Wicca 101: Books for beginning and furthering your Wiccan studies!

Discovering Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism can be one of the most thrilling things you can stumble upon. Especially if it grasps your attention and “calls your name” to look into it further. Nowadays, there are a plethora of books, articles, and websites about the Craft. There are more intro and Wicca 101 books than there are “advanced” or “advanced magick” books. Mostly because advancing in your practice is a personal experience and not something you can learn from a book. Because we all learn, experience things, understand, and practice differently, that’s the only way we can truly “advance.”

So… For those who just starting into the world of Wicca, beginning, or just curious. Here are some of the best books I think that every Wiccan should own, read and use as references. As you’ll see throughout this list, Scott Cunningham is a big favorite.

 1. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

This is literally, probably my favorite book of all time. It’s the first book I ever read about Wicca, and it’s a book I still use today, 10 years later, as reference and as a guide to writing my own blessings and spells. It covers everything Wicca 101: history, beliefs, deities, spells, rituals, sabbats, etc., and even includes a section of Cunningham’s Book of Shadows at the end of the book.

 2. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft, 3rd Edition.

Another favorite is the idiot’s guide. Obviously if you can comprehend reading a book, than you’re not an idiot. But this book is literally PACKED with so much great information it’s hard not to pick up and read! This is one of the “bigger” books I first started reading and took me the longest to finish, but it’s so worth it. With all the information in this book, it’s definitely ranks as one of the better reference books out there.

 3. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft.

Buckland isn’t exactly on my love list of authors, but it’s undoubtable that he has some great books – his Complete Book of Witchcraft being one of them. This book is pretty much a “lesson plan” kind of book, where each chapter is a “lesson” and at the end of each chapter you have a little quiz on what you learned. The book isn’t geared just towards Witchcraft – it starts out that way, but then it goes into the different traditions of Wicca. One thing about Buckland is that he’s always been apart of a coven, so the rituals in this book are written for group work, but there are some solitary works as well.

 4. Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham is a great book to start reading once you’ve gotten past the intro and 101 books. In this book, Cunningham goes further into the “Learning” of the craft with chapters on tools, magickal names, self-initiation, prayers and chants, creating a new path, deities, ritual design, and about teaching the Craft. The topics might not be “new” to you and you might have some concept of the topics in the chapters, but this book takes those basic ideas that you already have and expands on them, so it makes it just a little over a basic 101 book.

 5. Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways.

Sabbats by McCoy is probably one of the best Sabbats books I’ve ever gotten my hands on! It’s literally the perfect Sabbats book you can find on the shelves. McCoy talks about the history, origin, practices, and traditions of each of the Sabbats. McCoy also includes group and solitary rituals, recipes, and crafts for each of the Sabbats. It’s one of the must-have Sabbats books for every beginner and experienced Witch!

 6. The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews.

I go back to this book for reference and recipes more times than any other book I own! This book helped my curiosity, experience and knowledge of natural magick and herbs. It’s because of the herb combinations and brews from this book that I have a great knowledge of herbalism. This book contains recipes for pretty much anything and everything! Love, money, protection, gods, goddesses, sabbats, esbats, and so much more! Cunningham goes into details the best ways and basic ingredients to make incense, oils and brews. A great book for any Witch wanting to expand his/her knowledge of herbalism and natural magick.

  7. Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic and Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic.

My final books and the last of Cunningham on my list are the Earth Power; and Earth, Air, Fire & Water books. Earth Power came out first and Cunningham had no intentions of writing another book like it, but by “popular demand,” EAF&W was written. These books are another big part of the impact and knowledge of natural magick in my practice. In Earth Power, Cunningham goes into brief detail about the magics of all the elements, as well as stone, tree, knot, candle, mirror, and sea magic – along with others. In EAF&W, Cunningham has almost the same Table of Contents, but goes into even MORE detail about the elements and nature magic. If your curiosity and interests sparks at all about natural magick, then these are some must-have books to add to your Witchy library!

NOTE: There will be another entry on more “advanced” Craft. So stay put!

My spells don’t work. I follow all the instructions, I have everything I need and do everything the spell tells me to do, but I never get results. Do I not have magic? What am I doing wrong?

“I have been involved in witchcraft for several months now. I do protection spells a lot. Recently I’ve been doing love and luck spells so that someone would like me and want to be with me. But it’s not working. I have all the tools the spell needs and I’ve been doing everything it tells me that I need to do. I do a full circle casting and then my spell, but weeks after my spells nothing ever happens. Do I not have magic or am I doing something wrong?

– Midnight”

Dear Midnight,

You’re probably not doing anything wrong. Spells are like flowers – it takes time to grow and fully blossom for it to be at its peak for the world to enjoy its beauty. Spells aren’t always about magic potions and hocus pocus, no. We do “spells” all the time, even when we don’t know it. Every heavy thought, prayer, wish and meditation is a form of a spell. Every Wicca 101 book will always tell you, you need candles, incense, an athame, and whatever else tools and crafts you’ll need to obtain for the spell/ritual to work. But really, all you need is yourself. Yes, tools, crafts, incense, herbs, etc. help enhance your magick a bit, but they’re not always necessary. The magick comes from within you – it is you. (you can refer to this blog post about the power of magick coming from within you and the use of tools and their necessity).

Magick and spells are mystic. They work and weave their intent in their own way as the universe sees fit. Just because you cast a spell and you think it’s not working or it didn’t work, doesn’t mean it’s not in it’s own way. For instance, say you cast a money spell to bring you fortune. Well, don’t expect to win the billion dollar lottery. Instead, see how the little signs and ways your spell is really working. Instead of literally wanting buckets full of cash dropping on your doorstep, the spell might work in a way that you save money on something. Perhaps getting a big discount on something, finding a big coupon, coming across something valuable that you are able to sell at a good price, or even getting a good APR on a credit card offer!

Love spells, more than almost any other spell, is one of the trickiest and one of the most sought after spells and requests for hundreds of years! Who wouldn’t want some rich, famous celebrity falling in love with them, or having some prince(ss) offer your hand in marriage?! If love spells worked the way we wanted them to work, everyone would be, in some way, shape or form, famous! A real love spell doesn’t “make” someone love you or want you. A true love spell sends out loving powers and energies to help guide your future lover to you, or you to them. For a love spell to work, you simply only need to ask the universe (or your deity, etc.) to help find and bring your soulmate into your life. For all you know, you could already know them and you’re just distracted by the fact that you want this person to just automatically fall madly in love with you and jump into your arms telling you they want to spend the rest of their life with you! It’s not going to happen.

Keep spells simple and basic. Candles, incense, maybe herbs, whatever you see fit to “fit” in with what your spell is for. A good way to do a “request” spell (money, luck, love, etc.) is to write it on a small piece of paper and burn it as you recite the spell and then burry the ashes in natural ground (the woods, forest) or spread the ashes in a river, lake, etc. Let the power and energy from your spell and from the ashes go about naturally and the energies of the Earth will help wield your spell.

Another way to “attract” something is by making sachets, or sometimes called “mojo bags.” These are pouches filled with herbs and sometimes objects to represent your intent and help attract what it is you’re wanting. Protection sachets are usually made and hung over doorways and windows. Sleep, dream and vision sachets are placed under your pillow. There are many ways and uses for sachets and often are a “nicer,” simpler way of doing a spell without actually doing the spell.

 

Blessed Be,

Sage

Past life: Who was I? How can I recall my past life and figure out the answers to my questions?

I was told by an Adviser that I have an unclosed door from my second life because I have a great deal of depression and anxiety. I was also told the reason the door did not close was I had a love one commit suicide due to drugs and alcohol. She did a Tarot reading on me in which I took a picture of the layout. 

I need to know what happened and who I was and this (Supposed) love one was. I had a short vision I lived in the Egyptian period and I was either a Queen or a wife of a warrior. 

Also, I know this is my third life, I feel I have met a man after my first marriage named David to whom I am to spend my life with but he has taken another path. I have also remarried after I found out of his path. I have tried many things to understand & open my consciousness to my unknown but have not succeeded. Can you help me in any way with this journey ? I wear a Purified Wood Crystal for my healing & protection & for past life recall. Still, nothing.

Thank you for taken the time to answer my question……Blessed Be

Dear Cheryl,

Trying to recall a past life is one of the toughest things to do. It’s one of the more “impossible” practices in any culture, religion, belief, etc. Not only because it’s take some serious practice, expertise, and effort to even get a glimpse of your past life, but because sometimes we don’t all have a full-pledged past life. If anything, we often see glimpses and visions of perhaps memories of past souls through dreams and meditation.

But perhaps some of the best ways people try to get answers to their questions and attempt to recall is through hypnosis or deep meditation (guided meditation). You can visit experts and professionals to conduct a hypnosis, or research and try to find the best, most comfortable way to conduct a self-hypnosis. Usually it takes multiple sessions to actually get to your past life’s life, because, for the most part, you will start with your own life and work backwards to childhood, birth, before birth, until you get to your past life.

With guided (deep) meditation, you don’t usually need an expert or professional, but at least someone who knows the process of guided meditation and can help you get in and out of it without harm. Hypnosis and meditation are two completely different processes. With hypnosis, you usually go directly to a memory, whereas with meditation, you have to search for it.

Obviously, the quick way is through hypnosis, but unless you know a personal hypnotist that won’t charge you for sessions and therapy, the solo way will probably do you best. Unless you’ve mastered meditation and know how to get in and out of complete conscience-isolation, the meditation techniques for past life recall will take much time, effort, and concentration.

To do a self-hypnosis/meditation, the technique I personally use to visit the astral world is as follows: for best comfortability, lay on your bed with your arms to your sides, palms facing down. I like to have some Buddhist chants or an almost buzzing/ringing noise in the background to keep you focused and not get too distracted. In complete darkness, of course, if possible. Start off with some deep breathing; inhale through your nose from your abdomen and fill it, then exhale through your mouth. Do this enough times where it’s just happening and you’re not “making” yourself breathe like that.

When you have your breathing controlled, it’s time to protect yourself. I use the “shield technique.” Feel and see a brilliant white light form inside you and slowly work its way out until it covers your body. The shield can be made out of anything of your desire – metal, flowers, statues, etc.

Next, begin the meditation. For deep meditation, you will need to enter a state of consciousness where you are completely unaware of the “outside world.” There are many ways to get into this form of state. The best way is to take yourself to a favorite spot, or a make-believe spot. Somewhere where you feel comfortable and safe. At this spot, you can then meditate within your meditation (kind of like the movie Inception where they dream within a dream, except now you’re going to meditate within your meditation). This will set your mind in a state where you’ll be able to start searching for answers.

In the visualization you are visualizing in the meditation within your meditation, visualize a hallway. At the end of the hallway there is a very large mirror (or this could be a crystal ball, large bowl/pool of water – anything that is reflective, basically). Walk towards it. As you walk towards it, concentrate on what you want to see – your past life, problems, past, future, etc. Once you get to it, gaze into it. Believe what you see. You may not recognize or understand what you’re seeing, but this can all be unfolded at a later time. Right now, just concentrate on the images you see.

What you see might be completely random, bizarre, or unbelievable. It can be anything from colors, shapes, objects, people, places, etc. But just try to concentrate on what you’re seeing. Accept what you see. Your job is to take whatever you see and expound upon it. Whatever you see, try to expand it. Get deeper into whatever it is you are seeing to get to the answers you seek. You may doubt in what you see. Perhaps you just see a dog, a house, the color red, or an ocean, or nothing at all. But then just ask yourself, “why am I seeing this? Does it have to do with my past life?” If you see nothing, then try seeing something you enjoy or love, and then ask yourself those questions.

Remember to accept what you see. You might think that you’re making these things up and that it’s just all in your head. Well, yes. Some or a lot of it might be. But no matter the case, everything you see has some sort of truth to it. The only way to really get to your answer or discover your past life is through several meditations. Look at the patterns and try to put them together to see if there’s a “big picture.” But no matter what, accept and believe in what you see, otherwise you’ll get no where and not find what you’re looking for.

Once you are done with looking into whatever it is you’re looking in, walk backwards away from the mirror (or whatever it is) until everything starts fading away and you leave the state of your “second meditation” and back in your special place in your “first meditation.” From there you can end your meditation in whatever manner you do so usually.

It will probably take several meditations to get any real answers or images. But it’s important to remember that whenever you go back into meditation to always try to continue where you left off when seeing what you see. So hit “pause” and then “continue” the next time you enter meditation and back to that place.

I apologize for this is a broad and general answer about past lives. But to find something very specific as you are seeking is very tricky. The best thing you can do is follow my meditation guide, and hopefully after several tries, you will start to see a pattern that should lead you to your ultimate answer to your question. I hope you will ultimately find your answers that you seek and find who your soul once used to be.

 

Blessed Be,

Sage

What significance should be held to sensations experienced during basic meditation. I have smelt a scent during meditation of something I recognize – does that mean anything?

“Hi, I was wondering what significance should be held to sensations experienced during basic meditation. Normally, when I do basic meditation: grounding, cleansing (of self), checking my aura out for any unclean/unwanted energy, clearing my mind of stress, etc, I don’t get any special sensations, other than a general feeling of calm, peacefulness, and relaxation.

However, recently (Shortly before sending this message, in fact) I was grounding myself in preparation for some basic energy work, and suddenly caught a scent. I didn’t notice it for a couple of minutes, but when I was almost done with the grounding and cleansing, sending the alien and unwanted energies that sometimes get stuck in my aura back to the earth, where they can be cleansed and safe, I realised that I was smelling something. When I came out of the meditation, I recognized the scent as an herb.

What does it mean, that I caught this scent during meditation? Would it mean this herb carries personal significance for me?
I can easily look up the properties of the herb myself; I was just wondering what smelling it mid-meditation meant. I am in an area of the house away from where it is stored, and all the way across the room from where I have a small pouch filled with this and 2 other herbs to make my things smell nice, so it wouldn’t have wafted over here; there’s hardly any air circulation, and certainly not from that corner of the room. Any insight is much appreciated; thank you!
The K.”

Dear K,

Sensing scents during mediation is not that uncommon, actually. The scents are either something you recognize (which in your case you did), or something you don’t and is usually either pleasant or foul. During meditation, especially if you’re in a visualization-state of meditation, we often feel, hear, sense, smell and maybe even taste when we’re seeing in deep meditation. Of course this can only happen when in a deep state of meditation – usually.

Pleasant smells are usually a positive/good thing and could symbolize an answer to a question you’ve been seeking. Or a sign letting you know you’re on the right track. It could also mean that there is a presence/deity with you – that smell might not be associated with them specifically, but just to let you know they’re there. Or it could just be your inner conscience letting you know that you’re safe and in a protected area. There really is no one true meaning behind it. It is what you make of it.

When the smells are foul – well, it’s pretty much the opposite of everything I said above about the smell being pleasant. But in most cases, it symbolizes when a negative or harmful presence is around or near. The most common foul smells are the scent of sulfer, a burnt smell or smoke. If you watch any horror/exorcism movies, you’ll almost always see that they use the “smelling of sulfer to associate it with the devil and possession.”

I use herbs quite frequently in my practice. I cleanse, dry, ground and use them all in the same area. I only use specific herbs and I know exactly how the smell, fresh, grounded and as an incense. But I often smell herbs that are completely new to me, even when my own incense is burning – but usually, right around when I notice the different scent and it clicks that it’s not the same scent, that’s when it usually goes away and my incense smell again fills my nose. The point is: in my own experience and practice, and because I do a lot of spirit work, I just associate that with a presence of a spirit. I have now named three spirits after what their scents smell like and I can recognize them whenever they visit me. I don’t believe they mean any harm or have any real business here. It’s probably just curiosity. Spirits can feel our energy and our energy is usually at its peak when we’re meditating, so it’s probably just curiosity to find out where this immense energy is coming from.

Moral of the story: As long as you’re keeping your area and meditation safe and protected and regularly cleansing yourself and your aura, sensing scents is a good thing. If it’s frequent, it’s probably a curious wanderer. If it’s not so frequent or rare, it’s probably a sign or an answer. It’s really how you feel about it – how it makes you feel during and after you smell it and what you think it means. It could be any of the things I mentioned or none of them at all. Meditation and the things that come to us during it is such a personal thing, that you won’t be finding books or much information on it because of just that… it’s personal. It’s different for anyone and everyone. What I have said above is just a general explanation of what I think and believe, and what has happened to me past and present during my practice and own meditations.

I hope I have been able to help you and give you some insight of what your experience could mean and represent.

Blessed Be,

Sage

I’m new to the Craft, I still live with my parents and I’m still “in the broom closet.” A lot of the spells and rituals I want to do need magickal tools, but I can’t get any without making it obvious or explain them.

“Hello. I’m new to Witchcraft and Wicca. I’ve only been practicing for almost five months. I still live with my parents and I haven’t told them yet, and I probably won’t for a while or ever. I like learning and doing new spells, but a lot of the spells I read say they need magickal tools. I don’t have any and can’t get any. I really want to do spells – can I do them without tools and everything the spells says it needs?

– Misty”

Dear Misty,

Welcome to the Craft! Let me tell you about when I first started practicing. I first learned and “got into” Witchcraft when I was about 14 years old. I learned about it and started practicing in a country where is was forbidden and punishable by death (that should narrow down what country!). I bought my first book about Witchcraft and Wicca when I came to the U.S. to visit family in the summer. “Wicca: A guide for the solitary practitioner, by Cunnigham.” An excellent book to own and to read!

Among other books I read, many spells and rituals required many things I didn’t have, or couldn’t have for obvious reasons. So I refrained from doing spells the “traditional” way and tried it my own way; without the tools, without the incense and special herbs. This way of practicing still continues to my practice today. Though I don’t live where I used to and I’m no longer in fear of execution because of religious differences – I have all the access my heart desires to everything Witchcraft. The only “traditional” tools my practice today includes are the candles, crystals and herbs. On my altar, on the other hand, I do have a couple of statues, incense, candles, crystals and herbs.

Anyway… Point is. Tools aren’t a necessity in your practice. They are simply tools to help you “guide” your magick and energy – this is mostly for the wand/athame. Incense doesn’t really “power up” your magick. It simply helps you relax and put you in a state of clear consciousness and comfort. Herbs and crystals are ancient tools that have been used for thousands of years in many different religions. Herbs are believed to have specific properties that could help enhance the type of magick, spells, ritual you are doing. Crystals believe to contain and hold energy to enhance your magick. Crystals are used for both personal reasons and magick.

It’s not the tools that are making your magick happen or work. It’s you. Your energy. Your own self. Not external, mundane objects. Yes, some of these objects CAN help, but they are NOT the sole “magickal object” that will make your spells work or your ritual complete. It’s all about your own energy. The way you raise it, store it, use it and send it out. For example, I raise energy from within myself and from the Earth and create this sphere, or ball, of energy between my hands (as if you were holding a basketball). Visualize and see this energy that you are conjuring. See the sphere form, move and grow. Visualize it as a glowing light, an electric ball, or simply anything you feel strong about/attracted to. This is your energy. Tense your muscles. Push and feel this energy release from your body, down your arms, and out of your hands to create this sphere. Once you feel you have like there’s enough energy for your spell, begin your spell, or whatever you want to do with this energy. Concentrate on it and concentrate it and see it within this sphere. See it happening and working. Once this is done, release your sphere over your and send it out to the Universe to works its magick.

As for as wanting tools. You can have tools. Lots of tools are very mundane. Use a dagger or an old knife as an athame. Feathers, crystals, small candles, arrow heads, etc. can be simple things around the house, but to you, used for magickal purposes. Make a pentagram or any other symbol from twigs or tree branches to place on your altar or use during spellwork, etc. Smal figurines, doll, statues can be used to represent your deities – it’s not about if it’s really them or not, it’s about you KNOWING it’s them and there to represent them. You can also use tree branches with leafs still on them and flowers for spells.

Remember. Magick is within you. YOU have the energy, NOT the tools. I hope I have helped you understand and learn, and wish you luck and blessings in your practice.

 

Blessed Be,

Sage