The Witches' Almanac, Issue 33 Spring 2014-2015: The Mystic Earth, edited by Andrew Theitic The Witches' Almanac Ltd., 9780982432396, 208 pp. (Incl. letters, ads), 2013
Reading The Witches' Almanac
is like going to a favourite restaurant and ordering all of the appetizers and two desserts for dinner: you get a dazzling array of different tastes, but with no single dish too filling.The Almanac
has been steadily growing over the years. Early issues were 90 or so pages, stapled in soft card covers like the typical Farmer's Almanac
; recently it has graduated to a typical trade paperback: 9x6-inch, 208 pages, perfect-bound, glossy cover. This helps make their front-cover motto, “Ever a Keepsake,” realizable.This year's theme is “Mystic Earth,” returning to the theme of no. 30, though this time from a different angle. Unfortunately the cover art, with the Earth seen from space in a palette of greens, blues, deep-space black, and incongruous cream text-box backgrounds, ranks as the least-appealing in a long time, although I like the idea of doing something modern occasionally.Inside you'll find 65 articles with a good mix of folklore, practical advice, and esoterica. “A Witch's Garden” looks at planning and planting an herb garden in a reverent and inspiring way. Several short features on herb lore and other earthy topics from respected Druid Ellen Everett Hopman carry the theme into the rest of the book. The closest thing to a single article that matches the theme, though, is Jimahl di Fiosa's “The Magic of Camping,” which, like the one above, is full of hints for doing this common activity mindfully and reverently, as well as in a safe and organized manner. He's not Pollyanna about his topic though, in the last paragraph he advises, "If it all goes terribly wrong, then at least you can say you've tried it." Read More
Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, by Charles Godfrey Leland The Witches' Almanac, 9780982432358, 178 pp., 1899, 2010
Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903) was an American folklorist who published some twenty books on American and European folklore, Romani traditions, witchcraft, and other subjects. He is chiefly remembered today for his influence on the development of modern Paganism, primarily through the publication of Aradia
. Read More
Aradia, or The Gospel of the Witches, by Charles Godfrey, Leland, introduced by A.J. Drew
New Page Books, 160 pp., 2003
It is primarily in the Preface, Introduction, Commentaries, and “Final Word” that this edition differs from earlier copies. Basically, this is a reprint of Leland’s original publication.
Although many of the younger generation of Witches (and, I suspect, most of the Wiccans) will never have seen this book (or even heard of it), it is the second copy of it that I have owned. My first copy was produced by Hero Press with an introduction by Dr. Leo Louis Martello, well over a quarter of a century ago. At one time it was considered required reading for all students of the Craft. It forms the underpinning of much of the teaching and mythology of Strega (in fact, it was often the first exposure many of us had to that branch of the Craft).
The Witchcraft expounded in this small volume is not the White-light, politically correct Wicca of the modern world. Witches, in this volume, are encouraged to return good for good, but if someone slaps your face – punch his lights out! No meekness or mildness here.
Published originally in 1899 (that’s right folks, half a century before Gardner, Valiente, et. al.) it contains the essence of “The Charge of the Goddess,” which Doreen Valiente later reworked in Gardner’s Book of Shadows. It contains conjurations in both Italian and English, as well as commentaries throughout by Mr. Drew.