I took this idea from a post found at Runesoup a few years back.
“How would you introduce someone to magic using only books? He or she has
a month in a lake house and will read whatever you tell them in the
exact order that you tell them to. Not even any peeking at other books
on the list.”
1.. Fiction is allowed.
2.. You have to specify what brand of magician you want to build
beforehand. (Hermeticist, chaos, etc.)
3.. You can’t tell the subject this.
4.. You must include books from at least three disciplines. (This is to
stop you just giving the Complete Golden Dawn and then declaring the
subject a GD-style magician at the end.)
5.. It’s only books. No guru teaching, no magical training. Just books.
(It’s a book game.) Presume they will do the exact same amount of
exercises out of the books that you did.
6.. The subject goes into the house without any belief in magic. They
are a smug, modern agnostic.
7.. A maximum of ten titles. Trilogies count as three books.
My Answer: This was a pretty difficult task. I used only books that I
have personally read and used, so there’s nothing second hand on the
list, this was very important to me. You’ll notice that there are no
1st level sources on my list, in other words no mythology or original
cosmological/ancestral sources…In my opinion the task wasn’t calling
for these, it merely asked how to create a magician, not a functioning
pagan or scholar, nor was it worried about how to worship or how best to
integrate a “spirituality” into a persons life, it only asked to expose
an agnostic to magic theory and how to get them practicing competently.
I’ve tracked down a few of the books online, but I would recommend
finding (then reading) magic(k) related books in the material world at
your local used book stores or from half.com, ebay, or some other
It’s important to remember that the books will be read in order…
The Magician I’m choosing to create is a Runic-Chaos Magician
Cosmic Trigger #1 by Robert Anton Wilson I’ve seen this book on many
Magicians’ lists, and it was one that popped into my mind right away,
before looking at any others. It’s a great book, the first one in the
trilogy, and really shakes up one’s psyche, and forces them to realize
or at least contemplate the possibility that the world is merely what we
want it to be – manifested from a soup of coincidence, action, and what
we feed our minds.
Way of Wyrd by Brian Bates A good fiction novel informed by historical
events. Exposes readers and future Magicians to a Saxon/Teutonic
inspired world view that isn’t just made up wishful thinking.
Futhark by Edred Thorsson A great primer on Rune magic(K), ritual, and
practice. This book has helpful ways to meditate and begin ritual
practice with the Runes that will aid the flowering Rune Magician. Also
has a bit of good historical data.
Magical Workbook by Donald Tyson Usually I wouldn’t recommend anything
by Donald Tyson, but this book has excellent techniques geared toward
the creation of an able Magician. Most are taken from other sources so
it’s not just Tyson pulling cool techniques out of the air. These
practices are very common among most magical lodges and orders and force
the Magician to think more magically and thus more powerfully throughout
his/her day to day.
Condensed Chaos by Phil Hine This will be the Magician’s first exposure
to chaos magic(k). After working with the Magical Workbook, and
possibly still doing so, a good foundation of practice and technique
will have been established.
Post Modern Magic by Patrick Dunn More good technique here. This is a
very modern look at magic(K). Classics are included like the LBRP, but
it tends to deal more with psychological magic(k) and builds upon what
Phil Hine exposed the fledgling Magician to in Condensed Chaos.
Rune Might by Edred Thorsson Good book that will expose the Magician
to the early days of the Runic Revival in Germany and other Teutonic
countries (mainly Germany). Discusses the use of Runes by various
Occult lodges in the early 1900’s, revealing their techniques.
Pop Magick (Article by Grant Morrison) Grant Morrison is a comic book
writer and a Magician. This article reflects his belief that magic(k)
is nothing to be feared, but played with and experimented with. After
the heavy information in the previous books, the Magician should take a
deep relaxing breath with this small article, and begin to understand
that magic(k) is about living and having fun.
Seidways by Jan Fries Back to the heavy stuff. All about Seid
magic(k). Any good Runic-Chaos Magician should begin delving into this
Teutonic Magic by Kveldulf Gundarsson Notice that this is the only book
that delves into mythology and how it relates to magic(k)al practice.
Mostly this list is not about gods and goddesses or the beings that
dwell in a more mythic realm. The Magician by this time is probably
wondering about what beings inhabit the realms of Yggdrasil and this
will help. Even though Futhark exposed him/her to gods and other
beings, the focus has been on magic(k) and not necessarily religious
development. This final book will give the Magician more fuel for
enlivening his practice.
*A list I found elsewhere that I would like to delve into:
Brand of Magician; A Contemporary Cunning Practitioner
1. The Way of Mystery Nema Maat
2. Re-Visioning the Earth Paul Devereux Eco- psychology
3. My Life with the Spirits Lon Milo DuQuette Golden Dawn
4. Living Magical Arts RJ Stewart North West European Mystery Tradition
5. The War of Art Steven Pressfield Psychology of creation
6. Visual Magick Jan Fries Freestyle Shamanism
7. Basic Psychic Hygiene Sophie Reicher Modern Magick
8. The Faery Teachings Orion Foxwood, Trad Witchcraft/Conjurer
9. Wyrdwalkers Raven Kalder Northan Tradition Shamanism
10. Traditional Witchcraft A Cornish Book of Ways Gemma Gary