13 Best Occult Books for Beginners

You’re excited to begin your occult journey but you’re unsure where to start? Besides learning some fundamentals online, the best source of knowledge is occult literature.

But there is also a lot of hogwash that can leave you confused and sabotage your progress. Some books can be too advanced for beginners in terms of terminology as well as the practices that are recommended by the author.

This is a list of 13 occult classics that have started many on their journey towards enlightenment:

1. Introduction to Magic by Julius Evola

Julius Evola was a 20th century Italian esotericist with a somewhat controversial background. First of all he was a literal baron. Second of all he was giving lectures to the SS during WWII on how to become a sacred order like the Teutonic knights of the Middle Ages. It was also rumored that Mussolini was afraid of his magical powers!

Regardless of our political leanings, these facts certainly provide Evola with more credentials than one can expect from many self-proclaimed occult writers today.

This is one of Evola’s earliest writings, written in part by members of the mysterious UR group. It contains rare Hermetic texts and instructions for developing psychic and magical powers on your own.

Some powers that are explained include creating an etheric double, creating a magical chain, speaking with otherworldy entities and much more.

You’ll find useful information on Tantric and Buddhist rituals along with Hermetic texts and interesting personal experiences about magick rituals conducted by the authors.

I think this is a great starting point because it introduces both the Western and Eastern occultism. It also provides a great blend of theoretical insights and instructions for practicing magic on your own.

2. Initiation into Hermetics by Franz Bardon

Hermeticism is the tradition based on writings of Hermes Trismegistus which combines alchemy, astrology and theurgy.

This book provides a full step-by-step system of practice. The first part delves into the theory behind the practice, and then how to actually practice.

While many occult books leave you guessing what you’re ACTUALLY supposed to do, Bardon shares all the details so you don’t make any significant mistakes which can slow down or derail your progress.

The most interesting practices in the book that can be mastered in the beginning stages are astral travel and clairvoyance. It also provides a reasonable time frame for each stage of progression so the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the matter.

So if you’re particularly interested in Hermeticism, this is one of the best books about the subject. It can serve as a life companion you can keep coming back to time and time again for more insights and guidance.

For a more theoretical and deeper exploration of Hermiticism, consider The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art

3. The Yoga of Power: Tantra, Shakti and the Secret Way by Julius Evola

If you think that Eastern mysticism is too passive and boring, this book will probably shock you. It explores two Hindu movements, Tantra and Shakti, which are all about taking action to awaken latent powers in your body and achieve supernatural powers.

In Yoga of Power, Evola provides a detailed disposition of the theory behind the practice, why it works and why Tantra is considered a dangerous left-hand-path occult practice. He also shares translations of original texts.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the book are the guidelines for practitioners day to day life and behavior, which emphasize inner detachment but also the recognition and correction of one’s flaws.

This book doesn’t go specifically into tantric sex, as most of the practice involves different forms of meditation and visualization in order to unlock the chakras and strengthen dorment kundalini energy in the body. There’s hardly any stretching and movement involved.

Just like Introduction to Hermeticism, this book explores a single occult system, instead of providing a general introduction about the occult. Because of it’s narrower interest, it provides a significant amount of theoretical information and enough practical instructions so you can become fairly knowledgeable about Tantra and Shaktism and start practicing after reading it.

4. Ayurveda: The Science of Self Healing by Dr. Vasant Lad

Ayurveda translates as “life wisdom” or “life knowledge”. It’s an ancient Indian holistic approach to healing and living a healthy and fulfilling life.

Is Ayurveda “officially” occult knowledge? Not really, especially if you’re an Indian. But most Westerners have no clue about which dosha type (vata, pitta, kapha) best describes them, which translates to every other activity in life, and that alone can be immensely helpful on your occult journey.

A lot of the Ayurvedic knowledge is based on knowing which elements or doshas are the most dominant in your body and which are lacking (fire, air, ether, earth and water). These elements affect your physical and mental constitution.

When you understand yourself from an Ayurvedic perspective your diet, relationships and other activities will change for the better.

Many supposed occultists neglect their own bodies, having their head in the clouds way too much (air element gone wild!), which is an entirely wrong approach. The tallest tree has the strongest roots, and having optimal health will help you in every endeavor, including your magical journey.

Ayurveda is very intuitive and easy to understand, at least the basics, and this book by Dr. Vasant Lad is the best starting point because it’s well-written and provides both theoretical and practical knowledge so you can start implementing its teachings immediately.

5. The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall

This is a legendary introductory work for ancient occult and esoteric traditions. Some important subjects that are covered:

  • Zodiac and its signs
  • Solar spirituality
  • Hermeticism
  • Pythagoras
  • Atlantis and Ancient Gods
  • Alchemy
  • American Indian Spirituality
  • Initiation rituals
  • Secret societies throughout the ages
  • Hundreds of symbols

All of this and much more is covered in this book, which has stood the test of time for over 90 years. It also contains great illustrations of symbols and other important topics. Simply indispensable to get decent knowledge of the occult and its various manifestations throughout history.

6. The Black Arts: A Concise History of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, and Other Mystical Practices Throughout the Ages

If you want to delve straight into more darker (and fun) parts of the occult, this is the best introductory work. Some of the topics that it covers:

  • The world of the dark magician – this is a very holistic treatment of the dark magician archetype and how it acts out in the world
  • Meaning of names and numbers (numerology)
  • Cabala
  • Astrology
  • Ritual magic
  • Devil worship

If you ever wanted to learn how to perform necromantic rituals, summoning spirits and performing psychic attacks on your foes, this 1968. work is the bridge leading into those darker occult regions.

7. In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky

Ouspensky was the greatest student of George Gurdjieff, and in this book he shares the occult system of his master.

Gurdjieff’s system is a combination of  various Eastern esoteric teachings that were passed on orally from master to student. It’s also known as The 4th Way, because it combines elements of esoteric Christianity with ancient Oriental teachings that are virtually unknown in the West.

Gurdjieff managed to discover these teachings thanks to his extensive travels and adventures throughout Asian remote regions, which are amazingly described in his book The Meetings With Remarkable Men.

This work however is a fountain of occult knowledge as well as a literary classic that has inspired many writers and thinkers. You would

8. Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa

This is the foundational work of modern Western occultism, written in 16th century. It’s very comprehensive, and you’d be hard pressed to find a respectable magician who doesn’t have it as part of their personal library. Some of the topics it covers:

  • geomancy
  • magic squares
  • elements and their qualities
  • gods, angels, demons, heroes
  • power of writing
  • the soul of the world

…and much more.

With 300 pages of content, Agrippa provides a theoretical and practical disposition upon which many occultists have drawn inspiration ever since.

9. The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley

One of the most famous works of occult literature is Crowley’s Book of the Law. Crowley claims that it was dictated to him in Cairo during magic rituals in three successive days by spiritual forces he came into communion with. The famous phrase “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” originates from this book.

This short work (only 14 pages or so, depending on the edition and file type) will not teach you either theory or practice of Thelema. It’s for the most part incoherent, especially when read for the first time. But it has a unique power about it and shows the vastness of magical thinking (or in this case what could be labeled as otherworldly inspiration).

10. The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More

Are you fascinated by healing and poisonous plants, concocting magical potions, powerful gems and other blessings (or curses) of Mother Nature?

The Green Witch is a great starting point for aspiring herbalists and those who are interested in creating a magical garden of their own.

This book contains well researched recipes and directions for preparing:

  • herbal blends and potions
  • recipes for sacred foods
  • ritual suggestions for getting in touch with nature

It also explains magical properties of essential oils, flowers, gems and much more. I enjoyed this book and found it helpful even though I had very little prior experience with herbalism. The few healing potions I made based on the recipes, particularly one for treating respiratory issues, was very effective.

A few books that barely missed a top 10 ranking:

Hands-On Chaos Magic – A short and hands-on introductory work to chaos magic, with a lot of tips and rituals to get your practice underway immediately.

The Science of Getting Rich – Don’t underestimate this booklet which shares the fundamental principles of creating wealth. Many millionaires and billionaires (feel the Bern!) swear that the visualizations and affirmations shared by Wallace D. Wattles are the cornerstone of their success.

While there are audio versions available online for free listening, it’s a book you’ll want to have by your bedside to reread every so often. Furthermore, the entire self-development success genre is based on this book, so might as well enjoy the down-to-the-point original.

The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion – Mircea Eliade is an academic and one of the best scholars of comparative religious studies. Don’t expect practical advice on how to summon a succubus in his writings. But he’s arguably the best writer when it comes to understanding the mindset of traditional people, who viewed the entire world as sacred and magical.

In this book he compares traditional, non-dualistic mentality with that of moderners which is dualistic and experiences nature in a profane way. According to Eliade, this gradual change in mentality has destroyed our connection with magical powers that traditional civilizations revered and accepted as part of everyday reality.  

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