Book Review: Llewellyn’s 2018 Witches’ Companion

Llewellyn's 2018 Witches' CompanionLlewellyn’s 2018 Witches Companion: An Almanac for Contemporary Living is the 10th installment in their Witches Companion Series, which started in 2008. Per usual I absolutely love the cover and want to have a backyard and then make that crescent moon flower bed. For those new to the series, “almanac” is a bit inaccurate, as the book is really just a set of short articles with a calendar in the back. My reviews of the 2016 and 2017 installments are on this site (click years to view). The articles range between six and twelve pages long with the average article being ten pages, very digestible if you are looking for a book to pick up and read casually. They’re divided into four sections: “Community Forum,” “Witchy Living,” “Witchcraft Essentials,” and “Magical Transformations.” The final section has a calendar from September 2017 through December 2018 that has the same information as Llewellyn’s Witches’ Calendar and Witches Datebook in a monthly grid format. Per my tradition I will be discussing my favorite articles below.

“Exonerating the Warlock: A Brief History and Revision of a Misunderstood Term” by Storm Faerywolf

I love linguistics and revision, so there was no way I was going to be able to resist this article. While ‘witch’ is a catch-all term with no gender, it can feel like there’s no term for witches who identify as men. In this article Faerywolf (I can’t with the name, I’m sorry) talks about how he identifies as a Warlock. The term, which means “oath breaker” is often not used or frowned upon, and the author argues for an attempt to reclaim it. I wasn’t completely won over, but I do admit that the umbrella term ‘witch’ doesn’t work for a lot of people, including my own partner.

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A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging Part 3: Tips and Tricks

Welcome to Part 3 of A Witch’s Guide to Magickal Blogging, post three in a four part series meant to help you take the steps you need to in order to start writing your magickal blog. This post will cover tips and tricks for taking your magickal blog to the next level, taken from my decade-long blogging journey. Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here.

Magickal Blogging Tips and Tricks

You can read about riding a bike, but the only way to really learn how to ride one is to actually get on a bike a pedal. Blogging is much the same way; you can theorize about it all day long, but you won’t know what you’re doing until after you’ve already started doing it. Once the basics are in place and you’ve started your blog, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty and go over some helpful hints, tips, and tricks.

Consistency: Consistency in what and how you write is huge, and this can only happen over time. The idea of consistency will trickle down to every part of your blog from your writing style and post structure, to use of categories and tags, to you posting schedule, to when and how you write. This this is rhythm that you hit as a blogger that can only happen over time.

Categories & Tags: These may seem silly, but nothing lets me know that a blog is a hot mess like a list of 500 tags. You may think the purpose of tags are to get you search results, but that is not the case: the purpose of tags is the help your reader navigate your website. When you think about tags in this way, the way you use them will change. Categories are for posts and is set while you are writing.

Drafts Posts: I have a technique that really works for me, which is having a ton of draft posts. I’ll get an idea for an article, a list, or a spell, and I will start the post and save the draft. Sometimes it has all of 100 words in it, but it’s saved. Then, during the 75% of writing sessions where I’m not inspired, I’ll open one of the incomplete drafts, re-read it quickly, and start adding to it. I’m actually adding this draft posts idea to a post that was in drafts because I woke up and had no idea what to write. This method works super well for me, and maybe it will work well for you too. Regardless, experiment until you find a system that works.

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Book Review: The Magickal Family by Monica Crosson

The Magickal Family by Monica Crosson“The Magickal Family: Pagan Living in Harmony with Nature” by Monica Crosson was published in early October 2017. It caught my eye, but I didn’t read it for a new months because I assumed there wasn’t much that I would be able to get from it. We have a teenager who is magick-curious, but that’s it. However, my coven mate will be having a witchling soon, so I decided to get her this book for Yule. Of course, book nerd that I am, I couldn’t just wrap it without looking through it first, and before you know it I had read the whole thing. Even though this book does have a lot to do with raising Pagan children, an opportunity that our magickal household has missed out on, I still found myself getting a lot out of this book. It’s an excellent read, both informative and extremely engaging, and full of good ideas. While a lot of it works for families with witchlings, this book could also easily be used by adult witches without children, since there are a lot of ceremonies and magick for adult life events too (handfasting, recipes, cottage witchery).

The book is organized into two parts and has a total of fourteen chapters. Part 1: “Family Magick” has six chapters and is more general, while Part 2: “Family Sabbat Celebrations” covers the eight Sabbats in the Wheel of the Year.

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Guide to Llewellyn’s Pagan and Witchcraft Annuals

Ever since I was a baby witch, even before I worked the counter at a local metaphysical shop, I have been a Llewellyn fan. They’ve been publishing books for our magickal community for decades, and they have their annuals perfected. Even with new magickal publishing houses brings excellents texts to the market, you cannot get away from Llewellyn. There are quite a few annuals, too, so I thought it may be helpful if I listed them and explained their contents and uses to you all.

These annuals release in the summer, usually in very early July, but there’s often a sale in June on Amazon. This list covers Llewellyn’s witchcraft and paganism annuals, not their astrological ones, which may be a separate post at some point. They are listed in alphabetical order, and all covers open larger when clicked.

Llewellyn's 2017 Herbal Almanac Llewellyn's 2018 Herbal Almanac Llewellyn's 2019 Herbal Almanac

Herbal Almanac – The annual Herbal Almanac is perfect for green and kitchen witches, or anyone who is intrigued by our plant friends. It’s a series of articles written by various authors, but all of them are about plants and herbs. Topics include planting, gardening, cooking and home remedies, and poisonous plants. This annual has been published since 2000 and the covers are very clean and attractive. Unlike the other volumes here, many non-magickal folks read this annual.

Llewellyn's 2017 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2017 Magical Almanac Llewellyn's 2019 Magical Almanac

Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living – This annual, published since 1990, is organized in sections by element: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. It’s similar to the Witches’ Companion in that in contains a series of short articles, but they are paired with specific elements (though some don’t match their element as well as others do). The articles are not connected to specific dates, so, aside from the calendar section, it can be read any time. The calendar section, located in the middle of the book, covers Full Moons, New Moons, and holidays, both modern and traditional. The vibe of this book is different than the Companion in a lot of ways, and I would say that the Almanac is more pagan and practical with its emphasis on activities and education, whereas the Companion mostly deals with philosophical issues or current debates within the witchcraft community. I find that the Magical Almanac is a lot more accessible to newcomers, as well. The covers have always featured a magickal creature of some kind, and a best-of collection was published in 2015. A list of all Magical Almanacs is on Goodreads here.
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March 2018 Announcement

Dark Purple Flowers

Hello all, I have an announcement for March 2018, which is that I’m going to be writing a bit less this month. I have had way too much going on in my personal life at the moment, including almost $6K of unexpected expenses in the past three months from which I’m reeling, plus I will have to buy a new car very soon.

On top of it I’m dealing with a chronic illness that’s spawning little mini-illnesses, and just so I get the message, a (probably mentally ill) neighbor screamed at me yesterday for seemingly no reason. As I pulled my daily tarot card – reversed Wheel of Fortune, shocking no one – I realized that I just need to make this announcement.

I have a decent amount of content finished or mostly finished, so I’m dropping down to one post a week for March, and then I will reassess.

I hope your lives are better than mine! and, if not, I’m here for you.

PS: Edited this because I just remembered I have some people I know IRL who read this, so …  y’know.