by Kristin Madden
Llewellyn, 2002 $14.95 US
Review by Daven
Here we are, the last book in Llewellyn’s series on the Sabbats. This book is deserving of a place on the shelves of many private libraries, next to all the other Sabbat books by Llewellyn.
In and of itself, this book is well written. The information I read is factual and accurate, complete and drawn from many cultures. It does not focus solely on one aspect of this Sabbat, but looks at many different culture’s celebrations for this time of the year. I looked for information to find fault with, and honestly I can’t find any.
Mabon starts out with information about First Harvest Festivals throughout the world, from the Greeks to Romans to India and on to modern Neo-Paganism. I appreciated the fact that an early chapter discusses Thanksgiving, one of the celebrations associated with this holiday. Not only did the author give us the “accepted” history, the one in the schoolbooks and taught in song and story, she also presents the same story from the other side of the fence, using scholarly research to back that story up. It becomes very apparent that Plymouth Rock landed on the Native Americans in the “actual” history.
I liked the chapter discussing fertility deities, both male and female from different cultures. It makes things easier when one is planning a ritual to know whom to invoke when needed. There is also enough information in this chapter to give a good synopsis of the different deities, without having to pour through multiple volumes of mythology. Since my website has recently been moved to a server affectionately called “Durga”, I appreciated finding a reference to that deity in this book.
The now required sections of recipes for the Sabbats appear in Chapter 6, but they were basically the same recipes that appear in many different home magazines during October and November. The recipes include Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, breads, cobbler, popcorn balls and so on. The Pomegranate Chicken looks interesting, and the recipe for Mulled Wine offered on the flyleaf looks interesting, since I have never had mulled wine before.
I do truly appreciate Ms. Madden’s efforts to bring other Pagan religions into this book. She has a ritual from the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, and some rituals from other pagan groups such as the Norse practitioners and Neo-Shamanistic practitioners.
I could wish the graphics library was a bit more extensive however. Seeing the same graphics over and over again was slightly irritating. The information here isn’t really new; it’s just compiled better than it has been in other publications. One could find the same information by going through multiple other works if time was not a factor.
The information in here is complete and relevant. It is compiled into one place, which makes it an average work for this series of books. However, judged on it’s own merits, this book deserves 4 stars out of 5. I truly think this book could be a good addition to any library.