In this week’s book review, I had a slight change of plans. I had a couple books that I was considering, but when I was getting ready for Lughnassadh, I pulled out one of my old stand-bys and thought that just perhaps it might be a good idea to take a look at it for a review.
Actually, this is a set of two books by Ashleen O’Gaea called “Celebrating the Seasons of Life”. One is Samhain to Ostara, and the other is for Beltane to Mabon. The former was published in 2004, and the latter in 2005, so they’re relatively new to the Pagan community.
As I mentioned, I’ve been using these since they came out when I’m planning on ways to celebrate the various holidays. What’s nice about these books is that they discuss the various seasonal celebrations without being too dogmatic or placing too much emphasis on a particular tradition.
They also have a wonderful array of ideas for practical methods to engage people in actually doing something to celebrate the particular festival that has some meaning. There are lots of celebrations that go on in which someone will arrange a ritual, but unless you’re part of the “club” or coven, you really don’t have much to do.
So, part of what I use these books for is to find interactivity for the celebration of ritual. One example is a craft that’s described for Lammas; it’s a woven lei, made of two colors of ribbon. The two colors represent the dual nature of our harvest, with some things ready for harvest, and others still growing, not yet mature. As part of ritual, people can weave their leis while considering the harvest, and its sacred or sacrificial nature, weaving their intent or energy into the lei.
Also present in the books, along with a history of the various celebrations and the lore, is a number of recipes for each season. This can bring a new dimension to the cakes and ale that often follow a sabbat. Bread and wine or juice is quite common, but to have recipes that utilize the foods of the season can add another dimension of connectedness to the environment into the celebrations.
One section of the books that I found especially useful was the chapters regarding children and what they are ready to know and how to teach them. Paganism, or rather neo-paganism is still a relatively young religion. Most of us didn’t grow up in pagan families, and because of this, most of us don’t have a model for teaching our children, as do more mainstream religions.
With these sections in Celebrating the Seasons of Life, we can gain some understanding of how to involve our children in the various celebrations.
Along with this are sections on basic Wicca, including instructions for casting a circle, correspondences and other basics. While this isn’t what I use these books for, they might come in handy for someone new to Wicca.
“Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara” and “Celebrating the Seasons of Life, Beltane to Mabon” are published by New Page Books.
Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara
Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon
This page © 2008, Deirdre A. Hebert.