Book Review – The Witches’ Almanac: The Magic of Plants

December 1st, 2017

The Witches’ Almanac is not so much a book as a yearly almanac, much like The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Almost everyone knows The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Sold in the smallest country store as well as the largest supercenter, it is the one of the most recognizable almanacs in the United States. It was always a mainstay in my parents’ home. Another almanac that I remember being in our home was The World Almanac and Yearbook – when we went on vacations, we would play trivia games in the car during the long drive to our cabin in the mountains of Maine and the World Almanac was our reference. Looking through The Witches’ Almanac, I remembered looking through that fat book of facts and I wondered what I would find in this witchy book.

I was quite pleasantly surprised. Personally, I have always depended on The Old Farmer’s Almanac to chart the changes of the moon throughout the year – and I am still a big fan of The Old Farmer’s Almanac – being a kitchen witch and a woman raised in the country. But The Witches’ Almanac – for lack of a better term – is an Old Farmer’s Almanac designed just for us witchy folk. Which is a wonderful thing! And unlike The Old Farmer’s Almanac, it is an actual book, rather than a pamphlet sold in the aisles at grocery stores and supercenters.

Some background. According to Terence P. Ward of “The Wild Hunt”, the first Witches’ Almanac was published in 1971 by Elizabeth Pepper and yes, it was modeled on The Old Farmer’s Almanac. 1971 was thirty years before the internet, so networking for pagans and wiccans was primitive at best. The Witches’ Almanac sought to remedy that.

Forty-six years later, we have the Spring 2018-2019 Edition – Issue 37 – which focuses on “The Magic of Plants”. For a book that is half an inch wide, it is packed with information. The cover says “Ever a Keepsake” and after reading the entire volume, I can attest to that. This is the kind of reference book you keep on your desk or on the table next to your desk. The calendar – a lunar calendar, using Zodiac signs instead of the usual names of the months – has information on the moons, the changing of the planets, the Sabbats and other Pagan holidays, but advice like “bewitch a stranger” and “call an old friend” or “enjoy solitude”. There are quotes about plants and information about how to use herbs. There are poems and stories. There’s an article about office magic – for those of us who need protection at work – simple things you can do with plastic cutlery and rubber bands. There’s loads of astrological information.

One of the really cool articles was called “Diabolous in a”, about a piece of music by Niccolò Paganini. In English, it is called “Air for the Flute: Incantation Dance of Witches under the Walnut Tree”.

Not only is the piece of music discussed, but the music itself is produced and there’s a link provided so you can hear the piece played on The Witches’ Almanac’s website!

It seemed like every time I picked up the almanac and opened it up, I found something new – something interesting – something educational. The article on making powders helped me with a poem I was writing. I found pictures to add to my goddess wall. I loved this one by Albrecht Dürer:

The back of the book has all kinds of ads and they are interesting, too. Some of the products being advertised are sold by The Witches’ Voice and some are from other venues. Some of these places I have been to and I can attest that they are fabulous shops!

It’s a really great place to do your witchy shopping. There’s also an order page for books and back issues of The Witches’ Almanac. The newer ones are more expensive and the older ones, less so. But given the wealth of information in this most recent one that I have in my possession right now, I would say that any issue of The Witches’ Almanac, new or old, is a very wise investment. It would be a fine Yule present for yourself or for someone you love.

Brightest Blessings!

Resources:

Theitic, Andrew, Executive Editor. The Witches’ Almanac, Spring 2018-2019: The Magic of Plants. Providence, RI: The Witches’ Almanac, Ltd., 2017.

http://thewitchesalmanac.com/

http://wildhunt.org/2016/06/from-conjure-to-coloring-books-45-years-of-the-witches-almanac.html

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

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About the Author:

 

 

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.


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