There are a growing number of books available about specific gods and goddesses, making it easier for modern Pagans to deepen their spiritual practices and worship. It’s still common for books targeted at beginners to feature brief descriptions of dozens or even hundreds of deities. Those books are helpful to give a general overview and to narrow down one’s choices. Here are a few suggestions for books once you’re ready for a more comprehensive view of specific deities.
The Egyptian goddess Isis is quite popular and books such as DeTraci Regula’s “The Mysteries of Isis” and M. Isidora Forrest’s “Isis Magic” and “Offerings to Isis” lead the dedicant to a rich understanding of Her. Another popular Egyptian goddess is Sekhmet the lion-headed protector. “The Goddess Sekhmet” by Robert Masters is an impressive handbook for exploring Her worship.
Hindu deities have also drawn reverence from non-Hindu worshippers. The powerful Kali in particular has attracted a lot of followers. “Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar” by Elizabeth U. Harding, and “Encountering Kali In The Margins, At the Center, In the West” by Rachel Fell McDermott and Jeffrey J. Kripal are two excellent introductions. For more general traditional Goddess worship in India hunt down a copy of “Entranced By the Goddess” by Sudha Chandola. A more Western-oriented look at the God Shiva is explored in “Shiva: The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy” by Wolf-Dieter Storl. For step by step guides to traditional worship practices look for “Kali Puja,” “Siva Puja,” “Ganesa Puja,” “Durga Puja” and more by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. They provide recitations in the original Sanskrit along with pronounciation guides, as well as English translations of everything.
Those drawn to Middle Eastern polytheism will find treasure troves about specific goddesses in “Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth” by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, and “Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom” by Caitlin Matthews. Those with a modern Thelemic leaning will appreciate Peter Grey’s opus “The Red Goddess.”
Greek and Roman deities have also had an enduring appeal. The dark goddess Hecate in particular has had a real resurgence in visibility lately. The prolific Sorita d’Este has published books such as “Hekate: Keys to the Crossroads,” “Hekate Liminal Rites,” and “Hekate: Her Sacred Fires” to great acclaim. Greg Crowfoot’s lesser-known book “Crossroads” provides further information. And limited edition hardcover books such as Mark Alan Smith’s “Queen of Hell” (paired with a companion volume, “The Red King”) explore relationships to Hekate in a more modern and personal context.
Another popular Goddess, especially among Witches, is the Italian Aradia. The classic text on Her is still “Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches” by Charles G. Leland. The book is available in a number of editions, with commentary added by various experts. You can find free public domain copies of the original edition online at sites such as http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/index.htm
Other books on specific Hellenic deities include “Dancing In Moonlight: Understanding Artemis Through Celebration” by Thista Minai, and “The God Who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries Revisited” by Rosemarie Taylor-Perry. There is a lot of material available on the mythology of ancient Greece and Rome that is easily found in most public libraries.
If Celtic deities are more what you’re seeking you will likely enjoy “The Rites of Brigid: Goddess and Saint” by Seán Ó Duinn, “Visions of the Cailleach” by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine, “Queen of the Night” by Sharynne MacLeod NicMhacha, and “Hoofprints in the Wildwood: A Devotional for the Horned Lord” by Richard Derks.
These are just a few suggestions of course. For more check the bibliographies of books on mythology or Pagan practice.