It’s that time of year again!
Chances are you celebrate some form of holiday gift-giving traditions, so I’ve rounded up some of my favorite gift suggestions for your magically inclined friends (or to give to your best friend of all — yourself!).
We’ll look at tarot and divination decks and a few of my favorite books. In part 2, we’ll look at miscellaneous magical tools, including incense, oils, and other implements.
NOTE: Some links are to Amazon for ease of ordering (and I get a tiny affiliate payment for each purchase). But please support your local witchy or new age shop if you’re lucky enough to have one!
La Santa Muerte Lenormand
Designed and written by my good friend and owner of The Tarot Garden Dan Pelletier, and illustrated by Callie French, the Santa Muerte Lenormand is a labor of love centered on the spiritual path of the much-misunderstood Mexican folk saint/goddess.
La Santa Muerte, Our Lady of the Holy Death, is known for answering prayers that other saints often will not. A 38-card deck (there are two variants each of the “Caballero” and “Señora” cards) with Spanish titles, Pelletier breaks down the card meanings in clear and concise fashion, complimented by French’s colorful and engaging illustrations.
If you have a friend who is fascinated by La Santa Muerte, this deck would make a wonderful gift, and includes everything needed to begin reading Lenormand (which is a different system than tarot). Two spreads and an explanation of the colors of the candles used to request favors of La Santa Muerte round out the book.
This is a beautiful and very user-friendly Lenormand deck.
Buy it now (The Tarot Garden)
The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed: 6th Edition
As many of you probably know, I’m a bit of an antique deck snob, preferring to use pre-20th century decks (especially the Marseille and its many variants) in my readings and rituals. The exceptions are the gorgeous and evocative decks by artist and tarot scholar Robert M. Place.
You can’t go wrong with any of Bob’s decks (and I have most of them), but the one I find most useful for readings is The Alchemical Tarot: Renewed. Take a moment and look at the images of the deck on the linked page and I think you’ll see what I mean. The art manages to look ancient yet the drawings and coloring are clean and modern, and each cards is richly detailed with alchemical symbolism based in Hermetic wisdom traditions.
Even better, this deck has allowed me give powerful and resonant readings to my clients. Each card is a powerhouse of elemental and alchemical symbolism, and they spring to life on the table.
This makes a great gift for a friend who loves art and symbolism, while serving as an eminently workable and practical tarot deck.
Buy Now (Robert M. Place)
Tarot and Divination Cards: A Visual Archive
I think I raved about this book in a previous newsletter, but I can’t help but mention it again, as it’s the best tarot book I’ve purchased in many years. It’s so good, in fact, that I’m going to use it as an essential text in my tarot courses.
Since many of you already know from taking my Tarot Foundations course, I believe it’s vital to learn about tarot history to become a good reader, and this book provides a thorough (and entertaining) history, supplemented with some incredible art and photography.
But it’s also a wonderful introduction to the major arcana and the minor cards, brimming with insights and deep knowledge, and even has chapters on Lenormand and other oracle decks. If I had to pick one book to introduce someone to the magical art of tarot, this would be it. But it’s also an incredible gift for the experienced reader, too.
Buy it now (Amazon)
Six Ways: Approaches and Entries for Practical Magic
If you know someone interested in practical magic, but they’re not sure where to start, this is the book for them.
In fact, I wish this book had been available decades ago when I started on my magical journey, as it would have saved me an enormous amount of wasted time and experimentation.
Blissfuly free of dogma, and not associated with any particular path or tradition (but usable by any), Aidan Wachter’s book gets to the core of magical practice. It’s straightforward, clearly written, and the closest thing to how I work of anything I’ve ever read (and I will be using material from it in my future classes on magic — so read it now and get a head start!).
Even better, you can try out the simple but very effective exercises right away and get immediate results.
This, friend, is the real deal, combining theory, practice, wise guidance, and — something rare in books of magic — a welcome dose of humor.
I recommend all three of Wachter’s books, but Six Ways is the place to start.
Buy it now (Amazon)
ALSO recommended: For those interested in working with spirits, Jason Miller’s Consorting with Spirits: Your Guide to Working with Invisible Allies is an excellent and straightforward guidebook — and one I consider essential if you’re on that path.
Michael M. Hughes is a writer, speaker, and magical thinker. He is the author of Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change as well as numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction, and he speaks and teaches classes on magic, tarot, occultism, and more.
His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN, The L.A. Times, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, Wired, Elle, Vox, Cosmopolitan,and even the ultraconservative The American Spectator, which wrote: “He may play footsie with the devil, but at least the man has a sense of humor.”