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.
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.
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.
Sabbats Almanac: Samhain to Mabon – The Sabbats Almanac is the one annual that is exclusively pagan and would not work well for non-pagan witches. It is organized by the eight sabbats of the Wheel of the Year and follows a Wiccan calendar (with the new year at Samhain). There are features within each sabbat section that repeat: Cosmic Sway, the Old Ways, Feasts and Treats, Crafty Crafts, All One Family, as well as an introductory article, and a ritual. For the 2018 book they have introduced an herb article, Plants in Practice, that has replaced All One Family. The Sabbats Almanac can, aside from the Cosmic Sway articles, be used year after year. This almanac started in 2009, so it is a relative newcomer. The covers are always in the same format, but do get slight variations each year. I find this almanac to be very helpful when it comes to planning rituals for my coven.
Witches’ Calendar – This is Llewellyn’s standard-sized, 12-month wall calendar that runs January through December. It has the characteristic faux-woodcut illustrations that one would associate with Llewellyn, and each month also includes information and a spell. The calendar itself has holidays, sabbats, Moon phases and signs, and planetary movement. It’s not an exhaustive astrological calendar by any means, but has more than enough information for most witches. 1999 is the earliest edition that I can find, though I’m sure that it started before then. I always want to cut the calendar up at the end of the year because I really enjoy the illustrations, but I can’t bring myself to damage it, so they’ve been accumulating in a drawer. Maybe someday I’ll work up the nerve to disassemble one!
Witches’ Companion: An Almanac for Contemporary Living – The Witches’ Companion is a collection of articles about issues in the pagan and witchcraft community. It can be very Wiccan-leaning at points, but has a lot in it for eclectics as well. I have reviewed both the 2016 and 2017 editions on here. This annual was started in 2008 and it is one of my must-haves every year. I absolutely love the covers, they’re my favorite of all the almanacs, and I’m in the process of collecting the complete set.
Witches’ Datebook – The Datebook is essentially a spiral bound version of the Witches’ Calendar. The astrological information is the same, and the calendar’s illustrations are reproduced in black and white. However, it has a lot of additional information like articles at the beginning, and smaller blurbs and spells to fit on the weekend pages. Weeks stars on Monday, and the weekend pages list Saturday and Sunday, then they have either an illustration or a seasonal blurb. I use my Datebook to map out the post schedule here; I can’t imagine ever using a different datebook for blog planning. 2001 is the earliest edition that I can find; though I believe this series was started earlier than that.
Witches’ Spell-a-Day Almanac – The Spell-a-Day Almanac is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of spells, one for every day of the year. A lot of the information is general and could be used either any time of the year or annually, but some spells do take into account specific astrological timing (which is also included on the page). If you’re not using the current version, a good deal of the material can be out of date. The almanac is written by a group of authors with each person being assigned a certain number of days. Authors get days rather than weeks though, so if you don’t like someone’s style the author changes on a daily basis. Entries are short and digestible, and the book is very easy to use. The covers are all identical with only the color changed, and I believe 2003 is the earliest edition published.
I hope that you found my guide to Llewellyn’s pagan and witchcraft annuals helpful. My top picks are the Magical Almanac, the Sabbats Almanac, and the Witches’ Datebook, though most years I buy all of the annuals and give the Herbal Almanac to my partner. If you have a favorite Llewellyn annual, let me know in the comments! Blessed be, friends.