Initiation Into Hermetics - Franz Bardon. Full of hands-on practical exercises that you won't find anywhere else. His system of work isn't for the lazy. This text will help you learn the essence of psychic/magick work - primarily without rituals. If you could only own one book on practical magick, then you wouldn't go wrong with this one.
The Practice of Magical Evocation - Franz Bardon. "When you start the practice of this second volume in Bardon's series on Hermetics, you will already work with the fruits of the first volume. And you will reap the harvest of your initial magical labor. The knowledge you gain will be invaluable for your further development."
In order to be able to practice the material in this text, it's expected that you have completed the necessary training in the first one "Initiation into Hermetics." Even without having done so, however, you'll still find within this book a wealth of good background info on how to evoke spirits properly as well as explanations of traditional ritual tools (far beyond the usual 'Golden Dawn' explanations and uses). Highly recommended reading!
The Key to the True Qabalah - Franz Bardon. Deals with his version of 'Letter Essences'. He doesn't go into great depth on traditional Qabalah as it's understood and used by the Golden Dawn, but his method of working with combinations of letters borders more on ancient methods (ala Greek stoichia or Abulafia's permutations).
Frabato the Magician - Franz Bardon. His secretary apparently wrote this from Bardon's notes. It is an occult novel about Bardon's life and experiences, substituting Bardon's old stage name Frabato for Franz.
Franz Bardon: Questions and Answers - Gerhard Hanswille (translator). Some people find this series of commentaries helpful.
Memories of Franz Bardon - Lumir Bardon. Minor insight into the life of Franz Bardon by people who knew him.
The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic by Israel Regardie (New Falcon Press). This version is for the purists! It has more information, additional essays by Regardie as well as recommended book lists and a better lay-out. The definitive source on western Hermetic ceremonial magick as practiced by the late 19th c. occult order the Golden Dawn. Primarily concerned with Qabalistic ritualized methods of spiritual development. Useful to study in order to find the essence of the teachings and use for your own purposes later.
The Golden Dawn- Israel Regardie. For those who can't justify the additional expense of the New Falcon Press version above but still want to get the gist of the material for reference purposes.
Essential Golden Dawn - The Ciceros. A nice little introduction to the history and practices of the Golden Dawn. Informative if you have no prior knowledge of the subject.
The Ritual Magic Manual: A Complete Course in Practical Magic- David Griffin. Not a bad text to have at all. Shows step by step in detail formats for invoking every commonly used type of energy and being. Also provides a useful and safe method (as well as purpose) for demonic evocation, in light of psychotherapy. Very cool for reference and for anyone who is working in Golden Dawn or Thelemic grades Adeptus Minor and above.
Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition : A Complete Curriculum of Study for Both the Solitary Magician and the Working Magical Group- Chic and Tabatha Cicero. A decent reference book to have on the shelf with useful exercises and explanations of Golden Dawn techniques and info. Easier for the beginning student of the G:.D:. to read than the Regardie info, although the self-initiation ceremonies themselves are of questionable usefulness. (I can see where someone performing them could make themselves rather delusional as a result of working completely alone with those ceremonies in an unsupervised manner.) On the whole, it's very useful as a workbook for learning basic theory in the Hermetic G:.D:. tradition.
Women of the Golden Dawn - Mary K. Greer. Provides a different perspective to the history of the Golden Dawn.
The Middle Pillar- Israel Regardie. Good for learning proper techniques in traditional magick practice (proper technique of performance of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram and Qabalistic Cross etc.), as well as a discussion of the relationships between magick and psychology.
The Tree of Life: a Study in Magick- Israel Regardie. A great overview on the western Hermetic tradition. This link is for the most recent version of this text with extra notes and pix by the Ciceros.
A Garden of Pomegranates - Israel Regardie. A Classic text on Qabalah!
The Art of True Healing - Israel Regardie. A useful little book on prayer and Qabalistic meditation for healing.
The Qabalistic Tarot- Robert Wang. THE book on the Tarot and its association with the Hermetic Qabalah. I can't imagine anyone messing with the tarot without understanding the principles of Qabalah first. The companion Tarot deck by Regardie/Wang is interesting as far as original design (according to the Golden Dawn attributions) is concerned, but I don't recommend it. I actually prefer the Ciceros' Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, or Crowley's Deck of Thoth. The symbolism of the traditional Rider-Waite deck is good (though I'm not a fan of the art work), but the lack of card titles and certain symbols make it difficult for the beginner to interpret.
Note: past issues with binding quality should be fixed now - this link is for the new hardcover version.
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot Deck - The Ciceros. I have to say, I really like this deck! When I reach for a deck to perform a quick divination, this is the one I always grab first. I feel the art-work is sufficiently simple to be immediately used by the subconscious, and the colours sufficiently bright to make a point and stick in the mind. Compared to Crowley's deck, I find this one easier to use for practical purposes due in part to its simplicity, and the symbolism is more traditional (without that annoying Aeon card of Crowley's). I also like the fact that astrological symbolism and titles have been displayed on the small cards. A very easy deck to learn on and use!
The Hermetic Tarot Deck - Godfrey Dawson. This is a really good deck! It was my absolute favourite until I found the Ciceros'. I still really like it, but the one thing that has always annoyed me is the swapping of symbolism (this deck calls a King a Knight, and a Prince a King - I find that very annoying, and may someday purchase another copy of the deck and modify it). The rest of the deck is excellent though. It would still be my favourite if not for the king/prince issue.
(Radiant) Rider-Waite Tarot Deck - This is the most popular version of the most popular deck of all time, but I've never liked it much!
The Mystical Qabalah - Dion Fortune. A classic text on the Hermetic Qabalah. All of her work is excellent.
The Training and Work of an Initiate - Dion Fortune. Very informative little text on the nature of the Work.
777 And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley (Paperback) - A great reference text of correspondences with a few good essays. Useful for writing your own rituals in a Golden Dawn/Thelemic style.
Remember folks, it's pronounced "Croh-lee" and rhymes with Holy. ;)
Magick in Theory and Practice - Crowley.
Magick Without Tears - Crowley.
The Book of Thoth - Crowley.
The Deck of Thoth #1 - Small size for easier divination use.
The Deck of Thoth #2 - Large size for Meditative and Ritual use.
Modern Sex Magick - Donald Michael Kraig. Come on, you know with a title like this it's bound to be interesting and have all sorts of naughty drawings in it, huh? Fortunately it's an interesting and easy to understand book with useful techniques. (And the naughty drawings are ok too heheh.)
Modern Magick : Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts - Donald Michael Kraig. Quite a few people have been getting a lot of help in their study of Golden Dawn style magick with this book. Provides a good intro.
Inside a Magical Lodge : Group Ritual in the Western Tradition - John Michael Greer. VERY useful text on forming, running, organizing, and/or joining a fraternal Order. Discusses in depth info you won't find anywhere else and it's written so that the average person can understand it.
Ceremonial Magic and The Power of Evocation - Joseph Lisiewski. A very unique look at evocation to physical manifestation, and definitely a must-read because it is so unlike anything else available. I don't totally agree with the author's views, but he provides useful food for thought (within his personal paradigm). I and others feel that his insistence on achieving a visible physical manifestation in order for the operation to work isn't completely correct - after all, lots of people (in other cultures even) have worked with spirits and achieved outstanding results without ever seeing them visibly.
The Kabbalistic Handbook - Joseph Lisiewski. A decent text with some new info not found elsewhere, but a rather dry read otherwise.
Kabbalistic Cycles and the Mastery of Life - Joseph Lisiewski. His concept of using planetary hours in this manner is worth reading and trying. Unfortunately his style of writing is dry, so it's a bit tough to get through with eyes open. (It's obvious he's a physicist.)
Creating Magickal Entities: A Complete Guide to Entity Creation (Paperback). David Michael Cunningham, Taylor Ellwood, T. Amanda R. Wagener.
The Rites of Magick. Starring: Poke Runyon
Director: Gregory Jednack.
From Amazon: "The Rites of Magick is a feature length (90 minute) dramatic documentary on the rites, ceremonies and meditative practices of Americas oldest continually operating Magical tradition: The Order of the Temple of Astarte in Southern California. The O.T.A. is the religious-fraternal order of The Church of the Hermetic Sciences incorporated in 1971. This production was filmed and video-recorded in temples, outdoor henges, and retreats of the Order from 1974 to the 21st century. It is divided into six chapters: Hermetic Yoga, Pathworkings, Seasonal Ceremonies, The Magical Eucharist, Enochian Watchtowers, and -- as a special bonus feature -- a surrealist Alchemical Fantasy from the talented avant-garde filmmaker Eric Bossick."
In my opinion, chaos magick is best approached after one has already obtained a thorough foundation in a specific style or tradition of magickal practice. It is unfortunate that so many people choose chaos magick first out of shear laziness, thinking that they won't have to work very hard or adhere to rules/formats etc. From what I've seen, those types tend to achieve far less than those who first obtain a firm foundation in a more traditional format (i.e. Wicca, Bardon's system, Golden Dawn, Thelema, etc. - anything, so long as it has a specific format for learning and development of one's initial skills and self-awareness). As they say, "learn the rules first, and then learn how to break 'em." As far as I'm concerned, that's the best way to go about it. Even a surgeon in-training would learn far more from having been trained in a specific format at a University than he would by reading manuals on his own and taking what he likes from each one.
Liber Null & Psychonaut - by Peter J. Carroll. His first book on the topic, and full of ideas.
Liber Kaos - by Peter J. Carroll. More of the same plus some ideas with Quantum Physics.
Condensed Chaos : An Introduction to Chaos Magic by Phil Hine. Possibly more useful than Carroll's books, even though Carroll came first. Hine was apparently a therapist for a while (and according to one reviewer, it shows).
Prime Chaos : Adventures in Chaos Magic by Phil Hine. An enjoyable read full of useful ideas that can be borrowed.