The following annotated bibliography is not intended to be exhaustive. The works included are all holdings of the Bardic Institute Library. Most are readily available from bookstores and public libraries. Complete novices to magick are urged not to start with the medieval and Renaissance sources but with authors such as King, Bonewits, Kraig, Amber K, or Scott Cunningham listed in the second section below. These books provide an accessible introduction to the subject. In each section of this bibliography, I have put the books in the order in which I suggest they be read. There is no very good guideline to the literature on magery and the beginning student will inevitably be attracted to some of the most difficult texts just because they are the most sensational. Besides this, some authors are just harder to read than others.

Modern Books on the Magical Arts

The works listed in this section deal with the practical magical arts. Some are more difficult than others to read. Some are about witchcraft and others about ceremonial, Hermetic, or Kabbalistic magery. I have organized them in these sub-categories and in suggested reading order.

K, Amber. True Magick: A Beginner's Guide. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 1990. Into its 12th printing, at least, this is a very readable, sensible, and popular introduiction to magick. The author bases her theory of magick on the engagement of the subconscious self or "Younger Self" as mediatrix between the conscious ego and the Higher Self or God-self. She discusses spellcasting, ritual design, raising energies, past lives, magical names, and sample spells. Highly recommended.

Denning, Melita and Osborne Phillips. Foundations of High Magick. Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 2000. Reprint of the first two books in their earlier magical series, this purports to reveal the basic teachings of a modern order in the Ogdoadic tradition. See also the authors' many other books, including The Sword and the Serpent, Mysteria Magica, and Planetary Magick. Also see the website for the Aurum Solis magical order:

Bonewits, Isaac. Real Magic. Creative Arts Book Company, 1971. Although providing almost no practical instruction, Bonewits' book is a classic, if quirky, look at modern magical practices. Read with a grain of salt and it is good food for thought. His theory (as an undergraduate at least) was based on a metaphor of the etheric "switchboard," a model of magick that suffers from being too narrowly materialistic and too eager to link itself with contemporary physics. For further online connections to Bonewits and his neo-druidic followers, check out A Druid Fellowship (ADF), perhaps the largest druid "church" in the USA pursuing the systematic development of druid-based teaching, training, and rituals:

Cunningham Scott. Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2000. Cunningham's first book on the magick of the elements full of good ideas and devoid of dogmatism.

Bardon, Franz. Initiation into Hermetics. Wuppertal, Western Germany: Dieter Ruggeberg, 1981. (Originally published in German in 1956.) Marred by a bad translation from the German, Bardon's books are nevertheless accessible, devoid of most mystification, and practical without being vague. The author develops a theory of magick based on magnetism and a model of etheric fluids.

Crowley, Aliester. Magick. Ed. John Symonds and Kenneth Grant. Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973. Crowley is a fascinating and often maddeningly provocative modern mage whose style is not easy for beginners but his works are classic and highly influential. The Thelemic tradition considers him to be a prophet of the "New Aeon." His approach combines medieval Solomonic conjuring, Qabbala, and Tantric Yoga. For much more info online about the Ordo Templi Orientis, the main Thelemic magical order, check out This book is a later edition of Magick in Theory and Practice.

Sutton, Maya Magee and Nicholas R. Mann. Druid Magic. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2000. A splendid introduction to the lore of druidry and its magick with many good exercises and references. Highly recommended for beginners or witches interested in learning more about Druidry.

Kraig, Donald Michael. Modern Magick: Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts. 2nd edition. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2000. Very popular and practical training manual in the ceremonial magick arena. Many good exercises to develop the powers of visualization.

King, Francis & Stephen Skinner. Techniques of High Magic. Rochester, VT: Destiny, 2000. A comprehensive introduction to "High Magick" in the ceremonial tradition, which is nevertheless fairly brief. This was one of the first magical books I stumbled upon and is both practical and historical.

DuQuette, Lon Milo. My Life with the Spirits: The Adventures of a Modern Magician. York Beach, Maine: Weiser, 1999. A humorous and sincere autobiography of one of the great followers of the Thelemic and Enochian systems of magick. Very good for the novice to get a feel for the dangers and realities of magical practice. A fun and refreshing read for the adept as well.

Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1993. Another highly influential modern mage in the "low magick" or folk tradition. His often simple and homespun formulas are refreshing and wise.

Regardie, Israel. The Golden Dawn: An Account of the Teachings, Rites and Ceremonies of the Order of the Golden Dawn. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 1982. The classic published papers of the most famous hermetic magical order of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The Golden Dawn approach to High Magick combines elements from Egyptian magick and religion, Qabbala, and Tarot. Too obscure for most beginners, but worth reading once you have some experience or to get a sense of the Golden Dawn approach.

Wicca and Witchcraft as Religion

Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979. A classic of Wicca in which magical techniques are placed in the context of the veneration of the Triple Moon Goddess and a feminist spirituality. Starhawk's first book grounded in the Gardnerian tradition and her own poetic theory of magic as metaphoric or symbolic action.

Farrar, Janet and Stewart. The Witches' Way: Principles, Rituals and Beliefs of Modern Witchcraft. Phoenix Publishing, 1984. Written by leaders in the modern Wiccan movement with backgrounds in the Alexandrian and Gardnerian systems of the Craft. A compendium of rituals and discussions of the Wiccan path written with great care and attention to the history of the modern renaissance of witchcraft.

The Practice of Modern Druidry

Greer, John Michael. The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth, Weiser, 2006. Written by an archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA) and a practicing magician with a background in ceremonial magic as well as modern Druidry, this book presents the core first degree teachings of the AODA, which is an American order rooted in traditional British Druidry and the Druid Revival. It offers esoteric concepts of traditonal British druid cosmology and particularly ways to increase one's awareness of Nature and connection to the natural world. An excellent introduction. Historical materials presented here are entirely reliable.

Carr-Gomm, Philip, ed. The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today. Thorsons, 1996. A balanced collection of essays by some of the premier druids of today, this book describes a spirituality rooted in nature, peace, and healing. Provides a good introduction to modern druid thought. The editor is chief of OBOD, the Order, of Bards, Ovates and Druids, an international druid order based in England. OBOD takes a philosophical, as opposed to "religious," approach to Druidry.

Ellison, Robert Lee (Skip), Rev. The Solitary Druid: Walking the Path of Wisdom and Spirit. Citadel, 2005. Written by an archdruid of ADF (Ar n'Draiocht Féin) for solitary practitioners of ADF's neo-pagan religion (which they call Druidism even though it might better be described as pan-proto-Indoeuropean neopaganism since it incorporated Roman, Norse, and other non-Celtic cultures). This book treats divination and communicating with the spirits of the land and the ancestors, rituals for the fire festivals and quarter days, some information about the historical record of the ancient druids, and resources on modern druid groups. A good introduction to beliefs held by ADF druids.

Meyers, Brendan Cathbad. The Mysteries of Druidry: Celtic Mysticism, Theory & Practice. New Page Books, 2006. Written by a young philosophy professor with experience in the Irish traditions of spirituality, this is a well-written and personal introduction to some probable ideas held by the ancient druids and recreated in the Druidry of today. It does not represent the teachings of an order but presents and examines much traditional British and Irish material. Highly recommended.

Sutton, Maya Magee and Nicholas R. Mann. Druid Magic. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn, 2000. A splendid introduction to the lore of druidry and its magick with many good exercises and references. Highly recommended for beginners or witches interested in learning more about Druidry.

The History of Magic

Butler, Elizabeth M. Ritual Magic. Sutton Press Stroud, 1998. A scholarly history of ritual magick covering shamanism, the Solomonic tradition and much else. Good for a grounding in objective study and historical perspective.

Thorndyke, Lynn. The History of Magic and Experimental Science. 8 vols. Columbia University Press, 1923. An early and very comprehensive historical study that links the history of magic and the history of science. A classic and highly interesting.

Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome. Ed. Bengt Ankarloo and Stuart Clark. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

The History of Witchcraft

Briggs, Robin. Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Content of European Witchcraft. Viking, 1996. A sociological study of witch hunts and the mentality of persecution that has long surrounded the witch as a cultural figure of social deviance. Not a magical study, but worth reading for its perspective on the place of witchcraft in Western culture. (The companion volume to the "Witchsmeller Pursuivant" episode of Black Adder.)

Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford University Press, 1999. A careful and balanced historian, Hutton has genuine respect for his subject matter and has done an incredible amount of research into actual primary source material. That is to say, he has analyzed actual documentary records of witches and cunning people as far back as it goes, which is not as far as many in the field suppose. He links the modern theories of witchcraft and the "Old Religion" as survivals of European paganism and Goddess worship to the writings of Margaret Murray and Robert Graves, whose historical methods have not been accepted by academic historians. His painstaking attempts to reconstruct the lives and creative endeavors of Gerald Gardner, Alex Sanders and other leaders of the Wiccan religion in the 1960s and 70s make fascinating reading. His discussion of the additions made to their work by radical feminists in the U.S.A. is also illuminating. None of this history is intended to "de-bunk" Wicca but it is approached with strict historical rigor by a historian with keen instinct for interpreting facts logically. He is not directly concerned with the spiritual realities of magical practice, but with the lives of real people, their sources of inspiration, and their creative use of imagination, all too often mis-represented as historical tradition.

Murray, Margaret. The God of the Witches. Oxford University Press, 1952. (orig. 1931) Perhaps the single most influential book in the foundation of the modern myth of witchcraft as a survival of pagan, pre-Christian religion. Murray's thesis became accepted by many authors and intellectuals of the mid-twentieth century and was used again and again as the basis for the claims made by Gerald Gardner and others for a witch religion (as opposed to the magical practices of witchcraft). An important book, but balance it with Hutton's Triumph of the Moon.

The History of Ancient Druids and Celtic Culture

Ellis, Peter Berresford. The Druids. Eerdmans, 1995. One of the best general overviews of the Druids by a modern historian. Very readable and balanced.

Ross, Anne. Druids: Preachers of Immortality. Tempus, 1999. Ross is an archaeologist who is also familiar with the vernacular medieval texts about the ancient druids. Her presentation here is balanced and thoughtful covering the Classical commentators on the druids, archaeological evidence for human, animal, and other material sacrifices, the cult of the head, and the transition from ancient Celtic paganism to medieval Christianity.

Ellis, Peter Berresford. The Celtic Empire.

Piggot, Stuart. The Druids.

Spence, Lewis. The Magic Arts in Celtic Britain. London: Constable, 1995. (Orig. Rider, 1945.) An excellent study of magick among the ancient Celts, showing the intimate connection between magick and myths. Spence is considered unreliable by some partly because of his willingness to entertain speculations about lost civilizations such as Atlantis and connections between the Mayans and the megalithic culture that predated the Celts in Britain. I find him very interesting nevertheless.

The History of Modern Druidry & the Druid Revival

Bonewits, Isaac. Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism. Collects considerable historical information about the ancient druids and about the development of religious Druidism in America during the second half of the twentieth century, particularly the Reformed Druids of North America and Bonewits's own Ar nDraiocht Féin.

Carr-Gomm, Philip, ed. The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today. Thorsons, 1996. A balanced collection of essays by some of the premier druids of the 1990's, this book describes a spirituality rooted in nature, peace, and healing. Provides a good introduction to modern druid thought. The editor is chief of OBOD, the Order, of Bards, Ovates and Druids, an international druid order based in England. OBOD takes a philosophical, as opposed to "religious," approach to Druidry.

Hutton, Ronald. Witches, Druids, and King Arthur. Hambledon and London, 2003. A collection of essays by druid and academic historian, Prof. Ronald Hutton. I highly recommend this book for its look at historical aspects of modern Druidry and Paganism. The final essay in the book, titled "Living with Witchcraft," is an extended meditation on the difficulties of conducting the research that went into Triumph of the Moon. Hutton considers the role of mythmaking in spiritual movements and in our relationship to the Land.

Nichols, Ross. In the Grove of the Druids: The Druid Teachings of Ross Nichols. Ed. Philip Carr-Gomm. Watkins, 2002. A collection of essays by Nichols, the founder of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD), published posthumously. A good example of twentieth-century druid ideas in the period of transition from fraternal-Masonic Druidry to Neo-pagan Drudiry. These essays are not to be taken as either historically accurate as regards the ancient druids, nor even necessarily historically accurate as regards the history of the Druid Revival. They represent ideas in circulation within Traditional British Druidry of the twentieth century and particularly the ideas of the author. The book includes essays on druid teachings, esoterica, Christianity, and mythology.

Primary Historical Sources of Western Ceremonial Magic

The works included in this section have had great influence on magical practice since the 19th century when many of them were translated into English and studied anew. They are likely to be misleading to the beginner without the guidance of an experienced teacher. The term "Western Magic" here indicates those magical systems that evolved in Europe and spread through the empires of European countries. These sources are all translations into English.

The Heptameron.

Mathers, S.L. MacGregor, ed. & trans. The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage. Wellingborough, England: Aquarian Press, 1976. Another famous medieval grimoire dealing with conjuration of spirits and the preparation of the aspiring mage for contact with his "Holy Guardian Angel"

Mathers, S.L. MacGregor, ed. & trans. The Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Solomonis). North Beach, Maine: Weiser, 1989. Perhaps the most famous and influential Solomonic grimoire translated and edited by Mathers, one of the major figures of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Dee, John. The Diaries of John Dee. Ed. Edward Fenton. Oxfordshire: Day Books, 1998. A scholarly edition of Dee's extant diaries giving insight into the workings and life of an Elizabethan magus. Dee's angelic magic influenced the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and other modern practitioners.

Dee, John. A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for Many Years Between Dr. John Dee and Some Spirits. 1659. Expanded Facsimile Edition. Ed. Meric Casaubon. Intro by Lon Milo DuQuette. Magickal Childe Publishing, 1992. The classic published version of part of Dee's diaries dealing with the angelic magick later called Enochian.

Henson, Mitch, ed. Lemegeton: The Complete Lesser Key of Solomon. Jacksonville, FL: Metatron Books, 1999. One of the most infamous daemonic grimoires in the Solomonic tradition, quasi-Jewish and pseudo-kabbalistic. Interesting mostly for insight into the elaborate use of dramatic techniques to stimulate magical vision.

Add: Curse tablets

In addition to these books, many other fine guides to modern
Wicca, Druidry, and Ceremonial magick can be found online at Magus Books: