Blessed be the tarot and herbalism renaissance we’re all living in!
If you’re interested in some of my favorite resources for tarot and herbalism, you’re in the right place. Truthfully, this could be a never-ending list. I’ve paired it down to some of the most accessible gems.
New to Tarot?
Alternative Tarot Course + Card A Day. I could wax on and on about Beth Maiden and the wild crew of cardslingers and mystics she’s called together to create her amazing site, Little Red Tarot. Beth is a marvel and has created a tarot community for the rest of us that is full of kindness and compassionate grit along with magickal insight. Beth wrote the article on Pamela Colman Smith a few years back that many of us in the tarot community had been waiting for. Her two courses on tarot (Alternative Tarot Course + Card A Day) are beautiful, simple, and a great option for online tarot learners. I’ve taken both of them and I highly recommend them for newbies and seasoned readers alike.
Authors + Websites
Rachel Pollack : Tarot Goddessmother, trans activist, card creator, and divinatory mystic, Rachel is one of my favorite tarot authors. She’s written a lot of books and go ahead and read them all. Rachel is most well known for her book 78 Degrees of Wisdom. If you’re a beginner or just want to get a taste for her work I think her Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot is accessible and chock full of wisdom.
Mary K. Greer : Another Tarot Goddessmother, Greer’s website is full of new research and discoveries about the tarot (she’s done some great work discovering resources on Pamela Colman Smith). She’s written a number of classics on the tarot and I highly recommend her workbook Tarot for Yourself, but her bibliography is extensive and amazing.
Benebell Wen : We need more Benebell Wens in the world. First she’s is, and I mean this with the upmost respect, a total occult nerd and I adore her. She wrote The Holistic Tarot a few years ago and it’s destined to be a classic alongside Rachel Pollack’s 78 Degrees of Wisdom. Benebell’s site is full of amazing free resources including legal resources because she also happens to be a lawyer (I know, join the fanclub, we have tea each Wednesday). I was able to get my disclaimer into shape thanks to her. But you could spend many a happy day reading through Benebell’s site - I know I have. AND, if you’re finally wanting to learn the Opening of the Key, please check out Benebell’s course on the OOTK. She has made the technique completely accessible and it’s a wonderful tool for tarot readers.
I always recommend supporting your local herb shop and apothecary but if that’s not an option I really like Mountain Rose Herbs for purchasing herbs and herbal supplies online. They also have a great list of online herbal schools if you’re interested in pursuing your herbal studies.
Rosemary Gladstar is the Goddessmother of modern herbalism in the United States and her books are a total delight. Her Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health and Medicinal Herbs are two great starting places. She also has a number of lectures on youtube that you can find with a quick search. You can also take courses with her online which I highly recommend.
Matthew Wood has written some of the most popular materia medical on traditional western herbalism and for good reason. They are full of case studies, cross-references, and a distillation of centuries of herbal wisdom. His book on the energetics of traditional western herbalism is one of my favorites and his newest publication The Earthwise Herbal Repertory is incredible.
I am such a fan of Anne McIntyre. She has written more than one of my favorite books on herbalism. McIntyre also possesses deep knowledge within both TWH and Ayurveda helping both traditions to converse with one another (her book Dispensing with Tradition: A Practitioner’s Guide to using Indian and Western Herbs the Ayurvedic Way is a treasure!). What is great about McIntyre is that she possesses a very organized mind which lends itself well to print. Her Complete Herbal Tutor is concise, clear, abundantly useful, and is one of the books that I ask my apprentices to buy.
I wanted to include at least one book that focused more on herbal stories than recipes. A book on herbal being rather than doing. I had heard about Judith Berger's book, Herbal Rituals, and how wonderful it was supposed to be long before I ever held a copy in my hands. It had been out of print for a long time and used copies were ridiculously expensive. I got lucky one day, though, and thrifted a cheap copy. It is truly as delightful as I had been told and I am so happy that it has been re-released as an ebook. Berger writes a chapter for each month of the year, weaving in reflections of her Brooklyn childhood, with stories of plants friends she has made of the years along with sweet and simple recipes. It is important to be told and read stories about herbs for that is the way that we have collected and passed on herbal knowledge for longer than our modern materia medicas. To re-member how to be plant stories and be materia medicas and be the possibilities of healing.
A great online resource is The Herbarium which focuses on traditional western herbalism for times of transition. The resources are beginner friendly, but experienced herbalists will find plenty to enjoy, too.
Astrology + Astroherbology
Astro.com is a great site for getting a free birth chart and learning about all aspects of astrology with their large library of well-written and researched blog posts.
If you’re interested in diving into the roots of traditional western herbalism and it’s connection to astrology than I highly recommend Culpeper’s Medicine by Graeme Tobyn.
Skyscript is a great website for all things astrology with a large section of medical astrology. It’s a great reference and they have a number of free astrology books and medical astrology texts on their site.
Greek Medicine is another extensive website that discusses the roots of medical astrology within traditional western herbalism. A similar resource is Medical Astrology + Astrological Medicine created by Peter Morrell.
Other medical astrology books that you might enjoy include:
Encyclopaedia of Medical Astrology by H.L. Cornell, M.D.
A Handbook of Medical Astrology by Jane Ridder-Patrick
Medical Astrology by Judith Hill
Earth Mother Astrology by Marcia Starck
Astrology: Key to Holistic Health by Marcia Starck
Witchcraft + Paganism
While it felt relatively easy to choose resources for beginners when it comes to tarot and herbalism, selecting ones for those new to witchcraft and paganism feels like a far more vast and complex tax. Especially given the massive increase of resources available for those interested in learning more about magickal tradition and earth-centered spiritual practices over the past decade.
There are so many amazing tradition-focused books that are not on this list because then this list would become a thousand pages long. What I have chosen to focus on are books that I think help build a foundation to the new-to-magick and curious about earth-based spirituality without getting too tradition specific. It’s not been easy but I hope this list gets you started.
Little Red Tarot is a great resource not just for tarot but for magickal arts, too. Asali Earthwork’s column Ritual & Honey is a great place to start and I consistently love what Sabrina Scott and Traci Medeiros-Bagan write, too. Other online resources include the aforementioned Benebell Wen and Spiral Nature
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk is a classic text on modern witchcraft, Goddess spirituality, and Wicca. Starhawk is less known outside of the United States but she’s an important elder in the Pagan community writing about and participating in the intersections of feminist spirituality, magickal activism, permaculture, and social justice. It’s a good resource for learning about the basics of Wicca with a feminist focus, including the wheel of the year, ritual creation, and basic spellwork.
Scott Cunningham is another great resource for learning about spellcraft. He has a beautiful way of bringing traditional spellwork into a modern framework. I recommend his books Earth Power and Earth, Air, Fire & Water if you’re really excited about spellwork and creating your own rituals.
Jambalaya by Luisah Teish and Book of Shadows by Phyllis Curott are both books that are part autobiographical, part instructional, and all magickal. Druid Priestess by Emma Restall Orr is also a very sweet book - it feels similar to Herbal Rituals in tone. I find biographies and autobiographies to be uniquely useful when learning about magickal tradition and Pagan spirituality.
Silver Ravenwolf was such a controversial author for the older generation when I was coming of age as a witchling, but now that my generation is “old” (i.e. out of our 20s) we’re beginning to celebrate how magickally creative Ravenwolf was and is and how she spoke to the younger generation when very few authors were. To Ride a Silver Broomstick is a classic and I think The Witch’s Notebook is often overlooked but pretty great especially if you’ve been practicing magick for a while and are wanting to re-assess and re-invigorate your practice.