My Review of The Witches’ Almanac & Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop

The Witches’ Almanac, Issue 32 (Spring 1013 to Spring 2014)

I’ve been aware of The Witches’ Almanac since the 70s but didn’t become a frequent visitor to its pages until the early to mid-90s or so. While I do miss the “old school” format of the staplebound editions, the Almanac has become an increasingly more consistent publication, with the quality of content advancing by leaps and bounds over much of what came before. Not meaning to take anything away from the spectacular groundwork done by the late and great Elizabeth Pepper, but the Witches’ Almanac has become a melting pot of ideas and wondrous substance, allowing for a wider range of knowledge to be shared by students and practitioners of the many and varied paths that make up the magical patchwork of modern society, be they witches, druids, ceremonial magicians, or some other flavor of esotericist. That I found The Witches’ Almanac’s latest offering, titled Wisdom of the Moon, to be their best effort to date lends credence to my belief that this fun and whimsical publication has become an indispensable treasure (And I say this even knowing that Crowley aficionados might be somewhat chaffed by Dikki Jo Mullen’s characterization of the Great Beast found on pages 82-85). Simply put, The Witches’ Almanac has become one of those annual publications that must be had, regardless of your personal creed. There is something for nearly everyone inside and each volume seems better than the last.

Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop and Other Practical Advice in Our Campaign Against the Fairy Kingdom
Authored by Reginald Barkley with a Foreword by Clint Marsh

Speaking of whimsical, will you read a more delightful book this year? I highly doubt it. Goblinproofing is a fun little treatise, filled with interesting woodcuts and a parade of “practical” offensive and defensive techniques for dealing with the more nefarious of fairyland’s pesky critters. Barkley approaches the subject matter with an earnestness that is quite charming, blending a serious tone with a bit of a wink and a nudge. An esoteric tome filled with insights, wit, and wisdom? Sure, but by its very nature I am sure that fans of The Spiderwick Chronicles and Harry Potter would be equally at home with this book. It’s worth the cost of the book for the production values alone. Why, just the other day, my good friend Clarence Ragan (81 years of age and still wrangling a letterpress across the street from where I work) and I sat and pored over the book, discussing the woodcuts and font choices, as well as the marvelous decision to print the book with chocolate brown ink on faux parchment. I cannot fathom why anyone wouldn’t be honored to have this one on their shelf.

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