This week I’m going to do something a little bit different. Ive been reading a lot of good books lately and wanted to put together a list of my top book picks. These are not necessarily new books. Many are what I consider staples for any magician. All of these books get a lot of use and are probably the most pulled things off my bookshelf. I think this list may be helpful as there is so much rubbish out there. Ive spent a lot of time wasted reading books that Ive only gotten partially through because the information was incorrect or written so poorly. It can be so overwhelming starting out and looking for good source material. This does not encompass everything, there are so many gems out there. This may call for a sequel because I don’t think I can list all of the essentials in one post. This list is mostly geared towards the Qabalah and tarot.
Next week I will be in Portland on vacation so there will be no blog posts or much activity on my end. I will be posting onto my Instagram! So if your not following me yet go do so.
Modern Magick – Donald Michael Kraig
This is an absolute classic and staple. This book touches upon pretty much anything that one needs to know to get started as a ceremonial magician. This book does not necessarily go deeply into any one topic, but touches upon a plethora to get you started on your own research and exploration. I still go to this book as a reference when I’m looking for a quick table reference on correspondences. This book is currently in its third edition. If you find a cheap copy of the second edition it is just as good. This book is structured as a progression of various lessons. It was really the first book I bought and used as a guide on my path. It is very easy to read and breaks down some more abstract concepts into plain English.
Mystical Qabalah – Dion Fortune
If your planning on studying the Qabalah you need this book. Each chapter is devoted to a different sphere. This book is in depth and fantastic for pathworking. This really is one of the top books in my opinion on the tree. I’m a huge fan of Dion Fortune. She has a particular way of explaining magical concepts that I agree with. I think she often gets overlooked. Ive heard people say they actually dismissed her because she was a woman. Her work really stands up to with the greats of the western esoteric tradition.
Tarot and the Tree of Life – Isabel Radow Kliegman
I bought this book on a whim off Amazon not too long ago. It goes through each card in the minor arcana and explains how each card related to the corresponding sphere on the tree of life. It really brings a fresh modern perspective. I still go back to this if I’m going over a spread I’m doing and I’m exploring different interpretations. There are not a lot of books out there – and this may be the only one I can think of that goes into the minor arcana in relation to the tree. So much emphasis is put on the major arcana. I enjoy seeing more things focused on the minor arcana as this is what we experience in day to day life. My copy is so worn it has pages falling out of it as this point.
Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages – Paul Foster Case
I highly recommend everyone joins Builders of the Adytum to receive the monthly tarot lessons they provide. If you go through the entire course it will take you 15 years! This book takes some of the wisdom from the lessons themselves and packs it up into a more compact version. I use this in conjunction with the lessons or I grab it if I need a quick refresher. There is a lot of esoteric wisdom in this book. Paul Foster Case is another person that I find easier to read and understand. After going through this book you will really start to understand just how much symbolism and wisdom are in those little cards.
A Garden of Pomegranates – Israel Regardie
This book offers a crash course on the entirety of the tree of life. If you buy this I recommend purchasing the copy that has been annotated and edited by Chic and Sandra Cicero. The Second half of the book contains exercises that puts all of this knowledge you have been acquiring to use. It contains a lot of practical exercised and a really good explanation of using the tarot to pathwork through the tree. Israel Regardie was one of the leading sources of information on the Qabalah and how to put it to use in a practical way. He worked under Aleister Crowley for a period of time and personally knew the Ciceros. His works are a staple.
Cabalistic Encyclopedia – David Godwin
This is a must have companion to your studies. It is a complete encyclopedia of everything under the sun. This has every possible Hebrew and gematria association you could want. I frequently use it as a cross reference for my work. It is fantastic for coming up with mantras or sigils using Hebrew. Everything is meticulously cross referenced and laid out in a easy to read format. I had been studying for a few years before I purchased this book and couldn’t believe the wealth of information. It can be very difficult to sift through information if your looking for something very specific, if you have this book then you will not need to do that anymore!
All of these titles are available on amazon. I usually buy used either online or my local half-price books. Some of these can even be a little pricey used (I think I still paid $20.00 for the Cabalistic Encyclopedia used). In the long run I think you will actually save money buying knowledge filled titles instead of filling your bookshelf with fluff. Do you have any book recommendations?