Title: Every Day Magic – A Pagan Book of Days: 366 Magical Ways To Observe The Cycle Of The Year
Publisher: Moon Books
Editor: Lucya Starza
Price: $14.95 (paperback), $5.99 (e-book)
This book contains a collection of ideas, one for every day, provided by an impressive selection of forty-seven different contributors, mostly from the US and the UK. The contributors include established authors, both associated with the publisher Moon Books (for example Rachel Patterson) and independent (for example Janet Boyer), but also less experienced authors. They come from a variety of pagan traditions, including Druidry, Wicca, Shamanism, Reclaiming, Heathenry, Witchcraft, Goddess Spirituality, and Earth Spirituality.
The book chapters correspond to months, and each month has a short introduction containing seasonal and astrological information. After that, there is one entry per day. The wide range of styles, topics, and content mimics the diversity of the contributors. There are spells, descriptions of festivals (and usually activities to celebrate those festivals), recipes (such as the midnight muffins as harvest celebration by Mary Burkett in August), musings, fun propositions, poems, proposals for mundane activities (such as decluttering, or meeting older people [Baba Yaga, January, Morgana Phenix]), and entries on deities. All activities are targeted at single practitioners, and while most could be done in a group setting, none of them require a group.
The length of a typical entry varies between three lines and half a page. The complexity also varies a lot; it can be as simple as “let your wonderful inner weirdo out” (September, Lucya Starza) to something much more complex, such as the preparation of St. John’s Wort Infused Oil (July, Jacqui Apostolides), which takes about four weeks to finish.
I appreciated the variety of the different entries, and there were some suggestions I wanted to do immediately. One of my favorite is 25th January, Burns Night: Focus on the sounds of a foreign language. Based on the words you are reminded of, interpret a message or write a poem (Carol Tierney).
There were also some aspects that put me off. One example is the inclusion of Christian saint’s days which in some cases are only loosely linked to paganism. From the title “Every Day Magic”, I also did expect something immediately actionable for each entry, and there are quite a number of entries that need preparation (such as taking a day off in honor of Jupiter for the festival of Feralia) or do not describe an action (such as poems). I love poetry, and I liked a lot of the poems, but reading a poem is not necessarily a magical action in itself. However, some of the poems really are spells written as poems, such as “Journey” (Nimue Brown, April), while others lend themselves easily to mediations on the seasons and the turning of the year, such as the beautiful “Autumn Arrives” (Arietta Bryant, October):
Jewel coloured leaves litter the ground
Summer is buried beneath.
Autumn has arrived.
All in all, this book provides a great selection of inspirations for small magics. Due to the nature of the book, and also due to the constant changes in style, it is not a book to easily read in one go, but it is definitely a book to pull off the shelf for inspiration and ideas again and again.
[Reviewed by Bettina Thiessen]