Llewellyn's Magical Almanac has always been a useful tool for getting brief (and usually intriguing) glimpses into different cultures, myths, spell work, ancient symbols, plants, as well as the day to day almanac section that gives the reader information about Moon phases, celebration days, color and other magickal correspondences. In 2007 Llewellyn changed the format of its almanac from seasonal sections to elemental sections, a change they continued in 2008. 

Earth Magick:
We start with a (very nice) meditation on the Earth in winter time, and the creation of an earth altar. (Probably better done in the Spring, unless you live in a warmer climate than I!) Dogs and the Goddess Cerridwen (there’s another article about dogs as familiars a little later), overcoming a fear of driving, the Ayurveda -- the philosophy of the Vedas (the oldest layer of Sanskrit and an ancient Hindu text). Various spell workings and lore, including Appalachian folk magic, jade, public rituals, show magic, and labyrinths.

Air Magick:
Another lovely meditation on Air opens this section. Divination with pendulums, madness, Diana Rajchel’s article on technomagick is especially good, truck magick, finding your familiar or patron/ness, rune work, fairy godmothers, a nice article about dragonflies, creating a magical community event, lore about Pegasus, suspension magic and (presumably for the Southern Hemisphere readers) a Samhain working to connect with your ancestors.

At this point we encounter the almanac, a 58-page calendar with moon phase and zodiac correspondence, recommended daily incense, ‘holidays’ (often a bit obscure, like Rizdvo, a Ukranian holiday on January 7th, or the French ‘Feast of the Ass’ on January 14th), and color correspondences. Scattered throughout are short (1/2 page) articles about fairies of the world.

Fire Magick:
The opening meditation on fire is evocative and powerful (I’m looking forward to doing it this summer.) Articles about Brighid, charms, and magickal laws follow. Articles about altars and witch bottles seem a little out of place (they would have been better in the Earth and Air sections, I feel), as does the article about music in ritual. However, the articles about magickal body art and creating a diet using magic are excellent. Other article topics in this section include Pandora, evolution, using a sunstone in your spell work, busting a bully, mail magick, and Halloween hocus pocus.


Water Magick:
The final elemental meditation works with water’s connection to the creation of life. Of special interest in this section is Elizabeth Barrette’s article on using magic in an emergency situation – a perspective I hadn’t thought could be possible. We also learn about the god Hapi, the goddess Artemis, and the various gods of sleep. Other articles about the appeal of caffeine and nicotine and their dangers, First Nation flood stories, apples, magickal DNA and DNA dowsing, regaining balance, henna, blessings, and magical anchors. There is also a moving meditation on Death.

The almanacs are one of Llewellyn’s most successful offerings – each year is a smorgasbord of interesting and often unusual information. Highly recommended.

 

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Authors: various

Llewellyn Publications, 2007

pp. 380, $8.99

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