Just as with your first time camping in unchartered wilderness, you wouldn’t even contemplate setting off without map and compass to guide you, approaching the occult requires a minimum of familiarisation with what’s out there.
The occult is a vast and diverse labyrinth in which those new to the Craft can easily get lost and confused. Best to start your trip well informed about who’s who, what they are about and what do they mean when they’re speaking to you.
Frequently, the first question a new aspirant to the Craft will ask has to do with getting direction about what to read. If they ask to an experienced occultist belonging to a specific tradition, it is very likely the information they will receive will be biased in favour of personal preferences and beliefs that might not be necessarily useful to take the enquirer where he needs to get to and might limit or send him round in circles or empty journeys towards unnecessary ordeals and dangers.
My recommendation for anyone new to the occult is to get as broad a basic knowledge of what’s out there as humanly possible and then follow up from their point of interest.
For this specific purpose, what follows is a comprehensive reading list aimed to help new aspirants to make their own informed decisions:
-A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk, by Peter Paddon.
– Ars Philtron, by Daniel Alvin Schulke.
– Azoetia: Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Call of the Horned Piper, by Nigel Aldcroft Jackson.
– Coven of the Scales, compiled by Melusine Draco.
– Hedge Rider, by Eric De Vries.
– Light from the Shadows, by Gwyn.
– Masks of Misrule, by Nigel Jackson.
– The Robert Cochrane Letters, by Robert Cochrane with Evan John Jones. Edited and Introduced by Michael Howard.
– Old Tradition Crafte, Translated by Robin Artisan.
– One: Grimoire of the Golden Toad, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Qutub: The Point, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Seasonal Magic – Diary of a Village Witch, by Paddy Slade.
– Tales Round the Cauldron, by Paddy Slade.
– The Forge of Tubal Cain, by Ann Finnin.
– The Roebuck in the Thicket, by Evan John Jones & Robert Cochrane, editor Mike Howard.
– The Satyr’s Sermon, by Andrew D. Chumbley.
– Treading the Mill, by Nigel G. Pearson.
– Walking the Tides, by Nigel G. Pearson.
– Tubelo’s Green Fire, by Shani Oates.
– The Star Crossed Serpent – Volume 1, by Shani Oates.
– The People of Goda, by Shani Oates.
– Viridarium Umbris: The Pleasure Garden of Shadows, by Daniel Alvin Schulke.
– Walking the Tides – Seasonal Rhythms and Traditional Lore in Natural Craft, by Nigel G. Pearson.
– Witchcraft A Tradition Renewed, by Evan John Jones with Doreen Valiente.
British Traditional Witchcraft.
– An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present, by Doreen Valiente.
– Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches, by Charles G. Leland.
– A Witch Alone – Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic, by Marian Green.
– Ecstasies – Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath, by Carlo Ginzburg.
– Handbook of Magic & Witchcraft, by Charles W. Olliver.
– HedgeWitch – A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft, by Rae Beth.
– Lamp of the Goddess – Lives and Teachings of a Priestess, by Rae Beth.
– In the Name of the Devil: Great Scottish Witchcraft Cases, by Ronald Seth.
– Male Witches in Early Modern Europe, by Lara Apps and Andrew Gow.
– Mastering Witchcraft, by Paul Huson.
– Malleus Maleficarum – The Classic Study of Witchcraft, by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger.
– Natural Magic, by Doreen Valiente.
– Night’s Black Agents – Witches, Wizards and the Dead in the Ancient World, by Daniel Ogden.
– Rowan Tree & Red Thread, by Thomas Davidson.
– Satanism and Witchcraft, by Jules Michelet.
– Scottish Witchcraft, by Raymond Lamont-Brown.
– Scottish Witches, by Charles W. Cameron.
– The Complete Art of Witchcraft, by Sybil Leek.
– The Dark World of Witches, by Eric Maple.
– The Devil’s Coven – Classic Stories of Scottish Witchcraft, Edited by Angus Black.
– The Elements of Natural Magic, by Marian Green.
– The Necromancers – The Best of Black Magic and Witchcraft, by Peter Haining.
– The Night Battles, by Carlo Ginzburg.
– The Pickingill Papers – The Origin of the Gardnerian Craft, by W.E. Liddell and Michael Howard.
– The Rebirth of Witchcraft, by Doreen Valiente.
– The Triumph of the Moon – A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft, by Ronald Hutton.
– Welsh Witches and Wizards, by Michael Howard.
– Witchcraft European and African, by Geoffrey Parrinder.
– Witchcraft and Sorcery, Edited by Max Marwick.
– Witchcraft in Britain, by Christina Hole.
– Witchcraft for Tomorrow, by Doreen Valiente.
– Witches & Sorcerers, by Arkon Daraul.
– Witches & Warlocks, by Philip W. Sergeant.
– Cantus Circaeus – The Incantations of Circe/Together with The Judiciary Being the Art of Memory, by Giordano Bruno.
– Celestial Magic, by Nigel Jackson.
– Experiments in Aquarian Magic, by Marian Green.
– Geomancy – Ars Terra, by G. St. M. Nottingham.
– Ghayat Al-Hakim. Picatrix, The Goal of the Wise. Volume One/Two. (Translated from the Arabic) By Hashem Atallah. Edited by William Kiesel.
– Hermetica – the writtings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, Edited and Translated by Walter Scott.
– Heptameron, by Peter De Abano.
– Liber Lilith, by Donald Tyson.
– Liber Noctis – A Handbook of the Sorcerous Arte, by G. St. M. Nottingham.
– Mysteries and Secrets of Magic, by C.J.S. Thompson.
– Nightside of Eden, by Kenneth Grant.
– Planetary Magick – A Complete System for Knowledge and Attainment, by Melita Denning & Osborne Phillips.
– Sangreal Ceremonies and Rituals, by William G. Gray.
– Secrets of Planetary Magic, by Christopher Warnock.
– Secrets of Planetary Ritual, by Christopher Warnock.
– Stellar Magic – A Practical Guide to the Rites of the Moon, Planets, Stars and Constellations, by Payam Nabarz.
– The Black Art, by Rollo Ahmed.
– The Black Arts, by Richard Cavendish.
– The Book of Fallen Angels, by Michael Howard.
– The Magical Revival, by Kenneth Grant.
– The Pillars of Tubal Cain, by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard.
– The Sangreal Sacrament, by William G. Gray.
– Turba Philosophorum, Translated by Arthur Edward Waite.
Introduction to Astrology
– Lunar Astrology, by Alexandre Volguine.
– The Mansions of the Moon – A Lunar Zodiac for Astrology & Magic, by Christopher Warnock.
– Azoth or the Star in the East, by Arthur Edward Waite.
– Forbidden Rites – A Necormancer’s Manual of the Fifteenth Century, by Richard Kieckhefer.
– Handbook of the Black Arts, by J. W. Wickwar.
– Seasonal Occult Rituals, by William G. Gray.
– Secret Societies, by Arkon Daraul.
– The Book of Fallen Angels, by Michael Howard.
– The Chemical Choir – A History of Alchemy, by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart.
– The Pillars of Tubal-Cain, by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard.
– The Place of Magic in the Intellectual History of Europe, by Lynn Thorndike.
– The Underworld Initiation, by R.J. Stewart.
– The Wordsworth Book of Spells, by Arthur Edward Waite.
– Horns of Power, Edited by Sorita d’Este.
– Sacred Mask, Sacred Dance, by Evan John Jones with Chas S. Clifton.
– The God of Socrates, by Apuleius.
– The God Year – Festival Days of the Sacred Male, by Nigel Pennick & Helen Field.
– The Golden Bough, by Sir James Frazer.
– The Inner Mysteries of the Goths, by Nigel Pennick.
– The Origins of Pagan and Christian Beliefs, by Edward Carpenter.
– The Secret Teachings of All Ages, by Manly P. Hall.
– The Setian – The Mysteries of the Shadow, by Billie Walker John.
– The Silver Bough, by F. Marian McNeill.
– The Trials of Arthur – The Life and Times of a Modern-Day King, by Arthur Pendragon & Christopher James Stone.
– The Western Way – A Practical Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition, by Caitlin and John Matthews.
– The White Goddess, by Robert Graves.
Other (e.g. Folklore, Folk Tradition, Vampire Lore,
Herbalism, Tarot, etc)
– Calendars and Constellations of the Ancient World, by Emmeline Plunket.
– Celtic Mythology and Religion, by Alexander MacBain.
– Compleat Vampyre, by Nigel Jackson.
– Dragons of the West, by Nigel Pennick.
– Fallen Angels – Origins of Evil, by Elizabeth Clare prophet.
– Forest Paths – A Manual of Modern Tree Divination, by Brian Harrison.
– Fortuna’s Wheel – The Mysteries of Medieval Tarot, by Nigel Jackson.
– Grimoire Sympathia, by Charubel.
– Healing the Wounded King – Soul Work and the Quest for the Grail, by John Matthews.
– Herbs of the Northern Shaman, by Steve Andrews.
– In Search of Herne the Hunter, by Eric L. Fitch.
– Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain – An Exploration of the Mabinogion, by Caitlin Matthews.
– Puck of Pook’s Hill, by Rudyard Kippling.
– Secrets of the Lodge – Origins, Practices and Beliefs of Freemasonry, by Tubal Cain.
– Secret Signs Symbols and Sigils, by Nigel Pennick.
– Secret Societies – Their Mysteries Revealed, by John Lawrence Reynolds.
– Seidways – Shaking, Swaying and Serpent Mysteries, by Jan Fries.
– The Arthurian Tradition, by John Matthews.
– The Celtic Shaman – A Handbook, by John Matthews.
– The Cult of Kumari – Virgin Worship in Nepal, by Michael R. Allen.
– The Cult of the Black Virgin, by Ean Begg.
– The Hymns of Orpheus, Mutations by R.C. Hogart.
– The Language of Birds – Some Notes on Chance and Divination, by Dale Pendell.
– The Legend of the Sons of God, by T. C. Lethbridge.
– The Lore of the Forest (Myths and Legends), by Alexander Porteous.
– The Nigel Jackson Tarot, by Nigel Jackson.
– The Oracle of Geomancy, by Nigel Pennick.
– The Pattern Under the Plough, by George Ewart Evans.
– The Rumi Tarot, by Nigel Jackson.
– The Secrets of East Anglian Magic, by Nigel Pennick.
– The Shamanic Way of the Bee, by Simon Buxton.
– The 7 Keys to Power, by Lewis de Claremont.
– The Virtue of Stones (De Virtutibus Lapidum), Attributed to Damigeron (translated by Patricia P. Tahil).
– Visual Magick – A Manual of Freestyle Shamanism, by Jan Fries.