What To Look For When Buying Books On Witchcraft and Natural Magick

What To Look For When Buying Books On Witchcraft and Natural Magick

When you are looking for books on Witchcraft, Wicca or natural magick, there are a few things that you should keep in mind prior to deciding if a book is going to be a  useful addition to your magickal collection. Below we have provided a list of the things that we suggest you consider prior to purchasing a book to add to your collection.These things include:

Who Is The Author? 

There are certain authors that seem to have been around forever in the Witchcraft & Natural Magick space. When it comes to Natural Magick, authors like Scott Cunningham are often quoted extensively in books & online (also on this website)

Cunningham's encyclopedia of magical herbs

as they are well respected and their magickal information has stood the test of time. Generally if a book has survived and has been repeatedly reprinted and updated, it is generally a good book. That is not to say that a book written by a newbie is not good, or that one that has been repeated is necessarily good, it just means that the book has stood the test of time.

Where Was It Written?

Anything that has to do with the seasons in witchcraft is specific to your particular hemisphere. A lot of the books produced on Natural Magick have been written for the Northern hemisphere and although you can sometimes simply change the seasons around to represent your own hemisphere, some books do not mention the season, but the month. If it is a book that contains information on harvesting plants for use in magick, this can be an issue. If for instance it says to a certain herb/flower in march, but you are in the southern hemisphere and it does not grow in march, you may consider that either you suck at gardening, or the book is poorly researched and the author does not know what he/she is on about, when in fact it was well written, just not for your location. 

Now days many of the books and diaries either state which hemisphere they are for or they have a separate issue (in the case of some of the Witch's diaries) for the different hemispheres with the seasons reversed so they more accurately reflect your locations season.

Cultural appropriation/ Discrimination

Another factor that can be important (more to some people than others) in determining if a book is worth reading, is the misuse/use without permission of other cultures spiritual & magickal practices.  If this is important to you, we suggest that you check the book's reviews for mention of cultural misappropriation and/or discrimination. If there are too many people saying that the information has been gleaned from another culture whose people have not received the credit for it, you may want to steer clear. This can be a sensitive topic, and will not apply to everyone or every culture. As with everything, you are responsible for your practice and are the only person who has ultimate control over what you choose to do. 

Gender Discrimination

Aside from the cultural appropriation, another consideration you may wish to look at is gender discrimination. There are certain authors that have been known to be schovenistic in their writings. The one thing I will say regarding the evaluation of gender discrimination is that it can be important to keep the first date of publication in mind. Authors such as Raymond Buckland, Aleister Crowley and Scott Cunningham all have fairly chauvinistic writing compared with many current day authors, however when we place their writing into historical context, they are fairly on par with the social acceptances of the time (as horrible as that may seem). While we are on this topic, many books refer to the "gender" of plants as being masculine or feminine and while some have been updated to reflect today's non-binary beliefs, many have not. Again, this needs context and understanding. When speaking of magic we are speaking about energy. We all have female and male energy or if you would prefer to refer to it as yin and yang. This concept has been around for thousands of years and is not directly related to the sex of a person/object but to it's energetic qualities. So when deciding on whether to throw a book in the "not valuable" pile, first run it through your own bias filters and check whether you are being too sensitive about a current day topic that has no bearing on the actual subject at hand. Context is very important when it comes to information 

Check The Books Reviews

Although people will have differing tastes in books, it is always good to check the reviews on a particular book prior to purchasing. If the majority of

5 star review on computer screen

the written reviews are good, chances are you will get something out of reading that particular book. Also check the region the reviews have come from. If there are numerous positive reviews from America, and negative reviews from Australia, for instance, it may be that the book does not include information for your region.

Personal Preference

This is one of the main things that you need to consider when buying a book, because after all, you are the one who is going to have to read it! If you have a favourite author and you love the way they write, chances are you will love their latest book. If someone is telling you to purchase a book by an author that they love, but you cannot stand the way they write, chances are you will waste your money purchasing anything from them. 

At the end of the day, as with most things in life, a little bit of forethought and research goes a long way. By spending a little bit of time finding out about the books you wish to purchase, you can spend your money wisely and have a library that will offer a lifetime of useful knowledge, not a bookshelf full of information you never look at.

If you are looking for a particular book, check out our books collection here.


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