A Book List for Contemporary Paganism

These are a series of book lists, by topic, that I recommend when asked about Pagan books. When there is a great deal of overlap, the book is listed in more than one location.  This list is eclectic in nature, for the modern (revival and inspiration-derived Pagan), rather than geared for someone interested in reconstructionism or a purely devotional polytheistic point of view.

This list is a work in progress, particularly in terms of links, which connect to Amazon, though some books may be available in the public domain for free. It is geared towards forming a widely-read awareness of the diversity of Pagan paths…and there are plenty of good books that I haven’t added yet!  Also, the categorization/best use of the books is purely my opinion…

Books with a * are personal favorites.

Introductory Books:
This is the list that I recommend for anyone interested in Paganism. I recommend these books for a combination of reasons–some because they are a well written basic introductory overview or because they are widely read among Pagans, others because they are well researched histories or historically important (or some combination thereof). At the very least, this list will ensure an introduction to most of the main traditions, the overall history, and prevalent themes within contemporary Paganism.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Paganism by Carl McColman
Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-centered Religions by River and Joyce Higgenbotham*
Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today by Margot Adler*
A History of Witchcraft by Jeffery b. Russell
A World Full of Gods: an Inquiry into Polytheism by John Michael Greer*
God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism by Jonathan Kirsch
The Earth, The Gods and The Soul: A History of Pagan Philosophy from the Iron Age to the 21st Century by Brendan Myers*

Forging Your Path:
IMO, these books are probably best intended for individuals that are likely to remain solitary or to practice outside of an established tradition and are interested in a variety of perspectives on practices, with which to create their own.

The Circle Within by Diane Sylvan*
A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith
The Way of Four: Creating Elemental Balance in Your Life by Deborah Lipp
Witchcrafting by Phyllis Curott
Ritual: A Druid’s Guide to Life, Love & Inspiration by Emma Restall Orr*
Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans by Ceisiwr Serith
Crafting a Daily Practice by T. Thorne Coyle*

Bioregional and Earth-based Spirituality:

Landscape and Memory by Simon Schama
Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold*
The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living by Fritjof Capra
The Way of Natural History by Thomas Lowe Fleischner*
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver*
Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella Meadows
Nature and the Human Soul by Bill Plotkin

Researched Histories:
The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory by Cynthia Eller*
Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton*
Stations of the Sun by Ronald Hutton
Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain by Ronald Hutton
A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones
Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath by Carlo Ginzburg
Pagan Celtic Britain by Anne Ross

Evolution and/or Histories of Religion:
Supernatural Selection by Matt Rosano*

Historically Significant:
Some of these books are literature-based, others are largely discredited, but all of them have played an important role in the development of contemporary Paganism and are worth reading.
Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner
The White Goddess by Robert Graves
Aradia, Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk*
The Sea Priestess by Dion Fortune*
The God of the Witches by Margaret Murray

Witchcraft Miscellanea:

Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorne Coyle*
Magic on the Breath by Tylluan Penry*
Instant Magick by Christopher Penczak
Power Spellcraft for Life by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Embracing the Moon by Yasmine Galenorn

 

Wicca (Modern Eclectic):
Buckland’s Big Blue
Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner
The Witches Bible, The Witches God and The Witches Goddess, all by Stewart and Janet Farrar
Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner and Living Wicca, both by Scott Cunningham
Wicca Craft by Gerina Dunwich
Wicca: The Old Religion In the New Millennium by Vivianne Crowley

Introductory Reading for Hellenic and Roman Traditions:
Greek Religion by Walter Burkett
Romans and their Gods in the Age of Augustus by R. M. Ogilvie
An Introduction to Roman Religion by John Schied

Introductory Reading on Druidry:
Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain by Ronald Hutton
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer*
A Brief history of the Druids by Peter Beresford Ellis
The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles by Ronald Hutton
The World of the Celts by Simon James
The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today by Phillip Carr Gomm
The Apple Branch by Alexei Kondratiev
Ritual: A Druid’s Guide to Life, Love & Inspiration by Emma Restall Orr
Glamoury: Magic of the Celtic Green World by Steve Blamires
In search of the Indo-Europeans by J. P. Mallory
The Book of Druidry by Ross Nichols

Goddess Traditions:
Living in the Lap of the Goddess by Cynthia Eller
The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory by Cynthia Eller
When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone (not the most historically accurate book, but indicative of the matriarchal myth and good to be familiar with)

The Wheel of the Year:
Stations of the Sun by Ronald Hutton
Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life by Pauline Campanelli
The Pagan Book of Days: A Guide to the Festivals, Traditions, and Sacred Days of the Year by Nigel Pennick

Other Reading Lists:
Gróa’s List of Recommended Heathen Reading
Hellenismos Reading List
Another Hellenismos Reading List
Nova Roma’s Reading Lists
Celtic Recon Reading List
Reading list for Naturalistic Paganism
My booklist for Pagan families
My booklist for Kitchen Witchery

 

…and don’t forget to check back, this list is always growing

(last updated 9/18/2014)

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3 thoughts on “A Book List for Contemporary Paganism”

  1. What plugin do you make use of to handle the social buttons?
    Do you add those manually or what? Every single one I’ve tried using does not work and leads to a busted page. I am aware I’m doing something drastically wrong.

    • thalassa said:

      Hmmm…the one’s I’ve tried work for me. Its possible that some of them are old links. I’ll try to get through and update the page when I have more time!

  2. really en joying your self description. did I miss what you are studying?

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