An email forwarded to me by one of the owners of the store where I do readings and workshops at:
I recognize Magic as a high path of knowledge, and because of my desire for what it offers, wish to follow this path.
I am writing to ask if you can offer any book recommendations for a beginner. I want to learn all the fields of Astrology, Tarot, Kabbalah, and Magic at the same time. This is because I believe more information from more than one source will draw out connections faster and lead to understanding essential principles.
And my earnest(?) reply:
Heya! Hope you’re doing well, Mr. <redacted>.
As Gwen and Bubbles mentioned, I’m one of the readers at Sticks and Stones, and my specialty is on qabbalah, geomancy, and Hermetic ceremonial magic. Learning astrology, tarot, kabbalah, and magic at the same time is quite the endeavor, and to learn all the fields would take multiple lifetimes; learning even one field of one of those arts sufficiently is quite the challenge in and of itself! Astrology encompasses the natal, horary, electional, mundane, and synastric styles, and that’s to say nothing of Vedic jyotish or Chinese traditional astrology; Kabbalah is sufficiently different in its fields that it can be considered a family of separate arts in and of themselves; magic is so broad a term that it really can encompass most of human civilization! However, I can definitely offer some resources to help introduce you to the fields generally.
A very short, very abbreviated list of books:
- Homer, “Iliad”
- Homer, “Odyssey”
- Virgil, “Aeneid”
- The Bible
- Jack Miles, “God: A Biography”
- Jack Miles, “Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God”
- Plato, “Timaeus”
- Aristotle, “Metaphysics”
- Ptolemy, “Almagest”
- Ptolemy, “Tetrabiblos”
- Brian Copenhauer, “Hermetica”
- Robin Waterfield, “The Theology of Arithmetic”
- Storm Constantine, the Wraeththu series of books (the first three, at least)
- Draja Mickaharic, “Practice of Magic”
- Judy Hall, “The Art of Psychic Protection”
You may notice that the list above is primarily religious, philosophical, and mythological, mostly because that’s what magic is. One needs a very, very strong grounding in a wide variety of fields before one can even begin to approach the mysteries of magic, especially the long and ancient tradition of Hermetic magic. Works like Homer or the Bible were considered holy and magical in their own right, even back in classical times, and are still considered so today thousands of years later. Only when one is deeply intimate with the heart of Western literature and symbolism will the rich and sublime language of symbols speak to you and teach you themselves when you crack open most books on magic and the occult. Even just gazing at the Tarot (say, the Rider-Waite or Thoth decks) will teach you on their own as a kind of abbreviated textbook of the universe.
Hope this helps!