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u/Fixedentropy · 6 pointsr/witchcraft

This is a great reply and pretty close to what advice I was going to offer!

Any spell that has worked for anyone - may not work for you based on the intent that was used to create it. What’s in your heart might not mesh with what was in the original creators.

Instead look for spells that you feel comfortable tweaking to make them yours.

Even in so far as changing up the rituals ingredients, and even the words used to make it more personal to your will and intent.

It will definitely help you find a new path in creating your own from scratch.

I suggest Scott Cunningham’s book encyclopedia of magical herbs

To help you get started if you want to change ingredients.

And I like to map out almost like how I would map out an essay on what I want the words to be for a spell.

  • what is the intent of the spell
  • who if at all am I reaching out to if you subscribe to any deities
  • what offerings are you sharing to said deity
  • reaffirm the intent in a more personal way
  • how will I recognize that the spell has worked
  • thanks and gratitude for the universes attention

    Each point is a sentence or two used in the casting.

    I hope this helps guide you in a way that strengthens your resolve and confidence in mastering your own spells.

    If you have further questions don’t hesitate to PM
u/squidboots · 9 pointsr/witchcraft

Seconding u/theUnmutual6's recommendations, in addition to u/BlueSmoke95's suggestion to check out Ann Moura's work. I would like to recommend Ellen Dugan's Natural Witchery and her related domestic witchery books. Ellen is a certified Master Gardener and incorporates plants into much of her work.

Some of my favorite plant books!

Plant Science:

u/obsidian_butterfly · 1 pointr/witchcraft

Straightforward to those of us who know how to read them and say "Ah... ok. I see what you're going for." But novices don't have the years of figuring it all out under their belt. Examine, for example, The Sending of Eight, which is a work I have detailed on this subreddit at one point. I vaguely recall this exact spell being taken word for word from Mastering Witchcraft, a book I didn't realize was now available in paperback.

Actually, Huson is a good example of why spells really should be explained. Novices don't have the intuitive understanding of a spell, the components, and, more specifically, why they are using whatever aspect of a spell they are using. If Huson didn't go out of his way to explain exactly why every little detail is the way it is (down to why you use specific ingredients in your incense) and just plopped that grimoire down and said "Read, you'll get it" you'd rip your hair out trying to figure out exactly why you gotta walk counter clockwise when summoning the dead for a Dumb Supper.

I'm not saying break down some basic Silver Ravenwolf fluff that is written specifically for a newbie in mind, but a simple video dedicated to picking apart and figuring out complex operations would do a lot of good for a lot of really confused newbs. Especially those who lack a teacher to explain to them concepts like synchronicity, Will, manifestation, and the whole concept of the Witch's Pyramid.

I would certainly have benefited from this as well back in my younger days. This could be a great opportunity to present younger, less experienced practitioners with complex magical workings and not only explain the guts of the whole thing, but also go into detail about why you specifically don't want to fuck with magic that you're too inexperienced to handle. Not saying I've made some mistakes with magic... buuuuuuuuuut ...

That or post a nice "How to make a sigil" video for the younglings. I dunno, I guess it would depend on how comfortable you are with exposing the uninitiated to things way over their head and if you personally feel the masses could benefit from having a deeper insight than what Llewellyn grade, witchcraft 101 workings can provide. Not saying there is anything wrong with Llewellyn, but the stuff you find in their books is always very simple, and does not reflect the complexity of an advanced practitioner's works.

I hope that helped clarify a for you a bit. I also realize that as a Thelemite and Left Hand practitioner the most basic ways we think about magic are not quite the same. I imagine what I would consider a run of the mill working and what you'd consider a spell are heavily influenced by the fact that I am more often than not doing high magic (read ceremonial here... though also that kind of high sometimes. I mean have you seen how Thelemites garb themselves out for ritual? We wear crowns and bright purple robes and shit), while witchcraft is by definition vulgar and nowhere near so... convoluted as a ceremonial working. So maybe my perception has mutated my concept of a basic spell so badly that I don't even remember what counts as basic anymore. Either way, hope that helped. Keep up the witchy jazz. :-)

u/Au-riel · 11 pointsr/witchcraft

Not the OP but here’s a book list I recommend. Even if the books study Wicca, you can apply most of that knowledge to general witchcraft. Much of Wicca IS Witchcraft.

Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft and Buckland's Book of Spirit Communications are good books for getting a decent understanding of what could be (subjectively speaking) considered “traditional” witchcraft. I myself am NOT a fan of the Llewellyn branch of magick, as it is heavily based around forming structured groups and covens and much of the information seems more ceremonial than anything. That being said, these books give a great basic rundown into alot of different styles and tools you will most likely be using or want to use.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner is great if you want to go down the Wicca path AND it’s made specifically for solitary practitioners along with having some of Scott Cunninghams own spells in it as well.

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs is a good rundown of many common and uncommon reagents used in witchcraft along with their metaphysical uses. Reader's Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants despite the name is a more practical and scientifically written book on the historical and medicinal used of many N. American plants.

Inside the Mirror Box: Spells and Theory for All Practitioners was actually written by a friend of mine. His book gives alot of information on actual spellwork, along with a large selection of Mirror Box spells and a short section on other uses for mirrors (such as divination).

And finally the Encyclopedia of Spirits is a great reference guide for those of us who want to work with specific entities. The author covers the full gamut of spirits and deities from the ancient gods to christian saints and archangels to lesser known spirits.

u/mayruna · 1 pointr/witchcraft

Complete accident. Looking back, I suspect I called upon her and devoted myself to her when I was all of about 13 and doing a solo initiation. It was a full moon and I defiantly felt bright, comforting energy.

I knew she was a goddess of the moon and stars. She was trying to guide me in dreams and was comforting me even without my knowing what name to call her. Years (and years) passed and one day, because it was driving me crazy, I got a huge book listing all spirits and gods and just went through trying to figure out which goddess I had been feeling the presence of for all those years. When I read about Arianrhod and all that she is associated with and what she's about... well it was like a ding went off.

It's made worship of her more joyful and much, much easier. That said, I think that if you feel pulled to worship a certain way to an entity whose name you aren't yet sure of, alright. Just, you know, make sure the entity has your best interest at heart.

u/TargaryenOfHyrule · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

Okay;First off you need a Grimoire.Its basically a spell book.You can purchase one online or write it yourself like a journal!

I highly suggest keeping a journal about magic.Write all of your experiences,feelings and failures of all the spells,rituals,invocations you have casted.
Also create a section on herbs.Write there effects down and how they make you feel!

Heres a book on Herbal Magic:

Dont worry.If your not into herbal magic you dont need to get into it :)

As for purchasing,i suggest buying traditional Magic books from Amazon.

Im not exactly sure what you may not like so heres a link of 5 books for beginner Witches,with synopsises,summaries and why it may be good for Beginner Witches:

I recommend checking out this channel and watching her video about what you should be thinking of while casting a spell.

Here are 2 links from this site which is hella helpful:


I wish you the best experiences as a Witch!

May you use your powers for good always.

And focus on meditating,lucid dreaming,seeing auras and Astral Projection.You are very gifted in it,so please focus on it always :)

Check out the Occult subreddit,They're
all about Astral Projection and alike :)

Good luck my Witch friend!

u/WitchDruid · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

The Following list is taken from the Witches & Warlocks FB page. (This is Christian Day's group)

Witches and Warlocks Recommended Reading List
This is a collection of books recommended by our admins and participants in the group. Books must be approved by the admins so if you'd like to see one added to the last, please post it in the comments at the bottom of this list and, if it's something we think is appropriate, we'll add it! We provide links to Amazon so folks can read more about the book but we encourage you to shop at your local occult shop whenever possible! :)


Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft
by Raymond Buckland

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America
by Margot Adler

Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch: Mastering the Five Arts of Old World Witchery
by Raven Grimassi

The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation and Psychic Development
by Christopher Penczak

The Kybalion: The Definitive Edition
by William Walker Atkinson (Three Initiates)

Lid Off the Cauldron: A Wicca Handbook
by Patricia Crowther

Mastering Witchcraft
by Paul Huson

Natural Magic
by Doreen Valiente

Natural Witchery: Intuitive, Personal & Practical Magick
by Ellen Dugan

Old World Witchcraft: Ancient Ways for Modern Days
by Raven Grimassi

The Outer Temple of Witchcraft: Circles, Spells and Rituals
by Christopher Penczak

Power of the Witch: The Earth, the Moon, and the Magical Path to Enlightenment
by Laurie Cabot

Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation
by Silver RavenWolf

Spirit of the Witch: Religion & Spirituality in Contemporary Witchcraft
by Raven Grimassi

Witch: A Magickal Journey
by Fiona Horne

Witchcraft for Tomorrow
by Doreen Valiente

Witchcraft Today
by Gerald Gardner
The Witches' Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation
by Raven Grimassi
The Witching Way of the Hollow Hill
by Robin Artisson


Aradia or The Gospel of the Witches
by Charles Godfrey Leland

Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints & Sages: A Guide to Asking for Protection, Wealth, Happiness, and Everything Else!
by Judika Illes

The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca
by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Etruscan Roman Remains
by Charles Godfrey Leland

The God of the Witches
by Margaret Murray

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz
by Judika Illes


Blood Sorcery Bible Volume 1: Rituals in Necromancy
by Sorceress Cagliastro

The Deep Heart of Witchcraft: Expanding the Core of Magickal Practice
by David Salisbury

Teen Spirit Wicca
by David Salisbury

Enchantment: The Witch's Art of Manipulation by Gesture, Gaze and Glamour
by Peter Paddon

Initiation into Hermetics
by Franz Bardon

Letters from the Devil's Forest: An Anthology of Writings on Traditional Witchcraft, Spiritual Ecology and Provenance Traditionalism
by Robin Artisson

Magical Use of Thought Forms: A Proven System of Mental & Spiritual Empowerment
by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowick and J.H. Brennan

Magick in Theory and Practice
by Aleister Crowley

The Plant Spirit Familiar
by Christopher Penczak

Protection and Reversal Magick
by Jason Miller
Psychic Self-Defense
by Dion Fortune
The Ritual Magic Workbook: A Practical Course of Self-Initiation
by Dolores Ashcroft-Norwicki
The Roebuck in the Thicket: An Anthology of the Robert Cochrane Witchcraft Tradition
by Evan John Jones, Robert Cochrane and Michael Howard

The Satanic Witch
by Anton Szandor LaVey
Shadow Magick Compendium: Exploring Darker Aspects of Magickal Spirituality
by Raven Digitalis
The Tree of Enchantment: Ancient Wisdom and Magic Practices of the Faery Tradition
by Orion Foxwood
The Underworld Initiation: A journey towards psychic transformation
by R.J. Stewart


A Compendium of Herbal Magic
by Paul Beyerl

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs
by Scott Cunningham

The Enchanted Candle: Crafting and Casting Magickal Light
by Lady Rhea

The Enchanted Formulary: Blending Magickal Oils for Love, Prosperity, and Healing
by Lady Maeve Rhea

Incense: Crafting and Use of Magickal Scents
by Carl F. Neal

Magickal Formulary Spellbook Book 1
by Herman Slater

Magickal Formulary Spellbook: Book II
by Herman Slater

Crone's Book of Charms & Spells
by Valerie Worth

Crone's Book of Magical Words
by Valerie Worth

Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells
by Judika Illes

Everyday Magic: Spells & Rituals for Modern Living
by Dorothy Morrison

Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting
by Judika Illes
Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions
by Dorothy Morrison
The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook
by Denise Alvarado

The Voodoo Doll Spellbook: A Compendium of Ancient and Contemporary Spells and Rituals
by Denise Alvarado

The Cauldron of Memory: Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge & Wisdom
by Raven Grimassi

The Mighty Dead
by Christopher Penczak

Speak with the Dead: Seven Methods for Spirit Communication
by Konstantinos
The Witches' Book of the Dead
by Christian Day

78 Degrees of Wisdom
by Rachel Pollack

u/Hierodulos · 6 pointsr/witchcraft

Hello fellow South Texan. Witchcraft can cast a pretty wide net, so it really depends on what you're interested in. Since you're here instead of /r/Wicca, I'm going to assume you're looking more for folkish practices than religious practices, and living where you are opens you up to a wide array of influences, particularly those of the more magical aspects of Mexican Catholicism.

Ireland and the UK are rife with magical lore, so you'll often see people drawing from that. Some prefer a more medieval approach (I've got a soft spot for that), and use the diabolic imagery in a fun way. Others prefer to take in the lore of what's around them (the best approach, in my opinion; power is always greatest beneath your feet) and adapt it into their own practice.

As far as how to start, I generally recommend Huson's Mastering Witchcraft. Certainly cheesy in places, and as with most things you should take it with a grain of salt, but as far as techniques go it is a solid place to begin (assuming, again, that you aren't looking for Wicca). A good practical foundation can only help you.

After that, it's really a matter of figuring out what calls to you and following it. I disliked being here for the longest time, but as I began to follow the threads of the spirits I found more and more that what works best for me is intimately connected to the land around me. Hopefully you'll discover the same thing!

u/ajwells007 · 4 pointsr/witchcraft

I'm so glad you asked! There's actually a really affordable book called Modern Magick which I recommend to anyone starting out. In this book, Donald Michael Kraig gives clear and well-sourced information on the high magickal arts including a history of the tarot, a history of the Qabalah, magickal techniques, philosophy and much more. This book has been essential to my learning and understanding what magick really is. Within its pages you will also find many references to source material which you may find interesting as well! He encourages the reader to explore and form their own opinions based on scientific experimentation. The reader is also encouraged to take their time. I've had the book for a little over 2 years now and have only made it through the first 3 lessons..

I guess the main question for you would be, what are you interested in? There are so many books for so many veins of magick. You may be interested in black magick, spiritual growth, historical or philosophical curiosity, or perhaps you are interested to tip the scales ever so slightly in your favor. Whatever the case may be, there are many books with which you will find what you are looking for. I prefer the occult vein of magick myself.

u/GataIndianista · 3 pointsr/witchcraft

Buy this book:

By Damon Brand.

In my opinion is it better if you learn to protect yourself because I think magick is about empowering yourself. If you go to another witch for help you always gonna depend on others to help you got better, and that is not true freedom.

I was cursed so many times in my life, the last one I was extremely suicidal and that book saved my life!!!! You don't need nothing but that book. It doesn't required any other tools (not even candles!). Gallery of magick and specially Damon Brand is the best magick teacher you could ask for if you are a begginer!

Good look, lots of blessings and be strong!! Don't be afraid, that just make htings worse. Trust your own power to get out of this.

u/PreternaturalBriar · 3 pointsr/witchcraft

> Could hoodoo be a good fit do you think?

Possibly. I think it really depends on you and your attitude about African Americans. Hoodoo is African American folk magic. It was created and promulgated primarily by black people, and it is an important part of black culture in America. If that's not something that you can appreciate and respect, than hoodoo is not a good fit for you.

Another thing that matters, I think, is your attitude about Christianity (and other Abrahamic religions). Hoodoo is largely Christian. The Bible is used as a grimoire. Many of the incantations are Psalms. If you are intolerant of Christians, and/or you can't wrap your head around and respect the concept of Christians practicing magic, then hoodoo is not a good fit for you.

But, if you're not a racist or a religious bigot, than I don't think it's really a problem. Hoodoo is not a closed tradition. There is history of cultural exchange between black and white folk magic practitioners in America, especially between members of the black community and the American Jewish community. Historically, many of the spiritual supplies marketed towards the black community (like what is now sold on were produced by Jewish chemists. And several classic hoodoo books were written by Jewish authors publishing under a pseudonym.

> I grew up in the south and feel more of a connection with this than my own background.

I know what you mean. Most of the magical traditions of white Americans have been broken. At this point, hoodoo seems to be the most robust and best preserved system of English-language American folk magic. Hence, it is the most accessible. But you may also enjoy learning about German American folk magic, called powwow or braucherei. Also Appalachian folk magic, AKA granny magic. You might also enjoy this book: Balkan Traditional Witchcraft, for learning about contemporary Eastern European witchcraft.

u/kat5dotpostfix · 6 pointsr/witchcraft

Check out Drawing Down the Moon for a good primer on the history of modern witchcraft. Here's the description

>Almost thirty years since its original publication, Drawing Down the Moon continues to be the only detailed history of the burgeoning but still widely misunderstood Neo- Pagan subculture. Margot Adler attended ritual gatherings and interviewed a diverse, colorful gallery of people across the United States, people who find inspiration in ancient deities, nature, myth, even science fiction. In this new edition featuring an updated resource guide of newsletters, journals, books, groups, and festivals, Margot Adler takes a fascinating and honest look at the religious experiences, beliefs, and lifestyles of modern America's Pagan groups.

u/AureliaDrakshall · 3 pointsr/witchcraft

Ohhh! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm totally over the moon with this style. I've learned on a traditional Rider-Waite tarot deck but I've never found one that had a nicer art style I liked without changing the actual deck structure. Most of them keep the traditional medieval style art which is not really my style.

Thank you again!

Link for the others!

u/gayestwitchbro · 7 pointsr/witchcraft

This makes me feel like we need a thread to talk about what we’re currently reading. I think that’d be cool.

I’m reading Magic, Witchcraft and Religion and re-reading Urban Shaman right now. First one’s a textbook so it’s really dry but it’s fascinating anyway. Second one is a personal favorite I keep going back to. And I was just gifted In the Devil’s Snare which I’ve been meaning to read for a while, so I’ve got my hands full too.

u/Smedette · 3 pointsr/witchcraft

Read, read, and read some more, until you figure out what you want from witchcraft and what type of witch you are (should you choose to identify with one path). Some recent books that have helped me:

  • Weave the Liminal
  • Tending Brigid's Flame
  • The Green Witch

    I lean toward Green and Kitchen Witchcraft, with a healthy dose of Druidism. Happy to pass on more recommendations if any of that interests you.

    Mark the sabbats and festival dates on your calendar, read up on their histories and prepare your celebrations. Do you want to follow any deities, Gods, and/or Goddesses? Do you want to include Tarot, crystals, or herbalism in your practice and studies?

    There is so much information out there, it can be completely overwhelming. But I would make a list, keep adding to it, and see where your needs, wants, and ideas take you.
u/AligaTC · 1 pointr/witchcraft

The best books on witchcraft I know of are Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft and Cunningham's Wicca guide. Keep in mind, there are different flavors of Wicca, and it actually incorporates a decent amount of ritual.

Alternatively, I can't recommend Christopher Penczak enough, his writing is easy to understand, he knows his stuff, and he doesn't push particular deities or belief systems as superior to others.

u/colliepop · 3 pointsr/witchcraft

I've been really enjoying Witchery by Juliet Diaz, Grovedaughter Witchery by Bree NicGarren, and Weave the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff! The Hearth Witch's Compendium is also a really good resource for more kitchen-based witchcraft.

u/sogemania64 · 11 pointsr/witchcraft

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs is a great resource for the many, many uses of herbs and other plants in magickal rituals.

Edit: Also, a ttrpg with accurate herbalism mechanics sounds cool as hell, I'd love to play it when it's complete!

u/FunkiPorcini · 3 pointsr/witchcraft

We just got out of Mercury Retrograde, went direct on the 28th. Here is my suggestion, get a copy of Utterly Wicked, Dorothy included a "Swifting Spell" that is fantastic for knocking out all of the bad crud. Another thing you can do is to open at least one window in every room and burn Dragon's Blood and Frankincense....start from the back or top floor of the abode and waft the mixture (in a fire proof dish/bowl) through every room, then leave it to burn out in a central part of the house. Carry Hematite, Carnelian, Amethyst, Aventurine and Moonstone in whatever color bag that you feel gives you power or are drawn to. Also, be sure your karma is clean. If you feel you've wronged someone, apologize for it ;)

Hope things get better for you.

u/MagicalKittyLen · 4 pointsr/witchcraft

Plants are living things, so I don't see why not.

I haven't read this book myself, but from the reviews, it sounds like it could be helpful for you.

u/Gendoyle · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

Hey 22yr old Canadian guy – I’m sorry you are going thru some tuff times right now. Are you ok?
You have been a witch before which is why you are so interested in it still. It is a part of your life you will not be able to escape. Once you walk in the way – there is nothing like it and it is somewhat impossible to breath without it.

I recommend Uncle Buck -
Uhmmm it is a super dry read – SUPER DRY – but has historical strengths and lets you know where the movement is now in this lifetime.

I sense you should focus on your connections – like HDMI cables – we are always attached. You can travel back up and visit the (what I call ) The great mother or the pool (land of the dead – resting souls). You will learn from those guides more than you can learn from me. Your advanced – very much so – and you have memories of your time as a witch… You can see yourself – feel yourself – performing feats that a Cowen would say is impossible… not seeing ghosts – you know what I mean.

You have already flexed these muscles – so the further you go the faster you’ll go so much more than most. Guides will be there with you – helping you along the way. Calling a teacher will be difficult at first for you – you will need to raise you energy a lot more in order to meet them half way as your guides are very very high – they vibrate at a higher vibration than most.

There are no limits to this – I sense you know this – like a toddler we test the boundaries of our playpen – so we do again. You can heal with a touch, you can harm with a thought – uhg I have stories – You can do anything – as you are allowed to as you have set for yourself prior to being born. You have a purpose. You know it – what is it?

u/Torvien · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes is a really good book. There are tons of spells from various traditions including but not limited to Santeria, Stregheria, Voodoo, Hoodoo Spiritism, Brujeria, Shamanism, and traditional Witchcraft. It's a good read because the beginning goes into some of the history of witchcraft, flavors of witchcraft (working with plants, crystals, spirits, candles, elements, etc.), and basic instructions on how to cast spells.

u/DruidofRavens · 1 pointr/witchcraft

Start here. You'll find a decent amount of spells, a lot of ideas for your practice, and a rather good memoir about a Christian who mixes witchcraft with her faith. She's Catholic, but it's easily transferable to other brands of Christianity.

u/hellokitty2388 · 3 pointsr/witchcraft

I'm not pagan, but a Christian witch. It can be done, regardless of the naysayers. When I first merged paths, in a similar fashion, I read this book:

Path of a Christian Witch

It's pretty informal. Hope this helps.

u/snxwfall · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

Buy some books on the subject, Is recommend some history books on the subject rather than book that have spells and what not. I bought the big blue which is a work book that goes over everything in general and it has been very helpful thus far.

u/remembertosmilebot · 9 pointsr/witchcraft

Did you know Amazon will donate a portion of every purchase if you shop by going to instead? Over $50,000,000 has been raised for charity - all you need to do is change the URL!

Here are your smile-ified links:


^^i'm ^^a ^^friendly bot

u/nightgoatgoesbaaah · 10 pointsr/witchcraft

Scott Cunningham's The Magical Household is one of my all-time favourites, though anything by him really is excellent.

u/seagoatwhisperer · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

Personally, I don't care. If someone makes it work for themselves, that's their own problem/life.

This book definitely had a good perspective:

u/Sawa27 · 9 pointsr/witchcraft

I found them, thanks to another redditor below. mystic manga tarot

u/AllanfromWales · 1 pointr/witchcraft

The Physicians of Myddfai is a 13th century herbal with lots of good - and totally authentic - stuff in it.

u/kaci3po · 1 pointr/witchcraft

I wasn't worried about them being against your religion. I was trying to narrow down what kind of resources to recommend. If you were pagan, I wouldn't send you resources on Jewish magic, for example.

If you're just looking for a standard book of spells, here's a starting point. Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells

u/TreeTopFairy · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

Lots of anthropology departments have a global magic and witchcraft course. You could flip through one of the textbooks as a starting point.

This is a later edition of the textbook from my college days. It's a solid, comprehensive look at magic practices from different cultures, including modern neo-pagan magic and Wicca:

u/PandaBerry_ · 7 pointsr/witchcraft

Try this one.

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More

u/redwolf291 · 2 pointsr/witchcraft

I'd recommend reading this if you want to get into wicca.

I have nothing against Cunningham, but I've found Buckland's books to be more informative. He explains things very well and it's less of "You HAVE to do it this way" than a lot of writers out there.

As a personal answer to altars and names, I've never felt that an altar has to be setup any particular way. I change the layout of mine depending on what I'm doing and the time of year, the only things that remain constant are my incense dish, atheme, spell book, and three dishes for salt, water, and libations.

As far as a witch name, I've never found a purpose for it. I used one in a previous coven I belonged to and found that even though everyone would call me by it I'd completely forget they were talking to me until they got my attention with my real name.