Like many teen girls, I had a witchy phase. I lit candles, spoke spells, and tried to visualise the things I wanted to happen. This was back in the early 2000s, so all my witchcraft was learned from library witch spell books and scouring the Mind Body Spirit sections in my local bookshops, which, in my area, had a fairly limited section. I didn’t really understand what I was doing, and I soon drifted away from the practice.
Then the last few years happened, and, feeling lost, hopeless and powerless, and like the activist work I was doing meant nothing in the face of the rise of bigotry on local and global scales, I turned back to magic (I know that some witches spell it magick, but I’ve never liked that particular spelling — just personal preference). And I wasn’t alone. Helped along by Instagram and TikTok, a new wave of modern witchcraft has taken hold, with witches casting spells for everything from social justice to self care. People are focusing on connecting with nature, deities or ancestors, honing their visualisation skills, and creating magical space.
Two decades after my first forays into witchcraft, I’m back and loving it more than ever. There are multiple resources out there for any budding witches, and online communities and support for anyone wanting to develop their craft. And there are many brilliant witch spell books out there for witches old and new, wanting to build on their magical practice. Here are some of my favourites.
A Spell in the Wild by Alice Tarbuck
This is the book that got me back into witchcraft. With a chapter for every month of the year, each one exploring a different aspect of witchcraft with tales from the author’s own life and magical practices, A Spell in the Wild creates a solid framework for a new witch to get into working the craft. Each chapter ends with a spell that draws on the themes of that particular chapter, listing ingredients that the witch reader can use, but also describing ways to adapt spells and magical workings for witches of all financial means and physical abilities.
Plant Witchery by Juliet Diaz
While there’s no such thing as a typical witch, the Venn diagram of budding witches and people whose houseplant collection has got out of hand has some significant overlap. In this book, Juliet Diaz will teach you the magical and medicinal properties of hundreds of different plants, and how to incorporate them into your spellwork.
By Rust of Nail and Prick of Thorn by Althaea Sebastiani
Personal protection is a cornerstone of modern magical practice, and in this short but in-depth book, “feral witch” Althaea Sebastiani goes into detail about ways to ward your home against negative energy and malicious attacks. Sebastiani advocates a highly practical approach to witchcraft, urging the reader to “just do the witchcraft” and begin spellwork immediately instead of waiting for the perfect time, the perfect moon phase and the perfect collection of crystals.
Spell Bound: A New Witch’s Guide to Crafting the Future by Chaweon Koo
Koo’s book looks at the role of Eastern and Western magical traditions, and explores how to connect to the past while also building a practice that fits in our modern world. Full of beautiful illustrations, this is the perfect book for anyone wanting to build an eclectic witchcraft practice.
The Wheel: A Witch’s Path Back to the Ancient Self by Jennifer Lane
Like many new witches, Jennifer Lane turned back to practicing witchcraft when the stress of her office job got too much and she was signed off work. Lane started exploring witchcraft, ritual, and nature as part of her healing process, and she details her journey and the magic she discovered along the way in this book.
American Brujeria: Modern American Folk Magic by J. Allen Cross
This book combines Mexican and American folk magic, exploring the resulting form of magic — dubbed by Cross as “American brujeria” — and how it is practiced in the modern U.S. A fantastic resource for anyone of Mexican American heritage who is interested in witchcraft and an interesting book on magical history for those who aren’t part of this community, American Brujeria is a fascinating read.
Water Magic by Lilith Dorsey
Wicca and many other forms of witchcraft involve working with the elements, and water is such a common part of many people’s practices that some practitioners identify primarily as water witches. In this book, Dorsey gives the reader ideas on how to strengthen their bond with water and incorporate it into their magic. Whether you want to use charged water in spells, take ritual baths, or make magically cleansing floor washes, Dorsey has the water spell for you.
Light Magic for Dark Times by Lisa Marie Basile
Many people have got into witchcraft in recent years as a response to terrifying world events, which isn’t surprising; witchcraft and practical, community-based activism have long gone hand in hand. In Light Magic for Dark Times, Lisa Marie Basile has listed a wide range of spells for activist witches, focused on building protection, sending power or comfort to those who need it, and focusing on self care.
Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color by Lorraine Monteagut
In this fascinating text for the modern witch, Monteagut looks at the magical history of Afro-Latine and Indigenous witches, and how traditional practices can be incorporated into the modern world. While witches from outside these communities should once again take great care to avoid cultural appropriation in their work, Brujas is an interesting and thought-provoking read.
A Witch’s Guide to Spellcraft by Althaea Sebastiani
Another essential read, A Witch’s Guide to Spellcraft is an adaptation of one of Sebastiani’s practical magic courses. While the book is particularly useful for new witches wanting to build their knowledge, more experienced witches will also learn plenty of ways to bolster the foundations of their magical work, or develop their understanding of witchcraft and the relationship a witch has with the world around her.
If you want more resources on how to get started in witchcraft, try our list of The Best Books for Beginner Witches. For a comprehensive list of witchy fact and fiction, look at 100 Must-Read Books About Witches.