A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.
Choose Your Wicca Books Wisely
There are so many Wicca books on the market that 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 weren't reading 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 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 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.
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.
Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions 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 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.
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 a 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
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 is 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 Gardnerian 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 Witches' Bible 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 into 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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 Mackenzie Sage Wright
Silas777 on November 16, 2019:
The best books on Wicca for beginners in my opinion is the Modern Witch series by Shawn Robbins and Leanna Greenaway or the neopagan classics, such as Book of Shadows by Gerald Gardner or Where Witchcraft Lives by Doreen Valiente.
Ryan on July 23, 2019:
I need a good book that teaches me the basics of witchcraft. Can you help me find one?
Christie Corleto on April 24, 2019:
I'm trying to set up an alter but don't know exactly what i need or what the items represent please help
Monica on November 22, 2018:
Do you suggest these books for beginners who might be more inclined toward secular witchcraft?
Carina Powers on October 25, 2018:
Wow! Thank you for this list. I am new to the Wiccan path and I've read all of your Wicca 101 lessons. Having this book list is awesome as sometimes it's confusing on which books to purchase. I really appreciate the time you took to write this lesson and book list. Take care!
WitchIsMe on October 23, 2018:
Do you know any books on magick
NorseArcher on April 18, 2018:
Thanks for the list and your reviews. The learning/reading aspect is a bit daunting compared to indoctrination as a youngster, but learning is how we grow, right? And thanks for your "avoid" list; your review of the Frost "bible" made me throw up in my mouth. If I had spent good $ on trash like that, I don't know what I'd do.
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on July 01, 2015:
You're welcome, anytime hon. If you have any questions feel free to post them or send me an email.
Earthbender on July 01, 2015:
Thanks so much for your suggestions, tips, and ,advice it really gave me a more focused and direct path to a better start. I look forward to reading more of these amazing books....
Xoxo my blessings .Nia
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on June 26, 2015:
Sounds like you started pretty young, so that could be why sources didn't make much sense. At this age now, you will probably have a better time.
The other problem is, a lot of online sources are not very good... there are a lot of sources out there that people just put up because Wicca was trending, or because they were a teen themselves and into a fad and never really understood it.
I urge you to go back to basics-- get Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin, and read it slowly. Really focus on a chapter at a time. Stop, take notes, re-read sections if necessary. It will truly give you a good base of understanding to build on so other sources will make more sense.
You have to have a good understanding of Wicca overall before you can decide which trads or 'flavors' in particular that you want to pursue... or even if you want to pursue them. YOu might find Wicca is not for you, and you'd rather go with some other Pagan path or just non-Wiccan Witchcraft.
But as you are older now and at a good age to absorb it, it really comes down to just going slow and getting that basic foundation. A lot of the articles I publish here will help you do that as well, just start with the introductory articles on my Wicca Lessons hub (https://wiccansage.hubpages.com/hub/Wicca-for-Begi... and feel free to ask any questions.
Bright blessings, sweetie, thanks for your comment.
Earthbender on June 26, 2015:
Im in a bit of a struggle trying to actually decide on what kind of wiccan my heart truly desires to be i mean when it comes to choosing i really cant because i just really wanna be dedicated to every kind. Im 17 and ive honestly been interested in wicca since i was about 9 or 10 I began reading books and other things online but they never really helped nor made sense i understood what they meant but couldnt wrap my hands around it correclty i guess lol and this is something i am very passionate about and I was hoping that you could maybe help me in the way with any tips or ideas or suggestions.
... My blessings
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 23, 2015:
Thank you LindaSarhan, I appreciate your comments.
Linda Sarhan from Lexington KY USA on March 23, 2015:
These are great suggestions!
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 21, 2015:
Thanks so much Kitty, good to see you.
Kitty Fields from Summerland on March 21, 2015:
SFIAOgirl021 on March 19, 2015:
Thanks for the advice I'll remember to keep that in mind when I read Conway I still rely more on the Sabin and Scott books for more of the facts and history but ur right I do like how Conway shows the rituals and stuff being done well so far anyway she is creative
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 19, 2015:
Hi SFIAOgirl, good to 'see' you. Sounds like you're off to a good start. As for Conway, I would warn you that she's known for being a horrible scholar, particularly when it comes to history, mythology and Pagan cultures. I wonder if the woman has actually ever read a reputable history book in her life, honestly. Not saying her work has no value-- she's very creative and has some great ideas for ritual, magic, celebrations, etc.; I keep a few of her books on the shelf and raid them occasionally when I need inspiration in designing a ritual. I just wouldn't rely on her too much for factual details.
SFIAOgirl021 on March 18, 2015:
I'm reading Wicca the complete craft I think that's the title by D.J. Conway but I'm also reading the Scott book and the Thea Sabin book as well plus I look around on ur hubs to confirm that the main books I'm reading are decently on course I know better then to fully believe everything the books tell me because sometimes even books can get it wrong but if somebody who's already practicing the religion says it's good then I'll be more likely to believe what it says and I've found the Conway book to be pretty decent so far
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 17, 2015:
Thanks Billy, good to see you!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 17, 2015:
I'll pass this along to my son. I have no doubt he'll find it useful. Thanks for the resource.