A Delightful New Discovery

It seems improbable that, as a longtime New England-based priestess, I’d never heard of The Witches’ Almanac. It has been a yearly publication for several decades now, based just a few states away from me in Rhode Island. It’s never too late to uncover a new resource, though, and this Almanac is packed with useful, interesting, and fascinating information.

This particular edition has the theme “Water: Our Primal Source,” which resonates with my current focus on this element. The tome opens with a marvelous “Hymn In Praise of Neptune,” which sets the tone for watery exploration. Two of my favorite articles also center around water. “The Sacred Acre: The Magic of the Land Between Low and High Tide” by Ivo Dominguez Jr. offers shore magick that the reader can try, whether or not you live in visiting distance of the ocean. “The Margate Grotto: A Mystery Spelled in Shells” by Grania Ling offers a mystery that readers could visit and explore on their own.

Actually, there were a few essays on sacred places to visit, and these really piqued my interest. In particular, I’m eager to visit the Sekhmet Temple described in the “Sites of Awe” column. It’s located in Nevada, in the Mojave Desert, and sounds like a powerful and gorgeous sacred site. There was also information on The Singing Tower in Florida, which I’ll look up the next time I’m in the state.

I learned a lot from perusing the wide variety of articles. “Collect the Whole Set..of Gods” by Sam Webster, despite the whimsical name, sparked ideas for a new course of study. In a feature on The Pleiades, I learned more about my favorite set of stars. There was also extra content on their website about interpreting the Pleiades.

An article called “The Coefficient of Weirdness: Notes Toward a General Theory of Magic, Part 1” by Robert Mathiesen was intriguing and left me wanting more. The author’s research on sacred language ranges across the globe, and weaves in the use of other patterns and symbols. There will be more in the series, and I look forward to the next installment.

The reviews section includes information on new and lesser-known books, music (in this edition, a review of music from the History Channel’s series Vikings, in which the composer chose to re-create and use ancient musical instruments), films, and websites.

All of the articles in the Almanac are short enough for a quick read, which made this a wonderful book to take along and read throughout the course of the day. Yet the information shared was deep enough to spark new ideas and sometimes occasion further research of my own.

The main portion of the Almanac is taken up with astrological and moon cycles and forecasts, all of which are well-written and professional. The format is clear and easy to use. All of the forecasts and articles are enhanced by a wide range of artwork and a pleasing design. I would highly recommend this Almanac for anyone working with natural cycles, and especially for lifelong learners who are always seeking new bits of knowledge and wisdom. It won’t disappoint.

~review by Nikki Starcat Shields

Editors: Andrew Theitic, Greg Esposito, and Jean Marie Walsh
The Witches’ Almanac Ltd., 2017
pp.206, $12.95