Llewellyn’s 2006 Annuals

 

Llewellyn’s 2006 Annuals
by Llewellyn
St. Paul, 2005

 

The Llewellyn almanacs form the literary heart of this publisher’s annual titles. These are the ones that offer the meatiest articles and the most magic, sorted by theme.

They all make excellent desk references, well worth keeping for use in later years. I happen to have articles in all of these, but I’ll only be highlighting the work of other authors here.

The Magical Almanac subdivides into articles for winter, spring, summer, and fall. Some of this year’s more interesting ones include “Pagan Rosaries and Prayer Beads” by Olivia O’Meir, “The Origin of Anubis” by Denise Dumars, “Star Power” by James Kambos, and “Wizard Marks” by Elizabeth Hazel. The almanac section falls between the spring and summer sections. It features a calendar, time changes, lunar phases and moon signs, sabbats, world holidays, incense and color of the day. The calendar is laid out with one week per page, and a little bit of space to jot notes amidst the cluster of data included. The Magical Almanac is the best all-around choice for Pagans in general, particularly novice-intermediate level.

The Herbal Almanac has a much narrower focus; it covers the magical, medicinal, and culinary uses of plants. It does not have a calendar section, but does include detailed tables of the moon, along with info on the quarters and signs — a must for lunar gardening. Articles subdivide into the categories of Growing and Gathering Herbs, Culinary

Herbs, Herbs for Health, Herbs for Beauty, Herb Crafts, and Herb History, Myth, and Magic. They are longer and more in-depth than those in other annuals. My favorites include “Traditional English Gardens” by Chandra Moira Beal, “Chocolate” by Sheri Richarson, “Bug Off” by Dallas Jennifer Cobb, “Henna Beauty Treatments” by Stephanie Rose Bird, “A Remembrance Potpourri” by Laurel Reufner, and “The Magic of the Morning Glory” by Tammy Sullivan. The Herbal Almanac best suits intermediate to advanced practitioners, such as a hedgewitch or herbalist — or a city Pagan hungry for vicarious gardening.

The Spell-a-Day Almanac explores everyday magic through spells and recipes, rituals and meditations, holidays and lore. Each month begins with an essay on its seasonal qualities. Individual days note the lunar phases, other astrological phenomena, and any holidays. Incense and color of the day also appear. The main body is devoted to a brief spell, meditation, or other magical activity. Finally there is a generous space for notes. Full and New Moons get special attention, with slightly longer entries. The Spell-a-Day Almanac offers timely, easy-to-do magic related to everyday concerns. This makes it ideal for novice or intermediate practitioners who want to develop their spellcasting and other magical skills.

Elizabeth Barrette.


» Originally appeared in PanGaia #43

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Teenage Witch’s Book of Shadows

Teenage Witch’s Book of Shadows
by Anna de Benzelle and Mary Neasham
Green Magic

 

Teenage Witch’s Book of Shadows was much easier to read than it was to review.

I am usually a person of strong opinions — about everything.

Read more: Teenage Witch’s Book of Shadows

Herbal Magick — A Witch’s Guide To Herbal Enchantments, Folklore and Divinations

Herbal Magick:  
A Witch’s Guide To Herbal Enchantments, Folklore and Divinations  
by Gerina Dunwich
New Page Books

 

I jumped at this book as soon as I saw the title. I’ve been seriously studying and practicing herbalism since 1994 and a large portion of my library is dedicated to this subject. My approach has always been one that has dealt more with the medicinal properties of herbs and leans heavily toward a scientific approach, but I wanted to expand my knowledge on the magickal uses. So, when the book finally arrived in the mail, I eagerly opened the package and began to read it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

Read more: Herbal Magick — A Witch’s Guide To Herbal Enchantments, Folklore and Divinations

Natural Magick

Natural Magick    
by Sally Dubats
Citadel Press

 

Natural Magic can best be described as a beginner’s guide to folklore, magic, and alternative healing. Pretty much all of the basics are covered, but if you’re looking for information beyond that you’re going to have to look elsewhere. For example, the herbal section contains a disappointing reference section; quite frankly, I’ve seen more interesting and in-depth lore and usage suggestions in New Age catalogs. Ditto for the astrology section, which repeats everything that you’ve already seen between the pages of your average fashion magazine.

Read more: Natural Magick

Spellcraft: Practical Spells for Modern Life

Spellcraft:  
Practical Spells for Modern Life  
by Ann-Marie Gallagher
Penguin Books

 

A better subtitle for this colorful little tome would be, “128 Pages of Useful Kitchen Witchery.” I liked this book. Her spells are all “harm none.” Her underlying premise is that magic is an art and its medium is symbols. For example, she proposes to lessen the influence of an office bully by running successive copies of his photo through the copier with the toner slide set at minimum, and to keep doing it until his image fades to white. Nothing could be simpler, and this obviously “harms none” other than the office toner supply.

Read more: Spellcraft: Practical Spells for Modern Life

7 Days to a Magickal New You

7 Days to a Magickal New You
by Fiona Horne
Thorsons

 

I kept thinking as I read this book: witches must have finally arrived in the mainstream. We have self-help books written specifically for us that promise it only takes seven days “… to enhance [our] magickal self …” To be fair, Ms. Horne has useful tips, if not new ideas) — like keeping a dream diary. Her simple spells and information are accurate and straightforward. I have a problem, though, with any course that promises such fast results.

Read more: 7 Days to a Magickal New You

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