Positive Magic: Nonfiction About Witches and Witchcraft

We previously discussed fiction titles featuring witches, including popular titles such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling and Hocus Pocus, the movie and the ebook/e-audiobook (on Overdrive or hoopla); as well as some lesser known titles which include Hannah Abigail Clarke’s novel The Scapegracers or Hallmark Channel’s romance movie The Good Witch.

If you want to learn facts about witchcraft, check out the following nonfiction books. Discover the different traditions and practices of witchcraft, spells you can cast, crystals to help enhance your spiritual energies, and more!

The Witches’ Almanac is a yearly publication founded in 1971 by Elizabeth Pepper, modeled after the Farmers’ Almanac. This publication features not only time-specific information such as the annual Moon Calendar (weather forecasts and horoscopes), but also legends, rituals, herbal secrets, mystic incantations, interviews, and stories that are relevant and interesting even after the dates for the issue have passed. If you want to know this year’s moon calendar, check out the Spring 2020 – Spring 2021 issue

How do you know if you’re a witch? What are the different practices of witchcraft? The Weiser Field Guide to Witches: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, from Salem to the Land of Oz by Judika Illes answers these and more questions you may have about the subject, and the book introduces witches from fiction and real life. Gabriela Herstik’s Inner Witch: a Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft is a handy introduction to various aspects of witchcraft, including understanding the meaning of the different tarot cards, learning the different chakras, creating your own grimoire and altar, using herbs and crystals for divination, and more. 

Below are some other nonfiction titles you can check out to learn more about these subjects. The print books can be reserved now for Curbside Pickup after staff return to the building on November 2nd.

also on hoopla in e-audiobook format

Something Witchy This Way Comes: Fictional Books and Movies About Witches

Witches are portrayed in books and movies in many different ways, and have been showing up in literature for a long, long time. Take Circe from The Odyssey or Morgan Le Fay in the legends of King Arthur. Now, real witches may not have actually been portrayed in The Crucible by Arthur Miller (whose birthday happens to be today!), but you can see the relationship between witchcraft and society during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. If you’re interested in reading or listening to the play, you can check it out in the following formats: print, book on CD, Overdrive ebook and e-audiobook, and hoopla e-audiobook, and the movie adaptation

For other fictional portrayals of witches and witchcraft for teens and adults, check out the titles below! Print copies can be reserved on your online account for Curbside Pickup (read the full instructions here). Currently there is no check out fee for DVDs, so now is a good time to reserve them! For electronic versions of titles, all you need is your library card to access them on Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla.

Fans of the beloved Bewitched series, starring Elizabeth Montgomery as witch and housewife Samantha Stevens, will enjoy the film adaptation (which currently has no check out fee!) with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. For more magical romances, try one of hoopla’s October Movies of the Month, You Cast a Spell On Me, about a warlock who is having problems with his powers after meeting a mortal with whom he has an instant connection; or Hallmark channel’s The Good Witch, about Cassie Nightingale, a mysterious new resident of Middleton who seems to have the magic touch with helping the people in the small town.

also on hoopla

In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you’ll find out how the character from the popular TV show found out about being a witch, much like how Harry Potter discovers he’s a wizard in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Local residents will appreciate the Salem setting in the movie Hocus Pocus, which even has some scenes shot in Marblehead! Read Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel in ebook format on Overdrive or hoopla, or listen to the e-audiobook on Overdrive. 

Click the item covers below for more portrayals of witches, including more witch stories set in Salem or Massachusetts, fairy tale retellings, and more macabre tales to give you goosebumps!

also on hoopla
book or movie

Celebrate Your Freedom To Read With Banned Books Week!

Every year, certain books are challenged in public schools and libraries for a number of different reasons, including profanity, vulgarity, LGBTQIA+ content, references to magic and witchcraft, going against “family values/morals, being sensitive, controversial, or politically charged, and so on. In order to inform the public about this censorship, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top challenged books based on reports and media stories. 

566 books were targeted in 2019, and of those books the most challenged are listed below. You can check all of them out in at least one format from Abbot Public LIbrary, and many are in multiple physical or digital formats. Some even have movies or TV shows based on them, which you can reserve in DVD format for curbside pickup, currently with no charge! 

George by Alex Gino (print, Overdrive/Libby app ebook and e-audiobook, hoopla e-audiobook)

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (print and Overdrive/Libby app ebook

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller (Overdrive/Libby app ebook and hoopla ebook)

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth (print and hoopla ebook)

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis (print only)

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas (print only)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (regular print, large print, book on CD, related TV show Seasons 1-3, and Overdrive/Libby app ebooks)

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier (print and Overdrive/Libby app ebooks)

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling:

All the Harry Potter books are also available on hoopla in different languages in ebook and audiobook format.

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole (print and hoopla e-audiobook)

Celebrate your freedom to read what you choose by reserving the above titles for Curbside Pickup (please read about the process here for reserving titles and setting up an appointment to pick them up), or checking them out online through our digital services.

Find out more about Banned Books Week on the American Library Association website or the Banned Book Week website, including the history of Banned Books Week, virtual events taking place this week, the Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books or the decade, and more! 

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

Spring is in full bloom, and most of us are itching to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer us. We admire the trees for their blossoming buds, and we plant gardens full of colorful flowers and aromatic herbs. In Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More, readers learn how to connect more deeply and spiritually with the natural environment they live in. 

Living in Salem’s neighboring cities and towns, we’re all familiar with the terms witch and witchcraft. A common misconception about witchcraft is that it is the same as Wicca. Wicca is a specific and formal nature-based religion, whereas witchcraft (as Hiscock describes) “refers to the practice of working with natural energies to attain goals, without the specific religious context” (p. 14). 

There are many forms and focuses of witchcraft, but the path of the green witch is defined by her relationship to the world around her, by her ethics, and by her affinity with the natural world. With green witchcraft, there are no unique prayers, no uniforms, no holy texts, no obligatory tools, and no specific holiday. Instead, green witchcraft is a practice that combines the use of herbs and other green matter with seven basic energies: harmony, health, love, happiness, peace, abundance, and protection.

Throughout Hiscock’s guide, readers will learn how to use the various elements of nature—the sun, the moon, trees, stones, flowers, and herbs—to connect more closely with the Earth, to create and craft green witch magic, to become a natural healer, and much more.The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils, and More is now accessible in Overdrive and the Libby app!