If you’ve ever set foot in an occult shop with genuine interest in its offerings, you’ve probably experienced the wooziness of information overload: What is all this stuff, and where do I start? There is no shortage of books on spellwork, tarot, astrology, witchcraft, Wicca, herbalism and more, but we all know it’s hard to drink from a firehose.
Enter Sarah Lyons, a Brooklyn-based witch and activist who has created the accessible, neatly designed overview any magic rookie needs. How to Study Magic: A Guide to History, Lore, and Building Your Own Practice lays out the basics in a straight-talking manner, complemented by duotone illustrations and line drawings by Tobias Göbel. Ceremonial magic, chaos magic, paganism: All are different things, and this book explains their differences. It won’t answer every question—that would be beyond its scope as a gateway guide—but it will establish familiarity and point you in the direction of the best further reading. I’m not sure the subject of magic can really be demystified, but this book comes mighty close.