Editor: Michael Fallon
Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Publication date: August 2002
Price & More Info: Click Here
The almanac section of the 2003 Magical Almanac is just over 60 pages in the center of this 384 page book. Each day's entry lists the moon phase (and whether the moon is waxing or waning), the moon sign, and that day's color and incense. Most days also list a festival or holiday from somewhere in the world. While this is useful information, it's obvious that almanac information is only a minor part of this book.
The meat of the 2003 Magical Almanac is in over 300 pages of short articles. There are about 80 articles, divided into groups of articles for each of the four seasons. Over forty different authors contributed to this book, so there is a wide variety of styles, lengths, and topics. Here is a small selection of article titles to give an idea of the wide-ranging, eclectic nature of the articles in this book: "The Magic of Urban Legends" by Shari Richerson, "Playing Card Divination" by Lily Gardner, "Isian Religion Today" by Denise Dumars, "Money Powder Spell" by Eileen Holland, "Belly Dancing, the Rite that Honors the Goddess" by Emely Flak, "Butter Lamps: The Safe Alternative for Your Altar" by Dr. John Mumford, "Wicca in Brazil" by Mavesper Ceridwen, "Toe-Ring Charging Spell" by Ed Fitch, "Unearthing the Great Goddesses" by Abby Willowroot, and "Folklore of Roses" by Magenta Griffith.
Most of the articles are fairly short. Unfortunately, many of them are therefore necessarily superficial if they try to cover a subject of any complexity. Despite that, most of the articles are interesting and some point the reader to more detailed (but occasionally questionable) sources. As one might expect with such a large anthology with so many authors, the quality of the articles is quite variable. Most of the problem articles deal with folklore, history, and mythology. Unfortunately, the authors of many of the articles on these subjects tend to use non-academic sources (if any sources are listed at all) and to interpret myths in light of revisionist theories which leads to articles that make interesting reading but whose strict factual accuracy must be considered doubtful.
While the 2003 Magical Almanac makes interesting light reading and has a number of magical spells, recipes, and rituals that might be useful to some readers, it is the weakest of the three Llewellyn annuals I've reviewed this year. It is a very inexpensive book for its size, however, so go ahead flip through it when you see it at the store. There might be enough articles that interest you to make this book worth adding to your purchase pile.
Reviewed by Randall