From the beginning way back in the 1970s I have been using books on my magickal path. Sure I have had a few in-person teachers along the way but mostly direct experience and intuition have been my guides. And books.
Being pretty independent doesn’t help either. While I do enjoy people’s companies I have a definite mistrust of spiritual agendas. Just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it has any relevance to me. So for the most part I don’t do groups.
This isn’t to say I don’t appreciate learning from other people. For the most part these though days I do my other-people-learning online or with books.
There are two basic functions books can serve in my practice.
Books for Knowledge
Most books I buy because I have read the author’s writings online or about the author’s reputation enough to want to know more about how they think or practice. I am not necessarily looking for answers so much as fresh to me ideas. As an eclectic chaos magick witch I am always looking out for new ways to expand how I perceive reality in my practice.
An author’s approach to a specific aspect of magick can be very helpful. For example, I recently purchased a book about Daoist Weather Magick. While I am not a daoist magickian I do find some intersection with daoist practices and philosophies. Mostly in the nature focus and my intuitively led path has a fair bit in common with what I have read in the daoist books.
What I got from the book and another on Sex Magick by the same author were really helpful. Both books showed me the similarities between my practices and traditional approaches. I respect the time tested systems even if I am neither a member or practitioner. The intersections and differences both help me see where I am at in my development even though I am not a member or have a recognized teacher. They also point to where I can take my practice next and what I might need to do to get there.
Sometimes I try something I pick up from a book and it works great. Other times nothing happens. Either I am not ready yet or I don’t understand how to work the process properly.
Books of Power
Some books are powerful just because they exist in 3D. This type of book is fun to find while wandering through used bookstores. You can feel the energy in the book. And it also may have absolutely nothing to do with magick!
Books of power are primarily books which have had a lot of people put a lot of energy and attention on them. I have one set of books the author has been writing since the 1960s. His entire career in computer science is reflected in these books. He and the books are at the pinnacle of his field recognized be every person who programs computers. When I begin to get into technomancy I will be tapping these books as part of my work.
Any field of study has such books. Their words have been pondered and discussed for generations in some cases. Not nly their words but their physical bindings, paper, and typesetting can all add to their power.
These are books containing powerful levels of energy. Using books as magickal batteries puts a new twist on the knowledge is power belief. The representation of knowledge itself can be powerful!