by Anna Franklin
Llewellyn Publications, 2002
Review by Erin
Anna Franklin should be an old hand at this, since she worked on Lammas with Paul Mason previously. This is her opportunity to shine, and shine she does with this book.
As with the other books in this series, there is a lot of information that the reader will have to assimilate. It is a reference work, not designed to be a book that is read once and sold to the used bookstore.
To that end, it has quite a bit of good information in it, from the origins of Midsummer and resultant celebrations, to Craft how-tos.
Those pagans who do not follow a European/Wiccan path will find this book of use also, since there are references to Chinese and African midsummer celebrations, as well as the standard European rites.
Ms. Franklin also includes footnotes for those of us who crave more information on a fact she cites. They are usually referencing works from the time she is researching, such as citing a passage in The Golden Bough for a declaration she made about the Roman Midsummer Celebrations. I find this in and of it self, extremely helpful.
She includes a chapter of folk celebrations on this day and how many people still celebrate this holiday, even including information on the Morris Dancers, one of the few popular books to do so.
There is the required chapter on seasonal magick and rituals. I found the principals look solid and I suspect that these spells would work. Most of these spells, however, tend to be concerned with divination. There is an entire section in the magick chapter dealing with the Tarot divination, and another dealing with the Elder FUThARK runes. Unfortunately, she only focuses on the Major Arcana in the Tarot, skipping completely the minor arcana and court cards. As to the system of divination she shows us using the runes, I am unfamiliar with it and she does not comment on its origin. Her breakdown of how the Runes should be cast and read is like nothing I have ever seen.
While the spells in here, e.g., to see a fairy and to protect yourself from them, are solid, I wish parts of this chapter on magick had not seen print. Using only the information presented here, the divinations are impossible to produce. I know of many people who read Tarot cards who have notes on what they understand that run into 50 or 60 pages, and Anna presents these tarot cards in 4 pages. But that is my only objection with this book. Someone who is picking this book up would be well advised to pick up a couple books on divination as well prior to attempting them.
The Herbal spells and recipes are a wonder and a joy. I can’t wait to show them to my wife because she will be wild to try some of them. As to the cooking recipes, they look mouthwatering. Quite a number of these cooking recipes could carry over to other holidays as well, such as the recipe for Heather Ale. How many of us wanted to have home brewed spirits on our altar for one celebration or another? It is simple and straightforward, requiring no special equipment.
She does go over the basic outline for rituals again, but I can understand why. She is trying to make sure that those of us who may not have seen a Wicca 101 book or don’t know how to do a Sabbat ritual know what should be done. I do object to the scripting of the rite and would rather see an outline of different rituals from around the world. I don’t think the ritual frame she gives will work very well for someone in Asatru. I was pleased to see the notes on an indoor ritual. Many current authors appear to believe that all of us celebrate outside, and many of us can’t for one reason or another.
Once again, she does an excellent job of presenting Midsummer as an entire season, rather than a celebration on one day, which is forgotten the next. I give this book 4 stars out of 5, keeping in mind that one must get a good book on divination or the method of choice rather than relying on the notes in this book.
Originally posted 2014-02-19 12:25:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter