The best books for beginners who want to practice real magic, folk magic, and Hoodoo

Yvonne Patricia Chireau Author Of Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition
By Yvonne Patricia Chireau

Who am I?

I have been studying American styles of magic for more than 30 years. Having received a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, I have explored the idea of magic as a natural counterpart to both religious thought and scientific theory. After teaching courses on this subject to college undergraduates, I recommend these books based on what I have found to be the favorites of students and peers as the most accessible, enjoyable, and practical sources for beginners.


I wrote...

Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition

By Yvonne Patricia Chireau,

Book cover of Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition

What is my book about?

Black Magic looks at the origins, meaning, and uses of Conjure―the African American tradition of healing and harming that evolved from African, European, and American elements―from the slavery period to well into the twentieth century.

Illuminating a world that is dimly understood by both scholars and the general public, Yvonne P. Chireau describes Conjure and other related traditions, such as Hoodoo and Rootworking, in a beautifully written, richly detailed history that presents the voices and experiences of African Americans and shows how magic has informed their culture. Focusing on the relationship between Conjure and Christianity, Chireau shows how these seemingly contradictory traditions have worked together in a complex and complementary fashion to provide spiritual empowerment for African Americans, both slave and free, living in white America.

The books I picked & why

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Practical Solitary Magic

By Nancy B. Watson,

Book cover of Practical Solitary Magic

Why this book?

This is an easy-to-read introduction to magic for people who don’t want to join organized groups or participate in spiritual traditions in order to learn. It allows readers to experiment with practices and techniques on their own and includes everything a beginner needs to know about the art and craft of magic, including visualization, ordinary ethics, ritual practices, and vital safety measures.

Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe

By Dean Radin,

Book cover of Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe

Why this book?

This is the best book on magic for skeptics and modern, rationally-minded readers. The author, who has a Ph.D. in Psychology, argues that magic can be verified and explained scientifically without all of the “woo-woo” that often requires an extra leap of faith for beginning practitioners. Magic is a natural aspect of reality, and each of us can tap into it skills and techniques with practice and persistence. The book provides a brief history of magic and offers a guide with exercises that one can do to strengthen mental and practical abilities.

Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure

By Catherine Yronwode,

Book cover of Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure

Why this book?

If you want to know about some of the earliest forms of magic that originated in America, this book is for you. This book focuses on folk magic, with an emphasis on Hoodoo, the magic of enslaved black people, with practices that include nature and the elements as sources of power. The text provides botanical information on magic plants, and spell recipes for healing and protection. As a plus, the book is lavishly and beautifully illustrated with extensive how-to guides on creating your own charms for good luck and fortune.

Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic

By Aidan Wachter,

Book cover of Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic

Why this book?

The title of this book says it all. It is about effective, practical magic with an emphasis on manifestation. Six ways an incantation that is as simple as it is powerful. The book goes into detail about different styles of magic that are available for readers who want to learn more about sorcery, witchcraft, chaos magic, and spirit work. I like this book because it takes one deep into the inner world of magic that exists within the recesses of the mind, opening up the practitioner to spiritual possibilities that have the goal of improving the self. Techniques such as meditation, trance, spiritual cleansing, and dreams are dealt with in an easy and straightforward way.

Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money, and Success

By Tayannah Lee McQuillar,

Book cover of Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money, and Success

Why this book?

Another book on American magic, but with a focus on the folk magic practices of black people. This is an immensely readable guide to the venerable tradition of African American magic, a gift made possible only by the perseverance and determination of those who maintained the old ancestral ways. This book contains gems of wisdom, wit, and lots of information for readers who want the basics on how magic is applied for well-being and happiness.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in folk religion, magic-supernatural, and meditation?

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