For learning more about our immediate witch ancestors, and the books they read
In the Grove of the Druids (2002)
Book | The writings of Ross Nichols, Chief of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. An interesting read, for completionists interested in this strand of history. Nichols is influenced by Christanity and Welsh folklore, and there are a couple of parts of this that I still use.
The White Goddess (1948)
Book | Very influential pre-pagan-revival book. Absolute tosh, don't look at it for history. But from a Fencraft perspective, an interesting text because he's essentially exploring the Landweird - which is to say, combining stuff he's learned with stuff he's imagined, or thinks to be in some way deeply "right". So I'm coming back round to it.
✪ Triumph of the Moon (1999)
Book | Essential reading for any pagan: a fascinating, but fair, history of the neo-pagan revival (and often hilarious). I admire Hutton so much. For Fencraft, pay especial interest to the chapter on the Murray hypothesis, and on Victorian folklorists rediscovering ancient pagan ways.
The God of the Witches (1960)
Book | Followup to Witch Cult in Western Europe. Extremely influential work of pseudo-history. Folk horror owes more to Murray's hypothesis than any other writer. I wouldn't prioritise this book, however its a very good choice as a second year/deepen your understanding choice. It's good to understand where our faith came from, albeit not in the way Murray intended. Read online
The Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921)
Book | Extremely influential work of pseudo-history. Folk horror owes more to Murray's hypothesis than any other writer. I wouldn't prioritise this book, however its a very good choice as a second year/deepen your understanding choice.
✪ The Rebirth of Witchcraft (1989)
Book | Fantastic read. Valiente was there when Gardener was doing his thing, and Cochrane and Sanders too - and herself played a part in rebuilding witchcraft in the UK. Valiente is a great writer, and does well at finding out the facts and investigating wild claims. I think every Pagan should have read this at least once, it's as near as we have to a primary history of those days.
Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed (1990)
Book | So this book is notable for being one of the best surviving records of Cochrane's craft/Clan of Tubal Cain. Cochrane is grouped with traditional witchcraft, and Valiente reports that his rites were more intuitive than structured. For my part, I was surprised by how Wicca-adjacent it felt, or at least, it didn't satisfy me. It's a practical focused book, with descriptions of rites and tools, and to fully understand you should look out Cochrane's other writing which is around online. All in all, for completionists only.
Hellebore Zine (2019-)
Book | Zine series of pop-academic essays on folk horror/british eerie/weird archeology topics - gorgeous design. There's something about the tone of Hellebore which doesn't set well with me, a certain *competitive* edge, but perhaps I'm projecting my envy through it, or my discomfort at the increasing number of purchaseable products coming into the forgotten-folk-horror scene; but it's a good place to pick up new references.