A Reading & Resource List for Every Witch

These are the titles and books that every witch should have in their collection, or somehow get their hands on and read. I am sharing this in reference to questions I have received from Instagram on book/resource recommendations. I have read many of these books and there are many that I have not read yet myself but are on my never ending to-read list. This is by no means super comprehensive, or an end all be all list, but it's a good jumping off point for those looking to expand their knowledge. 

My reading list leans towards traditional witchcraft of primarily European origin. I lean in on my heritage and understand my ancestors and their pre-Christian traditions. Our ancestors are our greatest guides, they want to see us do well and we need to remember them because they are being forgotten. Folk magic is a huge part of my practice as well, so I do have an emphasis on reading about folklore and low down dirty magic. As well as Shamanism, mythology and working with spirits and gods. I'm a dirty ol' witch, pagan, animist and polytheist if you were wondering. 

This list will also include books that have influenced my craft and some recently discovered zines and small independent publishers that I am super excited about! If I am missing anything of note, please leave a comment and I will add it.

Reading and Resource List for Every Witch

Classics

More Modern Classics

  • Rebirth of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente *a must read to understand the origins of modern resurgence in Witchcraft
  • Natural Magic by Doreen Valiente
  • Witchcraft for Tomorrow by Doreen Valiente
  • Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks & Covens by Paul Huson
  • Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition by Cora Anderson
  • The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
  • THE BLACK PULLET by anonymous

Witchcraft & Practices

  • The Sorceror's Secrets: Strategies in Practical Magick by Jason Miller
  • Protection and Reversal Magick by Jason Miller
  • Craft of the Untamed: An Inspired Vision of Traditional Witchcraft by  Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold 
  • The Witches Sabbats by Mike Nichols
  • Spiritual Cleansing: A Handbook of Psychic Protection by Draja Mickaharic
  • A Century of Spells by Draja Mickaharic
  • Crones Book of Charms & Spells by Valerie Worth
  • Treading the Mill: Practical Craft Working in Modern Traditional Witchcraft by Nigel G. Pearson
  • The Robert Cochrane Letters: An Insight into Modern Traditional Witchcraft by Robert Cochrane

American Witchcraft, Southern African American Hoodoo & Conjure

  • Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure by cat yronyode
  • Pow-Wows, or Long Lost Friend: A Collection of Mysterious and Invaluable Arts and Remedies, for Man as Well as Animals by John George Hohman
  • The Silver Bullet & and other American Witch Stories by Hubert J. Davis
  • The Candle and the Crossroads: A Book of Appalachian Conjure and Southern Root-Work by Orion Foxwood
  • Fifty Years in the Feri Tradition by Cora Anderson, 2005
  • The Art of Hoodoo Candle Magic by catherine yronwode
  • Hoodoo in Theory and Practice An Introduction to African American Rootwork by cat yronwode

Magical Spiritual Herbalism & Witchcraft

  • Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants by Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Christian Rätsch, and Wolf-Dieter Storl
  • The Pharmako Trilogy by Dale Pendell
  • Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
  • Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual by James Green
  • Magical and Ritual Use of Aphrodisiacs by Richard Alan Miller
  • Magical and Ritual Use of Herbs by Richard Alan Miller
  • The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines by Matthew Wood
  • Plant Spirit Shamanism: Traditional Techniques for Healing the Soul by Ross Heaven & Howard G. Charing
  • Plant Spirit Medicine: A Journey into the Healing Wisdom of Plants by Elliot Cowan 
  • Medicinal Herbs of the Mountains West by Michael Moore *if you live in the western United States
  • The Green Book by Heliophilus

Spiritwork, Ancestors and Gods

  • Cunning-Folk & Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic by Emma Wilby
  • The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland by Emma Wilby
  • COMMUNING WITH THE SPIRITS: The Magical Practice of Necromancy by Martin Coleman
  • Communing with the Ancestors: Your Spirit Guides, Bloodline Allies, and the Cycle of Reincarnation by Raven Grimassi
  • Dwelling on the Threshold: Reflections of a Spirit-Worker and Devotional Polytheist by Sarah Kate Istra Winter
  • Hekate in Ancient Greek Religion by Robert Von Rudloff 
  • Gods of the Greeks by Karl Kerenyi 
  • Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate's Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature by Sarah Iles Johnston
  • The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion by Daniel McCoy

Women's Mysteries

  • The Wise Wound by Peter Redgrove and Penelope Shuttle
  • Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
  • Pomba Gira & the Quimbanda of Mbùmba Nzila by Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold
  • The Red Goddess by Peter Grey

Small Presses, Zines and Publishers

  • Hadean Press occult books, journals, and pamphlets in standard and handbound editions.
  • Scarlet Imprint "Our work is intended to support practising magicians, students of the occult arts, the esoteric community and the fine book arts." Hands down one of the best publishers right now in the occult world. Incredible work and fantastic blog as well.
  • GODS & RADICALS "Gods & Radicals is a non-profit Pagan anti-capitalist publisher. Our focus is simple: inexpensive print and digital works to inspire hope and rebellion." Fuck yeah!
  • Three Hands Press The premier publisher of contemporary occultism and metaphysica, representing the new generation of esoteric scholars, artists and practitioners. 

Blogs and Fellow Witch Folk

And that my friends, is all I've got right now off the top of my head! I will likely update this and add to it over time. Again, if you feel there is something to add here, please leave a comment. 

A WITCHES RESISTANCE & ACTION LIST

yarrow demonstrating its resilancy, strength and potency when growing in a harsh place

yarrow demonstrating its resilancy, strength and potency when growing in a harsh place

Just last Tuesday, like so many others I saw the headline that Trump silenced the EPA, USDA and it's scientists and a whole host of other horrifying events. I found myself hunched over my laptop or over my phone, white knuckled, jaws clenched, shoulders caved in, knots in my stomach. I went to bed that night my mind a swirling chasm of dread. Crushed under the weight of what to do, how to act, we're doomed I thought. It's happening. 

It's happening. And so very fast.

Times are fucking scary and very intense right now. For all of us, and even more so for so many other people. As I laid in my bed, unable to move from anxiety and the depression I have felt the past several weeks I realized, this is the exact reaction they want. Several people and friends I follow on Instagram talked about this very crushing weight we're all feeling right now and that we need to take care of ourselves and each other. We need to connect with each other and reach out. Build community or further strengthen those bonds, however that manifests for you.

Yesterday morning I woke up and dove into the news first thing, not the best idea for mental health. Somehow I surfaced from the deep current of it all and grabbed a breath of air and began a list for myself. I'm sharing this list with those who will pass by this. It's a reminder that small acts, the tiniest acts do in fact have an impact. Even if it means taking a hot bath with crushed red cedar leaves you found in your local forest. Resistance can be as subtle as a weed growing out of a crack in the concrete, or as bold as hanging signs in front of the White House and defying orders to stay silent.

So, this is my list of actions, prompts for more learning and understanding and self care for the witch in these times.

If you're reading this and have something to add, please leave a comment. This is by no means a list of perfection. Its things that feed and placed to start.

Be well, be strong.

Bye Bye Bye 2016

The years last bone broth is simmering behind me and everyone everywhere on social media is talking about the end. I want to too, just for myself. As Mercury has turned his back on us in the sky and transits seemingly backward for now, my words have felt hollow, shallow and useless. Like they hold no power. So usually in a time like this I am not prone to write, but here I am anyway. I wanna, for personal reasons, catalog the end of this year a bit. Or at least put something up where I can look back on the goodbye. 

Something to punctuate the end. 

Photo Nov 26, 9 12 28 AM.jpg

For me, this year was about breaking down, building up and moving into new territory. It was one of the harder years of my life, but an amazing one. Some major things that happened:

  • My paternal grandmother died. She helped raise me as a kid and she was the grandmother I was closest to.
  • Painfully watched my father succumb further to alcoholism. Recognized my own hereditary susceptibility to alcohol and realized that this beast is dormant within me. 
  • I hiked most of the Oregon Coast Trail. In doing so I learned how to backpack and manage hiking long distances all by myself.
  • I grew vast amounts of confidence (and give no fucks) in my writing while on trail/post trail and am totally comfortable calling myself a writer now. Despite my lack of formal education. 
  • I made the decision to leave my business and primary source of income at Haus of Gloi, of which I have been founder, creator and co-owner of for 9 years.
  • Launched Blood Moon Botanica and am now also reading tarot and bones professionally. 
  • Laid down ground work to step into a new job with Blood Moon Botanica after I finish the PCT.
  • Fell in love with a person I did not know could actually even exist.
  • Solidified personal political views/beliefs post election and will act accordingly to resist facisim and protect/defend what I love.

As the year has come to a close, I find myself separating from many of the monolithic structures I've built for myself to pursue deep and serious life callings. It's been a long game. Two years as a matter of fact (long perhaps, for an Aries). Making the decision to hike the PCT in early 2015 was what actually spurred a lot of these changes and decisions. It opened many doors I longed to walk though and to think I haven't even stepped foot on this trail and it's already changed me. 

In these last few months of this year it's actually happened. For some reason I've been startled to see years of work, dreaming and reaching finally materialize before me. Like, I'm making it happen. All those little tiny steps and things I did years, months, weeks, days ago are making these current moments and future moments happen. Inching closer and closer towards my (as cliche as it sounds) my own truth. Searing, white hot truth.

Saying that doesn't mean that I am not afraid. I am trusting that my thriftiness and Blood Moon Botanica will sustain me with a home and a living wage after I complete the PCT. The risks are great, the leaps are huge, learning to trust has been a struggle, learning how to let go. I've never been in a better position to chase after the things that matter the most to me. Plants, the land, herbalism, protecting and serving that which I hold most dear. I want to thank my past self, my spirits and ancestors and to all those who helped shine light on this crooked path I choose to walk. No matter how painful it was in the past to get me here to this point, this is the only way I would have it.

The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it.
— Peter Grey, Rewilding Witchcraft

When you're moving toward what you're deeply called to do, the universe, God, Her, whoever - they conspire to put you where you need to be.

Now, I continue onwards towards what I know is right and I will trust the process.

The future is unknown.

2017 is unknown.

I am ready.

Bye bye bye 2016.

Blackberry + On the Work of Self Love and Our Bodies

Recently in an Instagram post, I wrote about struggling with my own body image and recognizing my relationship to my body and that it is time to mend it. I'm not an expert on this subject of being a woman and how I deal with my own body. Or maybe I am, because I am living and dealing with it just like so many other people. I also do not contain the eloquent politically correct language so many others posses, to express myself confidently. But you know, fuck it. Alas, my Mercury in Aries does its usual thing. 

Please, read through the comments. There are a lot of lovely and wonderful nuggets in there.

This is the body I wake up in every day. Lately, I have been having an increasing anxiety about my body and it's shape. It has been building up to an extremely uncomfortable anxiety ridden point. I have been fat and I have meticulously counted my calories and lifted weights until I had visible abs, which often only brought a superficial appreciation of my body. I mentally beat myself up when I skip the gym for a week, or when I decide to eat like shit for a day or two. When I don't move my body, or come into it I forget that I am in it. Which is strange to me as a highly physical Aries/Taurus person. Often I feel like a cloud of consciousness, just floating in the ether, with nothing to root me or ground me. I look at @bodyposipanda and so many other women in love with their bodies no matter the shape. I feel shame, envy, anger and self loathing that I can't seem to ever ascend into acceptance and even more than that LOVE for my self and mainly, my body. I know where the loathing comes from, but I cannot fend it off some days and some days it's really bad. The whole world can tell you you're beautiful but you'll never believe it until you come into some form of love for your self and body - until you do your own internal work. And I realize, that I need to spend time with myself and with my body more. It's time to do this work I have put off so long and ignored. To feel the shapes and roots of, "I'm not good enough" "I'm not lean enough" "I'm not as pretty as that person" "I am not worthy" etc. and treat them with compassion and understanding. To transmute that. Vulnerability, transparency and sharing in my community (all community) have been a way for me to heal parts of myself. Supporting each other in the struggle, as I know I am not alone. I know many of you feel this, I feel it too. We can unlearn what we have been taught is "beautiful" and stop hating ourselves for what we actually are. It's ok. We're ok. We are enough. . . . #bodypositive #bodyposi #bodypos #selflove #feels #thestruggle #curves #pcos #vulnerability #transparent #witchlife #transmute #unlearn

A photo posted by ♈️Britton (@archaichoney) on

It wasn't easy to put all of that up, but I'll say it again: fuck it. Because I know I'm not alone in the struggle. The shame that I am made to feel for my body, no matter its shape. I am three years out of an abusive long term relationship followed by a string of dating and relationships where 95% of the time I was purely an object meant to please and when I did not please, when I challenged, when I fought back against misogyny I was made to feel terrible and unwanted for it. I had no idea what was even happening at the time. I just felt like an unloveable, ugly, unworthy human being.

I know that is not true about me, or you or anyone.

So, as I sat looking over comment after comment, story after story I grabbed my tarot cards. Naturally. I wanted to do a reading for all of us as we recognize and begin to heal these thought patterns and how we view our bodies. This will be a lucid rambling of card reading, so thank you in advanced for following along.

The deck I am using is my beloved Pagan Otherworlds Tarot, created by the wonderful folks at Uusi

The first card was the most profound, and I almost just wanted to stop the reading right there but I pulled one more just to back it up.

10 of Swords - Queen of Wands

Being a plant person, the first thing I see here are the brambles and what looks like to me like the highly invasive Rubus armeniacus (Himalayan blackberry) that plagues my home in the Northwest. And how representative this plant can be of patriarchal and misogynistic values. As it creeps into our minds telling us how to live and how we should think of ourselves. It binds us and chokes the life out of all other living things. What seems most oppressive in this picture though, is the crushing weight of those swords. The whole thing, on the surface looks like a tangled mess of sharp painful objects and death. At the same time however, this plant provides food, shelter for small animals and even medicine.

Blackberry is in the Rosaceae family, placing it alongside other fruit bearing and thorn wielding plants such as Crataegus (hawthorn) and Rosa (rose). The lesson these plants often provide us is safe boundaries that protect the self and often help support love of the self. Bridging the wide gaps and disconnect we can often find between our spirit, mind and body.

It is worthy to note that in this card its rootball is exposed, where a good portion of it's medicine resides and in this state it is vulnerable. This is where my focus is being drawn.

Classically, the 10 of Swords is the end of the suit of Swords and the end of a cycle. The darkness before dawn. In this card, we see the opportunity of transmuting the roots of invasive and persistent thoughts about our bodies and our own worthiness despite the oppressive situation we find ourselves in. Do we use the swords in an aggressive angry act to hack away at something that will just spring back time and time again, offering only a temporary reprieve? Or, or, do we get our hands dirty and transform the mire of our thoughts about ourselves into a potent medicine that heals and teaches us? 

The work is not easy. The work does not come without getting scratched, or bleeding, or remembering and seeing just how far those roots go back.

Alongside this card was the witch of tarot herself, the Queen of Wands. With her cat, her secrets and her knowledge of positive growth. This kind of Queen can act as a guide and muse for those of us working on the struggle and our journey into a healthy and positive relationship with our bodies. Her focus is inward and yet she can turn that and radiate it outward as warmth, love and compassion for herself and others. A Queen is a Queen because of her experiences, both good and bad. If you have a tarot deck, find her and carry her with you. Put her in a place you will see often and be reminded of her energies. 

If you're reading this chances are you're probably a witch, right? We have the power and ancestral knowledge to turn something into another. To transmute and alchemize. To make a healing balm and find power and strength out of what would otherwise crush us and snuff us out.

A Witches List: Life Bits + Tarot + Books + Coffee Death Limbo

Well, I can't drink fucking coffee right now. It's giving me heartburn. I don't know where it came from or why or how, but my blessed black dark bitter life elixir is no longer friendly towards my digestive system. So, it's been tea and eating as right as I can, when I can. Thankfully I live only a few blocks from one of Portlands best tea places, Townshend Tea. The loose leaf can rack up a bill, and very quickly I might add. A little of this one, a little of that one, $30! But dang, it tastes good. If I can't have my coffee, my tea might as well be exciting.

witch hair and maps and no coffee.

witch hair and maps and no coffee.

Besides adjusting to a new life without coffee (aka: death) it has been busy, busy, busy with odd quiet moments in between. I've been thinking a lot about my upcoming trip, putting final touches on logistics, route, gear and food. My spiritual practice and what I will be doing with myself post trail. I've been reading a few books, new and old. Setting aside ego and pride to explore things I have an irrational dislike of. Spending time with a person I love and exploring this new place of being vulnerable and really being OK and happy in that state without letting fears override me - I've been applying that to all areas of my life lately. Slowly but surely.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I am having a weird time being in a limbo of not being able to take action on some things I'd like to get started. I don't usually put the lid on things and right now I have no choice but to keep the lid on this I WANNA DO IT NOW stew of ideas and plans. A very good exercise for someone like myself. It will also be a great to come back from my trip and have a course of action I can take, that way I hopefully don't get caught up in post trail blues.

I did a cool thing earlier this month and gave my living room couch away for free on Craigslist. I then moved my bed into my living room and now, I have a blank slate of a room that will be solely dedicated to witchcraft related activities. I've been dipping back into old practices and relationships to deity and spirit that I had set aside for a few years. While my house is primarily conducive and supportive of my practices, I don't know why I had never thought of doing this before. I'm glad I did. I'm looking forward to doing more with it when I get back from the coast.

TAROT

On Instagram I have been doing another month long tarot challenge! I love these and I especially love doing these with a new deck, as it gives you such a great opportunity to work with it on the daily. I chose to work with the Wild Unknown, a deck I own but have had an aversion to since it is so very popular and hip. To challenge myself on this, I decided to use the deck and get over my ridiculous snobbery. So far, it has been powerful to work with and I definitely appreciate the strong voice that this deck has.

Have you seen the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot that is being produced by Uusi? Well, ya need to go look at it right now. I don't think I have been this excited by a tarot deck in... forever. Not only does this deck have the traditional 78 cards, but it has FIVE lunar cards and "Seeker" card. How cool is this deck? The Lunar cards might be a great way to work with time frames within readings. Who knows! I'll have to try it out.

photos from and by Uusi

photos from and by Uusi

The folks behind Uusi are super great people too. I got a little post card in the mail from them to let me know when my deck would ship and when the book will be arriving as well. Decks should be arriving in August, the companion book in October. I like that the book will be coming out a few months down the road after the deck, as it will give me to opportunity to read and work with it purely by imagery and intuition, my preferred method of card reading. EXCITED!

READING

For a long time, I harboured a dislike of Amanda Palmer. I didn't have any real rational reasoning for this. I think that sometimes, it is good to explore our dislike of something - just to check in on where that is coming from within us. Likely, we dislike that someone or something because it presents to us our lack, or they inspire jealously because we are not living like them, or are as great as them, or living a fabulous life like them, or are married to your author crush Neil Gaiman, happy, successful, or any other number of things you feel you are not or have not. 

In the same vein of challenging myself to read with the Wild Unknown tarot, I decided I needed to read her book The Art of Asking. Magically, the book appeared in my lap - a side benefit of loving a man who works for the best bookstore in Portland and possibly North America. 

I'm about a quarter of the way through and I think I have underlined and made notes on half the pages so far. If you are doing anything, anything at all - perusing your passions in any shape and form, you will love this book. As an entrepreneur and someone who has bucked at conventional ways of living my whole life, this book has been hugely affirming so far. Especially within the realms of work that makes one vulnerable, like reading tarot for example. She really highlights the struggle of an artist and the effect of crushing self-doubt.

In both the art and the business worlds, the difference between the amateurs and the professionals is simple:
The professionals know they’re winging it.
The amateurs pretend they’re not.
I laughed thinking about every single artist I knew - every writer, every actor, every filmmaker, every crazed motherfucker who had decided to forgo a life of predictable income, upward mobility, and simple tax returns, and instead pursued a life in which they made their living trying to somehow turn their dot-connecting brains inside out and show the results to the world - and how maybe it all boiled down to one thing:
BELIEVE ME.
Believe me.
I’m real.

It's really good. And as I figured, my dislike of her was not about her but about me and my own self-worth. Good things to explore.

ADVENTURES

When I leave the Portland metro area, sometimes I realize that I forget where I live. It's been nice to go with someone and be able to share seeing beauty like this.

lava canyon, mount saint helens

lava canyon, mount saint helens

june lake, mount saint helens

june lake, mount saint helens

avalanche lily, mount saint helens

avalanche lily, mount saint helens

bagby hot springs area

bagby hot springs area

I had the pleasure of driving my friend Ashley and her husband Marcos out for a two day backpacking trip! It was great seeing them and we all went for a dip at the hot springs. It had been ages since I'd been here. It's a popular spot for Portland folks. Beautiful nonetheless.

Sadly, someone took it upon themselves to sprinkle glitter all over the trail. Sigh.

I feel like a complete dork, but if I am within the vacinity of the PCT, I have to stop. Even if it's just to walk a few hundred feet of trail. You can see it snaking along behind me there. It carries the footsteps of so many people, all their pain and hunger and who the fuck knows what else. A year and a half of longing makes that narrow path something very, very special and symbolic to me. 10 measly months and it'll be my home for a little while.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I am curious, because I know I am not the only one. Have you tried exploring something you irrationally dislike? Did you ever discover the root cause?

My next post will likely, maybe, be from my tent while I am on the coast. See you then!