The best books for real old-fashioned witchcraft

Who am I?

I am an Initiate of traditional British Old Craft and the Khemetic Mysteries. My own teaching methods and writing draw on historical sources supported by academic texts and current archaeological findings; endorsing Crowley’s view that all magic is an amalgam of science and art, and that magic is the outer route to the inner Mysteries. I have been a member and later Principal of the Coven of the Scales since 2000 having inherited it on the deaths of Bob and Meriem Clay-Egerton and author of some 60 fiction and non-fiction books on the subject of magic and Old Craft in order to shape the reader’s understanding of this particular tradition. 


I wrote...

Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore

By Melusine Draco,

Book cover of Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore

What is my book about?

It isn’t necessary to live by the sea to harness the power of the ocean. The tides that make themselves known to us here are an integral part of traditional witchcraft even if we live miles away from the coast.  Natural tides are what power our magic from simple spell-casting and meditation, through pathworking and ceremonial magic as we follow them through their regular cycles. 

Solar and lunar, oceanic and earth, and the more elusive atmospheric tides all contribute to our understanding of how our magic works and how we harness these energies to empower our witchcraft.  A magical journey along the seashore reveals how to draw upon the powers of the Deep and collect flotsam and jetsam for use as ritual tools.

The books I picked & why

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Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks, and Covens

By Paul Huson,

Book cover of Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks, and Covens

Why this book?

This is the book that taught most of my generation of witches their first steps to becoming a witch. "Among those who understand the darkness which is no darkness to them anymore, are those that tread the way of witchcraft. They of their own accord have walked beyond the ring of firelight and learned the paths of the wilderness beyond." Which was heady stuff for those who wanted to learn about ‘real’ witchcraft of the time; the book having been described as one of the main motivators of the so-called ‘occult explosion’ of the 1970s and still in print today.


Witchcraft : A Tradition Renewed

By Evan John Jones, Doreen Valiente,

Book cover of Witchcraft : A Tradition Renewed

Why this book?

Evan John Jones who was once a part of Robert Cochrane’s own coven – is still one of the most controversial figures in contemporary witchcraft nearly 40 years after his death in 1966. It was an interesting time and as Evan wrote, you knew something was there, but it was a case of trying to find it and hold on to it! When this book came out in 1990 and as Evan was one of the first ‘real’ witches I had been privileged to meet, it was interesting to read many of these traditional teachings for the first time.


The Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy

By Melusine Draco,

Book cover of The Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy

Why this book?

This book is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it but it represents a small but important time-capsule of traditional British Old Craft history that we have been lucky enough to preserve for the next generation of witches. This collection of true anecdotes mirrors the goings-on within an Old Craft coven and reveals the humour and sense of the ridiculous that is part and parcel of many traditional covens that I’ve come across.


Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom

By Norman Cohn,

Book cover of Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom

Why this book?

I normally avoid books on historical witchcraft since they are normally written by biased academics who have never set foot in a magic Circle. This title is recognised as one of the most influential historical studies of European witchcraft beliefs; it began as an enquiry into the origins of the great European witch-hunt. It ended as something wider. It argues that the stereotype of the witch, as it existed in many parts of Europe in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is made up of elements of diverse origins, and that some of these derived from a specific fantasy which can be traced back to Antiquity. (1975)  Cohn argues that there never were any devil-worshipping witches in Early Modern Europe, and that all of those persecuted for being so were innocent.


Coven Working

By Philip Wright, Carrie West,

Book cover of Coven Working

Why this book?

This book explains what goes on within a traditional British Old Craft coven and what is required of its members.  It is important that folk understand what is expected of them when joining an Old Craft coven and what the fundamental differences are between the various Traditions to avoid misunderstandings.  The authors are themselves veterans of Coven of the Scales having run their own hived-off group for over twenty years.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in witchcraft, witch coven, and magic-supernatural?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about witchcraft, witch coven, and magic-supernatural.

Witchcraft Explore 187 books about witchcraft
Witch Coven Explore 8 books about witch coven
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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Wish Giver, The Initiation, and Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England if you like this list.