Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Green Witch Reading List

I hope everyone is having a great Summer now that the Solstice has passed us and we are trying to make the most of this warm, joyous time before slipping into Fall. I love Halloween more than any other time of year but let's not rush!

Speaking of Halloween (Samhain), Gwen and I plan to go to Salem for a week in October. I also plan to take Witchcraft II from Laurie Cabot as soon as I can. It will probably be next year. Check out her website for info on her great classes at http://www.lauriecabot.com/ or her Salem Temple at http://www.cabotkenthermetictemple.org/

I just thought it was time to put up a small book list for Green Witchcraft and related studies. Paganism is a very personal journey and lots of ecclectic study is the norm. Yet if you go to a bookstore or website and start searching the topic it can be a little overwhelming. That's why I'm putting up a small reading list here...only books I own and have read...to help narrow it down. I will try to do so every now and then. This list is books I feel relate most strongly to my vegan path as well as my spiritual one. Although most paganism involves elements of embodied spirituality and ecological ethics, I think these books are very strongly connected to environmental and animal rights lifestyle.

Earth Centered Spirituality (Joyce and River Higginbotham): this is a great place to start if you are totally new to paganism and may not even be sure if it is the path for you. The book is deliberately ecclectic and uses "paganism" as umbrella term for many trads without getting into the specifics of any one. For example, I tend to use "paganism" as a general term also but I personally am a witch, initiated in the Cabot-Kent Trad and also fairly ecclectic in my personal journey. The Higginbotham book mentions several different trads that people might want to look into but stays very general about magic, ethics, deities, and so on. It is also a great book to refer your curious friends and family to if you come out of the broom closet and they have a lot of questions (and/or misconceptions) about paganism.

Earth Magic: This is a audio CD by Starhawk, which is also a very basic primer but focuses on what I would call ecclectic Wicca. It has several chapters of basic informaiton and a couple of guided meditations. It is slightly less general than the Higginbotham book because it is grounded in one trad (Wicca) but it is also very general in the sense that it is basic info that would apply to most more localized trads within Wicca. The term Wicca is often used as if it was a general term for all pagans but this is not really the case. Wicca is a specific path that differs from say Asatru (Norse) or Druidry (Celtic).

The Earth Path (Starhawk): This is one of many great Wicca primers by Starhawk and it deals with ecology, ethics, permaculture, etc. Starhawk tries to write from a fairly general Wicca standpoint in order to make her writing meaningful to many readers. She is also a leader in the trad of Reclaiming Witchcraft.

I also recommend Starhawk's books Spiral Dance and Twelve Wild Swans or -- let's face it -- anything with her name on it. These two books are primers in a very Reclaiming Witch style of Wicca that focuses on magical empowerment, activism, and ethics.

Circle Round is a Reclaiming-grounded book of ritual songs with an accompanying CD if you want to learn some songs for your first trip to a public ritual.

Grimoire for the Green Witch (Ann Moura) is a thick how-to full of fun info like Theban and Futhark runes, spells, ways to celebrate Sabbats (the big pagan holidays) and Esbats (full moons), incense recipes, and teas.

Druidry (Emma Restall Orr) this is a short, glossy hardcover that serves as a good basic intro to Druidry. I suggest this one as a first stop because Druidry is a huge trad with tons of books and it can be hard to choose material until you have some basic idea of what the trad is all about. Druidry has a especially European personality and can be a bit hard for Americans to get hold of at first but it is a very, very "green" trad with deep roots.

The Deva Handbook: How to Work with Nature's Subtle Energies (Nathaniel Altman): This book introduces the reader to the concept of Elemental Spirits or Energies and how pagans can relate to them. Ever heard of the Findhorn community in Scotland? The Deva handbook is an intro to that kind of stuff. The Elementals are basically what we often refer to as "fairies," but without the sparkle and wings. Without the fluff, actually. Work with Elementals is a very interesting path to explore and touches on some very primal magical work. It is also very easy to connect Elemental work with veganism/animal rights.

While we're on the subject of fairies, there are plenty of other pagan practices that work with Earth Spirits/Elementals/the Fey. One of the most intriquing is the trad of Feri Witchcraft, which is notoriously secretive about its inner workings and definitely has nothing to do with Tinkerbell. T. Thorn Coyle has written an excellent primer for public-consumption called "Evolutionary Witchcraft."

Well, that's what I have for now. Enjoy! :0)

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