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The 2008-2009 Witches' Almanac

Foreword Review

The Witches’ Almanac is a concise collection of facts, myths, and lore, approachable to the general public and occultist alike.

As with the well-known Farmers’ Almanac, the centerpiece of the volume is weather prediction and information on diurnal and yearly planetary cycles. Instead of beginning in January, like the Gregorian calendar, or starting on Witches’ New Year (November 1), this almanac follows a moon calendar divided by the Zodiac signs. The year begins on March 20, with Aries, the first sign of the astrological year.

Each astrological sign has a page-long calendar, listing the phases of the moon and its passage through the appropriate signs during that month. In any given month, readers can quickly see when the moon enters Aquarius, Pisces, Libra, and so forth.

A separate section gives the year’s overview of weather, spiced up with some interesting facts: October is generally the quietest weather month of the year and July, not August, brings the hottest temperatures. Another section provides the year’s “forecast” for each astrological sign. During the upcoming year, those born under Taurus should see relationship commitments stabilize, while Aquarians might want to explore alternative health care modalities.

The Witches’Almanac was founded by the late Elizabeth Pepper in 1971, and each issue has a specific theme. This one focuses on divination and prophecy.

Current editor Andrew Theitic works with a core of half a dozen writers, including a professional astrologer and a climatologist. In keeping with this year’s theme, the Almanac provides informative essays on various oracle practices, such as African Ifa divination and the arcane use of ribbons to discern the future, which originated in Western Europe and Scotland. Brief biographies feature metaphysical luminaries such as Madame Blavatsky and Edgar Cayce.

Bits of occult lore flavor the almanac, for example, articles on the magic of Birch tree wood, or how to work with dark moon energy. Line drawings illustrate most pages, and an evocatively designed cover pulls the reader into the volume. Most importantly, The Witches’ Almanac sees divination’s rules as writ in sand, wisely stating: “Remember, you are the only one who can create your future. You do it all the time!”