A reading list of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) authors covering Paganism, the occult, astrology, Tarot, and Indigenous spirituality.
Note that the deities of African diaspora religions can only be contacted through those religions and not via other religions. And that Indigenous life ways and spiritual practices are specific to their cultures and should not be culturally appropriated.
I’ve put out a call on Twitter and Instagram for more books to add to this list, and I will post updates (as I do with the Queer Pagan Reading List).
Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community (edited by Crystal Blanton, Taylor Ellwood, Brandi Williams, 2015)
An anthology which explores the topic of racism and how it shows up in the Pagan community, as well as what we can do to discuss it and bring it out in the open.
I have read this book and it is excellent.
Shades of Faith: Minority Voices in Paganism, by Crystal Blanton (2011)
An anthology that encompasses the voices and experiences of minorities within the Pagan community and addresses some of the challenges, stereotyping, frustrations, talents, history and beauties of being different within the racial constructs of typical Pagan or Wiccan groups. Join us in celebrating the incredible diversity and beauty that encompass the harmony that has created the song of the Pagan community. The previously unheard voices of our community are now sharing the power of experience through the written word and through their voices.
Bridging the Gap: Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society, by Crystal Blanton (2010)
As we evolve it becomes increasingly clear that being an incredible ritualist is not all that is needed to be a competent leader or member of our pagan society. Unless they come to the Craft already equipped with these skills from professional training or other life experience, the leaders in our community have not possessed the skills to effectively model or train in these techniques. For all the intensive training we endure in the Craft, pagans as a society are still ill-equipped to competently cope with the growing needs of our own community.
Pain and Faith in a Wiccan World: Spirituality, Ethics and Transformation, by Crystal Blanton
Pain and Faith in a Wiccan World: Spirituality, Ethics and Transformation fuses spirituality and counseling concepts to add a deeper layer of personal growth and connection to living the Wiccan path. This book looks beyond the concepts of ritual and reaches into previously untouched territory within the Pagan book market to address thriving as a Pagan.
Shades of Ritual: Minority Voices in Practice (edited by Crystal Blanton)
Although many of the roots of Paganism come from the lands of people of color, much of the color of Paganism is forgotten in the cultural mainstreaming that happens to ethnic cultures. This forces many people of color within Paganism to walk between the worlds of their birth ancestry and culture, and that of their spiritual culture. Shades of Ritual: Minority Voices in Practice is the second installment of the Shades of Faith series. This anthology is a collection of pieces that challenge traditional perceptions of Eurocentric Paganism, and gives the reflections of people of color within their practice of Pagan spirituality.
Black Magic: African American Religion and Conjuring Tradition, by Yvonne P Chireau (2003). University of California Press.
Black Magic looks at the origins, meaning, and uses of Conjure—the African American tradition of healing and harming that evolved from African, European, and American elements—from the slavery period to well into the twentieth century. Illuminating a world that is dimly understood by both scholars and the general public, Yvonne P. Chireau describes Conjure and other related traditions, such as Hoodoo and Rootworking, in a beautifully written, richly detailed history that presents the voices and experiences of African Americans and shows how magic has informed their culture.
Yvonne P. Chireau is Associate Professor of Religion at Swarthmore College.
Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism by Lilith Dorsey
The African earth religions are repeatedly misrepresented, misunderstood or omitted in even the most wide-ranging studies of Paganism. This book redresses the balance, offering an overview of the origins and practices of the West-African derived beliefs.
The African-American Ritual Cookbook by Lilith Dorsey
Didn’t your mama ever tell you to eat your Voodoo? This is a ritual food cookbook with deliciously divine recipes for manifesting love, money, healing, protection, luck and more. Create culinary delights from the Afro-diasporan world as you bring about positive change in your life. Written by Lilith Dorsey, initiate and scholar of New Orleans Voodoo, Santeria, and Haitian Vodou.
Love Magic: Over 250 Magical Spells and Potions for Getting it, Keeping it, and Making it Last by Lilith Dorsey
Based on years of magical experience and prodigious research, this book includes sections on such topics as self-love, marriage, fertility, erotic adventures, the ethics of love magic, and more. The spells are drawn from a wide diversity of magical traditions and focus on an equally diverse situations.
55 Ways to Connect to Goddess by Lilith Dorsey
We all have moments where we feel disconnected from the Goddess, from the sacred feminine. Despite the billions of people on the planet, solitude can often turn into loneliness and in those moments we can reach out. Reach out to Goddess, to Spirit, to the divine essence of the universe. This book will remind you of ways you may have known as a child, before anyone told you that fairies weren’t real and Santa didn’t come down the chimney.
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens: The Divine Feminine in the African Religious Traditions by Lilith Dorsey
An inspiring exploration of the goddesses of the West African spiritual traditions and their role in shaping Yoruba (Ifa), Santeria, Haitian Vodoun, and New Orleans Voodoo.
Water Magic by Lilith Dorsey (2020)
Cleansing and strong, the power of water is all around you and in you. Lilith Dorsey presents many ways to incorporate water into your magic, from washes and baths to spells and rituals. Discover how to use the symbols of water in your magical workings. Learn the histories and wisdom of rivers, lakes, and oceans, as well as water’s relationship to the wheel of the year.
African Spirituality: On Becoming Ancestors by Anthony Ephirim-Donkor
Focusing on the Akan people in Ghana as a resource for examining the overall conception of human development, this study is the first of its kind to concentrate on specific developmental processes of an African people from the ancestral world to the mundane and back to the ancestral world. From their beliefs concerning reincarnation, conception, birth, education, ethical existence and generativity, eldership, and death, the Akan people have developed a sequence of culturally defined life stage.
Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman by Malidoma Patrice Somé
Malidoma Patrice Some was born in a Dagara Village, however he was soon to be abducted to a Jesuit school, where he remained for the next fifteen years, being harshly indoctrinated into European ways of thought and worship. The story tells of his return to his people, his hard initiation back into those people, which lead to his desire to convey their knowledge to the world. “Of Water and the Spirit” is the result of that desire; it is a sharing of living African traditions, offered in compassion for those struggling with our contemporary crisis of the spirit.
The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community by Malidoma Patrice Somé
Through The Healing Wisdom of Africa, readers can come to understand that the life of indigenous and traditional people is a paradigm for an intimate relationship with the natural world that both surrounds us and is within us. The book is the most complete study of the role ritual plays in the lives of African people–and the role it can play for seekers in the West.
Ritual: Power, Healing and Community by Malidoma Patrice Somé
The stories within these books have the poignancy of new discoveries as well as the unworn imagination of the ancestors. The commentary has the sharp edge of modern thought and the intricacy which results from the intellect being woven through the ritual complexities of tribal life. The purpose of constructing thresholds that bring this world together is to find the powers that can heal the rends in tribal as well as modern communities.
I have read this book and it is excellent.
We Have No Word for Sex by Malidoma Patrice Somé
Malidoma Somé and his wife Sobonfu take us into the Dagara village and give us their tribal view of intimacy, relationships and marriage. For a subject as overworked as sex, here are some fascinating and important lessons from the heart that are as fresh and relevant as they are ancient.
Black Spirituality and Black Consciousness: Soul Force, Culture, and Freedom in the African-American Experience by Carlyle Stewart (1999)
African American spirituality plays a central role in the formation and practice of Black freedom in America. This freedom is primarily spiritual and cultural and has a significant role in shaping Black consciousness, behavior and belief.It has created a cultural archive or black culture soul, which shapes the colors, content, timbre and texture of the African American communities. Unlike other paradigms which posit the social, political and economic imperatives of freedom, the African American model stipulates the vital role of Black spirituality.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013)
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.
Currently reading this book, and it is awesome.
Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2003)
Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.
The Melanated Classic Tarot by Julia Goolsby & Oubria Tronshaw
(inspired by Pamela Coleman Smith)
The Melanated Classic Tarot is an inclusive alternative to the traditional Rider Smith Waite Deck. All races & nationalities practice tarot for individual & community healing & education, and it is hard to heal & learn with tools that do not represent you. This deck is a solution to that problem. We did not feel it was an overstep since Pamela Coleman Smith (Pixie), the woman who drew all the original images within the traditional Rider Smith Waite, was a bi-racial woman from Jamaica.
Dust II Onyx: A Melanated Tarot Deck (book and deck by Courtney Alexander)
An intuitively created 78-card set, inspired by artist Courtney Alexander’s desire to show the diversity of the African diaspora and break the boundaries of gender, sexual orientation and religion through Tarot.
BIPOC BLOGS & WEBSITES
Clio Ajana – Doxa Theion! – Home, Faith, Devotion
Crystal Blanton – It has been a passion to write for the community to help enhance Pagans in their quest of spiritually living together. On this site you will find information about who I am, my professional and spiritual experiences, some of my published information
Lilith Dorsey – for accurate and informative information about the religious traditions of Voodoo, Lucumi (Santeria), and Haitian Vodou.
Black Witch – life from a Black Pagan perspective.
Anti-Racist Pagan Resources (Althaea Sebastiani)
- BIPOC voices in the pagan publishing community (Occultivated Uma)
- Questions for myself (Occultivated Iris)