Fictional Works That Changed My Religious Beliefs

In the order that I read them:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Brothers Grimm

My mother once told me that if she'd known what would come of it, my first bedtime story wouldn't have had a witch in it. This was my first exposure to literary witches - and when I knew what a witch was - I called myself one from that day forward. Thus was born my obsession with Evil Queens, glamour, red lipstick, mirrors, vanity and baking apple pies for people.

MacBeth - Shakespeare

 Witch Number One was always my favorite.

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 

I am forever thankful to my second grade teacher for reading this to us - a few chapters at a time at the end of the day - and for showing us the Hallmark movie adaptation of the novel. When the '93 film starring Maggie Smith came out, I was obsessed, and still am. I have re-read the novel every spring for the last twenty-three years.

Wise Child - Monica Furlong

A YA novel about a young girl sent to live with a witch. I read this in junior high and it remains remarkable to me for being the only YA witch story I know of that includes flying ointments.

Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman 

Another yearly re-read. It didn't so much change any religious beliefs, but I would be in error not to mention it.

The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley

Yeah, yeah, I know.

Book of Shadows/The Love Spell - Phyllis Curott 

Two fictionalized memoirs which I'm including and I hope the author, should she see this, won't find the inclusion offensive. Curott took her training in the first coven of the Minoan Sisterhood operating out of the Magickal Childe.

American Gods - Neil Gaiman

Just read everything by Neil Gaiman. Seriously.

Bell, Book and Murder: The Collected Bast Novels - Rosemary Edghill

When I finally met Real Life Initiates™ and asked for book suggestions, this is what I was given.

I'm sure there are a hundred thousand more, since everything I've ever read has gone into the stew, but these are all biggies.

What are yours?


  1. Reading your list, I was inspired to get off my ass and do my own.

    I think I'll have to check out Curott.

  2. Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series. "Not so much to act as to be acted through".

  3. Tamara Pierce's "Circle of Magic" was a major influence.

  4. Mists of Avalon (and the rest of the Avalon series), The Winter of Magic's Return, The Bast Novels (which I'm pretty sure were recommended to me by the same person who recommended them to you).

    I also very recently read American Gods, which I can't say I actually /liked/, but as a polytheist, parts of it made me VERY VERY HAPPY. (I love Ibis and Jacquel)

    The Abhorsen Series (Garth Nix) - death and magic, very cool. I'm rereading them now.

    Now I have to think. I've read a LOT of books over the years. There's probably some Charles de Lint in there too, though I can't think of any specific books offhand. Also Terry Pratchett's Witches set.


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