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Top 10 Authors You Need To Read

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The following people are some of the most well-known authors in the fields of magic, the occult, Paganism and Wicca. While not everyone agrees with everything these authors have written, reading their work will give you a greater understanding of the history of Paganism and Wicca in the modern era. Although this isn't a comprehensive list, it's a good starting point for anyone who's interested in reading more about Wicca and Paganism.

1. Adler, Margot

Margot Adler is a highly respected columnist and journalist for National Public Radio. In 1979 she joined NPR as a reporter, and covered controversial topics such as the right to die and the death penalty in America. Later on she became a Harvard fellow.

In the eighties Adler covered a number of diverse topics – from making a documentary about AIDS patients in San Francisco to reporting on the Winter Olympics in Calgary and Sarajevo. She occasionally pops up as a guest commentator on shows like "All Things Considered", which is a staple for NPR listeners, and is the host of the network's "Justice Talking".

2. Buckland, Raymond

Raymond Buckland is one of the greatest living influences on modern Pagans and Wiccans. He began studying spiritualism in his native England as boy. He began studying Wicca and developed a correspondence with Gerald Gardner himself. He was initiated in Scotland in 1963.

After leaving the Gardnerian tradition, Buckland formed Seax-Wica, based on the culture of the Saxons. He spent several years teaching and training other witches through the Seax-Wica Seminary, and eventually turned to solitary practice. Many people credit his work with getting Wiccans "out of the broom closet".

3. Cunningham, Scott

The late Scott Cunningham is probably second only to Ray Buckland when it comes to the volume of information he has published on Wicca and witchcraft. As a college student in San Diego Scott developed an interest in herbs, and his first book, Magickal Herbalism, was published by Llewellyn in 1982. It has since become known as one of the definitive works on the use of herbal correspondences in magick and witchcraft.

In 1990, Scott Cunningham became ill on a lecture tour, and his health gradually deteriorated. Although he went home and continued to write more books, he eventually passed away in 1993.

4. Curott, Phyllis

Phyllis Curott obtained her law degree from NYU’s School of Law, and has worked as an attorney with a focus on civil liberties, which she continues to do today. She was one of the founding members of the Religious Liberties Lawyers Network, which provides legal assistance and resources for cases stemming from First Amendment religious issues.

She was initiated into Wicca in 1985, after many years of studying Goddess traditions. Her first book was published in 1998. In addition to writing, she has spoken around the world about such matters as religious freedom and the rights of women.

5. Farrar, Stewart and Janet

Janet and Stewart Farrar met in 1970, when twenty-year-old Janet was initiated into the coven of Alex Sanders. Stewart had been initiated into the Sanders' coven early in 1970. Stewart and Janet broke away to form their own coven that same year and spent some time building their group. They were handfasted in 1972 and legally married a few years later. Stewart wrote a book entitled What Witches Do, and became a vocal proponent of Wicca.

In the mid-seventies Stewart and Janet left Britain and moved to Ireland, forming a new coven and collaborating on several books which have become staples for modern pagans.

6. Gardner, Gerald Brousseau

An initiate of Aleister Crowley, in 1949, Gerald Gardner published the novel High Magic's Aid, which was in fact not really a novel but a disguised version of Gardner's Book of Shadows. A few years later, Gardner met Doreen Valiente and initiated her into his coven. Valiente revamped Gardner's Book of Shadows, eliminated much of the Crowleyan influence, and worked together with him to create a huge body of work that became the foundation of the Gardnerian tradition. In 1963, Gardner met Raymond Buckland, and Gardner's HPs, Lady Olwen, initiated Buckland into the Craft. Gerald Gardner died of a heart attack in 1964.

7. Leek, Sybil

According to Sybil herself, she was born in 1922 in Staffordshire, into a family of hereditary witches (reports from around the time of her death say she was actually born in 1917). She claimed to trace her mother’s family of witches back to the time of William the Conqueror. Leek was initiated into witchcraft in France. She later joined her family near the New Forest, and then spent a year living with the Gypsies, who welcomed her as one of their own. Later in life, Sybil Leek became publicly known as a witch, and traveled the world giving talks and interviews about the subject before settling down in America.

8. Leland, Charles G.

Leland was a folklorist who wrote several books about English Gypsies. His early years were spent in America, and legend has it that shortly after his birth an old family nurse performed a ritual upon him, which was to bring him good fortune and that he would become a scholar and wizard. In addition to collecting exotic occult objects, Leland was a prolific writer and produced over fifty books during his lifetime, some of which influenced Gerald Gardener and Doreen Valiente. He died in 1903, before completing the bulk of his work on Italian Witchcraft.

9. Murray, Margaret

Margaret Murray was an anthropologist who became well known for her theory of a pre-Christian European religion. Margaret became recognized as a competent Egyptologist and folklorist and was influenced by works such as James Frazer’s Golden Bough. After evaluating the records of the European witch trials, she published The Witch Cult in Western Europe, in which she posited that witchcraft was far older than the middle ages, that it had in fact been a religion of its own, existing long before the Christian Church came along. Many of her theories have since been debunked by scholars, but her work is still noteworthy.

10. Starhawk

Starhawk is the founder of the Reclaiming Tradition of Wicca, and an environmental activist. In addition to writing numerous books about Paganism such as The Spiral Dance, she is also the author of several speculative fiction books. She is also co-author of Circle Round, a must-have for anyone raising kids in pagan traditions. Originally born Miriam Simos, Starhawk has worked as a consultant on a number of films, but spends most of her time writing and working for environmental and feminist causes. She travels regularly, teaching others about caring for the earth and global activism.

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