The best alchemy books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about alchemy and why they recommend each book. Soon, you will be able to filter this list by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books.

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Book cover of Earth Alchemy

Earth Alchemy

By Glennie Kindred,

Why this book?

Quite honestly, any book by Glennie Kindred is a must-read. I was introduced to her writing while on a pilgrimage to Glastonbury, England. Earth Alchemy is a favorite as it explores a powerful fusion between the science of alchemy and the energy inherent in the Earth. This practical guide shows us how to work with the cycles of the seasons and use this natural, alchemical energy of transformation to experience ourselves on a deeper level. The little book takes us on a journey of discovery to find our inner golden threads to weave a blanket of healing and happiness.

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The best books for witches reconnecting with mother earth

Book cover of Middlegame

Middlegame

By Seanan McGuire,

Why this book?

So many fantasy worlds repeat familiar settings, characters, and types of magic. Middlegame delights because it is so different. I couldn’t encapsulate all of it in a single sentence, but to peel back some of the weird layers: alchemists give universal concepts like Good and Evil semi-human forms in a race to control them and attain godhood. This ties into the theme of storytelling because McGuire reframes historic literary greats like Mark Twain as alchemists, who are intentionally creating and changing the nature of the world with their books. If that isn’t a powerful image of a storyteller, I don’t…

From the list:

The best fantasy novels that showcase the power of stories

Book cover of The Alchemist

The Alchemist

By Paulo Coelho,

Why this book?

Another beautiful classic that will make anyone want to pack their bags and leave to discover the wonders of the world. Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, dreams about a treasure hidden by the Pyramids of Egypt. After he meets the old king of Salem, who offers him magical stones to help him along his path, he embarks on an enchanting trip across the Mediterranean. We are taught about the importance of following dreams, overcoming difficulties, and being open to what life throws at us. Santiago finds his one true love, learns alchemy, crosses endless deserts, escapes thieves, and earns what…

From the list:

The best books at the intersect of fantasy, nature, and travel

Book cover of Prospero's America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676

Prospero's America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606-1676

By Walter W. Woodward,

Why this book?

Woodward's biographical approach, and his good fortune in finding a subject who left so much material to peruse, allows readers to come to know early New England in rich detail. Winthrop was a man of wide interests, including alchemy, religion, and medicine, and he used his knowledge to contribute to the physical well being of his neighbors (Native and colonist alike), to steer the Connecticut Colony through political challenges, and to participate in trans-Atlantic scientific exploration. A fascinating read.

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The best books on seventeenth-century America

Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches

By Deborah Harkness,

Why this book?

Book one in the All Souls series introduces us to a world where witches, vampires, and demons live veiled lives within the same world as mortals but with strict and ruthlessly enforced rules governing their interactions with each other and humans. The main character, Diana Bishop, is from a witch family but is unable to practice magic herselfuntil she summons a long-lost book, gaining the attention of many magical beings, including vampire, Matthew Clairmont. At its heart this book is romantic suspense with an intricate plot line that spans generations and centuries. While not a young adult title,…

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The best witchcraft novels that launch bingeworthy series

Book cover of The Binding Tempest

The Binding Tempest

By Steven Rudy,

Why this book?

I was hooked from page one and finished reading the book in just a few days. Although this is a complicated story, the description was vivid and clear. The plot was fast-paced and full of actions that will keep you on the edge of your seat most of the time.

From the list:

The best debut young adult books fantasy/science-fiction

Book cover of The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism: Origins, Magic, and Secret Societies

The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism: Origins, Magic, and Secret Societies

By Patrick Lepetit,

Why this book?

This well-researched and in-depth account has been translated from French and discusses the various occult movements which inspired the art and ideas of the surrealists. It covers a diverse range of topics including divination, astrology, myth, voodoo, Gnosticism, freemasonry, alchemy, secret societies, and Celticism and shows how various artists and writers took inspiration from these systems. The book contains a selection of images, copious notes, a substantial bibliography, and a good index making this an indispensable research tool for aspiring scholars of surrealism and the occult.  

From the list:

The best books on discovering magic through the arts

Book cover of Quicksilver: Volume One of the Baroque Cycle

Quicksilver: Volume One of the Baroque Cycle

By Neal Stephenson,

Why this book?

Depending on whether you read the series in omnibus form or not, Quicksilver is the first either of three or the first of ten books by Neal Stephenson, comprising the Baroque Cycle. This is a rip-roarin’, swashbuckling adventure that also manages to be cerebral and hilarious. In the biggest picture, the cycle is the story of the transition of Europe into modernity. In its specific plot threads, the narrative embraces the dispute between Newton and Leibniz over the invention of calculus, alchemy, King Solomon’s gold, the career of John Churchill, the Royal Society, and its advances in natural philosophy, and…

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The best science fiction adventure novels about traders

Book cover of Master of the Five Magics

Master of the Five Magics

By Lyndon Hardy,

Why this book?

This book was a full-on fantasy. About a boy that wants to learn magic, in a world where there are five types of magic. Through talent, luck, determination, and a heck of a lot of imagination he wiggles onto the path of magic in order to achieve his goal. Five times.  

Aside from being a journey of learning for the apprentice, it was also a demonstration of how to make magic... science.  Not by waving your hand and saying magic was merely advanced science but by having each magic school have clear and concise rules and in turn having a…

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The best books that inspire the creation of worlds

Book cover of The Alchemical Tarot

The Alchemical Tarot

By Rosemary E. Guiley,

Why this book?

This truly great, visionary re-conceptualisation of tarot imagery combines profound mystical insight with inspired artistry to render familiar tarot imagery through the transformative lens of alchemy. The Alchemical Tarot deck is one of the most outstandingly beautiful and inspiring decks in existence. Based on my own initiatory experience I can confirm that The Alchemical Tarot is an inspired, true, and faithful transmission of the esoteric current underpinning the notion of an esoteric tarot.

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