My favorite witchcraft books are the ones I return to again and again. I know I can rely on them to give me the information I'm seeking. But they also happen to be beautiful in their own right. That's what makes them awesome.
One of my favorite things about studying witchcraft is the fact that there are countless books to read about it. It's the only reason I've ever wished to be immortal. I want to live long enough to read them all.
So far, I've only been able to get through about a dozen, but there are a few books that I return to again and again. These are mainly grimoire or reference style books that give an overview of basic information on a variety of witchy topics.
What makes for a good witchcraft book
There are, of course, some books that I've read, thought were interesting, but then never picked back up again, so let me tell you why.
First off, the book must have an index. If there's no way for me to find the information I need after I've finished the book, it's unlikely I'll ever go back to it. I just have to hope I've retained something of value. When you're in the bookstore deciding between two books, flip to the end and see if it has an index. If it doesn't, it might not be that easy to use.
Secondly, a grimoire should lay out the information in an easy to follow format. Witchcraft, alchemy, and astrology were all precursors to modern science. The information can be every bit as detailed, and therefore needs to be presented in a way that's easy to decipher. Check for charts, tables, and even bulleted lists that make information easier to find.
Along these same lines, it's helpful if lists of information, such as crystlas or herbs, are presented in alphabetical order. Again, this makes the information easier to find. My coven sister and I each have a crystal book by the same author. Mine is organized in alphabetical order, and hers is organized by color. Which one of us do you think has an easier time finding the crystal we're looking for?
There's pretty much no witchcraft book I won't read, but the ones that are well organized are the ones that I go back to again and again. Look beyond the pretty cover when considering your next grimoire or reference book purchase.
My favorite grimoires
The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes - This is a gorgeous reference book that is well-organized, pretty much exactly like any other encyclopedia. It has information on topics I had no idea about. Judika Illes is a reserach fanatic, so I know I can trust that she's done her homework. Plus, her writing style is just so fun.
Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes - Many of these are historical spells that you wouldn't necessarily use in their exact form today, but it's a fascinating look at the way spells have been performed through the years. It represents a wide variety of cultures and gives me inspiration for my own spellwork.
The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander - This is one of the first grimoires I read, and it's a great book for beginner witches. It covers a wide variety of topics including elements, botanicals, crystals, deities, and general witchcraft knowledge. It's also got a lot of easy spells for beginner witches to try out and learn from.
Everyday Magic by Semra Haksever - My husband surprised me with this book when I was first learning, and I still reference it frequently, especially the herb glossary at the back. It's a small book and a quick read with lots of fun spells. There's also a clever flow chart of crystals, describing their energy as if they were members of your family.
Practical Magic for Beginners by Maggie Haseman - I don't know if I would have gotten into witchcraft so fully if not for Maggie. Her website, Mumbles and Things, was an invaluable resource when I was first discovering witchcraft. I love the way she's able to organize information in a way that's systematic and easy to understand. Her books covers a variety of topics including tarot, astrology, herbs, crystals, palmistry, and dream interpretation. She also has a few spells you can try your hand at.
Other Witchcraft Books
The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall - As the name suggests, this book is strictly about crystals. I received it as a gift, and I reference it all the time. I often use it to help me choose a crystal to carry. It has a detailed index, so I'm able to find crystals pertaining to my specific needs.
Neal's Yard Remedies Essential Oils by Claire Cross - Strictly speaking, this isn't a witchcraft book. I use essential oils for both their aromatherapy purposes and for metaphysical purposes, though. They're a common part of my practice. Essential oils can be very powerful, so it's good to have a reference to make sure you're using them safely. This one also has gorgeous photos. The only drawback is that the oils are sorted in alphabetical order by their botanical name, not their common name. I can see the logic behind it, but I don't know the botanical names most of the time. Luckily, I can look them up in the index.
If you come to my house, you'll often see me surrounded by a pile of these books. I use these all the time. What are some of your favorite witchcraft books? Leave me a comment, and I'll add them to my TBR list.