victorian pentacle necklace

Introduction to Paganism




Paganism For Beginners
an introduction to natural magick




I've often heard it said that there are as many reasons for becoming Pagan as there are Pagans! For me, it started in childhood with a feeling of kinship with the natural world... a belief that divinity was not something apart from us but something within all of us... humans, animals, birds, plants... within all life and within the Earth Herself. Later I found out that there was a name for this belief system: Pantheism. Other Pagan belief systems include the many varieties of witchcraft one of which is Wicca (trying saying that three times fast LOL!) There are also several Wiccan sects including Gardenerian and Alexandrian. Other Pagan paths are Shamanism, Asatru, Family Traditions, Celtic Traditionalism, Druidism, Strega, Santeria, Voudon, Ceremonial Magick and Mystery Traditions. There are many more. Some Pagans believe in the divine pair, God and Goddess. Some honor a pantheon or group of deities, some do not believe in god/dess personified but hold that nature itself is a creative presence. Some Pagans are eclectic and not allied with any one established belief system. One thing Pagans do not do is worship the Devil or Satan, who is actually a Christian figure, the opponent or adversary of the Christian God.

Pagans respect and love the natural world of which we are all a part. Sexual parity and personal spiritual expression are also usually firmly upheld. We try to live our lives attuned to the cycles of Nature and often celebrate the turning of the seasons and mark life passages like birth, marriage (handfasting) and death with solitary or group rituals. These rites can be held outdoors or in... in fact, anywhere! Man-made churches are not necessary because the entire Universe is a sacred place. They may involve singing, dancing, drumming, quiet meditation, prayer, healing, chanting, or magick and energy workings... spells... which are just a natural extension of the Pagan belief that spiritual practice can beneficially change physical reality. Joyce & River Higginbotham put it this way in Paganism: an introduction to Earth-Centered Religions: "Most Pagans believe that all parts of the universe, whether "animate" or "inanimate" are connected at very deep levels that extend beyond the boundaries of space-time as we know them. Because of this interconnectedness, many Pagans believe they are able to interact with the Universe and the Divine as co-creators." In other words, we as individuals and groups can effect the world around us by having the sincere intent to do so. Spells can also be performed on their own, for any benevolent purpose. Most Pagans will have nothing to do with magickal workings whose aim is to control or harm someone else, believing that anything you do returns to you.

I don't mind at all if you'd like to skip right to the book list but most Pagans on the web also like to talk about their own personal belief systems... we're a communicative bunch!... and this Pagan is no exception :-) I'm a Solitary Eclectic Pantheist but seem to have more in common with Wiccans than with scientific pantheists who tend not to believe in magick :-) I believe... I'm also a seeker, believing that The Whole Truth About Life, the Universe and Everything is a process, not a destination; my personal philosophy is constantly evolving. There are always new things to be learned from Although I'm not Wiccan some of my favorite authors are. I have found much common ground with Wicca... respect for Nature, belief in Magick, and honoring the seasons of the year & the phases of the Moon, for example. One of the great things about Pagans is the way we respect and learn from one another. I believe that anyone who is attracted to a Pagan path will benefit from reading (and re-reading :-) any of these books.


Here are some of my current favorite introductory books on Paganism
and living in communion with Nature and our Magickal Universe.
Click on the title to learn more about the book.


Hands On Paganism: How-to Books

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
by Scott Cunningham
The essential primer from one of the best known authors on Wicca.
Focusing on the importance of individualism in your spiritual path,
Scott clearly & eloquently explains the Sabbats, rituals, altars, tools & other Wiccan basics
and includes prayers, blessings, invocations and chants from his own Book of Shadows.
This was the first book I read on the subject and it's still one of my favorites.

A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic
by Marian Green
This classic book is accessible enough for novices but there's also much to inspire those who have been walking a Pagan path for years. Marion's obvious love for God/dess and the natural world comes through on each page. This book is meant to be to be read slowly and savored... the 13 moons refer to one turn of the Wheel of the Year... and each chapter ends with exercises to expand your mind, heart and spirit & increase your magickal capabilities.

A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches Handbook
by Janet Farrar & Stewart Farrar
This is actually two books in one. The Witches Way provides in-depth training in the philosophy of Wicca, while Eight Sabbats for Witches gives a detailed introduction to the history, lore and ceremonial practices associated with each of the major Wiccan holidays. The Farrars' writing style iw warm and accessible, while their knowledge of the old ways is thorough and perceptive.

Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft
by Raymond Buckland
A true workbook, this guide includes 15 lessons, each of which ends with questions designed to reinforce the material and assist the student in mastering the basics of the Craft. There's even a set of examination questions in the back of the book (with a separate section for the answers) This blends traditional British Craft with a more contemporary, self-initiatory approach, making it useful for both solitaries and groups.

The Craft: A Witch's Book of Shadows
by Dorothy Morrison, introduced by Raymond Buckland
This well-rounded introduction to Wicca contains highly detailed account of spells, wand skills, sample blessings, altar setups, invocations, and examples of how to use a cup, pentacle, cauldron, and athame. There's also a Craft calendar, listing celebrations and rituals for every month and season of the year. Also recommended is The Craft Companion, a workbook that will help you create your own personal Book of Shadows.

To Ride a Silver Broomstick: New Generation Witchcraft
by Silver Ravenwolf
Though it's short on history, this is a fine practical, hands-on guidebook for the beginner, whether solitary or part of a coven. It covers the basics of the Craft-- the Sabbats, consecrating, charging, developing psychic abilities, finding yrou magical name, setting up an altar and briefly delves into more advanced concepts such as astral projection and telepathy. Ravenwolf's warm, friendly personality comes through in the text, giving this book a big-sisterly feel.

Natural Magic
by Doreen Valiente
A beautifully written classic full of heart and practical wisdom from a lady who trained with the legendary Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca. Doreen believed that magic is all around us and all we need is the ability to see it, understand it, and apply it. Whether you're new to the Pagan path or having been walking it a while, read this book... it will inspire you!

Shamanism: As a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life
by Thomas Dale Cowan
A wonderful book for anyone who feels drawn to the Shamanic path or would like to integrate Shamanic teachings into their own spiritual practice. Learn about power animals & spirit teachers... visionary techniques for exploring the extraordinary in everyday life... and the journey to an ancestral shaman to recover lost knowledge. Thomas also encourages you to remember and reclaim your own inherent shamanic sensibilities that we all knew as children in songs, secret hiding places, power spots, and imaginary (or maybe not so imaginary!) power figures.

Medicine for the Earth: How to Transform Personal and Environmental Toxins
by Sandra Ingerman
Citing the miraculous cures accomplished with natural wells imbued with spiritual energy Sandra believes that we can reverse environmental pollution through spiritual methods. In this book, she coaches readers through inward and outward preparation for performing transmutation, the channeling of spiritual energy to create positive physical effects. Learn how to prepare for and create sacred space through ceremonial ritual alone or in community with others.
An inspiring and empowering book.



Exploring Pagan Paths

A Woman's Guide to the Earth Traditions
Exploring Wicca, Shamanism, Paganism, Native America and Celtic Spirituality
by Vivianne Crowley
This is a a wonderful overview of the many flavors of Pagan belief, presented with wisdom and respect for the underlying spiritual truths contained in each. If you're not sure which of the Pagan paths is drawing you or would just like to learn more about your fellow Pagans, this book is a good startinig point. And despite the title, men will enjoy it too :-)

Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions
by Joyce Higginbotham & River Higginbotham
An excellent introduction to a myriad of Pagan paths including Wicca, Witchcraft, Pantheism, Druidism, Goddess Traditions, Ceremonial Magick and Asatru. You'll learn a lot about Pagan beliefs and practices and you'll also find discussion questions, journal exercises, visualizations and magickal workings to help you discover which Pagan beliefs and traditions resonate with you. This would also make a thoughtful gift for non-Pagan friends and family members who are curious about earth-centered spirituality. It's one of my favorites.

The Pagan Book of Days: A Guide to the Festivals, Traditions, and Sacred Days of the Year
by Nigel Pennick
This fascinating book is like an ancient cultural and religious almanac combining Celtic, Roman, Egyptian and other traditions. There's literally something to celebrate every day!

The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess
by Starhawk
A poetic text combining intelligent scholarship with beautifully written, enjoyable prose. The author shows how Witchcraft is, first and foremost, a way to love the Goddess. She tends to regard the Goddess as the primary form of the Divine, but this book is by no means for women only. On the contrary, Starhawk emphasizes that Wicca is for everyone regardless of sex, race or sexual orientation. It was hard to decide whether to list this book here or the "how to" category as it's full of useful exercises, rituals and visualizations, making it a valuable spiritual resource that continues to be useful for seasoned as well as neophyte Wiccans.

Drawing Down the Moon
Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers & Other Pagans in America Today
by Margot Adler
This brilliant book combines keen psychological insight with a journalist's ability to report on complex material in a clear, easy-to-understand way. Adler's deft unraveling of the Pagan knot explores not only the spiritual principles that undergird the movement, but considers its larger social, political and cultural ramifications as well. Wiccans, Druids, Egyptian and Greek revivalists, non-Wiccan Goddess communities, the Church of All Worlds and even satirical groups like the Erisians and Discordians are covered.

Voices from the Circle: The Heritage of Western Paganism
by Prudence Jones & Caitlin Matthews (editors)
Several leading figures in the Pagan community including Phillip Carr-Gomm, R.J. Stewart and Vivianne Crowley contributed to this collection of essays exploring various facets of modern Nature spirituality. Shamanism, Druidry, Goddess Worship, Wicca, and traditional Witchcraft are all represented here in articles exploring the dynamics of initiation, the wisdom of animals, and the magickal symbolism of the circle.

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft
by Ronald Hutton
A brilliantly written, thoroughly researched and carefully balanced history of Wicca, that succeeds both as an academic treatise as well as a useful reference for Craft practitioners. Hutton considers numerous sources of the modern Craft, including Freemasonry, Occultism, the village wise woman tradition, and changing attitudes toward Goddess spirituality and Paganism in 19th and 20th century Britain. He then focuses particularly on Gerald Gardner before documenting the many public Wiccan figures who emerged after Gardner. A wonderful overview of Wicca.

History of Pagan Europe
by Prudence Jones, with Nigel Pennick
A comprehensive study not only of pre-Christian European spirituality but also of the many ways in which Pagan culture, which culminates in a consideration of the modern Pagan renaisance. The book examines all the major streams of indiginous European religion including Classical (Greek and Roman), Celtic, Nordic and Baltic forms of Paganism.

Witchcraft and the Web: Weaving Pagan Traditions Online
by M. Macha Nightmare

The Urban Primitive: Paganism in the Concrete Jungle
by Raven Kaldera & Tannin Schwarzstein

Tarot Cards & Pathworking Decks & Books

Motherpeace Tarot: Round Deck & Book Set
A Way to the Goddess Through Myth, Art, and Tarot
by Karen Vogel & Vicki Noble

Tarot Of The Old Path Deck
by Sylvia Gainsford & Howard Rodway

Tarot of the Old Path: Instruction Book
by Howard Rodway

The Robin Wood Tarot
by Robin Wood

The Sacred Circle Tarot: A Celtic Pagan Journey
by Anna Franklin & Paul Mason

Goddess Tarot Deck
by Kris Waldherr

Goddess Tarot Workbook
by Kris Waldherr

Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot: Discover the Magic in Nature
box set: cards & book
by Poppy Palin

The Fairy Ring
box set: cards & book
by Anna Franklin & Paul Mason

Everyday Tarot Magic: Meditation & Spells
by Dorothy Morrison

A Magical Course in Tarot: Reading the Cards in a Whole New Way
by Michele Morgan & Rebecca Richards

Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot Deck
by Aleister Crowley

Book of Thoth
by Aleister Crowley

Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards
by Doreen Virtue

Magical Spell Cards: A 44-Card Deck and Instruction Booklet
by Lucy Cavendish

CDs ~ Pagan Music ~ Goddess Songs ~ Ritual Chants

A Circle Is Cast
by Libana

Chants: Ritual Music
by Reclaiming and Friends (Starhawk)

Goddess Chant
by Shawna Carol

Ancient Mother
by Robert Gass & On Wings Of Song

She Changes
by Moving Breath

Travelling the Sacred Sound Current
Divine Chants & Sacred Tones for Healing & Meditation
by Crystal Voices

Circle Round and Sing
Songs for Family Celebrations in the Pagan Traditions
by Anne Hill

The Best of Pagan Song
by Various Artists


From A Circle Is Cast by Libana


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