Nov 11, 2016

Book Review: Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2017

This will be the first year I will be using Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook (2017). I have a few planners that I will be working with in 2017, but this one will be kept separate and sacred, for my magical plans. But if you only want to use one planner, this could absolutely be used as an all-purpose datebook as well.

The datebook (cover and inside pages) measures 5 1/4" x 8" without measuring in the spiral coil binding. The binding adds approximately another 1/2" to the width. When I received mine, a great majority of the pages were stuck together. I was able to carefully pull all the pages apart individually, without any damage to the paper. This was inconvenient, but thankfully not damaging to the book.

The book starts out with a "How to Use" page. And right away, I found something wonderful in it for me: "This datebook was designed especially for Witches, Pagans and magical people." I grabbed a pencil and underlined "magical people" on my page, because it was such a refreshing acknowledgment! I have long classified myself as "spiritual but not religious", and now this description just hit the nail on the head. I am a "magical person" and need no further classification.

This section tells you about how to read the symbols on the calendar pages, from the moon signs, planetary movement, planting and harvesting days and color of the day. Love the color of the day! I'm curious how they arrive at the color for each day, but I'm blindly trusting on that account.

All the times and dates in the calendar are based on US Eastern time, so if you live in a different time zone, you'll need to adjust accordingly. For example, living in Mountain time, I will need to subtract two hours from the times listed for accuracy.

* Before I received my copy, I read someone's review on Amazon who said that the dates in the book for the New Moons were inaccurate. I was initially disappointed to hear this, but when I received mine, I checked, and was happy to find that they were all accurate. I don't know what information that reviewer was working with.

The next section features a series of five magical articles:
  • The Smile Inside by Robin Ivy Payton
  • Simple Amulet Pouches by Charlie Rainbow Wolf
  • The Hag Knows Best by Suzanne Ress
  • The Magic of Language by Elizabeth Barrette
  • Mending Energetic Fences by Ellen Dugan

Next is the bulk of the datebook... the actual calendar days. A week is spread out on two pages, Monday through Friday on the left, and Saturday/Sunday on the right. Also on the right side of every page is a passage. The passages alternate between subjects such as crystal properties, holiday/seasonal ideas, drawings (by Kathleen Edwards) and recipes.

There are also little magical tidbits sprinkled on random dates... little bits of magical advice, spells and information. I really love this. It's like a little unexpected gift when you get to certain days. Here are a few random examples:

February 4: Fill a jar with nails and broken glass; bury it under the porch to protect a house from malicious spirits.

May 26: England repealed the last of its anti-Witchcraft laws in 1951.

August 29: Draupathi is an Indian fire goddess who walks over hot coals.

December 18: Jasmine is intensely feminine, corresponding to water and the Moon. This oil activates the goddess in you.

The last few pages of the book include bios on the authors, an appendix and three blank lined pages for notes. The appendix covers:

  • Daily Magical Influences
  • Daily Color Correspondences
  • Lunar Phases
  • The Moon Signs
  • 2017 Eclipses
  • 2017 Full Moons 
  • 2017 Planetary Retrogrades
  • 2017 Moon Void-Of-Course Data chart

My one complaint about this datebook is that none of the recipes are vegan-friendly. Not a single one! Every recipe includes either meat, dairy, or eggs, or a combination thereof. This was disappointing. Surely I'm not the only vegan magical person out there. I can veganize most recipes if necessary, but it's not really worth it when the recipe relies so heavily on many eggs and heavy cream. In future editions of this datebook, I would love to see some cruelty-free options included.

The pages themselves are matte with a slightly yellowish off-white color. (They appear whiter in my photos.) It gives the feeling of recycled pages, without the actual benefit of them being recycled. (At least, I don't see it marked anywhere in the book that the pages are recycled.) I would have preferred white pages, as it would have felt cleaner to me. But it's not a big deal.

The book is bound in plastic spiral, which allows you to conveniently lay the book flat.

I did a test to see what pens were safe to use with this planner and which ones would bleed through. My colored Ultra Fine Point Sharpies bled through. But the rest of the pens I tried worked just fine, with no bleed through to the other side of the pages. Obviously your run of the mill ballpoint pens would work just fine. But I also tested the following pens with success:
  • Sharpie Pen - Fine Point - Black and Colors
  • Paper Mate Flair - Felt Tip Pens - Medium Point - Colors
  • Staedtler Triplus Fineliner - Porous Point Pens - 0.3 mm - Colors
  • Sharpie Highlighters
  • Gel Highlighters
The image to the left shows a close-up examples of the symbols and information on a given day... again, the symbols all being explained in the beginning of the book if you are unfamiliar with many of them (as I am).

Strangely, on the day of a New, Full or Quarter Moon, the date is not listed, instead showing an image of the moon. For example, the image to the left is July 23. Where the number 23 would be on any other day (to the left of "Sunday"), instead there is the symbol for the New Moon. So to know the date, you would need to look at the previous or next day as reference.

I obviously haven't had a chance to break the book in yet, so I can't tell you how the pages and binding will hold up over a year's use. But I am very pleased with it and look forward to planning my magical year ahead with this datebook. I'd definitely recommend it for witchy and magical minded people!

One last note: The price for this datebook is amazing for the value, retailed at $11.99, but currently at just over $8 on Amazon: Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2017!