Llewellyn’s 2006 Annuals
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.
» Originally appeared in PanGaia #43
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Reconnecting to the Magic and Spirit of Nature
by Jesse Wolf Hardin
New Page Books, 2004
The day I received my review copy of Gaia Eros, my husband and I went to bed and took turns reading Jesse Wolf Hardin’s luminous essays aloud long into the night. At one point the sound of wolves howling came in through our cabin’s open windows. Their voices wove in and out of my husband’s voice as he read about sacred self-indulgence and the power of longing, heightening the meaning of Hardin’s words.
by Phil Brucato
Where are you, right this minute? If you’re like most of us, you’re probably sitting inside an air-conditioned house, maybe with a TV or computer humming away in the background, electric light on overhead and the smell of fast food wafting through your living space.
Aren’t we Pagans? Don’t we revere Nature? Didn’t we renounce the gods of books in favor of a gospel spoken every moment by the Earth? Yes? Then why are so many of us sitting inside with feet propped up on coffee tables, remote in one hand and cheeseburger in the other? As summer arrives, is there any good answer for that question?
Really. Go outside.
Normally, this column focuses on Paganism and popular culture. Not all culture, though, comes from books, games, music, or the Internet. As I pondered my next article, my roommate Cory and I got on a rant about Pagans who spend their lives wrapped up in air-conditioned cocoons. That’s when I knew what I had to write about this issue: not about passive media culture, but about the active culture just outside the culture of the living world.
Little Miracles For All
by article and photos by Joan Robinson-Blumit
Miracles. Except for the most cynical, the majority of us want to believe that miracles can occur; and, in fact, extraordinary things do happen in seemingly hopeless situations. Frequently the miracle is attributed to a Higher Power, whose intercession is believed to come after we contact them.
As Pagans many of us utilize spells, often likening them to prayers. We also fashion amulets, talismans and charms, imbuing them with our energy or with requests to our gods to protect, cure, or assist us.