Anna Franklin and Paul Mason
Llewellyn Publications, June 2001
ISBN 0-7387-0094-0 $17.95 US
Review by Erin
Well, this is the first of the holiday books I have received from Llewellyn, and as I read it, I realized that this is not a book you get just to look up a couple facts and shelve it. This is a comprehensive reference work on JUST this holiday.
Included in the text are descriptions of not only the Wiccan Holiday, but the Druidic holiday, the Christian Holiday, the Roman Pagan holiday, and many others. It looks at multiple different cultural celebrations, from the British Isles to the depths of Africa. This is not just a few facts and figures as we see most often in the Wicca 101 books.
Added into this is an in depth look at Lugh, the god of this celebration. In this look, the authors take us on an exploration of the traditional Lugh, the Welsh Llew whom he is confused with all the time. Barring a study of ONLY this god, this is the most in depth look at this deity I have seen. It breaks the myths down and what the stories have in common, how this deity relates to this time of the year, and what we can learn from these myths as well.
With the amount of information packed into this volume, it’s a wonder that this is not 5 times the size it is. There is information on magick of the season, suggestions for rituals, crafts, ways of making seasonal decorations, speculation as to why certain customs came into being, divination information during this time, and what animals may be doing.
My wife and I both can’t wait to get into the kitchen with this book tucked under our arm. There is a section of this book dedicated to the Kitchen Witch, giving recipes of the times and things that can be made during this season for the vegan and the meat eater. Grains are, of course, emphasized, but the bread recipes alone should get those of us with gastronomic addictions excited.
There are some small errors, but they are more along the lines of sweeping statements and over generalizations rather than anything majorly wrong. These errors can be overlooked and will cause no harm to believe. Other references will clear these mistakes up rather quickly.
Each chapter is fully annotated with their references and footnotes, which I appreciate. The appendixes are complete and of great value. I especially enjoyed looking at the calendar they put in and realizing that Lammas is a season, rather than just one day or two. The Index is complete and useful, the bibliography is the cream of the crop and the volume itself is a good hefty weight, good for holding in the hand as it’s read.
The only improvement I could possibly make to this book is to make it a hardback reference, but I’m not the publisher.
The illustrations (done by Anna and Paul themselves) are quality examples of their kind, clearly depicting what they are talking about. I enjoyed them as much as the rest of the book.
All in all, this is not a reference for the lightweight. It is a hefty tome full of information. This is also the kind of reference that is passed down to children, wherein myths and stories can be generated from. It could be the starting point of a whole tradition for the coven or family and I recommend it as a reference. I give it 4 of 5 stars. The only reason it’s not more is because one would have to purchase the other 7 books in this series to have a well-rounded set of information on the holidays. But if you only want brief information, then you could just pick up some other book, right?
Originally posted 2011-02-25 00:40:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter