Reading list

This post is divided into two sections.  The first section represents my personal “must-read” list, containing only entries which I have personally found helpful or which I expect to find helpful based on browsing or the recommendation of a friend.

Selected Recommendations:

Celtic:

  • Kinsella’s Táin (1969) was recommended to me by a native Celt and language geek, raised in a family tradition, as “the best translation available”.  I have it on my shelf, awaiting a chance to read it.
  • Meeting the Other Crowd (Lenihan & Green, 2003) is a collection of stories that illustrate the surviving Celtic fairy belief, recommended by the same native Celt mentioned previously.  This is also awaiting its turn to be read.
  • Gods and Fighting Men (Gregory, 1904) Part 1 collates various fragments of early Celtic mythic lays into readable copy.  Contrast Gregory’s account of the Second Battle of Magh Tuiredh with any of the existing translations of Cath Maige Tuired (Gray, unknown).  I have not yet read Part 2, which is a collection of heroic lays.
  • The Druids (Ellis, 1995) provides excellent scholarship regarding what we know about the ancient Druids and the Celtic culture and belief systems that pre-date Christianity.
  • The Four Ancient Books of Wales (Skene, 1868) is the source for much of Arthurian legend and is purported to contain kernels of pre-Christian mythology.  The samples I have randomly browsed from this collection appear to be mostly free of obvious Christian edits.  Contrast with the beautiful but highly contaminated Mabinogion (Guest, 1877), which is derived from the Four Ancient Books.
  • The Carmina Gadelica (Carmichael, 1900) is a collection of Scottish folk practices, songs, hymns and poems that demonstrate many of the old ways in spite of obvious Christian influence.
  • Lady With A Mead Cup (Enright, 1996), collects and discusses a great deal of research into European warband cultures, with particular attention to the place of ritual in the social structure of Celtic and Germanic peoples.

Norse:

  • Essential Ásatrú (Paxson, 2006) is easy to read, the scholarship seems genuine and the attitude of the author seems suitably modern and hate free.
  • Dictionary of Northern Mythology (Simek, 2006) as translated by Angela Hall is the superior version of this work (according to Simek, her translation is better and more complete than the original).  A work like this is, in my opinion, essential to keeping track of the many proper names and terms in the Eddas and Sagas.
  • The Poetic Edda (Thorpe, 1866) is reputed to be among the most accurate translations of this work.  I have been able to verify some of its accuracy myself.  Contrast with the more popular Hollander translation, which takes too many liberties for the sake of flow.
  • The Poetic Edda (Bellows, 1936) often flows better than the Thorpe version and is nearly as accurate, thus negating the need for Hollander’s publication.
  • Heaney’s Beowulf (2000) preserves the feel of the original Anglo-Saxon in a facing-pages dual-language edition that is a joy to read.
  • Northvegr’s Trúlög, Sögumál, and Praiseworthy Virtues of the North (Teague et. al, 2004) provide a good introduction to the Norse mindset, grounded in the Sagas and Eddas.
  • A Short Introduction to Heithni (Teague et. al., 2005) includes an overview of the Regin (gods and goddesses), a reconstructed creation tale, and information about the Fuþark (runes), Galðr and Seiðr.
  • The Religious Practices of the Pre-Christian and Viking Era North (Teague et al., 2004) contains an overview of the vast amounts of information that were preserved for future generations about the ancient Norse ways.
  • Wyrd Staves, Mystery of the Futhorc (Bohrer, 2003) provides an examination of the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poems and the runes themselves.
  • Lady With A Mead Cup (Enright, 1996), collects and discusses a great deal of research into European warband cultures, with particular attention to the place of ritual in the social structure of Celtic and Germanic peoples.

Hindu

  • The Rig Veda (Griffith, 1896) is among the most ancient surviving religious and cultural texts in the world.
  • The Origins & Development of Classical Hinduism (Basham, 1989) is a wonderful introduction to ancient Hindu belief written by “one of the world’s foremost authorities on ancient Indian culture and religion.”

Occult:

  • Aradia (Pazzaglini, 1998) is a new translation from Leland’s original notes.  It is widely held to be superior to Leland’s original.
  • The Wiccan Mysteries (Grimassi, 1997) includes references and explains the nuts-and-bolts of the occult theory that many modern magical practices (Wicca, Ceremonial Magic, Thelema, Shamanism) are based on.  The scholarship in this regard is top-notch.  The book also includes an overview of Grimassi’s theory that Wicca and other modern practices evolved from an old “European Goddess Religion.”  While some of the links in this particular logic chain are (IMHO) tenuous, Grimassi points out most of the holes himself.
  • Wicca (Cunningham, 1988) because nobody ever has anything bad to say about Scott Cunningham.  Even the authors that argue amongst themselves usually agree that Scott Cunningham “had it all figured out.”
  • The Magical Household (Cunningham & Harrington, 1983) because it has a bunch of stuff you can “do” around the house to create a more positive living experience.
  • Knight’s Exploring Celtic Druidism (2001) contains a beautiful system with workable rituals, a sound introduction to Celtic mythology, and hands-on instructions for creating your own tools.
  • The Evil Eye (Elworthy, 1895) is a hands on manual for warding against and purging evil.

Complete Bibliography:

If I have read a work, or a significant portion thereof, the publication date appears in bold face.  The remainder are listed either because they are useful for contrasting with alternate preferred versions (in the Selected Recommendations, above) or because I have evaluated them and expect to find them useful eventually.

Celtic Studies

Carmichael, Alexander (1900). The Carmina Gadelica. T. And A. Constable.
Dunn, Joseph (1914). The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge. David Nutt.
Ellis, Peter Beresford (1995). The Druids. Wm. B. Eerdmans.
*Ellis, Peter Beresford (1994). The Druids. Constable and Company. Ltd.
Enright, Michael J. (1996). Lady With A Mead Cup. Four Courts Press.
Gray, Elizabeth A. (unknown year). Cath Maige Tuired. The Internet Sacred Text Archive.
Green, Miranda (1992).  Animals in Celtic Life and Myth. Routledge.
Gregory, Lady Augusta (1904).  Gods and Fighting Men. J. Murray.
Guest, Lady Charlotte (1877). The Mabinogion. Bernard Quaritch.
Kinsella, Thomas (1969).  The Táin.  Oxford University Press.
Kirk, Robert & Lang, Andrew (1691/1893). The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies. David Nutt.
Lenihan, Eddie & Green, Carolyn Eve (2003).  Meeting the Other Crowd. Tarcher/Penguin.
MacCulloch, John Arnott (1911). Religion of the Ancient Celts. T&T Clark.
Skene, William F. (1868). The Four Ancient Books of Wales. Edmonston and Douglas.
Squire, Charles. (1905). Celtic Myth and Legend. The Gresham Publishing Company, Ltd.
Unknown (unknown). The Carmina Gadelica. Unknown.

*I have never seen the 1994 edition of Ellis, but supposedly it is still available.

Christianity

Miscellaneous Religious, Mythological and Literary Texts

The Internet Medevial Sourcebook.
The Internet Sacred Text Archive.
The Nag Hammedi Library.
Hellenismos.
Legge, James (1899). I Ching.  Sacred Books of the East(16). Oxford/Clarendon.
Legge, james (1891). Tao Te Ching. Sacred Books of the East(39). Oxford/Clarendon.
Plurabelle, Anna Livia. (2002). The Book of the Goddess.

Hindu Studies

Basham, A.L. (1989). The Origins & Development of Classical Hinduism.  Oxford University Press.
Griffith, Ralph (1896). The Rig Veda. The Internet Sacred Text Archive.
Griffith, Ralph (1895). The Sama Veda.  The Internet Sacred Text Archive.
Griffith, Ralph (1895). The Atharva Veda.  The Internet Sacred Text Archive.
Keith, Arthur. B. (1914). The Yajur Veda.  Cambridge.

Northern Studies

Bellows, Henry Adams (1936). The Poetic Edda. Princeton University Press.
Enright, Michael J. (1996). Lady With A Mead Cup. Four Courts Press.
Heaney, Seamus (2000). Beowulf. W. W. Norton & Company.
Gummere, Francis B. (1910). Beowulf. The Harvard Classics. 49. P.F. Collier & Son.
Odhinssen, Ari (2004?). The Meaning of Faith in Heithni. Northvegr Foundation.
Paxson, Diana L. (2006). Essential Ásatrú: Walking the Path of Norse Paganism. Citadel Press.
Simek, Rudolf. (2006). Dictionary of Northern Mythology.  D.S. Brewer.
Stead, Lewis & Pereira, J. S. (2001). Ravenbok. Raven Kindred.
Sweet, Henry (1895). An Icelandic Primer. Oxford/Clarendon.
*Teague, Shannon. (2003). Guardians and Weavers of Wyrd. Northvegr Foundation.
Teague, Shannon. (2003). Loki, Friend of Odin. Northvegr Foundation.
Teague, Shannon, et. al. (2004?) The Religious Practices of the Pre-Christian and Viking Era North. Northvegr Foundation.
Teague, Shannon, et. al.  (2003-2006) Northvegr Northern European Studies Archive. Northvegr Foundation.
Teague, Shannon, et. al. (2004?) Trúlög. Northvegr Foundation.
Teague, Shannon, et. al. (2004?) Sögumál. Northvegr Foundation.
Teague, Shannon, et al. (2004?) The Praiseworthy Virtues of the North. Northvegr Foundation.
Teague, Shannon, et al. (2005) A Short Introduction to Heithni. Alfaleith.org.
Thorpe, Benjamin (1866). The Poetic Edda. Unknown Publisher.
**Thorsson, Edred (2005).  Northern Magic:  Rune Mysteries and Shamanism. Llewellyn Press.
Bohrer, Uriah (2003?). Wyrd Staves: Mystery of the Futhorc. Northvegr Foundation.

* Shannon Teague often publishes under the heathen pen name “Alfta S. Lothursdottir”
** Originally published in 1992 as Northern Magic: Mysteries of the Norse, Germans and English.

Occult Studies

*Cunningham, Scott (1988). Wicca. Llewellyn Press.
*Cunningham, Scott (1993). Living Wicca. Llewellyn Press.
*Cunningham, Scott (1989). The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews. Llewellyn Press.
Cunningham, Scott & Harrington, David (1983). The Magical Household.  Llewellyn Press.
Elworthy, Frederick Thomas (1895). The Evil Eye. J. Murray.
Grimassi, Raven (1997). The Wiccan Mysteries.  Ancient Origins & Teachings. Llewellyn Press.
**Knight, Sirona (2001). Exploring Celtic Druidism.  Ancient Magick and Rituals for Personal Empowerment. New Page Books/Career Press.
Leland, Charles Godfrey (1899). Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches. Robert Nutt.
***Pazzaglini, Mario; Pazzaglini, Dina; Clifton, Chas S.; Mathiesen, Robert & Chartowich, Robert E. (1998).  Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches: A New Translation. Phoenix Publishing.
Strong, Herbert A. & Garstang, John (1913). De Dea Syria: The Syrian Goddess. Constable & Company, Ltd.

* These three books are available together in an out of print 2003 single binding by One Spirit/Bookspan, which is as of this writing less expensive to obtain on the used market than any of Cunninghams books are separately.
**Knight’s book provides some good information and cites excellent references.  The practices she writes about seem like a complete system, however she has admitted in interviews since publication that the book mislabels these practices as Druidism when they are in fact a form of Wicca.  For that reason it is is filed under Occult Studies and not with the other Celtic materials.
***There seems to be some consensus among readers that Pazzaglini’s Aradia is superior to the original.