NeoWiccan Texts and Reading Material

Are you interested in some of the popular NeoWiccan texts? There are a variety of documents available to explore if you’re interested in following a NeoWiccan path, and you can read nearly all of them online via these links.

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The Gardnerian Book of Shadows

This is the text of the Book of Shadows composed and handed down by Gerald Gardner. In one sense, this is the central sacred text of the Wiccan religion. However, there is no ‘official’ Book of Shadows, and each coven usually has a hand-written copy of a Book of Shadows, sometimes in cypher or code, which reflects its own practices and knowledge.

Aradia, Gospel of the Witches

First presented to the world by folklorist Charles Leland, “Aradia” is alleged to be a collection of information passed down from an old Italian witch cult. Although some of Leland’s accuracy has been questioned by scholars, the fact remains that “Aradia” is beautiful and poetic, and a worthy read, whether you accept Leland’s history or not.

The Golden Bough

The Golden Bough is a study of legend and myth and how they are interpreted into ritual and celebration. Folklorist James Frazer’s interpretation of the cycle of life, death and rebirth has carried on to this day, and in his work he explained that ultimately, this cycle is at the core of myths from every part of the globe. For many modern Pagans, this book of folklore is a worthy thing to own, simply because it details religion and ritual from its early day, and follows the evolution of man’s belief.

The White Goddess

British author Robert Graves was long known as a war poet, folklorist, and expert on mythology. His book, “The White Goddess,” which looks at the concept of deity as sacred feminine is a classic, and one that adorns the shelves of many Pagan and Wiccan home libraries. Although some scholars believe that Graves’ ideas weren’t really his at all, but those of his mistress, Laura Riding Jackson, “The White Goddess” is still worth reading.

Charge of the Goddess

In the early 1950s, Doreen Valiente was working with Gerald Gardner on the Gardnerian Book of Shadows. Valiente took on the task of re-organizing Gardner’s work, and more importantly, putting into a practical and usable form. In addition to finishing things up, she added her poetic gifts to the process, and the end result was a collection of rituals and ceremonies which are both beautiful and workable – and the foundation for much of modern Wicca, some sixty years later. She created a poem known as the Charge of the Goddess, which has been the basis for many Wiccan rites and ceremonies.

Book Announcement! Wicca Practical Magic Coming May 23!

OMG YOU GUYYYYYYYS.

So I mentioned a while back that I had a Sooper Sekret Project in the works, and now I can officially announce it! My new book, Wicca Practical Magic, will be coming out on May 23, from Althea Press. You can already pre-order it on Amazon!

I’m really excited, because this is something I wish had been available when I first started studying Pagan belief systems. If you’ve read all the Wicca 101 type books, and have no idea how to actually put what you’ve learned into practice, this book is written just for you.

I’ll have more to share in the coming weeks, with all kinds of details – including how you can be part of my street team/ambassador group and score a free digital copy – but for now, just to tease you a bit, here’s a peek at the cover!

The Good Witch’s Daily Spellbook

OMG YOU GUYS.

I have some super exciting news! I’ve partnered with Sterling Publishing to create The Good Witch’s Daily Spellbook! This collection of 366 spells – one for each day of the year – is designed in a way that’s useful for both beginners and advanced practitioners. No fancy hard-to-find tools, no hours-long rituals, just magic on the fly when you need it – as it should be!

Like a boss!

I’m super excited about this project, and my editor, Chris Barsanti, is going to be an absolute dream to work with. TGWDSB will be out in December 2016, marketed in Barnes & Noble stores (Sterling is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BN), and available in a snazzy gift-sized hardcover for just $7.98. I’ll let everyone know as things progress, like cover artwork and pre-order options, but I’m so jazzed about this that I can barely type coherent sentences right now. Stay tuned for more, and join me for one heck of a magical ride!

Why I Don’t Read Vampire Romance

This originally appeared back in 2011, but it’s one of my favorites, and I wanted to re-run it, because vampires.

On Vampire Romance, and Why I Think It Sucks
Vampires is Skeery
Vampires is Skeery

This is partly inspired by a college essay I wrote a zillion years ago, and partly inspired by the recognition that I must be the only woman in America who doesn’t dig vampire romance. I should state ahead of time that in no way am I telling you that YOU should hate vampire romances. Read ’em if you got ’em. I’m just trying to explain why I personally think they suck.

At any rate, some thoughts on the whole vampire-as-sexxeh trope:

Between the Twilight series (bad seventh-grade fan-fiction), True Blood (repetitive softcore porn after Book 4), and the skyrocketing sales of various paranormal romance books, vampires are everywhere. Now more than ever, they seem to be portrayed as the tragic, romantic heroes, with little to no emphasis placed on that whole blood-drinking, throat-shredding thing.

The earliest written tale of vampires actually appears in the form of a German poem by Heinrich Ossenfelder, called simply The Vampire. Like later vampire stories, it’s pretty heavy on the erotica, particularly for being written in the 1700s. A few decades later, Thalaba the Destroyer was written, and was the first time a vampire showed up in English literature.

During the nineteenth century, lurid vampire tales became very popular, and both Coleridge’s Christabel and Joseph le Fanu’s Carmillia take advantage of the theme of taboo lust with their stories of lesbian vampires (yes, there were lesbian vampires even in the 1800s!). Finally, Bram Stoker delivered what some might call the quintessential piece of vampire lit, in Dracula, which he published in 1897.

These early pieces of vampire fiction were really quite risqué for their time – they combined death with sex and lust, which was rather frowned upon by polite society. Particularly during the Victorian era, when Stoker’s work came out, there was a good deal of sexual repression, and the image of the lustful vampire drinking the blood of the terrified virgin was considered scandalous. Nice girls did not read vampire fiction.

So now, a hundred-and-more years later, we’ve got nice girls obsessing over whether they are Team Edward or Team Jacob. That is, everyone but me (although one might use this as a chance to question whether I’m a Nice Girl or not). Here’s why I don’t enjoy vampire romance:

(1) When you boil it down to its roots, vampire romance is all about repressed female sexuality. Look at Edward Cullen (worst.boyfriend.ever) and wonder if he’d be so into Bella if she was Slutty McPopular Girl, instead of Shy Quiet Loner Virgin. Doubt it.

(2) Vampires are dead people. I don’t care how much you bedazzle them, I can’t find the not-so-thin premise of necrophilia attractive. Besides, if the dude doesn’t have a pulse, how does he get it up? I mean, I hate to be all “put out or get out,” but I’ve got some standards. Sort of.

(3) A four-hundred year old vampire hungering for the love of a teen girl (or really, anyone under the age of about, oh, let’s say eighty) kind of verges a bit on pedophilia. If the vampire was just a fifty year old trucker following you home from the grocery store, no one would find anything appealing about this romance at all.

(4) Vampires started out as Scary Creatures of the Night that ripped apart throats and terrified villages. For them to suddenly be erotic squicks me out a bit. Even Anne Rice’s LeStat and Louis (oh, Brad Pitt, so pretty with fangs) were terrifying in their own debauched madness, despite the overt sexuality of the story. The lust and sex and erotica was overshadowed by the frustration and rage and horror at what they had become.

(4a) Vampire romance novelists tend to nice-ify their heroes. Seriously, if see one more book about a vampire who is a fucking vegetarian or only drinks the blood of dead hamsters so he doesn’t have to Killz Teh Innocent Peeples, I’m going to hurl.

That having been said, don’t get me wrong, I love a *good* vampire story. One where I get scared by things that go bump in the night, or one that makes me stick my hand through a doorway to flip the light on before I enter. You know, just in case something’s in there that might try to kill me.

For some great scary vampire fiction without romance or sparkles, I’d recommend any of the following:

Go read one of these. Seriously, it’s worth the effort, and it will give you a whole new perspective on vampire fiction as a genre in its own right.

Erotica That Doesn’t Suck

I originally wrote this post back in 2012, when I was still working at the Big Chain Bookstore, because all the hullaballoo over 50 Shades of Grey was driving me batshit crazy. Not because people wanted to read erotica, but because 50SoG is SO FUCKING BADLY WRITTEN. No kidding, you guys, I have a three chapter rule, and I could barely make it that far.

fd8Anyway, so I’m re-running this because, in the almost four years since I wrote my original post, even more people are reading erotica and apparently I’m That Friend You Ask About Smut. If 50SoG is gateway smut, here’s some stuff you need to read that’s actually GOOD SMUT.

Erotica That’s Way Better than 50 Shades of Boring

It originally started as Twilight fanfic (yeah, I hated that too) only there’s no vampires and more bondage. However, it’s tedious, repetitive and boring – and yet I’m selling a zillion copies a day, because it’s publicly-approved erotica. Matt Lauer says it’s okay for you to read it, ladies! Here’s the problem. It’s erotica for people who have never READ erotica before. It’s lame. Anastasia and Christian Grey are so boring that I don’t care if they ever get laid or not. There’s SO much stuff out there that’s written at a higher caliber.

Obviously, everyone has a different list of stuff that arouses them or that they find appealing. And of course, everyone has things they find just plain UNappealing. This list is by no means a comprehensive one, but it’s a good starting point if you’d like to read some erotica that has a plot other than just “Golly! I’m submissive!”

That’s right, my friends, I’m reading smut so you don’t have to.

Authors to check out:

Maya Banks: Her KGI series is a lot of fun – it’s about a group of four brothers who run a paramilitary consulting agency. The guys are hot, the heroines are smart and sassy and generally don’t sit around waiting to be rescued, and the sex scenes are smokin’ hot. Banks also writes a series with titles like Sweet Seduction and Sweet Temptation, and they focus on relationships that have a dom/sub angle. WAY better stuff than 50 Shades.

Opal Carew: Writes some pretty hot, pretty graphic erotica. A number of her books focus on “unconventional” stuff, particularly menage (M/F/M) and swinging. Well written and believable.

Jaci Burton: Writes straight up F/M erotica with Happy Ever After endings. Reasonably good plot lines, strong female characters, and generally men who are not obnoxious. Pretty hot sex scenes.

Dominique Adair: Spicy erotica, typically F/M with occasional variations, some light BDSM, a bit of paranormal (vampires, etc). Pretty good stuff, and she lives around Columbus, too, so you can support a local author if you buy her books.

Lora Leigh: Lighter-weight erotica with Happy Ever After endings, but well written and strong characters.

Ann Herendeen: Writes historical erotica with a number of variations: F/M, F/F, M/M, and menage included. Entertaining, lots of humor tucked in among the naughtiness. Her Pride/Prejudice puts a whole new spin on the relationships between the Darcys and others.

Also, adding this in because since the original post, I’ve discovered:

Tessa Dare: Hot ‘n sexy Regency romance. I love the Spindle Cove series, and the Castles Ever After books are seriously hot – all of them feature sassy and smart heroines and leading men who are fantastic and believable at the same time.

Scar Tissue: Zombies, Time Travel & Mad Scientists

Originally published on August 21, 2015, but moved over here for your viewing pleasure:

Scar Tissue is available now for your Kindle or the Kindle app!

It’s 2213, and Zanna Tradescant is one of the best Historical Interference Control agents in the district – after all, who else would let the Launch Team strap them into a pod and shoot them back in time? Not too many people would sign up for that at all, so when rogue scientist Austin Kent timerides back to 1893, carrying a deadly virus with him, Zanna’s the only one who can stop him. She’s going to need some help, though, to navigate the turn-of-the-century streets in New York That Was, and that’s where beat copper Jackson Garrity and his sister Maggie are going to come in very handy indeed. While Garrity and Maggie are unaccustomed to chasing mad scientists and hungry zombies around the city, for Zanna, it’s just another day on the job. Download Scar Tissue over on Amazon!