"Sacred" Texts

Wiccans seem to be pleased that we have no sacred texts, no written scripture. Many of us claim that it is better this way. Practitioners can rely on personal experience instead of the experiences of others. We can discover things on our own, and make things up as we go along. Yet, at the same time, we tend to be a well read group. And the market is flooded with good, bad, and horrible books about Wicca, Neopaganism, and magic.

Are there books we all should be reading? Should we have some sort of central scripture or group of writings? I’m not really sure, partly because it comes down to who would make the decision. (Of course, if we had a central dogma, maybe that would help the “spice rack” effect.) But it if it was open to debate, there are some books I would recommend:

For History
Aradia by Charles G. Leland
– It may or may not be factual, but it was an early influence in the Wiccan movement.

Pomegranate magazine
– Tagged as “…a forthright and critical examination of Neopagan beliefs and practises.” There is a lot of food for thought contained within these pages.

Triumph of the Moon by Ronald Hutton
– An interesting look at the growth of Wicca in Britain, starting from the first noticeable interest in reviving paganism

The Meaning of Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner
– We need to understand our roots.

For Beginners
Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham
– A nice introduction to the general ideas of Neopaganism.

Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
– A gentle introduction to Wicca. Good for the newest of beginners, but a more vigourous work would be suggested once this book is well digested.

Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium by Vivian Crowley
– Another good book to introduce beginners to Wicca.

I’m sure there are many other books I could include here, like Buckland’s Big Blue Book or books by the Farrars or others. But my point here is that there are books that are useful for us to read. Our religion is about personal experience, but it is also about community. And for those of us that are solitary (by choice or situation), books can give us a bit of a feeling of community, as well as enable us to learn what others experience. We just need to be a bit choosy in what we read, and always remember to take things with a grain of salt. Hmmm… maybe a book on Critical Thinking should be added to my list.