Best Wicca Books for Beginners
Choose Your Wicca Books Wisely
So many Wicca books are on the market, you might find it hard to choose. As a beginning Wiccan in particular it’s hard to know where to begin—you don’t know how to separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’, so to speak. You don’t want to waste months reading books only later to be told they are poorly done and misleading.
Here is my list of book recommendations for those new to Wicca. In my opinion, they are the most informative and the best way to get a general overview. If you read one book every two months, you can get through these in your first year.
These books are also good for people who might have been introduced to Wicca a while ago, but were reading not the most reputable materials. Perhaps you've recently discovered you have been given a lot of misconceptions, or that you have a lot of gaps in your understanding. There's no better place to start than the beginning.
First Wiccan Book to Read:
“Wicca for Beginners” by Thea Sabin
There are a number of books on Amazon that go by the name "Wicca for Beginners" or something similar, but none that I have looked into stack up to Thea Sabin's book here. Sabin has a very casual, conversational style of writing that's easy to read. She gives what many ‘Wicca 101’ books are sorely lacking: a thorough introduction. She actually explains the theology of Wicca rather than jumping into to telling you what spells to cast or what tools to buy.
Wicca for Beginners was a breath of fresh air when it came out, during a time when any drivel with the name “Wicca” slapped on it would sell if it had a cool enough gothic fantasy cover picture. It focuses on explaining principles, tenets, ethics, etc., rather than focusing on how to do this or how to do that. It presents religion as the cohesive yet flexible religion that it is, rather than the ‘anything you want it to be, just do what you like’ fluffy stuff.
Though not focused on history, the author does not perpetuate the totally debunked ‘Old Religion’ theories or try to pretend Wicca is ancient. She doesn’t make excuses for Wicca being just what it is.
The final chapter offers some good counsel on where to go next if you’re interested in Wicca.
If you can only afford one book on Wicca at first, this should be it. Anyone interested in Wicca — people considering it, people who have never been formally trained but practice solitary, people who just want to know what it’s about, etc. – should read this book.
Climb the Ladder of Knowledge
Good Book on Paganism
"Paganism: An Introduction to Earth- Centered Religions" by River and Joyce Higginbotham
The Higganbothams had been teaching introductory courses on Paganism for more than a decade, and it shows in their work, which is well explained and well organized. This is not a book about ancient Paganism, but about the modern NeoPagan movement and the various resulting religions, sects and belief systems.
This is a good book for anyone interested in Wicca to read because it will give you a better understanding of the greater community that identifies as Neo-Pagan. A lot of people seek Wicca because it's the largest, most visible of the Pagan religions. Some people end up leaving Wicca when they realize that other Pagan religions are a better fit; others mistakenly think that all Pagans are Wiccan-ish in practices. In the Paganism, you'll get to see some alternatives and differences right up front.
The book also gives some great advice and exercise in discovering and exploring your spirituality. There are some discussion questions, exercises, meditations and magical workings that help one get started on the path to Pagan spirituality. These can be useful for individuals, as well as for groups. Even though it’s not specifically aimed at Wiccans, it offers some valuable information.
A Wiccan Favorite
“Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” by Scott Cunningham
Before Wicca for Beginners came out, for years Scott Cunningham’s book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner was the go-to beginner Wicca book. It’s an easy, friendly read and non-dogmatic. Unfortunately there are some historical inaccuracies in there—Cunningham admits Wicca is a modern religion but tries too hard to connect it to ancient Witchcraft, and to fit Paganism into one neat little Wiccan box. Still, even with over-generalizing, his work is relevant and useful. Many Wiccans came to our religion via Cunningham so if nothing else it will give you common ground.
The absolute best thing about Cunningham is how he will ease you into practice. In the last half of the book, the ‘Standing Stones Book of Shadows’ section will give you simple rituals, prayers, chants and things you can do once you understand the basics and are ready to begin practice.
For When You're Between Wicca Books
Library Sections for Wicca to Raid
History (particularly of ancient Pagan religions)
Psychology & sociology
Self-Help Books for Self Improvement
Anything in the occult section
Meditation and Mindfulness
Health & healing
Getting Serious About Wicca
“The Elements of Ritual” by Debora Lipp
Wicca is—has been from its inception—a highly ritualistic religion. Unfortunately, a lot of the poor sources on the internet eschew formality and structure these days. “Just do what you want” seems to be the message. Certainly a little spiritual spontaneity is a good thing to an extent, but to only go willy-nilly indulging your own whims, it’s not total freedom; you are limiting yourself.
Like a child pecking out tunes on the piano by ear might be able to figure out the melodies for simple songs like ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’—but if that same child spent the time learning notes, chords, practicing scales, etc.—then they truly learn how to make music. Ritual and ceremony are dramas that act on parts of the mind and remove you from your own limited awareness.
If Cunningham’s book helps you get your feet wet in ritual, Lipp’s book will help you wade right in and start paddling. She’s both a Gardnarian High Priestess and a technical writer, and her experience on both these fronts shines through her work.
The name is a play on words, because Lipp breaks down ritual for you using the actual Elements (Air, Earth, Fire and Water). Instead of rehashing what every Wicca 101 book tries to do (or should try to do), Lipp focuses on the all-important act of ritual and gives you a more thorough overview of it.
This is not the book for you to start with—if this was the first book in Wicca you ever read, it would seem confusing. However, once you have a good introduction to Wicca or Paganism in general, a lot of the ‘pieces’ start to fall into place when you read Lipp’s work.
A Nod to Tradition
“A Witches Bible Complete” by Janet & Stewart Farrar
This book is probably not going to do much for your own personal practice, but in my opinion it is a must-read for all Wiccans at some point. Written British Traditional Wiccan (BTW) High Priest and Priestess (Alexandrian trad), this book gives you insights on what Wicca originally was, and what it was meant to be.
In this book, you’ll learn more about BTW Wicca and gain a peek at what being in a traditionalist coven might mean, or might offer. This can really help you decide if Solitary Eclectic Wicca is more your speed, or if you think you’ll be able to get more out of formal training.
The Farrar’s book (not to be confused with the horrible book, The Witches Bible, by Gavin and Yvonne Frost—avoid that one) is actually two books combined: "Eight Sabbats for Witches" and "The Witches' Way," both by the Farrars. It’s a comprehensive book that covers everything from initiation and degree training, the Wheel of the Year and even handfasting (Wiccan wedding) ceremonies.
It’s important for anyone to know the roots of their religion and the course it came; for Wiccans, this book is a good introduction. Especially today, when so many websites and people disregard tradition and formalities altogether, it helps to really take a look into ceremony in Wicca.
Other Things to Do When You're Not Reading
Pray - it's a religion, after all. Start reaching out to the Gods.
Start being more observant of nature in your area; attune with the cycles of the seasons
Start attuning with the cycles of the moon. Keep a moon calendar, say a prayer at the dark and full moon phases.
Start practicing meditation and mindfulness
Start observing the Sabbats on the Wheel of the Year. You don't need to do a full-blown ritual (yet) but at least meditate, say a prayer, maybe make a nice dinner or do some seasonal activity.
“The Circle Within” by Diane Sylvan
Okay, you’ve read the Wicca 101 books. You’ve heard about the various principles and ethics. You started learning more about rituals, hopefully you’ve begun practicing at least simple rituals. You’ve learned about the Sabbats, Esbats and various rites of passage. You’ve taken a peek into traditional Wicca and Wicca’s roots.
Yay. Now what?
Circle Within is ‘now what’. It’s basically what comes next for Solitary Wiccans. And by that, I don’t mean just something you do on the full moons or Sabbats; it teaches you how to view your life through your religious lens. You’ve brought Wicca into your life, now it’s time to bring your life into Wicca.
This book is good to read when you’re ready to stop thinking of Wicca as something you do, and want to think of Wicca as something you are. Sylvan doesn’t keep rehashing the same old concepts and ceremonies for those special occasions; she takes a look at your real, everyday, mundane life, and how your religion and spirituality might apply. She gives questions to think about to help you do this effectively.
This is a great book to finish up this list because it brings you full circle after all the other readings: once you have experience on what Wicca is, and what Wiccans do, Sylvan shows you how to start integrating it all into your life for a complete religion.
Learn Wicca the Right Way: Read
© 2015 Mackenzie Sage Wright