Generally speaking, as soon as people ask me for my recommendations on what books are a good place to start for a new Pagan, they ask me for a list of what books are good for a mid-range Pagan. Someone who isn’t really advanced, that is to say not totally comfortable yet with their practice but also not someone entirely new to it as well.
Beginning and Advanced lists are easy by comparison
There is some difficulty in preparing a list for the mid-range student. For the new practitioner, you simply start at the beginning. For the advanced student, you can assume a great deal of knowledge has been obtained.
As with my beginning list, there is no timeline necessary. You can read as quickly or as slowly as you want. What is important is your ability to retain information. I find that when people are excited about a subject they tend to retain the information better.
So let’s get to my list for the intermediate students of Paganism.
1- “Witchcraft Today” Book 1, The Modern Craft Movement. This book gives more of an in-depth look at current trends in Paganism. It’s a great look beyond the beginning level of what is going on within the modern Pagan movement and how we have gotten to the place we now find ourselves.
2- “Witchcraft Today” Book 2, Modern Rites of Passage. This is a great follow up to the book Rites of Passage” by Campanelli and offers more depth. This book is not designed for the beginner but for the middle practitioner who has some basic knowledge already of the rites and rituals of Paganism.
3- The next book on this list is “Ostara” by Edain McCoy. It’s time you started getting more in-depth knowledge of this Sabbat or holiday. This book covers only this feast and is by far the best reference there is on the matter.
4- To continue with or more in-depth education of the Sabbats, let’s move on to “Beltane” by Raven Grimassi. Again this is an outstanding book covering this holiday and is far more detailed than the beginning books you have been reading until now.
5- If you guessed that the next book on the list is “Midsummer” by Anna Franklin, you can give yourself a pat on the back. This is a wonderful source for celebrating the Summer Solstice (also known as Midsummer and Litha) and just might help you understand why you get into the mood to clean and change things in your life around this time each year.
6- The next Sabbat to study in greater detail is Lammas, or the First Harvest. So naturally, I want to direct you to the book “Lammas” by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason. This is one of my favorite Sabbats (I’m more of an Autumn person) and I love the ideas and the history presented in this book.
7- Next up is one of my two favorite Sabbats, Mabon or the Autumn Equinox. There are actually several books on this Sabbat attesting to its popularity. I recommend “Mabon” by Kristin Madden. I just feel that she covers the history, the rituals, and the feasts better than the other authors. But feel free to read all of them if you like!
8- It should be no shock that the next Sabbat, Samhain is my favorite Sabbat of them all. It’s probably the favorite of most people. Samhain, also known as Halloween, has probably had more books written about it than all of the others combined. The best book written from a Pagan perspective is “Halloween” by Silver Ravenwolf.
9- As for secular popularity, Yule is generally on par with Halloween. Yule is the Sabbat that was eventually converted into Christmas and it shows. The red and green…Pagan. The Tree…Pagan…Most of the symbolism is Pagan in origin. But that shouldn’t stop you from reading “Yule” by Dorothy Morrison. She gives a greater depth to this Sabbat (also known as Winter Solstice) than any other author.
10- The final recommendation I have is for “Candlemas” by Amber K and Azrael Aryn K. This is included mostly to round out your knowledge. This is probably the most ignored Sabbat and the one that is the least understood. As with the other Sabbats, the Church eventually adopted it as a feast day of their own. If it was important enough for them to bother then it’s important enough for you to read about.
That concludes my list of books necessary for the mid-range Pagan student. I trust that by now you are writing in your journal and moving towards greater unity within yourself. Keep writing in your journal, it’s important.
As a brief journal exercise, you might try listing the books you have read and what you like or didn’t like about them. You can also write down what you have learned about each Sabbat and how you might choose to celebrate it for yourself.