by Edain McCoy
Llewellyn Publications, 2002
Review by Erin
The true joy of this book is the Pagan roots of the modern day Easter celebrations. As many pagans know, a cursory examination of this Easter holiday reveals multiple Pagan themes, and Edain exposes them all from how the Egg and the Rabbit became involved in this celebration to the Resurrection theme of the time.
In this volume I really appreciated the fact that all the topic material is in one place. Instead of finding the information about Easter Eggs under “History” and then spells involving eggs under the “Spells” chapter, and the how-to decorate eggs under the “Crafts” chapters; all the pertinent information is available in one place. An Example, in the very first chapter is information on how the eggs came into this celebration, how to decorate them, and different things that can be done with the eggs once the celebration starts.
The entire book follows the same pattern, with all the pertinent information under one chapter and clearly written about. The Birds and the Bees, Sacred sex themes, Awakening the Earth on Ostara and Ostara rituals are all covered in depth and directly.
While the book obviously draws on previous works, it is combined and clarified so that the seeker does not have to go to 30 references to find out that Hot Cross Buns are common this time of the year, and that their Brigid’s Crosses they made at Imbolc will be useful at this time.
One concern for the potential cook of the feast is the ability to easily locate recipes in this book. Since the recipes are with the relevant information chapter, they are scattered all over the book. Trying to make a traditional Ostara meal on the day of the celebration would be a test of patience. Thankfully, there is an index of spells, recipes and rituals that will make finding the individual components a little quicker. Instead of trying to turn from one page to another while cooking, one might try writing them down.
I found the appendixes of interest, from the list of Spring Celebrations in different cultures (from Egyptian to Tibetan) to the FAQ that is included. I have some doubt about the wisdom of including her email address in this book and inviting questions, but I’m not the one who will be dealing with the resultant flood. The references are complete and, in many cases, considered “classics” of study. Very few of the cited resources are the author’s own work or those of Llewellyn in general.
This is a balanced book and I was able to read it in one sitting. Much of it is reference style, not meant to be read cover to cover without stopping. Instead it is meant to be a book that you can come back to time and again for the season. I plan on using this exactly that way.
One thing that this book had that I truly appreciated seeing was equal treatment of the God as well as the Goddess. The list of the Gods of this season was as complete as I have ever seen. I give this book a score of 4 stars out of 5. Other than the recipe scattering, it’s an excellent manual and reference, one that I plan on using for many years to come.