Somewhere along my rocky life path this summer, I tripped and stumbled into witchcraft. It proved a soft landing; I’ve never absorbed research as voraciously or retained new information so thoroughly. It’s as if I’ve found myself intimately familiar with the chapter headings of a newly-discovered text. I suppose it helps that I’m naturally drawn to ritual and I tend to extract meaning from every sight and situation—combine that with my spiritual mediumship abilities and inclination towards, ehem, darkness and I’m realizing I’ve pretty much been a semi-formed clay lump o’ witch all my life.
I’m still very much carving and molding myself into a full-fledged witchcraft practitioner (craftitioner?), but I thought I’d share some of the beginner resources that’ve been invaluable to me so far. I’ve worked hard to be intentional in pulling these, but I recognize that I’m still learning on that front. There are many people out there solely looking to profit from spirituality or appropriating others’ practices, and I’ll continue working to avoid engaging with those who don’t serve the greater good.
Some of these are broad informational primers, and others dive into one or two important aspects of witchcraft (like tarot, astrology, or herbalism); I started with the wider-reaching stuff, then pursued the aspects that called to me, but there’s really no right way in. Consider this a sampler of many more mystical musings to come…
Angel Numbers: I pick up Kyle Gray’s short-n-sweet guide at minimum twice a day; once you become aware of repeating numbers in your life, you see them constantly.
The Complete Grimoire: This has been the most helpful resource I’ve found for setting up my Book of Shadows (a witch’s daily journal) and Grimoire (a final record of tested and completed spells and rituals). I also like The Green Witch’s Grimoire. I’ll go into greater detail about how I set up my Book of Shadows in a future post.
Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs: This is one of those books everyone recommends, for good reason—it’s an incredible resource for familiarizing yourself with the myriad properties of herbs.
Learning the Tarot: Joan Bunning’s card readings and spread exercises are my go-to resources as I dive into tarot (which I’m finding myself more drawn to with each passing day). I also like Rachel Pollack’s The New Tarot Handbook for more concise content. I’ll write a separate post about my favorite decks and more in the near future.
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences: I reach for this daily; it’s an absolutely integral tome.
Llewellyn’s Little Book of Moon Spells: I started my practice by following the moon phases, and this helped me mark them with intention. Some of the spells are complicated and require hard-to-find ingredients; I just skip those.
The Modern Witchcraft Spell Book: Until I feel more confident creating my own spells, this is my go-to guide—it combines meditation and intentionality with simple and helpful rituals.
Money Magic: The Money Witch (aka Jessie Susannah Karnatz) somehow makes a touchy subject both intersectional and punk.
A Mystical Practical Guide to Magic: Aliza Einhorn’s bubbly, conversational writing style is really refreshing and readable—this book is heavily tarot-based if you want more on that front.
Witchery: Juliet Diaz generously shares her incredible generational knowledge; this primer is an excellent overview of the craft, though the spells are a bit advanced.
Astrology of the Week Ahead: Astrologer Chani Nicholas is like your cool, smart, tuned-in big sister—I don’t know how I ever survived without her weekly insight and guidance relating to planetary movements and their influences.
The Middle-Aged Witch: Eli Ro’s wisdom and advice has been invaluable to me—each episode is bite-sized and packed with information, and Eli is a thoughtful and approachable voice in the witchcraft world.
CHANI: If you find yourself taken with Chani Nicholas, this app expands on her podcast, combining astrology with meditations, rituals, journal prompts, and more.
Labyrinthos: An excellent beginner tarot app that also offers classes.
My Moon Phase: If you get sick of Googling “what’s the current moon phase?” (couldn’t be me) or lose track of your paper guide (apologies to my pristine Magic of I planner), this is a well-designed reference.
The Pattern: This app serves up freaky accurate daily readings related to your birth chart (as well as those of your friends and partners!) It also gives insightful information during major moon phases so you can sync up your rituals, spells, and intentions.
Choosing Keeping: If you want to splurge (and I mean splurge) on a Book of Shadows notebook and pen, this is my very favorite stationery store. The way I see it: if I’m going to be writing on/with something every day, I want it to delight me and feel like a worthy distillation of my energy. I’m privileged to be able to honor that wish by shopping here.
Earth Medicine Herbals: It’s really tough to find sustainably-sourced dried herb bundles for smoke cleansing, but it’s important to know where your ritual herbs come from. Beyond my local sources, I’ve found that this California-based shop makes beautiful pieces.
HausWitch: My very favorite online witch shop (an extension of their Salem, MA storefront, naturally)—sleek and millennial and beautifully curated!
Learn Tarot: This is a handy snapshot of Joan Bunning’s Learning the Tarot book that I listed above; it includes all her card interpretations, exercises, spreads, and more.
Llewellyn: This is pretty much the holy grail of metaphysical books and resources. Prepare to fall down a rabbit hole.
Mad Lavender: Another excellent source for herb bundles, lavender buds and oil, and candles. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting farm owner Adrienne, and she’s a tarot reader and very simpatico practitioner.
Mithras Candles: These made-to-order beeswax candles are perfect for ritual work, plus their vegetable-based dye makes them safe for you and the environment. I’m not always this fancy with my candles (I use these more for meditation, rituals, and anointments)—for spells that require one to be burned down completely, I use a birthday candle to cut time and costs.
Pacific Botanicals: This is a great resource for dried herbs; I try to source mine locally at Well Sweep Herb Farm, Tooth of the Lion Farm, or Bluestem Botanicals to support nearby small businesses. I also love The Herbal Scoop, Healing Spirits Herb Farm, and Foster Farm Botanicals.
Do you have any questions about my witchcraft journey so far, or favorite resources you’d like to share? Drop ‘em in the comments!