medicine from the Inquisition to current drug laws, with an eye toward how the sacred plants of our forebears can be used once again.
The Book Of The Cailleach by Gearóid Ó Crualaoich
This book was recommended to me by Morgan Daimler, when I asked in a Facebook group we’re both members of how to go about getting a familiar. (I think that’s what I had asked, it might have been something else entirely). Whatever the original question, this book is one I’ve come back to over and over.
The figure of the wise woman, the hag, the Cailleach, or the Red Woman are part of an oral tradition which has its roots in pre-Christian Ireland. In the hands of Gearóid Ó Crualaoich, these figures are subtly explored to reveal how they offered a complex understanding of the world, of human psychology and its predicaments. It’s a deep dive, and one you’ll be glad you took.
The Sacred Isle by Dáithí O hOgáin
The first modern study of prehistoric religion in Ireland to draw on the combined evidence of archaeology, literature and folklore to illuminate practice and belief from the earliest human habitation in the island down to the advent of Christianity in the fifth century AD.
An excellent book… a highly accessible and lively assessment of continuity and change in belief and religion from pre-Celtic times through to the arrival of St Patrick.
The Witching Herbs by Harold Roth
This is hands down my favorite plant book ever. It doesn’t hurt that when I had occasion to deal with Mr. Roth personally (I ordered seeds from his website) he was extremely nice.
What I love about this book is that it goes in-depth about each plant covered, including folklore AND growing advice. Gardeners know that each plant has a personality, and Mr. Roth does a great job of explaining those individual personalities in this book.
You’ll come away knowing how to grow and how to work with 13 of the most common plants associated with witchcraft.