Witch Tips: Starting a Magical Library

I love books so much I am making them my career as a librarian.  They are an investment of space and knowledge.  When it comes to collecting books on Paganism, Wicca, witchcraft, and related activities (tarot, herbs, etc.), there are so many to choose from on such a wide range of topics.  But if you live in an apartment or have a small income, you can’t buy every book off Amazon.  How do you proceed, though, if you really want to grow a working Pagan, Wiccan, or magical library?

  • Think of the Amount of Space You Have: I have 2 drawers in my dorm room and 1 drawer at home to store all my Pagan things.  That includes books, herbs, incense, candles, spells, etc.  Until that changes, I have to keep that set space in mind when making any purchases, especially books.  
  • Start Small:  Buy one book at a time.  Read each book and finish it before buying a new one.  This method will not only ensure you read what you have, but also keep you from over spending.
  • If Possible, Buy Local: Not every community has a local new age store.  But if you are fortunate enough to be in a town or region with access to one, it is an invaluable resource.  For one, it is good for your local economy.  Also, the more you frequent a shop, the more the staff will get to know you and perhaps can give good recommendations.
  • Amazon, etc.: Internet shopping can also be a fantastic way to obtain books.  It can also be addicting.  My big word of caution is you should do research on the book you want to buy if you have never read or seen it before.  That way, you know what you are getting.

Now, what to put in your library?  It’s maddening for me to say it’s up to you, but that is how you should work.  For example, I have never had the desire to read Silver Ravenwolf, but she may really speak to you so go ahead and buy a few of her books.  Of all of my books, here are my five favorites:

  • The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
  • Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler
  • Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham
  • The Pagan Book of Living and Dying by Starhawk
  • A Book of Pagan Prayer by Ceisiwr Serith

One piece of advice I can give is to note your buying habits. In looking at my list, you can see that I read a lot of Starhawk.  I pretty much can guarantee if I have a few dollars to spend and I’m trolling Amazon and their algorithms recommend one of her books, I will like it.  Keep a running list of your books and bring it with you to bookshops and festival gatherings.

For anyone with a large collection of Pagan, Wiccan, or magical books, do you have any additional pieces of advice?  And what are your favorite books?

© Ariadne Woods

Library Update

Okay so in the Spring I went to see if my university library had any books on Paganism.  Bit of an epic fail on my school’s part.  A couple of tomes on witchhunting, and that was it.  So I wrote a note anonymously and slipped it in the drop off box before the end of last semester.  Basically, I said that students who are Pagan or exploring Paganism may be interested in checking books out of the library, so kindly consider adding a couple Pagan-related books to the list on the next book buy.

While doing something else in the library, I decided to check to see if my note made a difference.  And to my surprise, it worked!  They bought a little Margaret Murray and a second copy of The Triumph of the Moon.  I only gave a quick glance, but I am pleased my voice made a difference.

© Ariadne Woods