I know there are many more out there, but over the years, I’ve discovered that I find most inspiration from them and I use them regularly, circulating them through the seasons, checking the corresponding chapters before the season/month begins. I’ve found it to be the best way to learn while keeping things moving for there are many things that go through the entire year and traditions that if you miss can mess up preps for the next and so on.
I’m not adding Buckland books or others that I only tend to pick up, when I feel like reading extra or checking for info for specific spells that are not part of day-to-day life. Although I am convinced they should be in the shelf, they are not always what I consider the best to integrate in circle of year. Cookbooks are in place of honor. I’m kitchen witch by heart and knowing how to cook means you also know how to mix, blend, clean and keep your life going.
Although, this is my list, the way I have put it together on my shelf is that I have together books about local traditions, religious information, witchcraft information, how to identify herbs, cookbooks to know the local food and some good celebration feasts and about daily life, when you really need to do something fun.
For Wheel of the Year:
- Magical Household by David Harrington and Scott Cunningham – I am household oriented person. Your house is your castle and keeping it safe and going is the one wisdom women have always carried.
- Ancient Ways: Reclaiming the Pagan Tradition by Pauline Campanelli and Dan Campanelli – I love the book, because their year of traditions is very similar to ours with very little differences! So they are always inspiring read for the holidays!
- Wheel of the Year: Living the Magickal Life by Pauline Campanelli and Dan Campanelli – Month by month way of pagan life. Very close to how the rhythms are set here as well, so I love to read it by months and add some of the suggestions in daily life too.
- Estide (tšuudide) hingestatud ilm : teadaandmise raamat by Aleksander Heintalu (Heintalu has put together a study of tšuuds’ (that’s Estonians definition in tribal names in history) possible version of pagan world view. I love it – the calendar, the runic lore, the religious comparing with others close tribes)
- Eesti rahvakalender ( I, II, III, IV, V) by Mall Hiiemäe (Estonian folk calender traditions through the year) – We have very strong folk traditions we follow. Even if you are pagan, who follows Greek gods or pantheon of other land’s deities, holding on to your roots is important. So to me it is utmost important that next to all the general knowledge that is used around the world, I also have extensive library on local traditions so I can mix them (if I can) or follow. Local traditions are based on the natural rhythm of Nature, so the best way to get your holidays to fit in your life is to learn to see the signs and learn what they have similar and then mix them if wished so. Religion that is out of touch with reality is dead religion.
- Ilma ennustamine läbi talurahva tarkus by different authors (how to guess weather using old folk wisdom) – We always had the book at home and we kind of humored ourselves by keeping an eye on the weather according to the information we found in the book. Know your surroundings ;).
- Eesti rahvatoite by Silvia Kalvik – Estonian national foods. Rather than doing some exotic dishes for holidays, I like to follow the old recipes and doing them like my grandpa and grandma taught me. Yes, it’s nice to make cakes by mixing something out of a can, but to know how to make delicious dishes from your granny’s house – now that’s art! Plus it sort of has turned out that way that in certain times you eat certain foods. That book helps to keep track on what’s in season and offers pretty good diet (for working people, not to those, who seek to be slender) that fits with the weather – porridges ans sausages in winter, creamy egg dishes for spring, cottage cheese, sour milk for summer and all sorts of stuff for autumn.
- Rites of Passage: The Pagan Wheel of Life by Pauline Campanelli and Dan Campanelli – Not really a seasonal reading, but you never know, when your life takes the turns that lead new seasons in your personal growth. I keep it together with the rest of Campanelli books.
- Wicca: A Year and a Day – 366 Days of Spiritual Practice in the Craft of the Wise by Timothy Roderick – I tried and it drove me nuts. I can’t go through a year by faking the year, so his style didn’t work for me. However, as he has some cute ideas and basics (by now with my notes added on those empty sides) neatly holiday by holiday, I like to check back to it again and again. I would still recommend getting it if you plan your Year and a Day, but instead of using it as your base, rather use it to do things according to the real year. Works out much nicer :).
- Wicca / Living Wicca / The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews by Scott Cunningham – I am so glad I got this! Well, I would say there is like big chunk missing or between the info and actually following it daily. I wouldn’t have payed for them separately. However, I am glad I bought the 3-in-1 book for I like it much better than Buckland’s. <- Which I also have and sneak in for some info, but it’s a bit extreme for me. I’m not Wiccan though. But the reality is – most pagan traditions share the same traditions.
- Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual by James Green – If you ever plan to take herbs up more seriously or plan to harvest most yourself, I seriously recommend getting that book! It gives less info on what some of the herbs do, but it gives fantastic info on how to get the best out of them and how to make lotions-potions that actually work on the body. Plus information on some things you ought to avoid. Drying, distillation, mixing, teas. Not meant as magical incenses, oils and brews, but if you learn to use that book, you’ll never have problem mixing anything you need.
- Eesti taimede kukeaabits by Toomas Kukk – ABC of plants of Estonia. Add one in your pagan shelf! Any of them that talks about your local flora and helps to identify them. That abundant load of herbal knowledge is useless unless you know what they look like or where to find them or if they are actually poisonous. Jew for example is used in some oil mixes – lovely smell! – but if you plan to go to make it yourself you ought to be warned you can easily kill yourself as most of that plant is poisonous as hell.
- The Encyclopedia of Mythology by Arthur Cortterell – I like pretty pictures and good info. Can’t say it is 100 percent perfect, but out of all the books I have on mythology, I like to go to this one for quick info. Less nowadays that I know, who works for me, but as a place to begin my search – it is very good.
- Keywords for the Crowley Tarot by Hajo Banzhaf – I am tarot user, so I like a good informal book near by. So far the best information covering everything from learning to make spreads to what they mean and why.
Yup, these 14 are my main library. I have many others, but this is what I use throughout the year, which I used for my year and a day. But it really has most of what I need. As you notice, I don’t have any meditation books, any magical herbal manuals or A-to-Z books of correspondences. That’s because I don’t think following one man’s list in order to complete the task. Also because most of them are meant for America or English speaker lands, but touch very little of flora and fauna I live in. No point of getting something that is 2/3rd pointless as you won’t get your hands on those plants anyway. Can’t say I’m without any info as we have something which I very much wish would also be available in English – Estonian plants (with some folk information, descriptions, uses and warnings) and Herba, a historical Estonian folk medicine botanical information database (including folk belief like “against elves” and local plant names which carry often the religious purposes of the flowers). Plus seriously large information databases on local belief systems, traditions, astronomical-religious studies and folk religions.
If you plan to take up your Year and a Day.
I highly recommend to take some time before you begin. Buy yourself few books (doesn’t have to be monster list – you’ll get there eventually) that cover the following topics:
- local tradition book that covers the year – so you can see how it has been done traditionally and fix your celebrations so it will fit the natural rhythm of your surroundings.
- how to identify flora and fauna – if you don’t know milk comes from a cow, now would be time to learn ;).
- how to grow herbs on your window or in garden – you’ll end up learning and doing it anyway and that info never hurts to have.
- some book that gives you mythological overview of different deities – at least where to begin.
- study books (if there are any) of the religion you are most interested
- some more advanced book of the religion you’re most interested – if you are faster learner, you’d like some extra reading. Plus more info answers the questions you get when reading the starter books
- A good cookbook that covers basics or gives recipes throughout the year – celebrations go hand-in-hand with food and being able to make your own dishes means you can celebrate even when the local shop doesn’t carry honey cake when you’re planning to offer it to your gods.
For the last word – go make a library card. Although I do like to have certain books at home by hand, there is major load of books you just want to read, but won’t be able to afford or plan ever to be part in. Nerdy? Yeah, well, welcome to our religion – you need more than one book for good education and unless you have all the money in the world, be wise. Search old book stores or search for Internet Sacred Text Archives.