Coloring Book of Shadows Planner for a Magical 2018 is written and illustrated by Amy Cesari, who also self-published this planner. Getting the book I had no idea that it was not traditionally published, which was really cool. After reading it, I only had a few inklings, which deserve a mention. At one point the author makes the assumption that all witches are pagans and uses the terms interchangeably. Also, on the November page, Cesari refers to Scorpio energy as “selfish,” and as a Scorpio you can guess how I took that. A broader issue is that the reader is encouraged to “channel” various entities at different times; using channeling as a harmless or simple concept is probably something a witchcraft editor would have advised against. The Mabon “Flaming Pumpkin Sacrifice” spell seems flat out dangerous, as in, burn your house down dangerous. Those are all of my complains because I actually really like this planner, so let’s move on to the good stuff.
The Coloring Book of Shadows Planner for a Magical 2018 measures 9″ x 6″ and the cover of the book is matte black. It has a clean-yet-magical vibe to it that also fills the pages inside. While I got the bound version of the book – which was much cheaper – a spiral bound version is also available. This is very much appreciated since I love to have a planner that I can fold in half on a desk or lay completely flat for writing. It has a total of 156 pages, and there are illustrations on every page.
In the beginning of the book there is a short introductory section followed by beautiful coloring pages for the Wheel of the Year, Moon Phases, the Zodiac, and more. I believe some of these are duplicates of pages in Cesari’s original Coloring Book of Shadows (2016). The Wheel of the Year and Moon Phases illustrations appear in both, but there have been decorative changes made for this edition. It’s nice that even though there are duplicate images they have still been changed.
As far as the layout is concerned, each month has a title page with a spell or charm, a calendar page in a full-month format, a page for each week, and an intention/tracking page. The weekly pages start on Monday, and they have illustrations of magical tools, herbs, crystals, and other decorations lining the edges. The weekly pages have the Moon phases listed for each day. Months that have Sabbats also have a two-page spread immediately after the monthly title page.
The spells, charms, and Sabbat ideas are very compact, and while there aren’t many words, there’s something very simple and straightforward about them that I really like. My partner commented on this, too, and we both see it as a plus. The planner isn’t trying to be too high-minded or ceremonial; there are practical spells that use common ingredients. The only exception is that some spells use alcohol, so they wouldn’t be accessible to witchlings.
The coloring images themselves are very cute. Believe it or not, I don’t color, but the planner was so neat that I didn’t need to color to want to buy it. I find it impossible not to like the illustrations, and the care that the author put into the planner fills the pages. (The mushroom house is a personal favorite.)
I would recommend this planner for beginner and intermediate witches who are looking to add some variety to their yearly planning. It’s pretty witchy looking, so if you’re in the broom closet it may not work if you’re planning on using it in public. I think it would be a great gift for teenage witches; however, the parts that use alcohol and fire make me add the caveat responsible to teenage witches.
Pagan witches are the audience that the planner works best for since it contains both the Moons and the Wheel of the Year. The Coloring Book of Shadows Planner for a Magical 2018 definitely feels different enough from the Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook, while covering the same important dates, that it makes a great alternative. Frankly, I’m excited that there are options in what feels like such a limited marketplace.