The back of the book states “Being a compendium of ancient lore and legend – the indispensable guide and delightful companion for adept, occultist, witch and mortal alike… Contains herbal secrets, advice about animals, mystic incantations, sacred rituals, and many a curious tale of good and evil.”

This book offers a variety of essays covering an array of topics. Some of the essays like Notable Quotations on plants were fun to read. While other articles don’t quite hit the mark. In Sator Square, an idea is presented but nothing is said about what to do with the idea. It leaves the reader confused and wanting more information. At the same time, Owning the Truth was a lovely story about the distance being pagan can cause and how it can also bridge the distance.

The order of the essays are a bit problematic for me. Inside page shows the book starts from spring 2018 to spring 2019. One of the early articles is a winter time article. This article is followed by a spring planting article. This is confusing for an almanac. There are a number of articles on plants and their uses. These vary in content but offer a variety of plants to learn about. Many of them are not the common run of the mill plants.

There is a lovely mini biography of Doreen Valiente which gives the highlights. It honors who she was and what she did for the pagan community.

One article – Art of Omen Days – seemed to be trying too hard. The word usage seemed to be trying for academic level. The author appears to be trying too hard to sound knowledgeable. The author discusses the tradition as though they were there but the tradition was supposed to have been more than 2000 years ago. This makes it less than credible.

Frazer’s Two Laws of Magic by Robert Mathiesen is an interesting article discussing The Golden Bough by James Frazer. Mathiesen discusses different aspects of Frazer’s book. It reads like an in depth analysis of the book. The only problem – it is the second part. If the reader wants to read the entire essay, they need to purchase the previous year’s almanac and next year’s almanac.

Presage by Dikki-Jo Mullen provides an overview for each of the astrological signs for the year. Sadly, these are standard, mediocre predictions full of the typical non-specific advice in astrological readings like “Enhance a cherished relationship with a walk by the sea..”

The book reviews at the end are interesting and well written. They give you a taste of several books to add to (or not) your to read list. The letters at the end cover basic new to paganism questions. The answers are responsible and non-judgemental.

Overall the writing is easy to read. The articles cover an array of topics and interests which will appeal to a wide variety of people. It’s a book which could sit on your bedside table to read an article a night. Most of the articles are rich in lore and information. Some of the articles fall short or are too severely edited to make them worth reading.

~review by Eileen Troemel

Editor: Andrew Theitic
The Witches’ Almanac Ltd, 2017
p. 194

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